7 Best Body Building Foods


When it comes to packing on pounds of pure, unadulterated muscle, diet is the single most important part of your overall bodybuilding program.

You can workout all you want, but if your diet isn’t in check you will never achieve the physique of your dreams.

The body relies heavily on nutrients from the foods and supplements that you consume to help create an environment conducive to huge gains.

Although there are an infinite number of choices out there, a select few muscle-builders come up time and time again on every true bodybuilder’s shopping list.


Buckwheat (soba) noodles

Nutrition facts 120g (cooked): 113 calories, 6g protein, 24g carbohydrate, Trace fat, 1.3g fibre

Buckwheat noodles are slower-digesting carbs, meaning it takes a while for them to break down into energy.

This helps maintain a balanced energy level in the body over time, leading to better muscle recovery and enhanced mental acuity.

When carbs slowly enter the bloodstream, they produce far fewer fat-storing hormones and enzymes than carbs like white rice, cold cereals and white bread that flood the bloodstream.

“The most common form of buckwheat noodles is Japanese soba,” explains bodybuilding chef Dave nathan, aka the Muscle Gourmet, “To prepare, boil for 5-8 minutes and then drain in a colander.  Rinse the noodles with cold water to prevent overcooking.  Toss with fresh ginger, garlic, basil, reduced fat coconut milk and grilled chicken.  This keeps for several days.”


Lean Minced Beef

Nutrition facts 115g )extra-lean): 150 calories, 25g protein, 0g carbohydrates, 4.5g fat, 0g fibre

Think bodybuilding greats of yesteryear built their mass on high-tech protein powders?  Nope – their nutrition was based on protein from whole foods, mostly in the form of beef.  Lean beef remains the No. 1 mass-building food because it not only provides quality protein but also has iron, zinc, creatine and B vitamins.

Pro bodybuilder Garrett Downing, who placed fifth in the 2005 Toronto Pro, has found a way to prepare minced beef that satisfies both his bodybuilding needs and his toddler daughter’s picky palate.

“I combine extra-lean minced sirloid with a packet of wholegrain macaroni cheese from a health-food store,” he says.   “I prepare the macaroni cheese as directed, omitting the butter and using skimmed milk.  Then I brown the beefin a frying pan using a fat-free spray, and combine the beef and the macaroni cheese for a well-balanced and relatively low-fat meal.  I complete it with a salad or steamed vegetables on the side.”


Fat-free cottage cheese

Nutrition facts 70g: 80 calories, 16g protein, 4g carbohydrate, 0g fat, 0g fibre

Proteinpowders with whey or casein are all the rage now, but before theirinvention, bodybuilders relied heavily on fat-free cottage cheese.  Nowonder: a single 145g serving provides 30-plus grams of a mix of bothwhy and casein.

If you don’t like your cottage cheese plain, orsweetened with jam, try it spicy.  Try this recipe: mix 450g fat-freecottage cheese with 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoonbottled hot sauce, 2 chopped garlic cloves, one-quarter teaspoon groundginger and one-quarter bunch sliced fresh chives.  Serves four.



Nutrition facts 80g spears (cooked):  28 calories, 3g protein, 5g carbohydrate, Trace fat, 3g fibre

What’s so special about this green vegie?  Indoles, a naturally occurring compound that works against oestrogen, the “female hormone” that can make the body more efficient at storing bodyfat.  Keeping a lid on excess oestrogen production may lead to easier fat loss.  Plus, broccoli is available year-round, and it’s packed wih cancer-fighting phytochemicals and fibre.

Pro bodybuilder Mark Dugdale, vice president of Garden Fresh Foods, a fresh-vegetable packaging company, relies heavily on broccoli.  “I’m a big broccoli eater.  That being said, I don’t say very true to my fresh-cut vegetables roots – I buy frozen broccoli!  It’s easy to prepare because I can simply rinse it in hot water for a few seconds, drain it, portion in out in my meals and add a little sea salt.  I eat two bags of broccoli a day when dieting.”



Nutrition facts 250g old-fashioned (cooked):  147 calories, 6g protein, 25g carbohydrates, 2g fat, 4g fibre

This slow-burning carbohydrate makes the ideal pretraining carb snack.  Why?  Two words: energy preservation.  When you train hard, stored carbs within muscles, or muscle glycogen, become the chief fuel source.  As glycogen levels fall, so does training intensity.  By contributing to stable energy levels in the bloodstream, oats prevent a rapid draining of glycogen levels.  Mix in a scoop of protein powder or 70g of cottage cheese, along with some sweetener, for a complete preworkout meal.

Adela Garcia, the 2004 Fitness Olympic champ, eats lots of old-fashioned porridge with dieting down, usually with a little sweetener and banana-cream-flavour whey protein.  She also experients with different ways to eat it.  “i’ve even tried putting tuna in my porridge,” she confesses.


tuna-fishTinned Tuna

Nutrition facts 85g albacore/white (tinned in water, drained):  109 calories, 20g protein, 0g carbohydrate, 2.5g fat, 0g fibre

Whether you’re trying to build mass or drop bodyfat, tuna is a bodybuilding staple.  Packed with protein an convenient as hell, tuna is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which support immune function and spare the body from burning valuable branched-cahin amino acids (BCAAs).  Maintaining adequate levels of BCAAs protects against muscle loss and helps elevate your metabolism.  Tuna is also high in selenium, a mineral with antioxidant properties.

Denise Cook, an NPC fitness competitor and wife of pro bodybuilder Chris Cook, says she buys albacore tuna in bulk so it’s always on hand.  They eat it in a bowl with mustard or salsa, or sometimes plain from the tin.  “We don’t eat any bread with it.  Once in a while we’ll eat in on rice cakes with salsa,” she says.


Turkey Breast

Nutrition facts 90g (roasted, meat only): 135 calories, 30g protein, 0g carbohydrate, Trace fat, 0g fibre

To get ripped to the bone, you need a high-protein, lower-carbohydrate diet that’s also low in dietary fat.  Turkey fits that bill, with 250 grams providing about 60 grams of protein, no carbs and virtually no fat.  In fact, it’s one of the leanest sources of protein available, which makes it an essential part of any hardcore diet.

Jen Hendershott, who won the 2005 Fitness International, is no stranger to eating turkey breast as part of a precontest diet.  She buys extra-lean minced turkey and often makes meatloaf out of it.  In addition, prepacked spices make it easy for her to prepare a flavourful homemade wrap.  “I love taco seasoning,” Jen explains.  I throw my minced turkey in a pan, then add the taco seasoning and a little bit of additional water according to the packet’s instructions.  I cook it till it’s juicy and have it on a wholewheat wrap with whatever additional toppings I’m in the mood for.”