Eating at Arby’s When Bulking (6 Bodybuilding Meals)

I recently had a nutrition client who was in a bulking phase ask me whether it was okay to eat at Arby’s. After looking at the Arby’s menu, I came up with several meal options that would fit his nutritional requirements.   

So what should you eat at Arby’s when bulking? If you are looking for a bulking meal option between 600 – 850 calories at Arby’s, a half-pound sandwich is best. For a meal higher than 850 calories, two sandwiches are the best option. For additional calories, dipping sauce or snack-sized fries can be added. 

In this article, I will provide:

  • 6 meal options for what to eat at Arby’s when bulking
  • My top 4 tips for eating at Arby’s both before and after your workout

Have a FeastGood Nutrition Coach help you get results faster than trying to stick it out alone

What To Eat at Arby’s If You’re A Bodybuilder: 6 Meal Options  

Six meal options to order at Arby’s when bodybuilding or bulking are:

1. 600 Calorie Arby’s Bulking Meal Plan 

600 calorie bulking arby's meal plan
  • Order a half pound roast beef sandwich 
  • Do not order fries

This meal has 614 calories, 48g protein (31%), 38g carbohydrates (25%) and 30g fat (44%).

The half-pound roast beef sandwich has an extra 25g of protein and 16g of fat compared to the classic roast beef sandwich. When bulking, the additional protein is important to ensure your body is getting sufficient protein to repair and grow muscle after a workout. 

Fat is a ‘lower volume’ food, meaning it will take up less physical space for calories. When bulking, a common thing I see people struggle with is eating enough calories when they are feeling physically full. Adding calories through fat can help to combat this and make it more comfortable to eat high calories. 

While a side of curly fries adds 410 calories, it is primarily from carbs and fat, with only 5g of protein in a serving. When bulking, I recommend aiming for a  meal that has 25 – 35% of its calories from protein. This ensures you have sufficient protein to build muscle and increase strength. 

Customizations for increased calories

  • Adding a dipping sauce to your sandwich will add between 40 – 140 calories. The dipping sauces with the highest calories are honey mustard (140 calories) and ranch (100 calories).
  • Adding a side to your meal will also further increase calories. All sides at Arby’s are high in carbs and fat but low in protein. To ensure your meal still has enough protein, I recommend sticking to a snack size curly fries which will add 250 calories.

Options For Pre & Post Workout

If you are eating this around a workout, I recommend ordering the classic or double roast beef sandwich with no additional dipping sauces. This will reduce the fat and protein in your meal allowing your body to get a big burst of energy from the carbs you’ve eaten.

2. 750 Calorie Arby’s Bulking Meal Plan 

750 calorie bulking arby's meal plan
  • Order a half pound french dip sandwich 
  • Do not add fries

This meal has 743 calories, 55g protein (30%), 52g carbohydrates (28%) and 35g fat (42%).

The half-pound french dip has 21g more protein and 13g more fat compared to the classic French dip. This sandwich also has around 13g more carbs when compared to the other roast beef sandwiches. This means it has a relatively even mix of protein, carbs and fat providing the extra calories. 

When bulking, this is beneficial as you are able to get the benefits of each macronutrient. You will have sufficient protein for muscle repair and recovery, plenty of energy throughout your day from the carbs and some lower volume calories from the fat.

Customizations for increased calories

  • Adding a dipping sauce to your sandwich will add between 40 – 140 calories. The dipping sauces with the highest calories are honey mustard (140 calories) and ranch (100 calories).
  • Adding a side to your meal will also further increase calories. All sides at Arby’s are high in carbs and fat but low in protein. To ensure your meal still has enough protein, I recommend sticking to a snack size curly fries which will add 250 calories.

Options For Pre & Post Workout

If you are eating this meal around a workout, I recommend opting for a classic or double roast beef sandwich in place of the french dip to reduce the fat. Fat will slow down digestion, slowing down your body’s ability to get quick energy from the carbs you’ve eaten. 

Similarly, dipping sauces are higher in fat and therefore I recommend not including any in your meal.

3. 850 Calorie Arby’s Bulking Meal Plan 

850 calorie bulking arby's meal plan
  • Order a grand turkey club sandwich
  • Add a classic roast beef sandwich
  • Do not add fries

This meal has 850 calories, 53g protein (25%), 74g carbohydrates (35%) and 38g fat (40%).

Adding a classic roast beef sandwich will add 370 calories to your meal, from a relatively even mix of carbs, fat and protein. This mix is ideal when bulking to ensure you have sufficient protein to build muscle but also have plenty of energy and do not feel uncomfortably full.

Most sandwiches at Arby’s are between 500 and 750 calories, for most when bulking one sandwich will not provide enough calories however adding a second full sandwich can be too much food for one sitting. The classic roast beef is the smallest sandwich and therefore a good middle option.

Customizations for increased calories

  • Adding a dipping sauce to your sandwich will add between 40 – 140 calories. The dipping sauces with the highest calories are honey mustard (140 calories) and ranch (100 calories).
  • Adding a side to your meal will also further increase calories. All sides at Arby’s are high in carbs and fat but low in protein. To ensure your meal still has enough protein, I recommend sticking to a snack size curly fries which will add 250 calories.

Options For Pre & Post Workout

I recommend opting for two classic roast beef sandwiches for a more optimal meal around a workout. The roast beef sandwich is lower in fat and adding a second also increases the carbs. 

Around a workout, high carb and low fat are what we are aiming for. Carbs will provide a quick burst of energy that is ideal for a tough workout. High-fat foods will slow down this process of using carbs so keeping them lower in meals around a workout is best.

4. 1,000 Calorie Arby’s Bulking Meal Plan 

1000 calorie bulking arby's meal plan
  • Order a half pound roast beef sandwich 
  • Add an order of three chicken tenders
  • Do not add fries

This meal has 971 calories, 71g protein (29%), 66g carbohydrates (27%) and 47g fat (44%).

Adding chicken tenders will boost your meal’s calories by 350, primarily from fat and protein. Adding additional protein to your meal is important when bulking so that your body has enough to repair your muscles after a workout. This process of repairing is key for increased strength and muscle growth. 

The additional calories from fat are helpful to keep the overall volume of the meal lower while still keeping the calories up. When bulking, this can be helpful in reducing the physical discomfort that can come from eating higher calories.  

Customizations for increased calories

  • Adding a dipping sauce with your chicken tenders will add between 40 – 140 calories. The dipping sauces with the highest calories are honey mustard (140 calories) and ranch (100 calories).
  • Adding a side to your meal will also further increase calories. All sides at Arby’s are high in carbs and fat but low in protein. To ensure your meal still has enough protein, I recommend sticking to a snack size curly fries which will add 250 calories.

Options For Pre & Post Workout

For the most optimal pre-workout meal, I recommend sticking to just the sandwich as this will reduce the fat and protein in your meal allowing your body to get energy from the carbs as quickly as possible. 

To make up for the calories lost from removing the chicken tenders, adding a snack-sized shake will add back most of the calories primarily through carbohydrates which are best around a workout.

5. 1,150 Calorie Arby’s Bulking Meal Plan 

1150 calorie bulking arby's meal plan
  • Order a half pound roast beef sandwich
  • Add a roast turkey and swiss wrap
  • Do not order a side

This meal has 1,133 calories, 78g protein (28%), 77g carbohydrates (27%) and 57g fat (45%).

Adding the turkey and swiss wrap is a lower carb option to add calories vs. adding a second sandwich. Carbs are generally a higher volume food, meaning they take up more physical space. Think of the amount of food a sandwich bun is compared to a few tablespoons of peanut butter that are similar in calories. 

When bulking, you are eating a high-calorie diet which is often challenging if you feel physically full from the volume of food. Adding a wrap will keep the calories high but in a lower volume manner that will be digestively more comfortable.

Customizations for increased calories

  • Adding a dipping sauce to your sandwich will add between 40 – 140 calories. The dipping sauces with the highest calories are honey mustard (140 calories) and ranch (100 calories).
  • Adding a side to your meal will also further increase calories. All sides at Arby’s are high in carbs and fat but low in protein. To ensure your meal still has enough protein, I recommend sticking to a snack size curly fries which will add 250 calories.

Options For Pre & Post Workout

If you are eating this meal before a workout, you may want to consider one of the lower-calorie meal plans. A meal that is this high in calories will leave you feeling less energized and slow, similar to that post-Thanksgiving dinner sleepy feeling. 

This meal would be a better option post-workout, however, it is recommended to order the wrap without swiss cheese and sauce to reduce the fat. 

Keeping the fat lower after our workout will allow our bodies to better recover.

6. 1,350 Calorie Arby’s Bulking Meal Plan 

1350 calorie bulking arby's meal plan
  • Order a double beef and cheddar sandwich 
  • Add a roast turkey and bacon wrap
  • Do not order fries

This meal has 1,349 calories, 86g protein (26%), 87g carbohydrates (26%) and 73g fat (49%).

Both the beef sandwich and turkey wrap have extra calories from high-fat sources. For the beef sandwich, this is the cheese and for the turkey wrap, this is the bacon. These higher fat foods are very low in physical volume, which makes it more comfortable to eat when you are already eating a lot, as it will take up less space in your stomach.

In particular, when you are eating a meal that is over 1,000 calories, even a small reduction in the volume can make a big difference in your overall comfort. This is also beneficial later in your day as you are likely to not feel as full and able to continue to eat the calories required throughout the rest of your day.

Customizations for increased calories

  • Adding a dipping sauce to your sandwich will add between 40 – 140 calories. The dipping sauces with the highest calories are honey mustard (140 calories) and ranch (100 calories).
  • Adding a side to your meal will also further increase calories. All sides at Arby’s are high in carbs and fat but low in protein. To ensure your meal still has enough protein, I recommend sticking to a snack size curly fries which will add 250 calories.

Options For Pre & Post Workout

If you are planning to eat this meal around your workout, I recommend opting for one of the lower-calorie meal plans instead. Eating a meal this high in calories will leave you feeling lethargic and is likely to cause some digestive discomfort. Neither of these will result in a good workout or recovery post-workout. 

Tips for Eating at Arby’s Before a Workout

Your pre-workout nutrition plays a key role in how well you are able to perform during your workout. By selecting a meal high in carbs and low in fat, you can ensure you have the energy you need to perform at your best throughout the workout.

Should you eat at Arby’s before a workout? Yes, you should eat at Arby’s before a workout. A classic roast beef sandwich with a snack-sized shake provides a high carb, moderate protein and fat meal that is ideal pre-workout. Ordering a second sandwich provides more calories if needed.

Read more in my article Can You Eat Fried Food Before And After Workouts?

4 Tips for How to Eat at Arby’s Before a Workout

My top 4 tips for how to eat at Arby’s before a workout are:

1. Order a sandwich 

Before a workout, the primary focus is to consume a meal that is high in carbs and this will give your body a quick energy source keeping you energized and able to perform at your best throughout your workout. 

I recommend consuming at least two servings of carbohydrates. A good way to estimate a serving size should be about the size of a closed fist. At Arby’s, a sandwich bun is the best option.

I recommend eating this meal 1 – 2 hours in advance of your workout. 

2. Opt for roast beef for your protein

In addition to a high carb meal before a workout, it is just as important to limit the fat consumed as well. Fat takes longer for our body to digest, slowing down our entire digestive process. Slower digestion increases the time it takes for our body to break down and use the carbs we just ate, leaving us with less energy for our workout. 

At Arby’s, roast beef is the lowest fat meat and therefore the best option to consume before a workout. 

3. Stick to a classic sized sandwich

At Arby’s, while roast beef is a leaner protein, it does have some fat. Since it is important to minimize the fat we are eating around a workout, we want to be eating enough meat to provide sufficient protein but not too much that the meal’s fat becomes high. A classic roast beef sandwich is the right balance of protein to fat. 

4. Add a snack sized shake

In order to further optimize the energy you have for your workout, it is also helpful to try and include a combination of slow and quick digesting carbs. Slow digesting carbs provide energy over a couple of hours, think of starchier foods like bread or pasta. Quick digesting carbs provide energy within a half-hour, think of foods high in sugar like fruit. 

By including both before a workout, you will give your body a quick burst of energy to kick off your workout, as well as sustained energy throughout the rest of your gym session.

Since the snack-sized shake is a quick digesting carb, I recommend not eating this with the rest of your meal, instead, eat it 45 minutes before the start of your workout. 

Want to learn more about fats before a workout? Check out Should You Eat Fat Before A Workout? (No, Here’s Why)

Tips for Eating at Arby’s After a Workout

Your post-workout meal also plays an important role in your gym performance as it starts the process of repairing the muscle damaged during your workout. This process is what will allow you to recover and build strength allowing you to continue to progress each workout.

Should you eat at Arby’s after a workout? Yes, you should eat at Arby’s after a workout. A double roast beef sandwich provides a high carbohydrate and protein and moderate fat meal that is ideal post-workout. Ordering a second classic roast beef sandwich is a good option if you need more calories.

Want to learn more about fats after a workout? Check out Should You Eat Fat After A Workout? (No, Here’s Why)

4 Tips for How to Eat at Arby’s After a Workout

My top 4 tips for how to eat at Arby’s after a workout are:

1. Order a sandwich 

Throughout your workout, your body will use the fuel it has stored for energy. By the end of your workout, you’ve likely implemented most of this stored fuel. When you replenish these stores by eating a high carb meal, you will kick start the process of repairing your muscles. 

This cycle of damaging our muscles during a workout, then repairing them post-workout, is what will result in muscle growth and increased strength therefore it should be a priority to ensure this is able to occur.

A high carb meal that will kick-start this repair process, looks like at least two servings of carbs, where a serving is the size of a closed fist. At Arby’s, a sandwich bun is the best option.

I recommend aiming to eat this meal within 1 – 1.5 hours after finishing your workout. 

2. Choose roast beef as your meat option

In addition to carbs, protein is also important to consume after your workout. Protein is what our body uses to repair our muscles, resulting in the increased strength and muscle growth we are looking for. 

For our body to be able to use the carbs and protein we are consuming, we also need to reduce the amount of fat we are eating during this meal. Eating fat will slow down digestion, delaying the start of the muscle repair process. 

At Arby’s, roast beef is the leanest option and therefore recommended post-workout.

3. Opt for a double sandwich 

In order for our muscles to repair and grow after a workout, our body needs to have enough protein for this process. If you aren’t eating enough protein, the process of our muscles breaking down that began during your workout will continue instead of the repair and growth that we are looking for.

At Arby’s, ordering a double sandwich is the best way to boost the protein.

4. Skip any additional cheese or sauces

In order for our body to quickly and efficiently use the carbs and protein we are eating, it is important we are also limiting the fat we are consuming. Fat slows down digestion, delaying the time until our body fully absorbs the protein and carbs consumed.

I like to think of it similarly to cars on a highway. Carbs and protein are driving at full speed towards their end destination of muscles. Fat is the drivers on the road going below the speed limit, slowing down the process of getting to their destination. 

At Arby’s, the foods highest in fat are cheese and sauces. I recommend you ensure your meal does not contain any sauces or cheese. If it does come with sauces, a good option is to ask for it on the side and add a thumb-sized serving to your meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions for eating at Arby’s if you workout. 

Will Eating at Arby’s Ruin My Gains?

No, eating at Arby’s will not ruin your gains. In order to maintain the muscle, or gains, you have, the most important factor is to eat enough protein throughout your day. Arby’s’s menu has lots of high protein options, such as double or half pound sandwiches that make it possible to maintain your gains.

Can I Eat at Arby’s and Still Gain Muscle?

Yes, you can eat at Arby’s and still gain muscle. In order to gain muscle, you need to be eating enough protein after your workout so your muscles can repair and grow. Arby’s double or half pound sandwiches are all high in protein, ensuring you have enough protein to make it possible to gain muscle.

What Meal at Arby’s has the Most Protein?

The meal at Arby’s with the most protein is the half pound french dip and swiss. This meal has 740 calories, 55g of protein, 52g of carbohydrates and 35g of fat.  

What Meal at Arby’s has the Most Calories?

The meal at Arby’s with the most calories is the roast turkey ranch and bacon sandwich with loaded curly fries. This meal has 1,500 calories, 59g of protein, 136g of carbohydrates and 80g of fat. 

Which Meal at Arby’s has the Least Calories

The meal at Arby’s that has the least calories is a chopped farmhouse salad with roast turkey. This meal has 230 calories, 22g of protein, 8g of carbohydrates and 13g of fat.

Let’s get you in the best shape of your life. Sounds good?

More Fast Food Meal Plans

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About The Author

Laura Semotiuk

Laura Semotiuk is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She works with athletes and active individuals looking to improve performance and develop healthy nutritional habits and behaviors. She has a passion for cooking, meal prepping, and creating simple and healthy recipes. You can connect with Laura on Instagram or through her Website.