Nutrition for bodybuilders

Nutrition for Bodybuilders

Bodybuilding is different from other sports, as it primarily focuses on how the body looks. They are judged on their muscle size, proportion, and lack of body fat. Bodybuilders achieve this through a rigorous training regime and a proper diet. Those who partake in bodybuilding must watch their diet all year round. They usually have two nutritional stages – the bulking phase, which is the off-season phase, and the cutting phase, which is the competition phase. 

This means that nutrition for bodybuilding varies according to what stage in the season you are in. 

The bulking phase is a time of lean muscle growth, which means that bodybuilders will increase their calorie intake. However, it is key to walk the balance between sustainable muscle growth and preventing fat accumulation.

The cutting phase is a time of restriction, when most bodybuilders will restrict their calorie intake and increase how much aerobic exercise they do. The goal of this stage is to decrease fat mass and to increase muscle definition. 

Becoming bigger – off-season

At this stage, you’re looking to put on muscle mass, mainly through resistance training. Pair that routine with plenty of food to ensure musclebuilding – the average intake of bodybuilders on their bulking phase can be around 3800 calories a day. 

Muscle grows when you have a positive energy balance, meaning that you consume more calories than you spend in a day. How much you need to increase your intake by depends on training status – those that are starting out can benefit from larger energy surplus than those that have been training for a while. For seasoned bodybuilders, a 10-20% increase from maintenance calories will be sufficient to grow muscle without putting on additional fat. 

Get into the habit of setting a weekly weight gain goal and monitoring progress through a weekly weigh in and body composition check. This will prevent unnecessary fat gain.

Most calories will come from carbohydrates and fats. You should aim to get around 0.5-1.5g of fats per kilo per day. Pay attention to the type of fats you consume, prioritizing unsaturated fats and fats like omega-3 and omega-6. 

Carbohydrates, in the form of glycogen, help fuel muscle contractions, so it’s necessary to get enough. For bodybuilders, getting around 3-5 grams of carbohydrates per kilo every day seems to be a good range.  

nutrition for bodybuilders

Bulking - how much protein?

Gaining muscle is also about shifting the muscle protein turnover towards a net muscle synthesis. This means that as our muscles naturally go through cycles of being degraded and then being synthesized, we need to favor the process of growth and synthesis. To do so, aim to get 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. 

Those relying on plant proteins, like vegetarians and vegans, should pay attention to the amino acid profiles of their protein sources. Diet for vegan bodybuilders should include plant sources containing essential amino acids and leucine, as they increase muscle growth. Soy and pea proteins are the best choices. Vegan and vegetarian diets for bodybuilders should account for the fact that plant foods also contain less protein per portion. You may, therefore, need to eat more foods to meet your intake goals. 

To get extra protein, consider shakes. Maxler 100% Golden Whey provides 24 grams of protein in each serving with a balanced amino acid profile. Essential amino acids help trigger muscle growth. The protein powder contains an additional enzyme blend to ensure you’re getting all the benefits from the shake and fabulous flavors. 

The cutting stage – working on muscle definition

The cutting stage is a period where you slowly decrease overall calories, aiming for a loss of around 0.5-1% of your body weight per week. The purpose of the stage in general is to change your bodybuilder’s diet to lose fat. A sustainable and gradual loss helps you feel your best and retain enough energy. Low energy availability can decrease performance and well-being. 

Bodybuilders can benefit from having around 4-7 g/kg of bodyweight of carbohydrates daily. However, when cutting, it is likely that your intake will be closer to the lower end of the scale. A few weeks before competition, once you’ve already reached your leanness goals, you can increase your daily intake by around 20-50 g. This way, you’ll preserve performance.

Fats are required to make enough testosterone. This helps to preserve lean mass. Aim for around 20-30% of your calories from fat, but if that interferes with getting sufficient protein or carbohydrate, cut down to 15-20%. Diets for female bodybuilders should also aim to get plenty of fats for the production of their hormones. 

You should have around 2.3-3.1 g/kg of protein every day. For those who are leaner or in a large caloric deficit, consider increasing your consumption to the higher end of that range. 

Preparing for the win – before the competition

The week before a competition, many bodybuilders may play around with their water and carbohydrate intake. It is essential to keep hydrated, as dehydration may make muscles look smaller and may compromise performance. Therefore, stick to getting plenty of water, and if you need to rehydrate quickly, consume an electrolyte drink. 

Try Maxler Electrolyte Powder, which makes the concentration of your drink the same as your blood concentration. This helps you absorb water more efficiently and without gut discomfort.

Some bodybuilders also load carbohydrates in the days before the competition. This means that they increase their carbohydrate intake to increase the amount of glycogen in their muscle. This may be effective if you increase overall calories, rather than simply increasing the proportion of carbohydrates to other macronutrients.  

Remember that not all strategies relating to the nutrition of bodybuilding professionals will work for you. Therefore, experiment safely and find out what the best choice for you is.  

nutrition for bodybuilders

Boosting nutrition – the power of supplements

Supplements for bodybuilders take on a few purposes. Bodybuilders can benefit from supplements that support overall health. These are supplements like vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids, which provide key nutrients for the body. These can be some of the best supplements for natural bodybuilders who find it hard to get enough nutrients from their nutrition. 

Maxler VitaMen and VitaWomen provide high amounts of key vitamins that are needed for those on a strict workout regimen. The formulas provide the vitamins and minerals necessary to support overall health and performance. Alongside these, they contain sex-specific herbal extracts and additional ingredients designed to support health and improve performance. These are especially good supplements for women bodybuilders, as the herbal extracts support hormonal health during tough nutritional phases. 

Maxler Omega-3 Premium is a formulation containing 600mg of DHA and EPA, which are the omega-3 fatty acids that support brain health, mood, and have anti-inflammatory properties. These are great nutrition supplements for bodybuilding, as they help provide healthy fats necessary for overall health. Paired with a great citrusy taste, it will make you skip fish oil in favor of these great softgels. 

Those that would like to support their joint health can consider adding collagen to their routine. Collagen is a building block of our cartilage, and supplementing it helps to decrease joint pain and help your body make more cartilage.

For a further boost, you can combine collagen with other joint-supporting supplements. Maxler designed Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM specifically for athletes who want to improve their joint health. This combination relieves joint pain, supports health by keeping the joints elastic and lubricated, and may speed up recovery after an injury. 

  • Out Of Stock
VitaWomen 90 tablets bottle


A complex of everything the female body needs to reach new performance heights


    From $17.99
    Incl. VAT plus shipping
    Minerals, vitamins and additional ingredients for performance and male health

    Bodybuilding performance is dependent on achieving great results during resistance training. That’s where supplements designed to boost overall muscle mass, such as amino acids can come handy. When paired with ergogenic aids, which can help you train for longer, supplements can support your goals, which makes them some of the best supplements for male bodybuilders. Female bodybuilders will also get plenty of benefit from them. 

    Amino acid supplements that can improve performance include: 

    • BCAAsbranched-chain amino acids support muscle growth and may help with muscle soreness after a workout. Maxler 100% Golden BCAA provides 6 grams of BCAAs in each serving in the optimal 2:1:1 ratio. 
    • Glutamineglutamine supports immune system and helps mitigate muscle damage done by exercise. Maxler 100% Golden Glutamine is a vegan formula that can help support your exercise efforts. 

    In general, vitamin and mineral supplements and amino acids can be some of the best supplements for teenage bodybuilders. These nutrients are easy to find in foods as well. However, pay special attention to starting any supplement in your teenage years – it’s best to do so after consulting with a medical professional or a coach.

    Ergogenic aids used by bodybuilders include the likes of creatine, caffeine, and citrulline malate. Here is a breakdown of how they support bodybuilding efforts: 

    • Creatinecreatine monohydrate is the safest supplement that improves muscle size and strength. Maxler 100% Golden Creatine is a vegan supplement containing only this active ingredient. 
    • Citrulline malatecitrulline can clear ammonia and reduce lactic acid. Boosting endurance, it can increase the number of reps you do and decrease muscle soreness. Maxler 100% Golden Citrulline Malate provides 5 grams of citrulline malate without additional ingredients. 
    • Caffeine – caffeine is a tried and tested supplement that can be used to decrease tiredness and increase performance in strength training. For best results, try cycling this supplement, as your body can get used to caffeine. Try Maxler Caffeine 200 for 200mg of caffeine in a single tablet – a convenient way to get caffeine when you’re on the go. 

    For those that prefer one supplement for ease of use, try Maxler NRG Max. This pre-workout formula contains three types of creatine, beta-alanine, l-citrulline, caffeine and BCAAs! Maxler NRG Max is a powerful combination to ensure you can supercharge your workouts and achieve great results. 

      100% Golden Citrulline Malate in a plastic can

      100% Golden Citrulline Malate

      Incl. VAT plus shipping
      Train stronger for longer
        A photo of L-Citrulline Malate bottle.

        L-Citrulline Malate 750 mg

        Incl. VAT plus shipping
        The fuel your muscles need
        • Out Of Stock

        Caffeine 200

        Keeping you awake and boosting performance

        No matter what you wind up using, use nutrition supplements for bodybuilding with care and under the supervision of a coach or a medical professional. Mastering your diet can bring you one step closer to where you want to be. Therefore, learn as much as you can and make healthy choices that serve your goals! 

        You may also like


        Take the first step in changing your life - today.