Are Oranges Good or Bad For Bodybuilding?

We all know oranges pack a lot of vitamin C, but if we’re bodybuilders, there may be other considerations that we need to make if we’re cutting or bulking before eating oranges.

So, are oranges good or bad for bodybuilding? Oranges are a great fruit to have if you are a bodybuilder. They are high in carbs, making them ideal if you are in a bulking phase, or if you’re looking for pre-workout energy. Oranges are also high in vitamin C, potassium, and water, which are all important nutrients to help the body recover from hard training.

Not all fruits are created equal, so today we’re going to explore everything there is to know about oranges and bodybuilding, including:  

  • The nutritional content: how many calories and the macronutrient breakdown
  • How the micronutrients found in oranges provide benefits for a bodybuilder
  • The pros and cons of adding oranges if you are a bodybuilder
  • How oranges can affect muscle growth
  • Find out how to make a fantastic recipe for bodybuilding with oranges

Oranges For Bodybuilding: Overview

Nutrition content of orange 154 g

Nutrition Content of Oranges

One fruit (154 g) has the following nutritional content:

  • Calories: 72
  • Carbs: 18.1 g
  • Fiber: 3.7 g
  • Fats: 0.2 g
  • Protein: 1.4 g


Oranges are relatively high in calories. One fruit has an average of 72 kcal. This might not sound like a lot, but it is the same as one slice of bread.

If we compare oranges with fruits that are lower in calories, like watermelon, grapefruit, or strawberries, one cup of orange has twice the calories.


Oranges are primarily composed of carbs. They don’t have a significant amount of the other macronutrients. For a bodybuilder, more than 50% of their energy should come from carbs, so it is good food to add to your diet. This allows you to have enough energy during the day and mainly during training hours.

One orange has 18 g of carbs which is almost sufficient energy to have before a training session. Without having enough carbs in your diet, you risk protein being used as an energy source. That is why it is important to add carbs throughout the day.

One benefit of oranges is that they are very high in fiber. They have almost 15% of the daily recommended intake of fiber. This is good for a bodybuilder in a cutting phase since high fiber foods create fullness during the day— a necessary attribution when cutting down calories.

For a bodybuilder in a bulking phase, you don’t want foods so high in fiber. Since fiber creates fullness, having a stomach feel full doesn’t allow you to eat the necessary calories during the day. 

This is where ORANGE JUICE (not oranges) might benefit you more if you are in a bulking phase. One cup of orange juice only has 0.5 g of fiber, which means that you get a high-energy dense food with a low satiating effect.  

Keep in mind that oranges only offer carbs. You need the other two macronutrients to have a balanced diet. Add a protein source like a protein shake and some healthy fats like coconut flakes whenever you add oranges.  


Oranges are also high in several nutrients: vitamin C, vitamin A, thiamin, folate, and potassium. All of them are essential for a bodybuilder.

  • Vitamin C. One of the most common reasons to add oranges is that vitamin C boosts your immunity. Having a stronger immune system means that you are more likely to go to the gym than rest at home. Another benefit of vitamin C is that it helps with collagen synthesis. Collagen is important for the joints. This results in stronger joints, which means you are less likely to get an injury.
  • Thiamin. It is important since it has a role in producing energy out of the food you eat. It also plays an essential role in repairing tissue—a key attribute for a bodybuilder, especially after training. It also appears to reduce fatigue during exercise.
  • Folate. An essential vitamin that helps create healthy new red blood cells. This is important since they carry oxygen and nutrients to your cells. Having adequate oxygen levels during training allows having better endurance.
  • Vitamin A. Not only is it a potent antioxidant, which helps reduce inflammation, it also seems to have a role in protein synthesis. This helps repair and grow muscle.
  • Potassium. It is an essential electrolyte that is often lost during exercise. A lack of potassium creates muscle cramps since it is crucial for muscle contraction. 

Check out my complete guide on the Best Fruits For Bodybuilding.

2 Pros Of Eating Oranges For Bodybuilding

Pros vs Cons of Eating Oranges for Bodybuilding

Oranges are easy to access. You can take them in your gym bag and provide the carbs you need to have energy during the day. There are other benefits of adding oranges if you are a bodybuilder.

Prevents Nitric Oxide from Breaking Down

Oranges are high in antioxidants, especially in vitamin C. It has 160% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C.

Thanks to this antioxidant capacity, it helps prevent nitric oxide from being depleted. Nitric oxide helps blood vessels dilate, which means that more oxygen and nutrients can get to your muscles. 

This helps repair and increase muscle mass.

Improves Hydration

Oranges are mostly water. They are 86% water, which means that for a bodybuilder that needs to replenish lost water, it is the best snack to have.

It is high in water and has potassium, which is an essential electrolyte that needs to be refiled after training. It helps keep hydration levels balanced and prevents muscle cramps. 

1 Con of Eating Oranges For Bodybuilding

We know that one of the biggest drawbacks of oranges is their lack of protein, an essential macronutrient for a bodybuilder. There is also one other big con of adding oranges if you are a bodybuilder.

Increased Risk of Gastric Problems

Oranges are highly acidic. For someone that doesn’t have GERD it is no problem. However, if you constantly find yourself taking an antacid, oranges might not be the best fruit to add.

They can increase your symptoms of acid reflux and stomach discomfort. If the episode is too severe, it can lead to skipping a gym day due to feeling very ill. It can even be as dangerous as having reflux while you are lifting. 

Can You Eat Oranges Before Workouts?

Oranges are an excellent choice to have as a snack before training. They provide the necessary carbs to help fuel your workout. If you have the whole orange, try having it 2-3 hours before due to its high fiber content. You can have it 15-30 minutes before if you have orange juice since it is mostly simple carbs.

Oranges For Bodybuilding

Oranges provide the sufficient energy you need to have a hard training session. However, oranges are a little bit acidic. Thus if you are a bodybuilder with gastric problems, I would recommend avoiding eating or drinking it before a session. 

If you are looking for a steadier energy release, you can add the whole oranges since they are very high in fiber. They are good to add 2-3 hours before training. On the other hand, try adding orange juice if you are looking for a fast-acting energy boost. It is high in simple carbs and low in sugar, which means you get the energy boost straight away. 

While it’s going to vary from person-to-person, a general rule of thumb before training is to have 20-50 g of carbs for having adequate energy. This means that for a bodybuilder in a cutting phase, one cup of whole oranges or ½ a cup of orange juice is more than enough to provide the necessary energy. 

On the other hand, for a bodybuilder in a bulking phase, 2 cups of whole oranges or 1 cup of orange juice are enough to provide the required energy. 

Remember that oranges lack the other two macronutrients. If you want a steadier energy release, you need to add protein and fats to the equation. Add a protein source like some greek yogurt or healthy fats like peanuts. 

Can You Eat Oranges After Workouts?

Oranges are a great food to add after a workout. They provide the carbs you need to help you fuel your lost energy. They also contain essential electrolytes like potassium, which need to be replenished after training. Additionally, oranges are high in water, which means that you recuperate your hydration.

After your training session, it is essential to add a carb source to help refuel the energy lost. Without adequate carb replenishment, you risk protein being used as energy instead of muscle building.

Oranges are also an excellent source of antioxidants. They help decrease inflammation, which means that in the end, you have better muscle recovery.

Finally, the other reason for adding oranges after a workout is that they are an excellent way to stay hydrated after training. Since they are mostly water, they help replenish the water lost during exercise. Additionally, they have potassium, a critical electrolyte that needs to be refilled after training to prevent muscle cramps.

The best way to have an orange after training is as a whole fruit. A bodybuilder in a bulking phase could add orange juice. Still, I would recommend increasing the fiber intake during the day.

A bodybuilder in a bulking phase can have 2-3 oranges after training. If you decide to have orange juice, you can have up to 2 cups of orange juice after training.

For a bodybuilder in a cutting phase, I recommend having no more than 1-2 cups after training. Try to stick to eating the whole fruit instead of the juice since it increases fullness. 

Do Oranges Help Muscle Growth?

Compared with other fruits, oranges are higher in calories and carbs, which help increase the caloric surplus you need to gain muscle. If you are bulking, you can add oranges to your diet. Just remember, oranges alone won’t help you add muscle mass, you also need the other two macronutrients: fats and protein.

Since oranges are a high-energy dense food, they are fantastic to have when trying to bulk. When trying to bulk, try to have orange juice instead of the whole fruit. Orange juice is lower in fiber, which has a less satiating effect. If you don’t feel so full, you are more likely to keep on eating until you reach the necessary caloric intake.

Oranges also have potent antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. With a decrease in inflammation, you get a more significant muscle recovery which helps muscle growth.

Remember that for muscle growth, you also need protein, something that oranges lack. 

Orange Recipe For Bodybuilding

Orange Creamy Smoothie Recipe For Bodybuilding

A protein shake is one of the most common snacks a bodybuilder has. However, after a while, having the same flavor might be boring.

Here you find a delicious and simple recipe you can make to spice things up with your protein shake. This is the best post-workout snack you can have. It provides all the macronutrients a bodybuilder needs to have optimal muscle growth. 

Orange Creamy Smoothie


  • Calories: 605
  • Carbs: 91.5
  • Fats: 12.2 g
  • Protein: 37.3 g


  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup of nonfat milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • ¼ cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup pineapple frozen
  • 1 oz coconut flakes
  • 1 small banana frozen


  1. Add everything to the blender and blend until you get a smooth and creamy consistency.
  2. Serve in a glass and enjoy! 


  • If you want to have it pre-workout with all the ingredients, make sure to have it 2-3 hours prior to training.
  • To have it 30-60 minutes before training, don’t add the scoop of protein, the coconut flakes, and add water instead of milk. This makes it the ultimate carb load to have prior training.


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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, she fact checks the hundreds of articles published across the website to ensure accuracy and consistency of information.

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