Building muscle is no easy feat, requiring plenty of food to support the energy your body needs to grow. Alongside this, your body also needs adequate protein for muscles to recover, repair, and grow optimally.
Whether recreational or competitive, bodybuilding is often considered a lifestyle, as what you do outside of the gym is just as important as what you do inside of it.
To maximize your gains in the gym, nutrition is a key principle. Eating the wrong foods in the wrong quantities can be detrimental to your bodybuilding goals.
This article explains the best foods to eat for muscle building, and what foods to potentially avoid. This includes the traditional sweet breakfast - French toast! Is French toast good for bodybuilding, or should it be avoided?
Find out all you need to know in this article!
Firstly, let’s briefly discuss how bodybuilding is described and what the lifestyle consists of.
Bodybuilding is more focused on physical appearance rather than strength, which is why it differs from sports such as powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting.
The main goal for any bodybuilder is to develop and maintain a lean, symmetrical, and muscular physique.
Many bodybuilders start with an off-season, also known as a “bulking” phase. This is when the goal is to train hard and eat plenty to build muscle and size.
This is then followed by an in-season, where the main goal would be to “cut” the excess fat and sculpt the hard-earned muscle gained throughout the bulking phase.
Bodybuilders often need to carefully plan their diets to ensure they are making as many gains as possible throughout the off-season and then eating towards a specific physique goal in the in-season.
Generally, the key nutrition principles a bodybuilder would follow include:
- Eating an adequate number of calories to support either a bulking or cutting phase
- Eating a substantial amount of protein each day, in regular intervals
- Consuming a wide range of fruits, vegetables, and whole foods to support overall health
- Avoiding highly processed foods
- Avoiding drinking too much alcohol
So, based on these principles, which are the best foods to include in a bodybuilding diet?!
The Top 5 Foods for Building Muscle
1) Meat, fish, and poultry
This includes steak, ground beef, chicken, turkey, salmon, and cod. The leaner the meat, the better! These foods are rich in protein and other essential nutrients which help muscle repair, grow and maintain.
Foods such as yogurt, cottage cheese, and milk should form a staple to a bodybuilding diet. These foods have a healthy dose of protein, good fats, and carbohydrates to help your muscles repair and replenish! These foods are also rich in calcium, an essential nutrient for muscle growth.
Bread, cereal, oatmeal, quinoa, and rice. These grains are rich in fiber and carbohydrates, essential for providing energy for gym sessions, and help to maintain a healthy gut.
4) Seeds and nuts
Calorie dense and nutritious, a great combination for building muscle! Almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds are all great for providing healthy fats and key nutrients for male health and muscle building.
Probably considered a staple food in any bodybuilder's diet, eggs are a rich source of protein and healthy fats, a great food for building muscle.
Is French Toast Good for Building Muscle?
Looking at the list above, grains and eggs are two of the best foods you can eat for bodybuilding.
Wholegrain bread dipped in whisked eggs with a sprinkle of cinnamon would be a great meal for before or after the gym, providing a healthy dose of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, and kicking a sweet craving to the curb.
While eating solely French toast wouldn’t be the best option for any fitness goal, it is a great sweet treat to include in your diet a few times a week. As we like to say, include a variety of foods in the diet and consume everything in moderation!