If you have ever interacted with people from the fitness industry or stalked a bodybuilding page on Instagram, you would discover that it is an art of combining regimented exercise with nutrition to get strong muscles, or ripped.
It is rather difficult to stick to a diet plan without meal prepping. (Nobody wakes up enthusiastic to have kale for breakfast!) You need different kinds of pushes for adhering to a nutritionally balanced diet. Sometimes it is willpower, sometimes it is the pressure of eating what’s already there in the fridge!
If you want to build a muscular body, venture out as an athlete or even explore the world of nutrition, meal prepping is helpful for all. Not to give you any spoilers but some recipes can make your stomach growl! Here are some tips and ideas for bodybuilding meal prep and nutrition.
Nutrition and bodybuilding
Professionals in bodybuilding don’t have to adopt a one-size-fits-all dietary program. Most muscle building nutrition plans integrate calorie counting with a macro diet.
Calorie counting implies keeping track of your calorie intake so you understand roughly how much you are consuming each day. Tracking macronutrients (or macros) is a way of guaranteeing that each of the three macronutrients: protein, carbs, and fat, account for a significant proportion of your total intake.
The exact macronutrient proportions will differ from person to person, but most plans call for a high carbohydrate intake, a moderate protein intake, and a low to moderate fat intake.
It does appear to be a little tricky. That is why most sportsmen hire a coach or nutritionist to advise them in figuring out what their calorie and macronutrient composition should be, as well as their bodybuilding meal prep modus operandi at all phases of preparation.
In case you didn’t know, most bodybuilders have “bulking” and “cutting” phases when they stress on either gaining muscle by frequently consuming more calories, or reducing fat, usually by cutting on calories. Some coaches also suggest nutritional timing, which is when you eat carbs at certain times to help you get energised before a training session or recharge glycogen levels afterwards.
That being said, you can do your own bodybuilding meal prep and monitor a healthy intake of nutrients. Just some good old kitchen scales and determination is all we need!
Finding out your calorie and macro goals before prepping meals for bodybuilding
1. Calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure.
Determine your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) as the first step. Predicated on your height, weight, age, and activity levels, this is a close estimate of the amount of energy you expend each day. Use an online tool to determine that figure.
2. Decide your purpose, whether you want to gain muscles or lose weight
You will have to consume lesser calories than your TDEE figure if you want to shed excess weight (cutting). However, if you want to grow and build muscle, you will need to consume moderately high calories. To get your daily target calorie intake, add or subtract 250 to 500 calories from your TDEE (DTCI).
3. Find out your macros
You can perform a bunch of calculations or just punch it into an online macro calculator to find out how many grammes of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats you should shoot for every day.
How to meal prep for bodybuilding? Step-by-step walkthrough
A bodybuilding meal plan’s foundation is that you may eat whichever items you choose as long as you don’t go beyond your daily calorie intake and maintain the ideal macronutrient ratio. “Flexible dieting” is another name for this dietary pattern.
Meal prep can prove invaluable in helping you to stick to a bodybuilding regimen. When you don’t meal plan, it’s much easy to get off track and make unhealthy dietary judgments. That is why it is suggested that you set aside a slot during the week to prepare your bodybuilding meals.
1. Gear up
Get all the tools needed for meal prepping. Download a fitness app as they count up the calories and macros in every one of your bodybuilding meal prep ingredients and make it simple to pick and analyze foods. They will also assist you in determining which meals include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
You might also want a kitchen scale to help you weigh food more precisely instead of guessing portion sizes, as well as some durable meal prep containers to keep your meals in.
2. Plan a grocery shopping list
Buying groceries comes next on your bodybuilding meal prep agenda. Choose three to five primary foods for each of the three groups: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Put together a list of vegetables after that. These would be your “go-to” meals and will make up a sizeable portion of your weekly diet plan.
When choosing your vegetables, look for a mix of colours since different colours suggest different vitamins and minerals. This will distract you from eating the same boring meals every day while also preventing vitamin deficiency. You can become a bodybuilder while being on a vegan diet, so no need to worry there.
3. Prep foods for the ‘base’
Meal planning for bodybuilding can help you remain consistent, but only if you eat what you prepared. Cooking stews, curries, and stir-fries can be nice but it would mean eating the same food for 6 days straight until you prepare another batch. Thus, variety is of utmost importance. Eat what you genuinely enjoy cooking and find tasty. Prepping food items that can be combined with different things is also a good idea.
You can multitask while prepping to avoid making it tedious. Garnish your favourite protein with the spices of your choices and put it in the oven to bake. Meanwhile, you can bake a few vegetables and turn on the rice cooker to prepare some carbs. You can also steam some vegetables or maybe boil an egg. After everything is done, store them in containers, preferably made of glass, and refrigerate them.
4. Assemble them
Now when it seems like all of your dishes are prepared and your fridge is loaded, all you have to do at mealtime is grab those containers and mix and match the items.
Load half of your plate with vegetables, one-fourth of it with protein, and the remaining portion with a nutritious carb. The servings will vary depending on your macros, but this is a solid place to start.
11 Meal Prep Ideas for Bodybuilding
Now that you have boarded the bus for fitness town and thought out a meal prep plan, we have some meal prep ideas to help you in discovering your preferences. These meal ideas can help you gain muscle, rebound from your workouts, and get in a stronger condition for that new exercise you have been wanting to explore.
1. Ham, Pepper, and Tomato Omelette
Seriously, can omelettes ever taste bad? No matter what ingredients you toss in, it comes out tasting delicious! For a high-protein breakfast, this recipe contains healthy vegetables and lean ham. If you fall in love with this tangy omelette and need to make a bigger batch, just try to cook it in a skillet. You can add some spinach for a nutritious boost. With this quick and cheap recipe, bodybuilding has just been spiced up!
2. Banana Chocolate Chip Overnight Oats
Overnight oats are a great option when you need some extra doses of fibre, protein, and whole grains in your breakfast for a power-packed crunchy and fruity morning! You can simply change up the extra ingredients to suit your tastes, such as swapping the chocolate chips with a spoonful of peanut butter or substituting your favourite fresh berry for the sliced bananas.
3. Air Fryer Turkey Burger
This air fryer turkey burger is ideal for a protein-packed lunch on the go. You can prepare these burgers in bulk and refrigerate them for the following week because they are freezer-friendly. They only require ten minutes in the oven once they have been prepared. They are low in net carbohydrates and fat, but rich in proteins- just 3 grams of net carbs and 3 grams of fat per serving.
4. Mason Jar Spinach And Feta Salad
Salads can be challenging to carry in standard containers since pre-mixed dressings make the leaves mushy. However, if you layer salad contents in a Mason jar, you can hold your greens away from the dressing and keep them fresh for a healthy and crunchy lunch.
Switch up the salad toppings and ingredients to your heart’s desire once again. Artichokes, roasted red peppers, and Kalamata olives can be swapped with carrots and avocado. For a southwestern touch, add ranch dressing and top your veggies with black beans, corn, and cheddar cheese. You could also include sweeter fruits like strawberries or grapes, or switch fresh spinach with kale or romaine lettuce. Before putting any cooked items into the jar, make sure they have cooled. Hot temperatures can wilt the greens.
5. Ground Beef Fajita Bowl
Fajita bowls are convenient since the protein base may be adjusted according to what you have available. You can toss in ground chicken in place of ground beef if you have some. Depending on your tastes, you can add or subtract items. Quinoa is a great alternative to rice if you don’t like it. Try black beans if you prefer extra fibre.
Combine cook times with other meals to cut down on prep time. When preparing your egg and veggie “muffins,” for example, when the eggs are done, add extra peppers and onions to the pan so the vegetables are ready for the fajita bowls. You can buy microwave-safe rice packets at the local supermarket to avoid having to cook rice in the traditional time-consuming manner.
6. Crockpot Glazed Chicken Teriyaki
If you have a crockpot, this recipe is for you! It takes a small time to get done and tastes absolutely delicious. It also has high protein content. Do we need to say more!
7. Poppy Seed Chicken, Asparagus, And Wild Rice
Since chicken is such a common ingredient in prepping meals, this list would be incomplete without a great chicken entrée. This one is as easy as it gets, and it only takes 15-20 minutes to cook. A smart way to cut down on cooking and cleaning time is by purchasing asparagus spears that come in a microwavable bag. You can also grab some pre-cooked or microwaveable rice packets from the store to get things done quickly.
8. Frozen Vegan Hot Chocolate
Yes, you read it correctly. You can have chocolate as a bodybuilding snack! You can make healthy and vegan hot chocolate to enjoy a nice evening without comprising with your diet. Simply melt chocolate with regular milk or a vegan substitute in a saucepan, add other ingredients to make it yummier and voila!
9. Peanut Butter Protein Energy Balls
These energy balls taste and do exactly what they sound like- provide you with a quick pop of energy. They are perfect for a lunchtime pick-me-up or a post-workout snack. You can make these in bulk in stash some in your cooler to munch on when your midnight pangs hit.
10. Sweet Potato, Beef, And Roasted Veggie Hash
Grilled vegetables and sweet potatoes are tasty and simple to cook, plus they include a wealth of vitamins and minerals. Make plenty of these whenever you cook them to serve as snacks or as complements to protein-based dishes. Cook some extra ground beef for simple dinners as well.
11. Skinny Tuna Melt
This healthier rendition of the diner classic is a breath of fresh air to the boring recipe. For a protein dose without the calories, toss tuna in water with low-calorie or vegetarian mayonnaise. Now you have to toast the open-face bread for a couple of minutes on medium heat to warm up the cheese and let it seep in for a tasty snack.
At the end of the day, trying is the greatest way to master. You have got everything that is needed to tackle meal prepping if you have a strategy, a few strong containers, and a portable case. All that remains to do now is go to the supermarket, whet your kitchen knife and get to work!