Bodybuilders Guide to Grocery Shopping

Bodybuilders Guide to Grocery Shopping


There are a hundred different directions we could go with a bodybuilder’s guide to grocery shopping, but I’ll use the same methodology here that I do in the grocery store; keep it clean and keep it simple.

Prior to calculating out, shopping for, or preparing a meal plan, let’s first ensure at least a baseline understanding of the term macronutrients, as they will ultimately drive the shopping cart.

Protein – the building blocks of muscles, composed of amino acids and responsible for muscle repair / growth, as well as immune system functionality. Protein is a primary consideration when putting together our shopping list.

Carbohydrates – the primary source of energy production, broken down into; simple and complex carbohydrates. Carbohydrates contribute to insulin regulation and much like they fuel muscular contraction and glycogen, also fuel brain function.

Fat – the most energy dense of the macronutrients introduced, categorized into; saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Conservative fat intake helps regulate hormone production and contributes to healthy cholesterol levels.

The bodybuilder’s meal plan and subsequent shopping list will be constructed with various combinations of these macronutrients, calculated to best suit our respective body type, phase of training and goals on stage. So let’s talk strategy before wandering the aisles of your local grocery store like a wayward Lieutenant with no GPS:

Keep it clean

Where bodybuilding is concerned, food is fuel, first and foremost. Whether you live by the adage “eat to live, don’t live to eat” or “eat for the waist, not for the taste”, a clean diet is our first line of defense against the dirty bulk or offseason explosion.

· Avoid processed foods and food with the following ingredients:

§ High-fructose corn syrup

§ Partially hydrogenated oil


§ Sodium Nitrate

§ Artificial food coloring


· Stick to the outside aisles of the grocery store

§ Produce

§ Dairy

§ Meat


· Buy fresh, whole, natural and/organic when possible, budget permitting.

Keep it Simple

When you purchase, prep and eat as much as bodybuilders do the likelihood of maintaining an exotic or ever-changing meal plan is fairly slim. Where we make our money is in the simplicity of our plan; fewer ingredients, easier to prep, tailorable primarily with condiments and spices. Buy in bulk where possible (which I’ll denote in my list with an asterisk) and never, ever, EVER shop hungry! This is my shopping list, and far from all inclusive.

· Protein

§ Boneless, skinless chicken breast

§ Ground chicken

§ Ground turkey

§ Steak (as lean a cut as possible)

§ Lean ground beef

§ Tuna

§ White fish

§ Egg whites


· Carbohydrates

§ Oats*

§ White rice*

§ White potatoes

§ Sweet potatoes

§ Gluten-free bread


· Fats

§ Almonds*

§ Avocado

§ Peanut butter*


· Fruit

§ Mixed berries

§ Grapefruit

§ Apples

§ Bananas


· Vegetables

§ Asparagus

§ Green beans


· Condiments and Spices

§ Kernel Season’s popcorn seasoning*

§ Mustard*

§ Teriyaki sauce (used very sparingly)

§ Soy sauce or liquid aminos*

§ Sugar-free BBQ sauce*

§ Hot sauce*

This post was written by Marcel Blood with input from IFBB Professional Bodybuilder Joshua Petrecky.

Follow him on IG: @alwaysjjp_ifbbpro

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