5 Best Bodybuilding Foods That You Should NEVER Train Without

Whether you’re a complete newb at the gym, or are jacked with Greek God abs, I’m going to share with you the top 5 best bodybuilding foods that you should NEVER be training without.

Each one of these foods have certain goals in mind for helping you reach your goals. Not only will these foods help you build mass amounts of muscle, but they quite literally have the power to transform your lifestyle.

You’ll be healthier, happier, and more motivated to workout once you see how much of an impact diet has on your physique.

In fact, I want to emphasize this point. So many guys get into lifting, but then neglect their diet and recovery. This is a huge mistake, as when you’re first starting out, you wanna take advantage of your newbie gains, as it’s called.

And the best way to take advantage of this time, is to start implementing these foods into your diet as soon as possible!

Best Bodybuilding Foods: The Basics

When looking at the best bodybuilding foods, there are a couple things you wanna keep in mind. You want them to be healthy (duh) which means no processed foods, no junk that’s loaded with sugar and fat, etc.

You want there to be a good macronutrient profile. Meaning how packed full of good materials the food is per calorie…

In fact, the ideal bodybuilding snack should meet these requirements:

  • Good Protein Content
  • Great Source of Vitamins and Minerals (Although you can supplement these)
  • Potential To Boost Your Hormones
  • Easy To Get Lots Of (Especially if you’re a hardgainer, because you’re gonna wanna eat, eat, EAT!)

And so before we get into the top 5 best bodybuilding foods, that should ideally always be in your diet, I want you to know ONE thing…

You Can’t Out Train A Bad Diet

You cannot out-train a bad diet. If you’re a hardgainer this won’t apply as much to you, unless you’re consuming mass amounts of alcohol, sugar, soy, etc.

But the truth is if you are always eating junk and being a fat lazy fuck, don’t think for a second that you can just “hop on the treadmill for 30 minutes to burn it off”.

If you’ve just had 5 big macs, you are not just going to “burn it off”.

Even if you did, fast food has so much other junk in it like unhealthy fats, preservatives, sugar, sodium, etc. and if you’re serious about trying to get healthier, leaner, bigger, stronger, etc. then you will make it a PRIORITY to cut these out of your diet. (Ideally for good)

Now, if you want, you can have cheat days about once a month or even once a week.

The reason for this being is that if you are eating healthy for 6 days a week and you take ONE day off to eat unhealthy, that’s literally you eating healthy more than 85% of the time!

So don’t go thinking that you can NEVER indulge once in a while because that’s not true.

If you MUST binge, keep it to once a week minimum, every other day of the week, you should be fueling your body with foods that will provide the best possible fuel for your body to operate properly.

I recommended the following foods that should always be in your diet for a healthier, happier, more jacked, lifestyle:

  • Eggs and Chicken Breast
  • Fish (Like Salmon, Halibut, Cod)
  • Good Source Of Carbs (Brown Rice, Oats, Quinoa)
  • Leafy Greens (Kale, Spinach, Sprouts, etc.)
  • NUTS (Almonds, Walnuts, Brazil Nuts)

There’s a ton more that you could add to this list, and we’ll get into them later, but these 5 best bodybuilding foods is the foundation for whatever diet plan I create for myself, and others usually. (Unless I’m doing a steak and egg diet for example).

Eggs & Chicken Breast (Protein & Essential Fats)

best bodybuilding foods

All jokes aside, eggs and chicken are one of the best bodybuilding foods if not THE best bodybuilding foods of all time. For eggs, you get a TON of vitamins and minerals, as well as a lot of protein too.

But the secret when it comes to eggs is in the yolks…

If you’ve read my article on boosting testosterone, you already know all about this, but basically, the yolks in eggs contain a type of cholesterol that’s actually GOOD for you.

This may seem surprising, but generally, when people talk about cholesterol, they’re talking about the bad kind (LDL), but eggs actually contain the good kind that your body uses to convert into TESTOSTERONE (HDL). (source)

Again if you haven’t read the article, I highly recommend you do so.

But essentially testosterone is the hormone that will help you put on muscle the fastest (besides myostatin, but that’s for a different article), so it’s best to do everything you can to raise these levels as much as possible.

With chicken, what it really boils down to is the fact that chicken is JAM PACKED with protein.

Just 3 ounces gives you like 30 grams of protein and if you’re trying to build muscle, then you should be consuming at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight, and chicken will help you do this EXTREMELY quick.

Also, don’t be fooled into thinking you just have to eat plain chicken with no seasoning or sauce. That route is for bodybuilding competitors and fitness models/actors, so spice it up!

My personal favorites to add to chicken are Italian seasoning, lemon pepper, or just plain old barbecue sauce, the choice is yours though.

Just make sure you start getting chicken and eggs into your diet as soon as possible for the best results.

Fish (Protein and Omega 3’s)

Salmon is one of the best bodybuilding foods

Again, protein, protein, protein. But this time there’s also the added benefits that good quality fish come with a healthy dose of Omega 3’s. You can find omega 3’s in just about every type of commercially sold fish, but the best ones to focus on would be salmon, halibut, and cod.

What are Omega 3’s?

Omega-3s are a family of essential fatty acids that play important roles in your body and provide an insane number of health benefits. However, your body cannot naturally produce these on its own which is why you must get them from your diet.

The three most important types are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). ALA is mainly found in plants, while DHA and EPA occur mostly in fish such as salmon, and cod. But you can also get your omega 3’s from flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, etc.

What Are The Benefits Of Omega 3’s?

As I said earlier, Omega 3’s come with a whole HOST of benefits. The reason they’re so good for you is because they provide a healthy, protective membrane around your cells so that they can operate more effectively. Omega 3’s are incredibly vital for your body ESPECIALLY for your brain and heart health. (source)

Here’s a list of the physical and mental benefits of Omega 3’s:

Aids In Curing DepressionCan Drastically Improve Brain And Heart Health
Effective In Fighting AnxietyImproved Eye Health
Keeps Your Brain Sharp And Fights Brain WastingHelps Keep Hormones In A Good Balance

Hopefully by now you can see why Omega 3’s are a critical part of your health and why they should be a key staple to anyone trying to improve their health.

Good Source Of Carbs (Oats, Brown Rice, Quinoa)

Carbs are a staple bodybuilding food

Carbs are a staple in just about every bodybuilder’s diet. The reason for this is because they are a great source of calories for when you’re trying to bulk, and because they raise insulin levels, and fill your muscle with glycogen (energy essentially).

When you raise your carb intake, you raise your body’s insulin levels which is like the “storage hormone” for your body. So if you have a ton of carbs before your workout, where do you think all that energy (glycogen) goes? They go straight to your muscles for an absolute sleeve-busting pump.

This is why it’s recommended that you have the majority of your carbs before and after your workout:

Carbs Before WorkoutCarbs After Workout
Crazy PumpsHelps You Recover Faster
More StrengthHelps Deliver Protein To Your Muscles
More EnergyHelps You Get Massive

So when it comes down to great sources of carbs, your best bets are going to be brown rice, oats, and quinoa (which also has crazy health benefits by itself). I’d also recommend a banana or two before your next workout, as the healthy carbs will go to your muscles and give your more energy to lift heavier and perform better athletically all around.

SOME Sort Of Leafy Greens (Kale, Broccoli, Spinach)

Vegetables can be great bodybuilding foods too

One of the many mistakes newbies make when they try to get into bodybuilding is neglecting the health aspect. They might decided to JUST eat brown rice and chicken literally all day.

This is a mistake however, as they are staving their bodies of nutrients that it needs to thrive. Personally I would go for kale, it’s pretty nasty but it’s probably one of the healthiest leafy greens all around.

A handful of kale is packed full of good muscle building nutrients like vitamin A (For bone health), vitamin C (Good for immune health), vitamin K, also known as potassium (Good for bone health).

And so much more, so don’t make a beginner mistake and get these into your diet, and not only will you have a way healthier diet in general but you’ll also put on muscle and gain weight faster than the people who don’t.

NUTS (Almonds, Brazil, Walnuts)

Nuts are probably the best bodybuilding snacks around

In my personal opinion, almonds are the best bodybuilding snack of all time. These guys are PACKED with all sorts of nutrients that will help you pack on pounds of muscle. A handful of almonds has 7 grams of protein. So you can just keep grabbing handfuls because they taste really good too.

In addition to good protein, Almonds are also packed with vitamins and nutrients as well. From vitamin E, Potassium, magnesium Etc. almonds are one of the best bodybuilding foods of all time.

The best thing about almonds however isn’t even the protein or vitamin/mineral content. It’s the HEALTHY FATS that are in them too! I know I stress this a lot on this blog, but these healthy fats are amazing for you, they raise your good (HDL) cholesterol, which leads to higher testosterone levels.

It doesn’t even have to be almonds either, you can get walnuts, pecans, peanuts, brazil nuts, etc. but it just goes to show that when it comes to the best bodybuilding snacks, it’s pretty hard to beat nuts.

Best Bodybuilding Foods (Bonuses)

Although you can see great results from the foods listed above, I decided to add this bonus section of foods that could take your health, and bodybuilding journey to the next level.

The foods that can take your health to next level include:

  • Cottage Cheese
  • Steak
  • Coconut Oil

If you just wanna get started with a good diet, just follow the 5 foods listed earlier. But if you want that added advantage, the extra mile, then be sure to also add cottage cheese, steak, and coconut oil into your diet.

Cottage Cheese (Casein Protein)

If you’re just getting into proper dieting and nutrition, I can understand why you would be confused to see cottage cheese on this list. But here’s why it’s one of the best bodybuilding foods out there.

There are two main supplemented proteins. These are called whey and casein protein, and cottage cheese is comprised of the latter. To put it simply, what makes the protein in cottage cheese different, than say eggs for example, is that it’s slow digesting.

“Why would I want slow digesting protein? I wanna get jacked FAST!” I can here someone say. And while we all want to get jacked fast, the truth is, it will take some time. However when you have a slow digesting protein, you can take it BEFORE YOU GO TO SLEEP, and have an IV- drip of protein all throughout the night.

You can literally be getting protein to your muscles while you sleep. (scientific proof). If you’re someone who struggles to eat enough during the day, then it’s easy to see the benefits that come with having a good source of protein all throughout the night.

Steak (Protein & Testosterone)

Steak is another one of those foods that just has crazy muscle building benefits. For one, just like chicken, it’s also packed with protein. The average ribeye steak has about SEVENTY GRAMS of high quality protein.

That’s insane. There aren’t many foods out there that have this good of protein content.

But just like eggs, steak also has the type of healthy fat that raises your good cholesterol (HDL) which in turn raises your testosterone. This is why the steak and eggs diet used to be so popular, because you could get insane amounts of protein AND sky high testosterone levels too. (source)

Although it can be pretty spendy, I’d recommend getting grass fed steak, as it’s the healthiest form you can get. But if you can’t afford it, then stick with what you can get.

Coconut Oil (Insane Health & Sleep Benefits)

Coconut oil is another one of those superfoods that literally everyone cannot seem to stop talking about, especially women’s blogs. But why do you think this is? It’s because coconut oil is the real deal, it’s INSANELY healthy for you.

Here’s just some of the benefits from coconut oil:

  • Contains Healthy Fatty Acids
  • Improves Cardiovascular Health
  • Helps Burn Fat Faster
  • Increases Good Cholesterol
  • And Much More…

This just goes to show how good fats are for you and your body. Personally, I like to take a spoonful or two of coconut oil before I go to bed and if I have it, I’ll put it in almond milk, warm it up, and add some manuka honey as well.

What I’ll do, is then combine all of those ingredients and drink it before I go to bed, and as someone who’s had sleep problems ever since I was a baby, I can say with 100% confidence that when I drink this cocktail I have some of the BEST SLEEP OF MY LIFE, and feel great in the mornings, ready to kick some ass for the day.

I recommend you give it a try, it can be pretty nasty to take coconut oil just by itself, but if you can find ways to add it to other great nighttime snacks (like almond milk) then the benefits are extremely worth it.

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All in all, these are the best bodybuilding foods that you should never train without. It really is amazing how much better you’ll feel when you start implementing good diet changes. It may be hard at first but it’s ultimately a decision that will change your life for the better.

A lot of these foods you can get from your nearest supermarket. Obviously, if you can, get the best versions of the foods that you can (specifically if you can get organic, free range, eggs, and grass fed beef). But start with what you have.

Maybe in a week you’ll start to notice some of the benefits such as increased test levels, more energy, confidence, mental clarity etc. And maybe in a month you’ll start to notice the more long term benefits such as a better body, or a better life since your body will be running on better fuel, you’ll be more effective at EVERYTHING you do.

So give it a shot, stick with it for at least a month and let the results speak for themselves.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to email me at matthewcarter@hardgainerbodybuilding.com or if you want a faster response, you can dm me on my insta @realmatthewcarter

Until next time,

Matthew Carter

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