Finding the right diet as a bodybuilder can be challenging but it is possible, especially when looking to maximize your own personal gains.
What we eat has a direct correlation to how we feel and how we perform. As bodybuilders, we need to fuel our bodies with the right food to get the most nutrients possible as we seek the best for our gains. When it comes to finding the right diet, so many out there claim to be the one, but how we can we tell which are full of it and which are actually beneficial? Let’s take a look at a number of potential diets and by the end, you can research which ones you like the most to maximize health and performance.
Finding The Best Diet For You
When looking for the best diet for you, you need to consider how it will fit with your training goals, but also your overall health. It isn’t worth trying a diet if it will hurt your ability to function inside and out of the gym. Sometimes your diet becomes a way of life, and that what you eat is a product about how you view the world. But for some, they eat to perform and see growth so that diet may be geared towards food that will promote better performance.
Looking at the number of macros is important but depending on your goals, you may be able to consider lowering carb count for example. Those diets without dairy or sugar should also be looked at closely as that may limit the number of foods or types of food you are able to consume. At the end of the day, you know what you’re looking for and you know your body. Listen to what it needs so you can thrive both inside and out of the gym.
Types Of Diets To Consider
A high protein diet is a great option for those looking to lose weight, for increased amounts of protein can keep you full so you feel the urge to snack less (1). Protein will also help increase your growth and recovery.
Pros: A high protein diet can allow for better muscle and cell rebuilding while also keeping you full for longer. Lower carbs and sugar can also help aid in weight loss.
Cons: Animal protein tends to be high in fat so that will increase slightly. It also tends to be low in carbs and fruits and vegetables which are a key source of vital nutrients.
The keto diet is a low-carb diet where the thought is to get your calories from protein and fat as opposed to carbs. The goal is to promote ketones in the body to provide for your body’s energy source (2).
Pros: Weight loss tends to be quick as this will decrease appetite and start to use fat as energy. You will also be a little more sharp mentally and that increased energy boost is nice to power you through the day.
Cons: It is high in fat and can cause digestive issues. It can also be fairly restrictive and requires careful counting of all your macronutrients.
Intermittent fasting involves an eating cycle where you switch between periods of eating and fasting throughout the day (3). It really puts more of an emphasis on when you eat as opposed to what you eat.
Pros: This diet does lead to weight loss for those looking to shed that unwanted fat, and can also fight inflammation. There’s no calorie restriction and the only focus is on the window of time you eat.
Cons: There is an increased hunger level and low energy levels, for a portion of the day you don’t eat. This can impact performance and potential social situations if you go out to dinner with friends or family.
The vegan diet stays away from animal products, be them meat, dairy, and eggs, among others. This diet therefore involves eating foods comprised only of plants (4).
Pros: With this diet, you promote better health benefits and certainly get a healthy dose of plant vitamins and minerals. It increases food efficiency and when done right, can lead to weight loss.
Cons: There are valuable nutrients you miss out on from not eating animal sources and this diet can get quite expensive. For those looking to increase strength and size, while it is possible, it is much harder and can lead to an imbalanced diet.
The carnivore diet is strictly a meat, fish, and poultry based diet. Plants, in most cases, are totally eliminated by this diet, although some choose to supplement here and there with vegetables. (5)
Pros: This diet certainly keeps you full and aids in growth and performance by pumping you with protein. It can lead to weight loss and most of these nutrients are absorbed in your body.
Cons: You lose the value of many vital nutrients which can seriously affect your health. Supplementing should be a priority if you choose to embark on the carnivore diet.
Featured Supplement For Any Diet
While some supplements tend to not fit with one diet or the other, there are supplements that do work for most, if not all diets. A pre-workout or BCAA are great to use for your pre- and intra-workout needs, but having a protein powder on your shelf will work wonders. Most of the popular protein supplements tend to be whey based, and that may not be conducive to certain diets, like the vegan diet for example. Companies have begun to make non-dairy products with alternative protein sources to give you the best boost possible while still being conducive to all diets (6).
Performance Lab SPORT Protein
Performance Lab SPORT Protein is much cleaner than other protein powders out there. Naturally flavored with organic cocoa, vanilla bean and ceylon cinnamon, this is the best tasting protein powder many customers have tried. Being a brown-rice protein powder, anyone can use it for growth and weight loss for this powder contains great ingredients. Regardless of whether you’re dairy intolerant, vegan, allergic to soy or gluten, Performance Lab Protein can be easily included in your diet at all times, whether you’re cutting or bulking.
Check out our individual review for Performance Lab SPORT Protein here!
Check out our list of the Best Non-Dairy Protein Powders for more great vegan and plant-based protein options!
The foods we eat and the nutrients we get greatly affect our health and performance. With the right diet, all of our needs can be accomplished and we can thrive both inside and out of the gym. Check out these diets above and see which ones may work for you.
*Images courtesy of Envato
- Antonio, Jose; Ellerbroek, Anya; Silver, Tobin; Vargas, Leonel; Peacock, Corey (2016). “The effects of a high protein diet on indices of health and body composition – a crossover trial in resistance-trained men”. (source)
- O’Neill, Blair; Raggi, Paolo (2020). “The ketogenic diet: Pros and cons”. (source)
- Patterson, Ruth E.; Laughlin, Gail A.; Sears, Dorothy D.; LaCroix, Andrea Z.; et al. (2015). “Intermittent Fasting And Human Metabolic Health”. (source)
- Appleby, Paul N.; Key, Timothy J. (2016). “The long-term health of vegetarians and vegans”. (source)
- Best Source of Health and Wellness Reviews. TheFitBay. (source)
- Carbone, John W.; Pasiakos, Stefan M. (2019). “Dietary Protein and Muscle Mass: Translating Science to Application and Health Benefit”. (source)