Fruits are often the go-to snack for bodybuilders since they are sweet, provide carbs, and are high in nutrients. However, not every fruit is suitable for a bodybuilder to have. So let’s talk about strawberries.
Are strawberries good or bad for bodybuilding? Strawberries are a great source of energy needed to help a bodybuilder through their workout. They are low in calories, making them the best option for a bodybuilder in a cutting phase. They are also high in vitamin C, manganese, and folate, which are nutrients that help boost immunity and reduce muscle inflammation.
In this article, I will teach you everything you need to know about strawberries and bodybuilding.
- The calories and the macronutrients breakdown
- How the micronutrients found in strawberries help a bodybuilder
- Pros and cons of adding strawberries to your bodybuilding diet
- Details on whether to include them before or after training.
- How strawberries help muscle growth.
- A simple strawberry recipe for bodybuilders
Strawberries For Bodybuilding: Overview
Nutrition Content of Strawberries
One cup of whole strawberries (144 g) has the following nutritional content.
- Calories: 46
- Carbs: 11.1 g
- Fiber: 2.9 g
- Fats: 0.4 g
- Protein: 1.0 g
One of the advantages of strawberries is that it is low in calories. One cup of fruit only has 46 kcal. That is the same amount of calories you can find in 1/5 of a bagel.
If you are looking to cut down calories, meaning you are in a cutting phase. This is one of the best fruits you can add since you get fewer calories in a lot of volume. In other words, it is a low-calorie dense food. Other fruits that are good to have in a cutting phase are watermelon, mango, dragon fruit, and grapefruit.
On the other hand, if you are a bodybuilder in a bulking phase, you might not want to have low-calorie dense foods. Since you need to have a high caloric diet to increase muscle mass, having foods that are very filling but don’t provide too many calories might not be the best. In that case, you could opt for dried fruits like dates or raisins.
The benefit of strawberries is the even if they are low in calories, you can add them to any smoothie of your choice. This way, you can increase the calories by having a high-energy dense smoothie.
Strawberries only have carbs in their macronutrient composition. For a bodybuilder, it is a good thing since their energy levels are very high. Carbs function as the primary energy source in the body and prevents the protein from being used as energy.
There are several advantages to the macronutrient composition of strawberries. Since they only offer 11.1 g of calories per cup, it is a good snack to have if you are in a cutting phase. However, keep in mind that for a bodybuilder in a bulking phase, this amount of carbs is not enough to help you get fueled during the day.
Another benefit of strawberries is that they are high in fiber. One cup of strawberries has 11% of the daily recommended intake of fiber. This not only helps you to have a healthy gut, but fiber provides satiety (the feeling of being full). This, combined with being low-carb, is the perfect snack to have for someone cutting down calories.
Since strawberries don’t have the other two macronutrients, it is essential to add them to your diet to have a ‘complete meal’. Add some cottage cheese to increase the protein intake, or add some peanut butter to add some healthy fats and make it a complete meal.
- Related Article: 17 Best low calorie high fiber foods.
Strawberries are an excellent source of several nutrients. It has some potassium, magnesium, vitamin K. Its highest nutrients are vitamin C, manganese, and folate. Here are a couple of reasons why to add strawberries based on their micronutrients.
- Vitamin C. It helps produce collagen, an important component to having good joint structure. This means that you are less likely to get injuries while training. It also helps boost immunity. By increasing your immunity, you are less likely to get sick. In the end, this results in less time at home and more time at the gym.
- Manganese. It is a powerful antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties. It also plays a role in converting carbs and fats into usable energy. Additionally, it helps digest proteins and makes them available for the body to use.
- Folate. It plays an important role in producing red blood cells. For bodybuilders, this is important because they have a high replacement of red blood cells constantly due to the stress of heavy training. It also seems to increase blood flow to the muscle, which means that you get more oxygen and nutrients at the end of the day, and this means more gains.
Check out my complete guide on the Best Fruits For Muscle Gain.
3 Pros Of Eating Strawberries For Bodybuilding
Since they provide carbs, strawberries are the perfect energy source for a bodybuilder. They are also easy to carry around and easy to get, and you can use them in sweet or savory recipes (like salads). Here are also other benefits of why to include them if you are a bodybuilder.
1. Immunity Booster
Strawberries have a whopping 147% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. This is one of the essential vitamins for boosting immunity.
Having an increase in immunity leads to less time at home recovering and more time at the gym. Also, if you find yourself sicker more frequently, there is the possibility that the lack of gym reduces your muscle mass. What doesn’t get any stimulus is lost.
2. Assists With Weight Management
Strawberries have all the checks for making it a perfect snack for someone in a cutting phase. They are low in calories, they are high in fiber, and they are high in water. All of those things combined makes strawberries the perfect snack since they increase satiety.
Having increased satiety means that you are less likely to get hungry while cutting down calories. It also means that if you are fuller for longer, you are less likely to eat more food, which leads to a caloric deficit.
3. Reduce Muscle Pain
Finally, strawberries are very high in antioxidants. They have polyphenols that are potent components that help reduce inflammation in the body, which leads to more significant muscle recovery.
1 Con of Eating Strawberries For Bodybuilding
One of the most significant drawbacks of strawberries is their lack of protein, which is an essential nutrient for a bodybuilder. There is also another big negative aspect of adding strawberries if you are a bodybuilder.
High in Pesticides
There is a list of veggies and fruits referred to as “The Dirty Dozen,” which are the ones that are likely to be higher in pesticides. A high pesticide diet could lead to anxiety, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and possible cancer. They can also affect your immunity system.
Strawberries are those fruits that are better to have if they are organic. Suppose you can’t find them organic, there are several ways that you can wash them to remove the pesticides in them.
- Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water. Let them soak for at least 5-10 minutes. Once the time has passed, rinse them under cool water.
- Dissolve one teaspoon of baking soda in one cup of water. Let them soak for at least 10-15 minutes. Once the time has passed, rinse them under cool water.
- Dissolve one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in one cup of water. Soak them for at least 10-15 minutes. Rinse them under cool water.
Can You Eat Strawberries Before Workouts?
Strawberries are an excellent choice to have as a pre-workout snack. They are high in carbs, which means it gives you an energy boost to have before training. Since they are low in calories, you need to have a large intake to reach the recommended intake. An average of 2-3 cups is an ideal amount.
The main goal of a pre-workout snack is to prepare the body for the training session. It needs to have an adequate energy source. Since strawberries are high in fiber, some people might have some bloating when adding them. If this is the case, make sure to have them 1-2 hours before training.
If you don’t have any gastric problems with strawberries, you can include them 30-60 minutes before a session.
For a bodybuilder in a cutting phase, carb recommended intake is around 20-30 g. This means having 1-3 cups of strawberries. It provides sufficient energy to help achieve a vigorous training session.
On the other hand, a bodybuilder in a bulking phase might want to increase the intake. Having 3-4 cups of strawberries is more than enough to provide the energy needed. If you think this is too much, you can always blend it to create a smoothy. You can always decrease the strawberry intake and add other high-energy-dense carb foods like honey.
Keep in mind that strawberries lack protein and fat. If you want a steadier energy release, make sure to add a protein source, like a protein shake, and a healthy fat source, like peanuts.
Can You Eat Strawberries After Workouts?
Strawberry is an excellent post-workout snack. It provides the necessary carbs to have an optimal recovery and prevent protein from being used as energy. It is also high in water, which helps improve hydration, and its high antioxidant capacity helps with muscle recovery.
After training, it is essential to have all three macronutrients – carbs, proteins, and fats. Strawberries cover the carbohydrate part. They help you replenish the energy lost during exercise, which ultimately leads to the protein being used for muscle formation instead of energy.
Another reason why you should add strawberries after training is due to their high antioxidant capacity. Antioxidants, like polyphenols and vitamin C, are present in this fruit to help decrease inflammation. This, later on, leads to improved muscle recovery.
Finally, since strawberries are 91% water, they help improve hydration after training.
So, how much should you add after training, depending on your phase?
Suppose you are a bodybuilder in a cutting phase. In that case, 2-3 cups are more than enough to provide the necessary carbs to have an excellent recovery. On the other hand, if you are in a bulking phase, you might want to have 3-4 cups post-exercise.
Remember that having a protein source after training is essential for muscle growth. Add a protein source like a protein shake, Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese whenever you include strawberries. To increase the antioxidant capacity, you can also include healthy fats like nuts and seeds.
Does Strawberries Help Muscle Growth?
Strawberries add some calories and carbs to your diet, but having a caloric surplus is vital for muscle growth. Since strawberries are low in calories, it might be difficult for you to reach the expected caloric intake to help with muscle growth. Strawberry might not be the best option due to this.
Although strawberries are not that high in calories, they offer several benefits that make them an excellent option for muscle growth. Since they are high in antioxidants, this helps decrease inflammation, leading to improved muscle recovery. Thus, you might recover between workouts faster, allowing you to train harder.
For muscle growth, you need a protein source as well. Something that strawberries lack. To make sure you get everything out of strawberries for muscle building, add a protein source.
Strawberry Recipe For Bodybuilding
If you are looking for a fast and easy breakfast, here is a recipe that will energize you during the day. You can also have it as a snack post-workout, and if you modify the ingredients, you can have it as a pre-workout snack.
The best part is that it takes minutes to create.
Strawberry Overnight Oats
- Calories: 719
- Carbs: 63.6 g
- Fats: 27.2 g
- Protein: 59 g
- 1 cup of milk
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 cup strawberries
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1 tablespoon crushed pecans
- Add the oats, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla to a mason jar. Mix everything well.
- Leave it soaking overnight or at least 8 hours. Once the time has passed, add the Greek yogurt and the protein powder. Mix the ingredients well.
- Add the sliced strawberries and pecans on top.
- For the same recipe as a pre-workout snack, have it 2-3 hours prior to training. If you want to have it 1 hour before training, remove the Greek yogurt and protein powder.
- You can replace the milk with any milk of your choice, like almond milk or coconut milk.
- If you want to increase the calories and healthy fats, add nut butter or coconut flakes.
- You can also add more fruits like blueberries, raspberries, or apples.
Lis DM, Baar K. Effects of Different Vitamin C-Enriched Collagen Derivatives on Collagen Synthesis. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2019 Sep 1;29(5):526-531. doi: 10.1123/ijsnem.2018-0385. PMID: 30859848.
Thomas WR, Holt PG. Vitamin C and immunity: an assessment of the evidence. Clin Exp Immunol. 1978 May;32(2):370-9. PMID: 352590; PMCID: PMC1541262.
Bresciani G, da Cruz IB, González-Gallego J. Manganese superoxide dismutase and oxidative stress modulation. Adv Clin Chem. 2015;68:87-130. doi: 10.1016/bs.acc.2014.11.001. Epub 2015 Jan 7. PMID: 25858870.
Romero, S. A., Gagnon, D., Adams, A. N., Moralez, G., Kouda, K., Jaffery, M. F., Cramer, M. N., & Crandall, C. G. (2017, September 12). Folic acid ingestion improves skeletal muscle blood flow during graded handgrip and plantar flexion exercise in aged humans. American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 313(3), H658-H666. https://doi.org/10.1152/ajpheart.00234.2017
Oviedo-Solís CI, Cornejo-Manzo S, Murillo-Ortiz BO, Guzmán-Barrón MM, Ramírez-Emiliano J. Los polifenoles de la fresa disminuyen el estrés oxidativo en enfermedades crónicas [Strawberry polyphenols decrease oxidative stress in chronic diseases]. Gac Med Mex. 2018;154(1):80-86. Spanish. doi: 10.24875/GMM.17002759. PMID: 29420521.
Kreider, R.B., Wilborn, C.D., Taylor, L. et al. ISSN exercise & sport nutrition review: research & recommendations. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 7, 7 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-7-7
About The Author
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.