Bodybuilding is a sport for those who can dedicate themselves not only to lifting, but also to a very stringent diet plan.  Whether you take part for personal reasons or for pro status – you must understand first and foremost that you cannot expect to achieve great things until you accept the bodybuilding diet.

What is a bodybuilding diet?

This is essentially a macronutrient diet.  For further reading see; Macros Explained.

In short; your diet should be strategically split between proteins, fats and carbs.  Your ratios will depend on which phase of the bodybuilding cycle you are in.

Also see; Bulking and Cutting For Women.

Macronutrient Ratios by phase

Bodybuilding Phase Maintenance Phase Fat Loss Phase

Which foods are best on a bodybuilding diet?

Typically this diet consists of (but isn’t limited to) the following foods, broken down by macronutrient.



Chicken breast

Lean mince (beef, turkey, lamb)

White fish

Tinned tuna

Cottage cheese

Greek yogurt




Sweet potatoes

White potatoes

Root vegetables

Fresh fruit (prioritise low sugar fruits)

Beans and pulses


Olive oil

Oily fish

Plain nuts

Nut butters


PLUS:  Plenty of green vegetables!

General rules of thumb on a bodybuilding diet

Avoid processed/pre-packaged foods.

Prepare the majority of your meals using whole ingredients.

Eat as much protein as you can – if you struggle to hit your quota, reach for a protein shake.

Eat little and often (4-6 times a day).

Drink plenty of water.

Carbs are best for breakfast or immediately after your workout.