Fruit has always been perceived as a healthy option, but for some reason, a vocal minority has begun to question whether fruit is actually good for dieting. In this article, I will be looking into whether fruit is good for your diet, and answering the question “Do bodybuilders eat fruit?”.
Bodybuilders may restrict their fruit intake towards the end of a cut when they are avoiding most carbohydrates. But they will eat fruit during a bulk, or between cycles. Fruit has many health benefits, so avoiding it is rarely a healthy choice.
In this article we will be taking an in-depth look at fruit and bodybuilding, helping you to understand the pros and cons of keeping fruit in your diet.
Yes, bodybuilders will eat fruit for most of their lives. The idea that fruit is in any way bad for you is completely untrue. However, there may be short periods of time where bodybuilders restrict how much fruit they eat. In fact, they may remove fruit from their diet altogether.
This is not because fruit is bad for you, but due to it being a carbohydrate. While carbs are incredibly beneficial, for health and particularly for training, they tend to lead to some water retention. Not a big deal for most of a bodybuilder’s life, but just before a competition, bodybuilders will try to remove all water from their body. They will also be looking to burn as much fat as possible, and cutting carbs is one way to do that.
So for a month pre-competition, bodybuilders may restrict their fruit intake, and then with a week or so to go, they may remove fruit altogether in an effort to get as lean and as “dry” as possible. But post-competition, bodybuilders will get right back to eating fruit again.
Finding the perfect fruit for bodybuilding is a little bit like finding the perfect supermodel to date, instead of worrying about which one is best, just try to fit as many as you can into your life. That sounded a lot less weird in my head! What I mean is that the point of fruit is to get a variety of nutrients from them, so don’t stick to just one fruit in particular.
Avocados (yes, they are a fruit) are a good shout for the best fruit. They are an excellent source of healthy fats and contain B-vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin C, and potassium. All of which will help to contribute to a healthy bodybuilding diet. Cherries are a great choice, as they can reduce inflammation post-workout. Oranges are a superb source of vitamin C, which is useful for athletes and bodybuilders, as they are more susceptible to colds and flu.
Focus on variety, ensure that you are getting 2-3 servings of fruit each day. Consider mixing fruit with neutral-tasting vegetables such as spinach in a smoothie for an even healthier option.
I’m not a big fan of actually eating fruit in the gym. It’s messy, discourteous to your fellow members, and there is always that story you hear as a child of the kid who ran around while eating an apple and choked to death. But 20 minutes before a workout? Sure.
Bananas are the most common fruit pre-workout, but I think that apples are another excellent option. You want fruits that are high in fructose and will deliver an initial burst of energy. Pineapple chunks are great if you can get them pre-chopped. Walking into the locker room with a huge pineapple will definitely get you singled out as a freak!
Even though I talked them up earlier, I’d avoid avocados pre-workout. High-fat foods aren’t that great before a workout, but it’s not exactly a dealbreaker.
This is an interesting question. On the one hand, fruit is not exactly a high-protein food, nor is it particularly calorie-dense. If you are looking to gain a lot of weight, eating 10 apples is not the way to go. On the other hand, fruit has loads of benefits, and therefore should definitely be consumed during a bulk.
Fruit juice is usually a good way to hit your carb and calorie targets at the end of the day if you’re behind schedule, as is a banana. Avocados are high in calories and are particularly nutritious (see above).
Whether you are bulking or cutting or maintaining, you want to be hitting your fruit and vegetable targets. If you are cutting, then you may restrict or remove fruit when the calories get super low. During a bulk, you could easily increase your fruit intake to 3-4 servings each day, with 4 servings of vegetables. This is actually slightly over your recommended intake (7) but as you are eating more anyway, it’s a smart move.
Athletes and bodybuilders who train at a higher intensity tend to be more susceptible to deficiencies. This is why I recommend a multivitamin for most bodybuilders. But increasing your fruit and vegetable intake is your best bet.
There is a commonly held belief that fruit makes you fat. The idea is that fruit contains fructose, which if it isn’t immediately used for exercise will be stored as fat. Therefore fruit makes you fat. This is an oversimplification. Fruit does contain fructose, a form of sugar. But fruit will only lead to weight gain if it is consumed as part of a calorie surplus (consuming more food than you burn each day). Eating fruit while in a calorie deficit (fewer calories consumed than burned) will lead to weight loss.
I’m sure there are some bodybuilders who avoid eating fruit for personal reasons. But the majority will eat fruit all year round, with a small window pre-competition where they restrict or stop eating it as a way to cut down body water.
Avoiding fruit for too long is a bad idea, and everyone should ensure that they are hitting their fruit and vegetable targets, as they can prevent nutritional deficiencies. Try and mix up which fruits you eat so that you can get a more well-rounded diet, and to prevent boredom with the same foods every day.
Matt Smith is the owner of Beer N Biceps. He has a degree in Sports Science, 10 years of experience working in the fitness industry, and has written for hundreds of fitness websites. He is a lover of good quality beer and believes that drinking in moderation can form part of a healthy lifestyle.