As avocados have become popular within the fitness space in recent years, I’m often asked by bodybuilders whether they would benefit from incorporating them into their everyday diet, too.
- Avocados provide essential nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, and B-12 that support muscle preservation, protein synthesis, and overall cardiovascular health, making them beneficial for bodybuilders.
- Rich in fat and fiber, avocados can make you feel full longer, aiding weight loss. With 7g of fiber per 100g, they also support digestion, which is essential for overall well-being and effective waste disposal.
- While avocados offer many benefits for bodybuilders, they are calorically dense and don’t provide an optimal protein-to-fat ratio. Bodybuilders should be mindful of their avocado intake, balancing it with other protein sources and monitoring portion sizes.
Avocado Nutrition Profile
Per 100g, avocados contain 167 calories, 2g of protein, 9g of carbs and 15g of fat.
For context, cutting a large avocado in half and scooping out the flesh usually measures around 100g.
Avocados are high in nutrients such as:
- Potassium: A diet high in potassium has been shown to preserve muscle mass in older adults.
- Vitamin C: Including vitamin C in your diet has been shown to reduce muscle loss as we age.
- Vitamin K: Vitamin K provides many benefits to your overall cardiovascular health, which can improve your overall cardiac output during exercise.
- Vitamin B: Vitamin B, specifically B-12, is important for building muscle as it is a key factor in protein synthesis.
4 Benefits of Eating Avocados For Bodybuilding
To determine whether avocado suits bodybuilders, let’s consider bodybuilding goals. Bodybuilders aim to optimize their physique by (1) building muscle and (2) losing fat.
1. Avocados Can Make It Easier to Lose Weight
Avocados are a rich source of fat and fibre. Both fat and fiber slow digestion, meaning you will feel full and satisfied longer after eating.
This can be highly beneficial when looking to lose weight. As anyone who has tried to lose weight knows, one of the biggest roadblocks can be high-calorie foods and treats.
I don’t know about you, but I’m much less likely to raid the cupboards when I’m full and satisfied than when I’m hungry.
The more full and satisfied you feel after each meal, the easier it will be to stick to a long-term, lower-calorie diet.
2. Avocados Can Improve Digestion
Bodybuilders generally eat a protein diet and moderate carbs. However, it’s important to remember that the timing of carbohydrates is generally concentrated pre- and post-workout.
Carbs eaten around a workout are generally lower in fiber. So, while this is beneficial for workout performance, it can result in slower digestion.
This is where avocados can help…
According to Dr. Gabrielle Fundaro, Ph.D in Human Nutrition, avocados are a rich source of prebiotic fiber, providing 7g of fiber per 100g.
General fiber recommendations are 25 – 30g daily, meaning 100g of avocado will provide 28% of your daily fiber.
This is important for overall health as this is how your body disposes of waste and toxins. Additionally, it can help improve your overall mood, as poor digestive health is often linked to reduced mental health.
3. Avocados Are Rich in Omega 3s That Help Reduce Inflammation
Avocados are also rich in omega-3s, which can help balance your omega profile.
What do I mean by balancing your omega profile?
There are omega 3s and omega 6s, and humans should generally operate with a balanced 1-to-1 omega 3:6 ratio.
However, in Western society, our profile is more like 2:1.
This can be problematic as omega 3 is anti-inflammatory, and omega 6’s pro-inflammatory.
Consuming avocados can help to bring you closer to a more optimal balance and reduce overall inflammation.
If inflammation is too high, you will notice reduced performance as your body can never fully recover.
Consuming omega-3s can increase your body’s ability to fight inflammation, ensuring you properly recover after each workout.
- Want to learn more about high-protein foods? Check out our article Bulking Foods For Bodybuilding.
4. Avocados Can Contribute To A Heart-Healthy Diet
For bodybuilders, keeping the heart in peak condition is as vital as optimizing their physique.
The heart pumps oxygen-rich blood, which muscles crave during intense workouts. Avocados can play a supportive role in this.
They’re packed with monounsaturated fats, known as “good” fats. These fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels, potentially lowering the risk of heart disease.
A study showed that people who regularly eat avocados have lower LDL (bad cholesterol) and higher HDL (good cholesterol).
For a bodybuilder, this means better cardiovascular support during strenuous training sessions and potentially improved long-term heart health.
3 Drawbacks of Eating Avocados For Bodybuilding
1. Avocados Do Not Provide Sufficient Protein to Build Muscle
To build muscle, the most important factor is consuming sufficient protein so your muscles have what they need to repair and recover after a workout.
Research suggests that a protein intake of 2.4g per kg of body weight should be consumed to build muscle.
For example, a 200lb individual (~90kg) would require approximately 206g of protein per day.
Avocados only contain 2g of protein per 100g, making it not a significant source.
Protein would need to be consumed from other sources throughout the day.
2. Avocados Do Not Have the Recommended Protein-to-Fat Ratio for Optimal Body Composition
Besides getting sufficient protein, it’s also important to consider the ratio of protein to fat.
If you are getting sufficient protein, but the ratio to fat is too high, your overall daily calories will be above what they need to be, and you will gain fat.
Research shows that a ratio of 5g of protein to 1g of fat is optimal to optimize body composition.
This will ensure you are eating the minimum amount of fat required for healthy hormones while also consuming enough protein to maximize muscle building.
Avocados, per 100g, contain 2g of protein and 15g of fat. This is a ratio of 1g of protein to 7.5g of fat, quite a bit off from the recommended range.
While this doesn’t mean avocado is bad for bodybuilders, it does show that when it is eaten, it’s important to also consume a lean source of protein, such as chicken, to increase the ratio back to the recommended 5:1.
3. Avocados Are Calorically Dense
As most foods are high in fat, avocados are calorically dense.
This can be problematic if you are not careful in considering your portion size, as you can quickly eat a high volume of calories without realizing it.
This is more of a concern for bodybuilders in a cutting phase since bodybuilders in a bulk need to prioritize calorically dense foods to reach their surplus.
Check out other fat sources for bodybuilding:
Optimal Meal Timing For Avocados
For optimal energy during workouts, focus on a meal rich in carbs. While carbs provide quick energy, fat, and fiber slow digestion, possibly delaying energy availability. Ideally, fat should be 15-20% of a meal’s calories.
Although avocados are nutritious, they’re high in fat and fiber, making them less suitable for energy before high-intensity exercises. If eating avocado, limit to 60g (10g of fat) and adjust based on other fat sources.
Registered Dietician, Brenda Peralta, advises:
“Eat avocados before low-intensity activities. For high-intensity workouts, wait 2-3 hours.”
Post-workout nutrition is crucial for muscle growth. A mix of high-carb and protein is recommended for recovery.
Avocados can be beneficial due to their omega-3 content, which reduces muscle soreness.
“Thanks to its omega-3 content, avocado aids recovery.”
However, avocados are mainly fat, so balance is key.
After workouts, ensure that the total fat content of your post-exercise meal doesn’t exceed 20-25% of the meal’s total calories. That means consuming no more than 100g of avocado (15g of fat). Adjust the quantity depending on other fat sources in your meal.
- Avocado is on our list of high-calorie, low-sugar foods (click for more)
Avocado Recipe for Bodybuilders
Turkey Avocado Sandwich
A turkey avocado sandwich is a great pre-workout meal as it’s high in carbs and low in fat to provide immediate energy for your workout. Including both slow-digesting carbs (sourdough) and fast-digesting carbs (apple) will give you a quick burst of energy at the beginning and sustained energy throughout.
- 2 slices sourdough (approximately 80g)
- 80g deli turkey
- 50g avocado (½ small)
- ½ small tomato
- 100g apple (½ small)
- Toast sourdough bread if desired and slice the avocado and tomato into thin slices. You can substitute the bread with a bagel if desired.
- Assemble the sandwich using turkey, slices of avocado and turkey. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with apple slices on the side.
This recipe makes 1 serving with 450 calories, 26g protein (25%), 61g carbs (58%), 9g fat (17%). For a higher calorie option increase the amount of bread and apple.
Chocolate Banana Avocado Smoothie
This chocolate banana smoothie is a great post-workout meal as it’s high in carbs and protein to provide optimal recovery. The avocado in the smoothie makes it not only creamy but also provides a punch of omega-3s, which is an anti-inflammatory compound that helps to improve recovery.
- ¼ cup oats (20g)
- 100g banana (1 small)
- 60g avocado
- 1 scoop chocolate whey isolate
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If the consistency is too thick, add additional almond milk.
- Pour into glass and serve.
This recipe makes 1 serving with 410 calories, 33g protein (32%), 48g carbs (47%), 13g fat (28%). For a higher calorie option, increase the amount of whey protein, banana and oats.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I replace other fats with avocados in my bodybuilding diet?
Yes, avocados can replace other fats, but ensure you balance a 5:1 protein-to-fat ratio and monitor total caloric intake that meets your overall goals (either bulking, cutting, or maintenance).
How often should a bodybuilder consume avocados for optimal benefits?
According to Registered Dietitian, Brenda Peralta, most bodybuilders would find a benefit in eating 100 grams of avocado per day (one-half of an avocado).
While there’s no strict limit, incorporate avocados regularly, balancing with other nutritional needs and monitoring portion sizes.
Do avocados have any role in muscle protein synthesis for bodybuilders?
Directly, avocados don’t boost muscle protein synthesis due to low protein content. However, their nutrients support overall health, indirectly aiding muscle growth.
Schwalfenberg G. K. (2012). The alkaline diet: is there evidence that an alkaline pH diet benefits health?. Journal of environmental and public health, 2012, 727630. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/727630
Mahmassani HA, Avendano EE, Raman G, Johnson EJ. Avocado consumption and risk factors for heart disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2018 Apr 1;107(4):523-536. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqx078. PMID: 29635493.
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Fats and Cholesterol. The Nutrition Source. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/
McFarlin BK, Henning AL, Venable AS. Oral Consumption of Vitamin K2 for 8 Weeks Associated With Increased Maximal Cardiac Output During Exercise. Altern Ther Health Med. 2017 Jul;23(4):26-32. PMID: 28646812.
Allen L. H. (2012). Vitamin B-12. Advances in nutrition (Bethesda, Md.), 3(1), 54–55. https://doi.org/10.3945/an.111.001370
Clapp, M., Aurora, N., Herrera, L., Bhatia, M., Wilen, E., & Wakefield, S. (2017). Gut microbiota’s effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis. Clinics and practice, 7(4), 987. https://doi.org/10.4081/cp.2017.987
Helms, E.R., Aragon, A.A. & Fitschen, P.J. Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 11, 20 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-11-20
Kerksick, C.M., Arent, S., Schoenfeld, B.J. et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: nutrient timing. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 14, 33 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0189-4
Jouris, K. B., McDaniel, J. L., & Weiss, E. P. (2011). The Effect of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on the Inflammatory Response to eccentric strength exercise. Journal of sports science & medicine, 10(3), 432–438.
About The Author
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.
Why Trust Our Content
On Staff at FeastGood.com, we have Registered Dietitians, coaches with PhDs in Human Nutrition, and internationally ranked athletes who contribute to our editorial process. This includes research, writing, editing, fact-checking, and product testing/reviews. At a bare minimum, all authors must be certified nutrition coaches by either the National Academy of Sports Medicine, International Sport Sciences Association, or Precision Nutrition. Learn more about our team here.
Have a Question?
If you have any questions or feedback about what you’ve read, you can reach out to us at email@example.com. We respond to every email within 1 business day.