diet tips for bodybuilding beginners

5 Rules to Eat Right for Beginners

It’s true, abs are built in the kitchen. Follow the 5 rules to eat right for the bodybuilding beginners and make the most of your workouts.

Finally,  you have made the first move towards a healthier lifestyle and got yourself a gym membership. However, all that hard work in the gym is not going to show any result if your diet is not right.  Know what to eat and when to support strenuous workouts and build the body of your dreams.


Will you run your car on an empty fuel tank? No. Similarly, if you don’t eat the right foods before exercise, you are going to feel fatigued and light headed due to low blood sugar, during your workout. Naturally, this will not let you push your limits in the gym. The ideal diet before a work out is light, nutritious and a mix of carbs, preferably complex and proteins to maximize your energy and workout intensity. Choose light and nutritious foods like oats, brown bread, egg whites, fruits along with milk or yoghurt to get a generous dose of carbs and proteins. Always remember to have your pre-workout foods 30 minutes before you exercise.

If you are a morning workout person, bananas are for you. Loaded with potassium and digestible carbohydrates, bananas work as nature’s snack bar and provide the right fuel for the workout.


Your body stores surplus carbs in the form of glycogen in your muscles. When you work-out, your body first burns pre-workout foods for energy, then it breaks down glycogen reserve. A nutrient rich post workout meal is critical to restock glycogen reserve and supply essential nutrients to worn out joints and bones. To restock the depleted glycogen reserve, you need to eat enough carbohydrates to trigger the release of insulin, an anabolic hormone, responsible for shuttling carbohydrates and amino acids into the muscle. Research shows that 0.8g carbs and 0.4g proteins/per kg of body weight maximizes glycogen synthesis, protein repair and helps stay in a positive nitrogen balance.

The right post workout foods include oats, with fruits and milk, scrambled eggs and fresh fruits, whey smoothie, greek yoghurt with fruits and protein bars. Twice the protein content than regular yoghurt, greek yoghurt provides a double dose of amino acids to your muscle tissues. Get your nutrition within 45-60 minutes of your workout for improved recovery and muscle synthesis. If you sweat heavily or your exercise lasts longer than 60 minutes, an isotonic post workout drink will help you replenish your lost electrolytes and energize you quicker than plain water.


If you have been eating three large meals during the day, now is the time to change. Jim Stoppani, sports scientist recommends the calorie intake in beginner bodybuilder is 20-22 calories per pound of body weight. This means a 150-pound bodybuilding beginner will need approximately 3000 -3300 calories per day. A recent study in the Journal of Applied Physiology has found that spacing out meals in 6 smaller meals with 20g protein helps subjects lose body fat, build lean muscle mass with or without training. The diet for beginner bodybuilder should include frequent feedings since after three to four hours of no food the body switches to a catabolic state (a state in which you lose muscle and gain fat!). The body believes that it is starving and it starts feeding itself on lean muscle tissue and it prepares to store calories as fat.


Workout causes muscle tissues to degrade and protein in your diet allows newer and heavier muscles to construct than in ordinary circumstances. A 2007 study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that muscle size increases 0.2 percent per day, over and above the simultaneous high protein breakdown, during the first 20 days of a strength-training program. If you are starting out in muscle building or are returning after a lay off you will need more protein than a weight room warrior who is almost near his genetic ceiling for strength and size.

Most research studies recommend protein intake for beginner bodybuilders at 0.75g/lb body weight. The point to note is that with an increase in your training age, your optimal protein intake will go down.  As your body becomes efficient at preventing protein breakdown lesser protein is required for building the smaller amount of muscle after each training session.

Along with the amount of protein, it is equally important, how protein is spaced out in your meals. A 2014 study in the Journal of Nutrition shows that muscle protein synthesis increases by 25 percent if it is spaced out evenly at each meal.  Whey protein supplement after a training session and in-between meals is an effective method to remain in a positive nitrogen balance. A slow-digesting protein, like cottage cheese, keeps amino acids trickling throughout and does not let you go protein hungry.


Did you know the much-touted protein comprises only 20 percent of your muscle tissue and water plus minerals constitute remaining 80 percent? Therefore, men and women on anabolism trail, say ‘bottoms up’ to the good-old water bottle.

Though, water is a zero calorie drink, it is an important medium wherein energy reactions take place. Therefore, if your body is dehydrated, these energy reactions will suffer. This will cause fatigue and reduce performance, especially during intense workouts.  The standard guideline for drinking water lies between 3.5 to 7 litres for muscle building champions.

Nourish your body with the right foods and be consistent with your workouts. Patience and perseverance will reward you with a sculpted body.