4000 Calorie Bodybuilding Meal Plan & Diet (Printable)

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On FeastGood.com, we have several free meal plans for those looking to gain muscle. 

This one is the 4000-calorie bulking meal plan (click to download PDF)

While it’s tempting to add calories by eating junk food, it’s still important to eat high-quality foods to fuel your workouts and help you build as much lean muscle mass as possible.

Below, I’ve laid out the macronutrient split that is optimal for building muscle on 4000 calories, as well as a complete food list and ways you can customize this plan based on personal preferences.  

Once you’ve downloaded the meal plan, please read everything below so you have all the tools necessary to achieve success on this meal plan.  

Want to learn more about meal planning? Check out our complete guide on Beginner’s Guide To Bodybuilding Meal Prep.

The Macronutrient Split for a 4000-Calorie Diet

The macronutrient split for a 4000-calorie diet

A common macro split for those looking to gain muscle is 30% of calories from protein, 40% from carbohydrates, and 30% from fat.

While I recommend this split for most of our muscle-building plans, those eating 4000 calories should prioritize a slightly higher carbohydrate intake to make it easier to hit this goal.

I recommend the following macro split when eating 4000 calories per day:

● 20-25% of intake from protein
● 55% of intake from carbohydrates
● 20-25% of intake from fat

Related: Lean Bulk Macros: How To Calculate (The Proper Way)

Who Is the 4000 Calorie Bodybuilding Meal Plan For?

Who is the 4000 calorie bodybuilding meal plan for?

The 4000-calorie bodybuilding meal plan is a high-calorie diet. 

It is unlikely that it would be suitable for women unless they were very tall and with a very high-activity job on top of an intense training regimen dedicated to athletic performance.  

This plan is better suited to extremely active men with high muscle mass looking to gain or maintain their weight for physical performance and/or bodybuilding aesthetic goals.  

This plan is therefore suitable only for a small segment of the general population:

  • Men weighing 220-250lbs or more with intense training 6-7 days per week, looking to gain weight
  • Very active men weighing 300lbs or more, looking to maintain weight

Using our online calculator can help you come up with your calorie needs based on your age, gender, height, weight, and activity level. 

This calculator will provide an estimate for a starting point. 

You can then use an app like MacroFactor to track your intake. Use this link and enter the code FEASTGOOD when signing up to get an extra week on your free trial (2 weeks total).

There are lots of ways to track progress beyond just the scales. Use these approaches on a regular basis (every 2-3 weeks) to monitor your progress:

  • Measurements: Take circumference measurements (such as neck, shoulders, chest, waist, hips, thighs, biceps, and calves) using a soft cloth measuring tape
  • Photos: Take photos of yourself in the same poses, wearing the same clothes using the self-timer on your phone 
  • Body fat measurements: Use a smart scale to get an estimate of your body fat percentage or make the investment for a DEXA scan 
  • Performance: Keep track of your benchmark lifts such as squat, deadlift, and bench press and/or monitor running workouts for pace/time
  • Quality of life indicators: Keep records of your sleep, mood, and energy levels

If you are not seeing desired progress after 2-3 weeks, adjust your calories by 5-10% (200-400 calories) either up (if you are losing weight when you want to maintain or gain it) or down (if you are gaining weight too quickly).

What Results Can You Expect When Eating 4000 Calories?

Generally,men can realistically expect to gain between 0.4 to 2.5 lbs of muscle per month (0.1 to 0.6lb per week) with those having less strength experience being on the higher end of this range and those having more strength training experience being on the lower end.

The specific results that you can expect from a 4000-calorie intake will depend on how many calories you need to maintain your weight and how consistent you are with eating 4000 calories.

If you don’t know how many calories you need to maintain your weight, head over to our TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure Calculator) to find out how many calories you burn per day and therefore how much you need to eat to maintain weight.

  • If you maintain your weight by eating 3000 calories per day then eating 4000 calories per day would allow you to gain around 2lbs per week.
  • If you maintain your weight by eating 3500 calories per day then eating 4000 calories per day would allow you to gain closer to 1lb per week.

However, this simply describes your ability to gain weight (aka fat & muscle).

Unfortunately, a higher intake doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll gain muscle as muscle growth seems to have diminishing returns beyond a certain point.

Therefore, eating more than you need to will likely just increase the amount of fat you gain.

What Foods To Eat On A 4000 Calorie Muscle Gain Diet?

What foods to eat on a 4000 calorie bodybuilding diet?

Since 4000 calories is a large amount of food, it’s important to focus on calorie-dense options that provide more calories for a relatively small volume to avoid feeling uncomfortably full.

It’s also still important to include minimally-processed whole foods to get the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) from those foods that are optimal for overall health.


Protein provides the building blocks (amino acids) for building new muscle tissue.  Muscle growth happens when protein is combined with a challenging resistance training program.  This means that protein is a very important macronutrient for those looking to gain size.

In a 4000 calorie diet, I recommend getting 20-25% of daily calories from protein.  This means eating 200-250g of protein each day.

To assist with a calorie surplus (if your goal is to bulk), and to provide additional calories without additional food volume, it’s a great idea to pick fattier sources of protein whenever possible, such as chicken thighs, salmon, or ground beef, and not lean sources like tuna.

This can help to provide more calories for the same serving size and prevent you from feeling uncomfortably full.  Feeling too full can be one of the most challenging aspects of a successful bulk.

My recommendations for protein sources that are higher in fat include:

  • Chicken thighs with skin
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt (full-fat)
  • Ground beef
  • Marbled steak
  • Salmon
  • Whole milk

One caution is that because fats are slower to digest, fat intake should be minimal pre-workout. This will allow you to digest your pre-workout meal or snack in time to provide energy for the workout and avoid feeling sluggish. 

Choose lean protein sources for pre-workout, such as tuna, tilapia, or protein powder.

My recommendations for protein sources that are lower in fat include:

  • Chicken breast (skinless)
  • Cottage cheese (low-fat)
  • Egg whites
  • Fish & seafood (shrimp, tilapia, tuna)
  • Greek yogurt (low-fat)
  • Turkey breast, skinless


The body prefers to get its energy from carbohydrates.  No matter the original source of carbohydrates, the digestion process breaks them down into simple sugars that are easily absorbed into the bloodstream to provide energy.

Carbohydrates are also important to assist with recovery from intense training. Heavy and/or high-intensity exercise is stressful for the body and causes the release of the stress hormone cortisol. 

Cortisol is catabolic, meaning it breaks down muscle tissue.  Carbohydrate consumption lowers cortisol, helping to preserve lean muscle mass.

Carbohydrates also help the body to replace glycogen (carbohydrate stored in the muscles) by stimulating the release of the hormone insulin.  Insulin also means that the amino acids from protein will be taken up to build new muscle tissue.

For a 4000-calorie diet, I recommend 55% of intake comes from carbs, which is 550g.

Sugar is a great source of energy when bulking or maintaining your weight with a high caloric intake because it can provide a lot of calories in a small volume of food.  Sugar isn’t very filling and it does not take much effort to digest.  These factors are perfect for managing a high-calorie diet.

These are also great reasons to include “quick” carbs after a workout.  

My recommendations for faster-digesting carbohydrates to consume pre-workout and post-workout:

  • Dried fruit
  • Fresh fruit
  • Honey
  • Jam
  • Juice
  • Maple syrup

At meals or snacks away from the training window, I recommend slower-digesting sources of complex carbohydrates, such as:

  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Yams


Fat plays a key role in regulating hormones and absorbing nutrients such as the fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K, as well as for other bodily functions needed for optimal health. 

My recommendation for the 4000-calorie diet is 25% of calories from fat, meaning 111g per day.

Fat takes longer to digest, meaning it can contribute to feelings of fullness.  This is one of the reasons that the recommended fat intake of 25% when eating 4000 calories is lower than the general guideline of 30%.  

The good news is that fat provides more than double the number of calories per gram of carbs or protein (9 calories instead of 4), making it more calorie-dense. 

Adding butter or olive oil to vegetables and grains is a great way to add calories with minimal added food volume.

My recommendations for fat sources include:

  • Avocado
  • Nuts and nut butter such as peanut butter
  • Olive oil
  • Seeds such as chia seeds

What Foods To Avoid on a 4000-Calorie Meal Plan?

With 4000 calories, the goal is to get as many of these calories as possible from nutritious whole foods, without feeling over-full from too much fiber.

This may involve including some processed foods such as cereal that are high in calories but lower in nutrients, as well as liquid sources of calories such as juice.

There are no foods that are “off-limits” (unless you have an allergy or intolerance), but some foods to be mindful of include.

Avoid Some Vegetables & Fruits

Vegetables are an excellent whole-food source of a range of micronutrients including vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients (plant-based compounds).  

However, vegetables also have a high fiber content and many provide a lot of water as well.  

This means that vegetables provide very few calories for the volume of food consumed and can leave you feeling very full and struggling to eat enough.  

I recommend no more than 5 total servings of fruits and vegetables each day while on a high-calorie diet to avoid excess fiber.  

Focus on high-sugar tropical fruits like bananas, mangos, and pineapples over high-fiber blueberries or strawberries, and starchy root vegetables like carrots and parsnips over leafy greens or broccoli.

4000 Calorie Bulking Meal Plan

This meal plan has two options for each meal or snack.  

I recommend four main meals and three snacks. 

Each of the meal options has the same calories and macronutrients, and each snack option has the same calories and macronutrients, so you can mix and match meals or snacks.

I discuss how to customize this meal plan in the next section.

Daily Meal Plan


Total daily nutrition:

  • Calories – 4000
  • Protein – 200g
  • Carbohydrates – 550g
  • Fat – 111g

Per meal: 700 calories, 35g protein, 100g carbs, 18g fat

Per snack: 400 calories, 20g protein, 50g carbs, 13g fat

BreakfastCalories - 700
Protein - 35g
Carbs - 100g
Fat - 18g
Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Oatmeal -

- 3 packets (84g) plain instant oatmeal
- 1 cup (250ml) ultrafiltered skim milk
- 1½ tbsp (22g) peanut butter
- 1 tbsp (5g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 large banana, sliced

Prepare the oatmeal using 1 cup of ultrafiltered skim milk and stir in the cocoa powder and peanut butter. Top with sliced banana.
Mexican Black Bean Breakfast Scramble

- 1 large egg
- 1 cup black beans (drained & rinsed)
- ½ cup canned corn (drained & rinsed)
- ⅓ cup (30g) shredded cheese
- ¼ cup (64g) salsa
- 2 flour tortillas
- Salt & pepper, to taste

Scramble the egg and stir in the beans and corn to warm, then spoon into tortillas and top with shredded cheese and salsa
Lunch 1Calories - 700
Protein - 35g
Carbs - 100g
Fat - 18g
Smoked Salmon Bagel

- 1 large plain bagel, toasted
- 1 oz (28g) plain cream cheese
- 3oz (85g) smoked salmon slices
- Small handful baby spinach leaves
- 1 large glass (12oz) orange juice

Spread the cream cheese on the bagel and top with slices of smoked salmon. Garnish with baby spinach leaves.
Roast Beef Sandwiches

- 4 slices rye bread
- 2 tbsp (30ml) light mayonnaise
- 4oz (113g) deli roast beef slices
- 1 large apple, sliced
- 1oz (28g) raisins

Spread the mayonnaise on the bread. Divide the meat to make two sandwiches. Serve with sliced apple and raisins.
Lunch 2Calories - 700
Protein - 35g
Carbs - 100g
Fat - 18g
Chicken-Cranberry Salad w/Rice

- 2 large handfuls of mixed salad greens
- 5oz (140g) cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
- ½ cup (90g) dry brown rice
- 1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup (30g) dried sweetened cranberries
Salt & pepper, to taste

Cook the rice according to package directions. While the rice cooks, prepare the salad & dressing. Combine the oil & lemon juice in a small glass jar and shake vigorously. Put the salad in a bowl and top with chicken pieces and dried cranberries. Drizzle with dressing and have rice on the side.
Crunchy Platter with Tuna

- 1 can of tuna, packed in water (drained)
- 1 tbsp (15g) light mayonnaise
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 oz (28g) avocado, cubed
- 2oz (56g) carrot sticks
- 2 oz (56g) celery sticks
- 20 saltine crackers
- 1 large glass (12oz) apple juice

Mix the tuna and mayo in a small bowl and add salt & pepper to taste. Prepare a large plate with the avocado and tuna in the middle and crackers and veggie sticks around the edges. Serve the avocado on the crackers and dip the veggie sticks in the tuna mixture.
DinnerCalories - 700
Protein - 35g
Carbs - 100g
Fat - 18g
Glazed Pork Tenderloin & Sweet Potato w/Maple Brussels Sprouts

- 4oz (113g) pork tenderloin, grilled
- 2 tbsp (30ml) maple syrup, divided
- 1 tsp (5ml) grainy Dijon mustard
- 3oz (85g) Brussels sprouts, roasted
- 6oz (170g) sweet potatoes, cubed and steamed
- 2 slices sourdough bread
- 2 tsp butter
- Salt & pepper to taste

Mix 1 tbsp maple syrup with 1 tsp mustard to create a glaze for the pork before grilling. Use the other tbsp of maple syrup to coat the Brussels sprouts before roasting in the oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Peel and cube the sweet potatoes and steam until tender, ~15 minutes. Serve the meal with bread & butter on the side.
Flank Steak & Oven-Baked “Fries”

- 4oz (113g) lean flank steak, cooked & cut in strips
- 6oz (170g) waxy white potatoes, cut into French fry shapes
- 3oz (85g) asparagus
- White baguette, 100g
- 2 tsp butter
- Handful of mixed salad greens
- 5 cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp (15ml) balsamic reduction
- Salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F. Arrange the potato pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spritz lightly with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes until crispy and golden brown. While the potato bakes, steam the asparagus and warm the flank steak if desired. Drizzle the balsamic reduction on the salad greens and tomatoes and serve the meal with bread and butter.
Snack 1Calories - 400
Protein - 20g
Carbs - 50g
Fat - 13g
Yogurt, Apple & Almond Butter w/Honey

- 4oz (113g) vanilla 2% Greek yogurt
- ½ large apple, sliced
- 1 tbsp (15g) almond butter
- 1 tbsp (20g) honey

Stir the honey into the yogurt and spread the almond butter on the apple slice
Granola & Raisins

- ½ cup high protein granola
- ½ cup (125ml) unsweetened cashew or almond milk
- 1 oz (28g) raisins

Pour the granola into a bowl and top with non-dairy milk and raisins.
Snack 2Calories - 400
Protein - 20g
Carbs - 50g
Fat - 13g
Deli Roll ups

- 1 large wrap
- ½ oz (14g) avocado
- 2oz (56g) deli ham slices
- ½ oz (14g) Swiss cheese slice
- 3 oz (85g) sliced cantaloupe

Smash the avocado to make a spread inside the wrap. Top with ham and cheese slices and pieces of cantaloupe. Roll up and cut into rounds to serve.
White Bean Hummus & Crackers

- ¼ cup hummus
- 1 cup (260g) white kidney beans
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 serving (20g) multigrain crackers

Combine the hummus and beans in a mini food processor and blend until smooth. Add lemon juice as needed for a thinner texture and season with salt & pepper, to taste. Serve on crackers.
Snack 3Calories - 400
Protein - 20g
Carbs - 50g
Fat - 13g
Chocolate Cherry Protein Shake

- 1 cup (250mL) 1% chocolate milk
- ⅓ scoop (10g) chocolate protein powder
- 1 cup frozen sweet cherries
- 1 tbsp (15g) almond butter
- 1 handful of ice cubes

Blend together until smooth.
Chocolate PB-Banana Protein Shake

- 1 cup (250mL) of water
- ½ scoop (15g) chocolate protein powder
- 1 large banana
- 1½ tbsp (22g) smooth peanut butter
- 1 tbsp (30g) chocolate syrup
1 handful of ice cubes

Blend together until smooth.

How to Customize the 4000 Calorie Meal Plan

Now that you know what foods to eat in terms of type and amount, and how to combine them, you have a great starting point for other ways to eat 4000 calories per day.

You can mix and match your favorite foods into this basic template.  Just make sure that the foods you substitute have a similar macronutrient split and calorie count.

Pre-Workout Meals

Your pre-workout meal should be approximately one to one and a half hours before your workout.  As mentioned, keep fat intake low pre-workout so that you don’t slow down the intake of carbs and protein to give you energy for your workout.

If you need to make a meal or snack lower in fat, move the fat source(s) from that meal or snack to another meal or snack, away from the training window.  

The sources of fat in these meals are oil, butter, mayo, cheese, avocado, nuts, or nut butters.  

Post-Workout Meals

Within one hour after a workout, eat a meal that is high in protein and carbohydrates to repair and build muscle and replenish stored glycogen.  

All of the meals and snacks in the meal plan above are low enough in fat to be a good choice post-workout.

Eating Smaller Meals or Larger Meals 

You may want to adjust your meal plan to eat smaller more frequent meals or larger less frequent meals based on your personal preferences.

As long as your calorie and macronutrient intake stay the same, there is no harm in adjusting the size and frequency of your meals.

Drink More Weight Gain Shakes

If you find yourself struggling to eat enough food to meet your calorie and macronutrient targets then you should consider including higher-calorie shakes in your meal plan.

A high-calorie shake won’t fill you up so they are a great option for those who feel uncomfortably full while eating 4000 calories per day.

I recommend making your own weight gain shakes that are made with whole foods so that you still get the nutrients that whole foods provide but without feeling overly full.

Add “Extras” To Your Meals

It’s also worth taking advantage of easy “extras” that pack a calorie punch without filling you up more than you already are. Foods that are high in calories but low in volume can be extremely helpful in increasing your calorie and fat intake. 

These foods tend to be those that are high in fats, like oil, nuts, and cheese because they are the highest calorie macronutrient. 

If you’re struggling to hit the 4000 calorie mark, then make sure that every meal and snack you have has an extra fat source.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 4000 Calories Too Much For Bulking?

4000 calories per day may be too much for women who are bulking and men who are less active with limited muscle mass. However, 4000 calories is appropriate for men who are more active or who have more muscle mass to begin with. 

Can You Allow Room For Treats? 

Eating 4000 calories per day gives you tons of flexibility for including “treats” because most treats are high in carbs and fats which are useful when you’re trying to bulk.

However, I recommend that you keep a higher percentage of your intake from nutrient-dense whole foods.

Does It Matter What Time of Day You Eat? 

The time of day that you eat doesn’t necessarily matter as long as you’re able to hit your calorie and macronutrient targets without feeling uncomfortably full.

It may be easier to achieve these goals if you’re distributing your intake evenly throughout the day but it is not required.

Should You Continue To Eat 4000 Calories on Rest Days? 

I recommend keeping your calorie intake the same on rest days and workout days to ensure that you’re consuming enough calories throughout the week to gain muscle.

Additionally, if you’re training hard to build muscle then your body will need more calories on rest days to support recovery and growth.

How Much Water Should You Drink? 

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine suggest that men should drink 3.7 liters of water per day; however, you may need more if you are sweating more heavily during training to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes.

Are There Any Supplements You Should Consider Taking? 

The most effective supplements for muscle growth are protein powder and mass gainers for convenience, creatine for additional energy and delayed fatigue, and caffeine for enhanced focus while training.

Other Bodybuilding Meal Plans

Check out all our meal plans or view similar calorie specific meal plans.


ARNY A. FERRANDO and others, Inactivity Amplifies the Catabolic Response of Skeletal Muscle to Cortisol, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 84, Issue 10, 1 October 1999, Pages 3515–3521, https://doi.org/10.1210/jcem.84.10.6046

Matthew S. Tryon and others, Excessive Sugar Consumption May Be a Difficult Habit to Break: A View From the Brain and Body, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 100, Issue 6, 1 June 2015, Pages 2239–2247, https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2014-4353

About The Author

Lauren Graham

Lauren Graham is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She focuses on helping busy professionals balance healthy eating and purposeful movement.  Lauren has a background in competitive swimming and is currently competing as a CrossFit athlete.  She has a passion for training, teaching, and writing. 

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