If you’re a bodybuilder, it’s important to know which fruits are better to add to your diet because not all fruits are created equal. Today we’re going to talk about one of my favorite fruits: blueberries.
Are blueberries good or bad for bodybuilding? Blueberries are a great fruit to add if you are a bodybuilder. They are high in carbs, which provides key energy when eaten before a tough training session. They are also high in nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese that improve immune function and help convert carbs into usable energy for your workouts.
Here, we are going to discuss all you need to know about blueberries and bodybuilding, including:
- The calories and macronutrient breakdown of blueberries
- The micronutrient content and how it benefits a bodybuilder
- The pros and cons of adding blueberries if you are a bodybuilder
- How many blueberries can you add depending on your phase
- How blueberries affect muscle growth
- A tasty recipe that uses blueberries
Blueberries For Bodybuilding: Overview
Nutrition Content of Blueberries
One cup of blueberries (148 g) has the following nutritional composition.
- Calories: 84
- Carbs: 21.5 g
- Fiber: 3.6 g
- Fats: 0.5 g
- Protein: 1.1 g
Although it doesn’t seem like it, blueberries are high in calories. One cup of blueberries has 84 kcal, and this is the same as ½ a cup of cereal.
For a bodybuilder in a bulking phase, it is the best type of fruit you can add. It has the necessary calories to help you have that calorie surplus you need for your muscle to grow. They are also very versatile, which means you can add them to any smoothie of your choice to help you keep on adding calories.
Another option is blueberry juice if you are having trouble adding calories to your diet. Blueberry juice is very high-energy-dense, which is ideal for bodybuilders in a bulking phase.
However, for a bodybuilder in a cutting phase, blueberries might not be the best option. It has twice the calories in one cup of fruit than strawberries, grapefruit, and mango. You can add blueberries to your diet. Make sure you measure the portion carefully.
Blueberries don’t differ much from other fruits, meaning that they only offer carbs. Although they have some protein and fat, it is not significant for a bodybuilder’s diet. A bodybuilder relies on carbs as their primary energy source. So, this makes blueberries the best food to add to provide a source of fuel.
One cup of blueberries has 21.5 g of carbs, enough to fuel a training session. Carbs are essential to have before and after training. If you have a source of carb before exercise, it provides the necessary energy for your workout. After training, you add a carb source to help replenish the energy lost and prevent protein from being used as fuel.
A benefit blueberries have is that they are very high in fiber. One cup of blueberries has 14% of the daily recommended intake of fiber. Not only does it help to have good gut health and bowel movements, it also helps to provide fullness—an essential aspect of a diet for a bodybuilder that is cutting down calories.
It varies from person to person, but it might be difficult to have one cup or more blueberries. If you find it challenging to reach this amount, and you are trying to bulk, then have the blueberries in a more energy-dense form like smoothies or juice.
Remember that blueberries only have carbs in their composition. A bodybuilder needs the other two macronutrients to stay healthy and have the results they are looking for. Add a protein source like a protein shake when you are adding blueberries. Also, you can add almonds to increase your healthy fats.
Blueberries are known for their antioxidant effect. They are also high in several nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese. Here is why you should pay attention to these nutrients if you are a bodybuilder.
- Vitamin C. It is an essential vitamin for the immune system. Having a good intake of vitamin C seems to help boost your immune function. It also helps in the production of collagen, which is necessary for having strong and healthy joints. This results in fewer injuries while working out.
- Vitamin K. This vitamin has been associated with improved muscle strength, better physical performance, and an increase in muscle mass.
- Manganese. An essential nutrient that you need to convert the carbs you eat into a usable energy source. It also helps in digesting and absorbing proteins. Finally, it is part of one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body.
Check out my complete guide on the Best Fruits For Muscle Gain.
Are you eating the right foods for your bodybuilding goals?
2 Pros Of Eating Blueberries For Bodybuilding
Blueberries are easy to find, carry around, and you can add them to almost any smoothie of your choice. There are other benefits of adding blueberries if you are a bodybuilder.
1. Antioxidant Power
Blueberries are one of the highest foods that contain antioxidants. Antioxidants help decrease inflammation that might result after a vigorous training session. If there is too much inflammation, it can lead to fatigue.
Since they help decrease inflammation, they are also one of the greatest foods to aid in muscle recovery.
2. Fighting UTIs
Blueberries, like cranberries, seem to help fight urinary tract infections (UTI). What does it have to do with bodybuilding?
Women that practice bodybuilding benefit from the properties that these foods provide since avoiding UTI’s help keep you in the gym without having to take unplanned time off to recover.
While this benefit may not apply to everyone, it’s important to mention nonetheless.
1 Con of Eating Blueberries For Bodybuilding
The biggest drawback blueberries have is that they lack protein. This means that you need to add a protein source whenever you add this fruit. There is also another big con when thinking of adding blueberries if you are a bodybuilder.
Part of the Dirty Dozen
The “Dirty Dozen” is a group of fruits and vegetables that are high in pesticides. Like strawberries, blueberries are also part of this group.
You might be wondering how that might affect me if I am a bodybuilder? Having a high intake of pesticides has been linked to reduced immune function, stomach problems, heart disease, and respiratory problems. Having all those conditions can affect your overall health, and it might lead to more days in bed instead of in the gym.
Whenever possible, try having organic blueberries. If you cannot have them organic, there are several ways you can remove some of the pesticides found.
One of those is mixing one cup of white vinegar with 3 cups of water. Soak them for at least 5-10 minutes. Once the time has passed. Rinse them.
You can also have the previous mix from above, but you can add apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar.
Can You Eat Blueberries Before Workouts?
Blueberries are a great fruit to add as a snack before working out. Since they are high in carbs, they offer adequate energy for your training session. Some might have gastric problems when adding high-fiber foods though. If this happens, you can add them 2-3 hours before training. If not, add them 30-60 minutes before.
They provide a good amount of energy for you to have a hard training session. Nonetheless, since they are high in fiber and a little acidic, some people might get stomach problems from eating them. If this happens, try to have them 2-3 hours before training to prevent any discomfort during your session.
Even though the caloric needs vary from person to person, a general rule used in sports nutrition is to have 20-50 g of carbs before a workout. This is enough to provide the fuel a bodybuilder needs.
For a bodybuilder in a bulking phase, this means having 1-2 cups of blueberries before training. On the other hand, if you are in a cutting phase, one cup is more than enough to have before your workout.
Keep in mind that blueberries don’t have any protein or fats. If you want to have a more balanced meal to provide a steadier energy release 2-3 hours before training, you need to add these two. For example, add some Greek yogurt to increase the protein intake, or add some nut butter to increase the healthy fats.
Can You Eat Blueberries After Workouts?
Blueberries are an excellent fruit to add after exercise. Not only do they provide carbs to help refuel your energy storage after exercise. They are also very high in antioxidants. Antioxidants help decrease inflammation, which leads to better muscle recovery.
After training, one of the top macros you need to add is carbs. During your training session, you deplete your muscles from their inner energy. This needs to be replenished to help muscle grow and to be ready for the next training session. This can be done by adding a source of carb.
Additionally, adding a carb source after training prevents protein from being used for energy. It allows It to be used for muscle building.
Blueberries are also very high in antioxidants. They help decrease inflammation in the body. With less inflammation, the body can recover better.
In a cutting phase, a bodybuilder might want to have 1-2 cups of blueberries after training to help refuel. On the other hand, a bodybuilder in a cutting phase might want to have 2-3 cups of blueberries.
Remember that after training, you need protein to help repair muscle. Since blueberries lack protein, add a source of protein-like cottage cheese, to help muscle growth and recovery.
Do Blueberries Help Muscle Growth?
Blueberries help you add calories for you to gain muscle mass and being in a calorie surplus is essential for muscle growth. Since blueberries are high in calories compared to other fruits, it helps you meet those goals. With that said, blueberries alone won’t help your muscle growth. You need to add proteins and fats.
Since they are higher in calories than other fruits like strawberries, blueberries help you add calories for your bulking phase.
However, since they are high in fiber, they can provide a lot of fullness, which is not what you want for a bodybuilder in a bulking phase. If you feel that you can’t even eat one cup, add them to smoothies or have them as juice to add on calories.
Blueberries are also powerful antioxidants that help decrease inflammation in the body. When inflammation is reduced, you have better muscle recovery, which leads to greater muscle mass.
Keep in mind that you also need protein and fats to help muscle growth. You need to add both macros to balance the meal and have a mighty muscle-growing meal.
Blueberry Recipe For Bodybuilding
Nothing is better than breakfast time. I don’t know for you, but I know I could have breakfast food for lunch, dinner, or as a snack option.
If you are a breakfast lover like me, I know you will like this recipe I have for you today. These easy-to-make blueberry protein pancakes are to die for. They don’t take a lot of time to make, and you can adjust them depending on the mealtime you are going to have them in.
Blueberry Protein Pancakes
- Calories: 770
- Carbs: 80.7 g
- Fats: 18.3 g
- Protein: 43.9 g
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup blueberries
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Lemon zest
- Add in a blender all of the ingredients except for the blueberries. Mix until you get a smooth consistency.
- Heat a pan in medium heat. Add some of the mix into the pan.
- Add some blueberries on top of the mix.
- Cook for 3-5 minutes or until it starts to bubble. Once it bubbles, flip to the other side and cook until golden brown.
- Once it is cooked, remove it from the pan and place it on a plate.
- Do the same with the remaining batter.
- This is one of the best post-workout snacks you can have. It has protein, carbs, and fat.
- If you are going to have it before training, have it at least 2-3 hours prior to training.
- You can increase its healthy fats by adding nut butter, pecans, or coconut flakes to the mix.
Let’s get you in the best shape of your life. Sounds good?
Other Fruits For Bodybuilding
Check out my other articles on fruits for bodybuilding:
- Are Oranges Good or Bad For Bodybuilding?
- Is Dragon Fruit Good or Bad For Bodybuilding?
- Are Peaches Good or Bad For Bodybuilding?
About The Author
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.