Fruit and vegetables contain essential nutrients the body needs, but many bodybuilders who are fitness, muscle building through muscle growth, or weight loss-oriented tend to avoid fruit because it’s high in sugar. Unfortunately, they are denying themselves not only a variety of tasty foods but also the micro-nutrients that could help them reach their goals faster.
Micro nutrients are an essential part of being healthy and building a great physique. Too many body bodybuilders focus only on foods packed with protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates—macro nutrients—and forget how important it is to consume micro-nutrients. These essential vitamins and minerals are needed by your body and you can’t get them unless you consume them from food sources rather than just carbohydrates and protein.
Without the appropriate amount of micro nutrients in your diet, your body will be unable to function properly. Not only will your workouts suffer, you could cause a variety of serious health issues. Supplementing with a multivitamin is an option but, unfortunately, vitamins only provide your body with so much. This is because the body is better able to absorb micro nutrients from whole food sources better than it can in pill form.
You can supplement with vitamins, but you should never use a vitamin to replace what nutrient-dense fruits can do in your bodybuilding diet. The truth is, despite fruit’s high sugar content, it isn’t going to make you fat instead of building muscle mass. There is some concern behind the belief that fruit isn’t the best option because of the high fructose content that cannot be directly used by your muscles.
The downside of fruit occurs because liver glycogen levels are full and when this happens, the sugar is fruit is converted to fat. This is why you shouldn’t eat only fruit or eat too much fruit, but it doesn’t mean you should avoid fruit altogether. There are several fruits that can aid you in reaching your bodybuilding goals while also providing the micro-nutrients your body needs.
One of the best times to consume fruit if you’re focused on fitness is first thing in the morning. During sleep, your liver burns its glycogen supply and, when this happens, it sends a signal to the brain to begin breaking down muscle protein to convert amino acids into glucose so the brain can function.
During the time when you first wake up your body is burning muscle and one of the best ways to stop this is to eat fruit. There’s no need to worry about those troublesome overloaded glycogen levels because your liver has burned them up overnight. The fructose you get from morning fruit will restock your liver and turn off the muscle building mechanism.
Another good time to eat fruit is right before you workout. About a half hour to an hour before hitting the gym, eat some watermelon, an apple, or some berries. The fructose replaces liver glycogen stores and delivers glucose to your muscles while working out. This means your workout won’t burn up muscle and you’ll experience less muscle fatigue during and after your workout.
If you don’t want to focus on the timing of your fruit consumption or even if you do and you want to make the best fitness-focused choices when it comes to eating fruit, what are the best fruits for a bodybuilding diet?
Mangoes have about 200 calories per serving (a serving is an entire mango). It’s not as convenient to eat as an apple or berries, but it’s well worth the effort. It has five grams of fiber and also provides magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, and large doses of vitamins A and C.
This seasonal fruit and it’s sweet jewels contain about 75 calories per serving. It has a delicious flavor and lots of nutrients. A half cup of the seeds contain fiber, magnesium, and potassium, and it is chock full of vitamins with B1, B2, and B6, as well as C, E, and K. Pomegranate seeds are great alone or sprinkled onto oatmeal or granola.
If you’re craving something tropical, guava is a great option. It contains a little over 100 calories and is high in fiber, niacin, and vitamins A, B3, B6, C, and K. Guava is also high in lycopene, which is an antioxidant linked to cancer prevention.
Raspberries are a favorite for people who want to keep their sugar intake low but still include fruit. It’s one of the lowest ranking fruits on the glycemic index and has only 64 calories per one cup serving. It’s also high in vitamins C and K and offers eight grams of fiber per serving.
Oranges are one of the most popular fruits and for good reason. They are easy to get a hold of year-round (but typically taste sweeter during the winter months). They are also a great source of vitamins A and C, potassium, calcium, and beta-carotene and are high in fiber.
Avocado isn’t always thought of as a fruit, but it is in the fruit family. It’s one of the healthiest fat sources available and also contains high levels of fiber, B5, and vitamin K. Avocados also offer doses of potassium and vitamin C.
Grapefruit is nothing new when it comes to dieting and weight loss. It’s been a low-calorie favorite for dieters for decades and understandably so. It’s low on the glycemic index and high in vitamin C, so you get benefits without consuming excess sugar. If you’re a little uncomfortable adding fruit into your diet because you’re worried about sugar, grapefruit is a great place to start.
Apples are filling and high in fiber, so they’re a great choice when you want to keep your appetite under control. They are also just sweet enough to take care of your cravings and can be combined with peanut butter for a well-rounded healthy snack.
Pears are also high in fiber and packed with nutrients. They also contain endorphin, so if you feel as if you’re in a better mood after eating a pear, that’s why! Many people also find that eating pears suppresses their appetite and helps them get through a tough workout. Imagine the endorphin rush you’ll feel after snacking on a pear before a tough workout. There’s really no “bad” fruit for people focused on fitness, but these were the best fruits for bodybuilding.
Like raspberries, blueberries are lower in calories but offer a variety of benefits. They are also considered anti-inflammatory, which can help your overall health and reduce your risk for a variety of diseases.