20 Best Fruits For Muscle Gain (Ultimate Guide)

Certain fruits will be better than others for gaining muscle because they’re higher calorie, making it easier to hit your caloric surplus when bulking. 

Additionally, there are some fruits that have anti-inflammatory properties, which help you recover from your workouts faster. 

So, which fruits are the best for muscle gain? The top fruits for muscle gain are bananas, dates, and raisins. These options are the highest in calories, which help you achieve the calorie surplus you need to grow. They are also high in potassium and antioxidants, which help decrease inflammation and reduce muscle cramps while working out.

With that said, these are only a few of the best fruits for bodybuilding.  So in this article, I’ll discuss the top 20 fruits you should incorporate into your diet if you’re looking to gain muscle.  

I’ll also discuss:

  • Why are fruits good for muscle building?
  • The most common micronutrients found in fruits and how they help a bodybuilder.
  • Benefits and cons of adding a specific fruit into your diet.
  • Which fruits are better for the cutting and bulking phase.
  • What fruit to have before or after training. 

Why Are Fruits Good For Building Muscle?

The most important thing for muscle building (besides having the right muscle stimulus) is the number of calories. For you to gain muscle, you need to consume more calories than your body needs (calorie surplus).

Some fruits are very calorically dense, so you don’t have to eat much in order to get a lot of calories.  This is helpful when bulking because you don’t want to feel ‘physically full’ every time you eat.   

Furthermore, fruit is not considered empty calories, like candy, where you wouldn’t get any nutrients for the calories that you consume.  For example, eat 500 calories from candy (empty calories), and it won’t have the same effect as having 500 calories from fruit. 

This is because fruit is high in antioxidant capacity. Antioxidants help decrease inflammation. Inflammation happens naturally in the body, but we need to reduce it to prevent muscle soreness. Adding fruit helps decrease inflammation, which in the end helps muscle recovery.

Finally, one of the benefits of fruit for muscle gain is its versatility. Not only is fruit easy to obtain and carry around, you can find all different types, which you can eat whole or blend in a smoothie or protein shake. 

For example, if you are looking for something more energy-dense, you can choose a fruit juice or a dehydrated fruit. 

Related Article: Can You Eat Sugar While Bulking? (Complete Guide)

Micronutrients In Fruits That Help With Bulking

Micronutrients in fruits that help muscle gain

One of the most significant benefits of fruits is it is very high in certain micronutrients. Here you can find a list of the most common micronutrients found in them and why you should include them if you are a bodybuilder.

  • Vitamin E. It is another powerful antioxidant that the body needs to decrease inflammation and recover properly.
  • Vitamin B6. This vitamin helps absorb the amino acids we eat. This is essential for muscle building since there is no material to build muscle if we don’t have enough amino acids. Also, this vitamin is necessary for converting the food you eat into usable energy.
  • Folate. It is essential for the production of red blood cells, and additionally, it increases blood flow (more blood towards muscles). Having healthy red blood cells and more blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients to the muscle.
  • Potassium. This mineral is essential for muscle contraction. It also regulates heartbeat and controls water balance (having the optimal water amount in the body). Without an adequate potassium level, you run the risk of having muscle cramps.
  • Magnesium. Along with potassium, it helps prevent muscle cramps. One of the other essential benefits is that it helps regulate sleep. Muscle gets its recovery during sleep, and that is why having a good night’s sleep is vital for a bodybuilder.
  • Manganese. It helps you create the necessary energy for you to train. It converts the food you eat into a usable energy source in the body. Also, it is a powerful antioxidant that helps decrease inflammation in the body.
  • Copper.  It plays a role in boosting immunity. This nutrient is often lost during training, which is essential to replenish with your food.
  • Zinc. Another essential nutrient to boost your immunity. It is also part of a powerful antioxidant, and finally, it seems to help repair muscles.

Are you eating the right foods for your bodybuilding goals?

Top 20 Best Fruits For Bodybuilding

Here are the top 20 fruits for bulking and their nutritional information based on 100g:

FruitCaloriesCarbs (g)Fiber (g)Protein (g)Fats (g)
Apple5213.82.40.30.2
Grapes6918.10.90.70.2
Banana8922.82.31.10.3
Grapefruit4210.71.60.80.1
Dates27775.06.71.80.2
Raisins30180.03.33.30.2
Dragon fruit6012.92.91.20.0
Mango60151.60.80.4
Watermelon307.60.40.60.2
Strawberry327.72.00.70.3
Orange5211.82.00.90.2
Blueberry5714.52.40.70.3
Peach399.51.50.90.2
Pineapple5013.11.40.50.1
Cherry6316.02.11.10.2
Cantaloupe348.21.60.80.2
Pear5715.23.10.40.1
Raspberry5211.96.51.20.7
Blackberry439.65.31.40.5
Plum4611.41.40.70.3

The top 20 best fruits for muscle gain are: 

1.  Apples

Apples for muscle gain

Quercetin is a potent antioxidant found in apples, and it helps reduce inflammation in the body. Also, it seems to help improve endurance and improve muscle recovery.

  • When to eat: pre and post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting or bulking
  • Con: high in pesticides

Read more about whether apples are good or bad for bodybuilding.

2. Grapes

Grapes for muscle gain

Grapes have a powerful antioxidant called resveratrol. Some studies have found that it can help improve testosterone levels (male hormone). For a bodybuilder, more testosterone levels mean improved body composition.

  • When to eat: pre and post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting or bulking
  • Con: might produce bloating

Read more about whether grapes are good or bad for bodybuilding.

3. Bananas

Bananas for muscle gain

They are the top choice of a snack to give you an energy boost, and they are also high in potassium which helps reduce muscle cramps. In a study, it was found that athletes had better performance while competing.

  • When to eat: pre and post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting or bulking
  • Con: triggers migraines 

Read more about whether bananas are good or bad for bodybuilding.

4. Grapefruit

Grapefruit for muscle gain

Grapefruit is very low in calories and high in fiber. This makes it the perfect fruit to add when you are in weight loss. A study found that people who were given grapefruit lost an average of 1.6 g in 12 weeks with improved insulin sensitivity.

  • When to eat: post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting
  • Con: can produce acid reflux

Read more about whether grapefruit is good or bad for bodybuilding.

5. Dates

Dates for muscle gain

Dates are very energy-dense. This makes it the perfect fruit to add if you are in a bulking phase. Also, it is high in potassium. Low levels of potassium increase the risk of muscle cramps, muscle weakness, and general fatigue. Additionally, it seems to decrease the odds of having a lower muscle mass.

  • When to eat: pre or post-workout
  • Best phase to include: bulking
  • Con: might produce weight gain (energy-dense)

Read more about whether dates are good or bad for bodybuilding.

6. Raisins

Raisins for muscle gain

Like dates, raisins are a very energy-dense food. This means that it is ideal for those in a bulking phase to help add on the calories for muscle development. Since raisins are dehydrated grapes, they have a concentrated amount of antioxidants. This helps reduce inflammation which leads to improved muscle recovery.  

  • When to eat: pre or post-workout
  • Best phase to include: bulking
  • Con: might produce weight gain (energy-dense) 

Read more about whether raisins are good or bad for bodybuilding.

7. Dragon fruit

Dragon fruit for muscle gain

This low calories fruit helps reduce calories which makes it ideal for a cutting phase. Moreover, this fruit seems to improve the gut microbiome (which leads to better overall health), and it appears to improve heart conditions.

  • When to eat: post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting
  • Con: can produce acid reflux

Read more about whether dragon fruit is good or bad for bodybuilding.

8. Mango

Mango for muscle gain

Mango is a fruit that is very high in vitamin C, and this helps boost immunity and collagen synthesis. Additionally, mango leaves, along with quercetin, help decrease muscle damage and improve recovery.

  • When to eat: pre or post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting or bulking
  • Con: can produce acid reflux

Read more about whether mango is good or bad for bodybuilding.

9. Watermelon

Watermelon for muscle gain

Watermelon is an excellent choice if your focus is hydration. Since watermelon is 90% water and it has potassium, it is an excellent choice to improve your hydration before or after training. Also, it has an amino acid called citrulline that increases nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps dilate your blood vessels which means that more blood flow goes to the muscle to carry oxygen and nutrients.

  • When to eat: pre or post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting or bulking
  • Con: high in FODMAPs (not ideal for IBS)

Read more about whether watermelon is good or bad for bodybuilding.

10. Strawberries

Strawberries for muscle gain

The biggest benefit of strawberries is their low-calorie composition. They are a low-carb option with lots of fiber. This means that it provides a lot of satiety (the feeling of fullness). Moreover, it is high in antioxidants that help decrease inflammation in the body.

  • When to eat: pre or post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting
  • Con: high in pesticides

Read more about whether strawberries are good or bad for bodybuilding.

11. Oranges

Oranges for muscle gain

Along with watermelon, oranges are a great hydration fruit. They are also mostly water, and they are high in potassium. An essential nutrient that helps regulate hydration balance. Also, it is high in vitamin C, which helps boost immunity and increase collagen synthesis.

  • When to eat: pre (juice) or post-workout (fruit)
  • Best phase to include: cutting (fruit) or bulking (juice)
  • Con: can produce gastric problems

Read more about whether oranges are good or bad for bodybuilding.

12. Blueberries

Blueberries for muscle gain

Besides being high in antioxidants, blueberries are essential for a woman bodybuilder. They help fight UTIs (urinary tract infections), and studies have shown that they help reduce the prevalence of UTIs. For a bodybuilder that constantly gets these, it is the best fruit to add daily.

  • When to eat: pre or post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting or bulking
  • Con: high in pesticides

Read more about whether blueberries are good or bad for bodybuilding.

13. Peaches

Peaches for muscle gain

Peaches are a great fruit to add if you want to increase your potassium levels. Additionally, peaches are high in fiber, which is a great option for a bodybuilder in a cutting phase. Is it also very high in antioxidants that help reduce inflammation.

  • When to eat: pre or post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting
  • Con: high in pesticides and FODMAPs (not good for IBS)

Read more about whether peaches are good or bad for bodybuilding.

14. Pineapple

Pineapple for muscle gain

Pineapple has an enzyme called bromelain. This enzyme helps break down protein, which makes it an ideal fruit to add if you have a hard time digesting proteins (especially red meat). It also seems to help boost immunity and reduce inflammation.

  • When to eat: post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting or bulking
  • Con: can cause stomach problems

15. Cherries 

Cherries for muscle gain

Cherries, especially tart cherry juice, seem to have great recovery properties. In some studies, athletes supplemented with tart cherry juice days before the competition had reduced inflammation, leading to improved recovery.

  • When to eat: pre or post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting or bulking
  • Con: can cause stomach problems

16. Cantaloupe

Cantaloupe for muscle gain

Cantaloupe is very high in antioxidants which help reduce inflammation. It is also very high in vitamin C, which helps boost immunity. Finally, it is an excellent source of potassium and water, which improves hydrations.

  • When to eat: pre or post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting or bulking
  • Con: can cause stomach problems

17. Pears

Pears for muscle gain

Pears are a low-calorie and high fiber fruit. This means that they are great to add when you are in a cutting phase. Also, it seems to improve performance along with bananas. They are also high in vitamin C and antioxidants.

  • When to eat: post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting
  • Con: high in pesticides and FODMAPs (not good for IBS)

18. Raspberries

Raspberries for muscle gain

Raspberries (like the other berries) are very high in antioxidants, making them an ideal fruit to improve recovery. Also, they are a good source of vitamin E, which helps to improve muscle strength. Raspberry ketones have been widely studied for their weight loss properties.

  • When to eat: post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting or bulking
  • Con: high in pesticides 

19. Blackberries

Blackberries for muscle gain

Blackberries are very high in antioxidants and vitamin C. There are two important components to reduce inflammation in the body, leading to improved muscle recovery. They are also very high in fiber which is a good option for those in a cutting phase to increase satiety.

  • When to eat: post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting or bulking
  • Con: high in pesticides 

20. Plums

Plums for muscle gain

Plums are very versatile. You can add them in a cutting phase (fruit) or a bulking phase (dehydrated). Additionally, they are very high in antioxidants which help reduce inflammation in the body. Finally, they help reduce constipation. If you constantly suffer from this, they might help you—nothing more uncomfortable than training without healthy bowel movements.

  • When to eat: pre or post-workout
  • Best phase to include: cutting or bulking
  • Con: can cause stomach problems

Frequently Asked Questions 

Which Fruits Have The Most Protein?

Fruits are naturally not very high in protein. However, some fruits have more than 1 g of protein per serving size. These fruits are bananas, dates, raisins, dragon fruit, cherry, raspberry, and blackberries. Remember that this is not significant for a bodybuilder. Add a protein source when you have fruits. 

Check out this article about Can You Eat Fruit On A High Protein Diet?

Which Fruits Are Best For Pre-Workout?

The goal of a pre-workout snack is to have enough energy to have a vigorous training session. The fruits need to be low fiber content to prevent any bloating. The best pre-workout fruits are apples, grapes, bananas, dates, raisins, mango, watermelon, strawberries, oranges, blueberries, peaches, cantaloupe, and plums. 

Which Fruits Are Best For Post Workout?

The objective of a post-workout snack is to replenish the energy lost during training. Also, you want fruits high in nutrients and antioxidants to have the best muscle recovery. The best post-workout fruits that you can add are oranges, blueberries, dates, cherries, raspberries, cantaloupe, and bananas. Add a protein source to make a complete snack.

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

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About The Author

Brenda Peralta

Brenda Peralta is a Registered Dietitian and certified sports nutritionist.  In addition to being an author for FeastGood.com, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.