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Although it’s long been the hype among bodybuilders that you need to follow a high-protein diet to build muscle, you have to focus more on carbs and good fats to get big. Shoot for a minimum of two to four grams of carbs per pound of body weight daily.Your best carb choices will always be complex carbs. A list of the best carb sources are:


Bodybuilding is a grueling lifestyle that requires massive amounts of energy and strict dedication both in and out of the gym. Your schedule needs to be perfectly in line with your diet, and your diet needs to be designed around providing your body with the most efficient kinds of fuel available. Oatmeal is a "good" carbohydrate that packs in an abundance of carbohydrates and fiber, ideal for the diet of bodybuilders and couch potatoes alike.


Bagels are a concentrated source of carbohydrates (a medium-sized bagel has 40-50 g). They also make offseason mass nutrition easy—no cooking or serious food-prep time needed. For added benefits, choose varieties with more whole grains, such as pumpernickel and rye.

All nuts

All nuts are about equal in terms of calories per ounce, and in moderation, are all healthy additions to any diet. "Their mix of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and fiber will help you feel full and suppress your appetite," says Judy Caplan, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The lowest-calorie nuts at 160 per ounce are almonds (23 nuts; 6 grams protein, 14 grams fat); cashews (16 to 18 nuts; 5 grams protein, 13 grams fat); and pistachios (49 nuts; 6 grams protein, 13 grams fat). Avoid nuts packaged or roasted in oil; instead, eat them raw or dry roasted, says Caplan. (Roasted nuts may have been heated in hydrogenated or omega-6 unhealthy fats, she adds, or to high temperatures that can destroy their nutrients.) 


For bumping up carb intake, pasta has always been a great choice. Four ounces (dry measure) yield 90 g of carbs that are easy to eat and won't fill you up, so you'll be ready to eat again within three hours. Adding meat and vegetables to pasta makes a complete meal that is high in carbohydrates, protein and calories.

All green leafy vegetables 

It is best to stick to green vegetables when you are bodybuilding. At the top of the list is spinach as it is high in iron. You can also eat broccoli, collard greens, leafy lettuce, kale, and watercress. Really, any green leafy vegetable should be at the top of the list.

For great snacking get into cucumber and celery. They are low calorie and help keep you filled up from the fibrous content they have. 

Starchy vegetables are next on the list. Eating potato and corn can also help with muscle building. Don’t forget these vegetables when planning your meals. Eat them in moderation, but definitely eat them.

Cream of rice cereal

Cream of Rice is easily digested and makes an excellent offseason food. Two-thirds of a cup mixed with water yields 65 g of easy-to-digest carbs. After cooking, add a banana, a cup of cottage cheese and some Equal or a few pinches of cinnamon, and you have a well-rounded meal with 30 g of protein and 90 g of carbohydrates.