Eggs are a quick and easy source of high-quality protein so I’m often asked by clients who are bodybuilders whether they would benefit from incorporating them into their everyday diet.
As a nutrition coach, I wanted to dig a little deeper into this topic and provide an in-depth answer.
So, are eggs good or bad for bodybuilding? Eggs are good for bodybuilding because they contain protein and fat, helping you to feel satiated, which increases your ability to stick to your diet. Since eggs are higher in fat, pair them with a lean protein source like egg whites, since daily fat should not exceed 30-35% of your daily calories.
In this article, I will provide:
- The general health benefits and macronutrient breakdown for eggs
- 3 pros and cons of eating eggs for bodybuilding
- How many eggs and when to them pre-and post-workout
- An egg recipe for pre-and post-workout that is macro-friendly for bodybuilders
Eating Eggs for Bodybuilding: Overview
Before we dive into this topic, it’s important to first understand the nutritional information of eggs.
2 large eggs contain approximately 136 calories, 11g of protein, 0g of carbs and 9g of fat.
Most bodybuilders find the ratio between fat and protein in whole eggs to be quite high.
So it’s often recommended to add additional egg whites to any meal containing whole eggs. I’ll explain more why you want to balance this ratio between protein and fat below.
However, eggs are a staple in any bodybuilder’s diet, and here’s why:
- Related Article: 10 Best High-Calorie Low-Fiber Foods (Dietitian Approved)
3 Pros of Eating Eggs For Bodybuilding
To determine whether eggs are good for bodybuilders, let’s consider the goals of bodybuilding.
Bodybuilders are looking to optimize their physique by building muscle and losing fat.
Let’s dive into how eggs can help with these goals.
1. Eggs Can Make It Easier To Lose Weight
Eggs are a rich source of fat and protein. Both fat and protein are slower to digest meaning you will feel full and satisfied longer after eating.
This is especially helpful when your goal is 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 crave junk food when I’m full and satisfied compared to when I’m hungry. The more full and satisfied you can feel after each meal, the easier it will be to stick to a lower-calorie diet long-term.
Therefore, including eggs in your diet can assist with weight loss by making it easier to stick with a lower-calorie diet, something that is beneficial for bodybuilders.
- Other rich fat sources for bodybuilding are Avocados, Almond Milk and Nuts. Check out my other articles that discuss the pros and cons of these common bodybuilding foods.
2. Eggs Are a High-Quality Protein
To build muscle, our body needs to have enough protein as this is the key building block for muscle repair and recovery. Getting enough protein is especially important for bodybuilders that are looking to put on significant amounts of muscle.
In addition to just getting enough protein, it’s also important to get it from a high-quality source that contains all the essential amino acids. Eggs fit this description and therefore are a great protein source for bodybuilders. They are also quite portable and make an easy-to-prepare snack that can be taken on the go.
Eggs can be particularly beneficial for vegetarians as most other high-quality protein sources are meat.
3. Eggs Are Rich in Choline Which Is a Key Nutrient for Performance
Eggs are high in choline, which plays a key role in many important functions such as the conversion of fat in the liver for energy and the communication between your brain and muscles.
Choline is necessary to consume in your diet as your body cannot produce sufficient levels. However, the National Institute for Health found that most people in the US consume less than the recommended amount.
You may be wondering why this is important for bodybuilding. Well, during exercise, the choline in your bloodstream is used up to perform these key functions. If you are deficient in choline, these processes will not function as well throughout your whole workout and you are likely to find a decrease in performance.
Two eggs provide nearly 300mg of choline which is over 50% of the daily recommended intake. Therefore, including eggs in your diet is important to ensure optimal performance in the gym.
3 Cons of Eating Eggs For Bodybuilding
While there are a few downsides to eating eggs that I will discuss, these can be easily mitigated by eating eggs along with a lean protein source as well as a source of carbohydrates.
1. Eggs Do Not Have the Recommended Protein to Fat Ratio for Optimal Body Composition
In addition to getting sufficient protein, the other important factor to consider is 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.
To optimize body composition, research shows that a ratio of 5g of protein to 1g of fat is most optimal. This will ensure you are eating the minimum amount of fat required for healthy hormones while also consuming enough protein to maximize muscle building.
Two eggs contain 11g of protein and 9g of fat. This is a ratio of 5g of protein to 4g of fat, quite a bit off from the recommended range.
While this doesn’t mean eggs are bad for bodybuilders, it does demonstrate that when we are eating eggs it’s important to also consume a lean source of protein, such as chicken, to increase the ratio back to the recommended 5:1.
Another strategy is to add 4 egg whites for every 1 yolk. This is why I suggest that bodybuilders buy a carton of eggs, in addition to a carton of egg white. Then when you’re mixing the eggs together, you can crack 1 egg into a bowl, and then measure out 4 egg whites separately.
- Want to learn more about egg whites? Check out my article on Why Do Bodybuilders Eat Egg Whites Only? (5 Reasons).
2. Eggs Can Be Difficult To Digest
Eggs are one of the top food intolerances. Food intolerance typically means you experience symptoms after eating such as gas, bloating, abdominal pain and/or diarrhoea.
As you can imagine, if you experience any of these symptoms before a workout you are not likely to perform at your best.
To reduce the risk of digestive issues, limit your egg consumption to 2 eggs. Additionally, you may find it more beneficial to consume eggs post-workout if you are experiencing some of these symptoms.
- Related Article: Eggs Make Me Tired & Lethargic: 3 Reasons & How To Fix
3. Eggs Do Not Provide a Quick Energy Source
Eggs are rich in protein and fat but do not contain any carbohydrates. Fat will provide your body with a slow and steady stream of energy over a longer period compared to carbohydrates which will provide a quick energy source.
This means that pairing eggs with a carbohydrate source is important if you want quick energy, such as before a workout or first thing in the morning. Some good options include cereal, potatoes, or oatmeal.
- Some bodybuilders prefer duck eggs over chicken eggs. If that’s you, check out my article on Are Duck Eggs Good or Bad For Bodybuilders?
Can You Eat Eggs Before Workouts?
Yes, you can consume eggs before a workout however limit them to 2 eggs and consume them 1-2 hours before a workout so your body is still able to utilize carbs consumed for quick energy. To keep the fat in this meal low, skip the cooking oil and opt for poached or hard-boiled eggs.
Is Egg Good or Bad to Eat Before Workouts?
Before a workout, your focus should be on consuming a meal high in carbs to provide your body with a quick source of energy. Eggs provide a source of healthy fats and protein, which while important for a healthy diet, are not the best source of energy pre-workout. Both fat and protein, which eggs contain, slow down your digestion, delaying the energy available from the carbs.
We asked Registered Dietician, Breda Paralta, her thoughts on eating eggs before your workout.
“Add them 1-2 hours before a workout. With some time before an activity, they are a great pre-workout snack. Cook them with as little fat as possible.”
Consuming eggs enough before your workout, along with no additional fat and a carb source, will allow your body the time it needs to break your food down and provide you with energy for your workout.
- Related Article: Drinking Egg Whites: Are There Benefits & Can You Drink Them
How Many Eggs Should You Eat Before Workouts?
Eggs can be consumed before a workout, if in a small enough quantity that the total fat in your pre-workout meal does not exceed 15-20% of your meal’s total calories. In practice, this is about 2 eggs.
It’s also important to ensure you are not consuming eggs with additional fat sources, like avocado or cheese. Another culprit of additional fat is cooking oils. Poaching your eggs or opting for hardboiled is best to not add other fat sources.
- Related Article: Should You Eat Fat Before A Workout? (No, Here’s Why)
Can You Eat Eggs After Workouts?
Post-workout nutrition is often overlooked, but for bodybuilders that are looking to get as much muscle growth as possible, it should be a key consideration. Consuming a high carb and high protein meal will provide your body with what it needs to adequately recover and build muscle.
Can you eat eggs after workouts? Yes, you can consume eggs after workouts as they are a high-quality protein source. Since eggs are also a source of fat, limit it to 2-3 eggs and skip any additional fat sources. Always pair with a carbohydrate source like toast or oats to maximize recovery.
Is Egg Good or Bad to Eat After Workouts?
Similar to before a workout, carbs are also important to consume after a workout. This will help replenish your body’s stored energy that is depleted throughout your workout.
In addition to carbs, it’s also important to include protein post-workout.
Research shows consuming protein within the first two hours post-workout has a significant positive impact on muscle protein synthesis, otherwise known as the process of repairing and rebuilding muscle. This process of repair and recovery is what will lead to strength and muscle growth, a key goal of bodybuilding.
Eggs provide a high-quality protein source that when paired with a carbohydrate source makes for a great post-workout meal.
We asked Paralta what she thinks of eggs post-workout. She said:
“After a workout, protein is essential for muscle recovery and muscle building. Add them post-exercise for an excellent quality protein source”.
Therefore, eggs are beneficial to eat post-workout but ensure you are also pairing with a source of carbs, such as oatmeal or toast to maximize recovery.
- Want to learn more about fats after a workout? Check out Should You Eat Fat After A Workout? (No, Here’s Why)
How Many Eggs Should You Eat After a Workout?
Eggs are beneficial to be consumed after a workout, as long as the quantity is small enough that the total fat in your post-workout meal does not exceed the recommended range of 20-25% of your total calories. This translates to 2-3 eggs.
This will provide you with about 14g of fat and 17g of protein. It’s important to also consider any other fat sources you are consuming in your post-workout meal as this will reduce the number of eggs that you are consuming. Limiting fat from things like cooking oil is best making poached or hard-boiled eggs a great option.
Also, there is no amount of time I recommend waiting after you have done your workout to consume eggs. So long as the quantity is within the recommended range, eggs can be consumed anytime.
- To learn more about apples, check out my article on Are Apples Good or Bad For Bodybuilding?
Other Egg Resources
Healthy Egg Recipe for Bodybuilders
Pre-Workout Egg Recipe: Breakfast Sandwich
A breakfast sandwich is a great pre-workout meal as it’s high in carbs and low in fat to provide you with immediate energy for your workout. Including both slow-digesting carbs (sourdough) and fast-digesting carbs (banana) will give you a quick burst of energy at the beginning as well as sustained energy throughout.
- 2 slices sourdough (approximately 80g)
- 2 eggs
- 1-2 tbsp diced onion
- A handful of spinach (optional)
- 1-2 tbsp salsa
- 100g banana (1 small)
- Whisk the eggs together until well combined.
- Saute onions for 1 minute in a pan over medium heat, add eggs and cook until desired consistency.
- Toast sourdough bread if desired.
- Assemble the sandwich and top with salsa. Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with banana on the side.
This recipe makes 1 serving with 443 calories, 21g protein (19%), 65g carbs (57%), 12g fat (24%). For a higher calorie option increase the amount of bread and apple.
Feel free to substitute the sourdough bread with a whole wheat bagel, since bagels can also be a healthy carbohydrate for bodybuilding.
- Looking for a scrambled eggs recipe? Try our Bodybuilding Scrambled Eggs with Veggies and Cheese
Post-Workout Egg Recipe: Egg Cups
Egg cups are a great post-workout meal as it’s high in carbs and protein. Combining the protein from the eggs and turkey will provide optimal recovery.
- 6 Turkey slices
- 6 Eggs
- 60g Cheese (shredded, goats or feta)
- Green onion (optional)
- 6 slices sourdough (approximately 240g)
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray and line each mould with a slice of turkey.
- Put 1 tbsp (10g) of cheese in each cup.
- Crack 1 egg on top of the cheese in each cup.
- Sprinkle it with green onion, salt and pepper to taste.
- Bake for approximately 25 minutes.
- Serve with 2 slices of sourdough or your favourite bread option.
This recipe makes 3 servings with 451 calories, 37g protein (33%), 42g carbs (37%), 15g fat (30%). For a higher calorie option, increase the amount of whey protein, banana and oats.
- We explain in our other article how bodybuilders can eat donuts if they pair them with eggs in order to have a balanced macronutrient meal.
Overall, eggs are a great source of protein and provide other important nutrients like choline, making them a great choice for bodybuilders.
Since eggs don’t contain carbs, it’s important to pair them with a carbohydrate source before and after a workout. Given they contain fat, sticking to 2 and limiting other fat sources is also important around a workout to maximize performance.
Egg Recipe Resources
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.