Is Watermelon Good or Bad For Bodybuilding? (Pros & Cons)

Fruit is one of the most common snacks a bodybuilder has before and after training. However, some fruits are better than others if you are a bodybuilder.  So, what about watermelon…

Is watermelon good or bad for bodybuilding?  Watermelon is good for bodybuilding since it provides the necessary energy you need pre-workout.  Watermelon is slightly better for cutting goals, rather than bulking because it’s a low-calorie fruit. Regardless, watermelon is easy to digest and high in vitamin C and A, which aid in muscle recovery.

In this article, you will learn anything you need to know about watermelon and bodybuilding.

  • The calories and macronutrient composition of watermelon.
  • Pros and cons of adding watermelon if you are a bodybuilder.
  • Whether you can add watermelon before or after training.
  • How watermelon helps in muscle building.
  • A delicious and simple recipe to make using watermelon. 

Watermelon For Bodybuilding: Overview

nutrition content of watermelon for bulking and cutting

Nutrition Content of Watermelon

One cup of diced watermelon (152 g) has the following nutritional information.

  • Calories: 46
  • Carbs: 11.5 g
  • Fiber: 0.6 g
  • Fats: 0.2 g
  • Protein: 0.9 g 


One benefit of watermelon is that it is relatively low in calories. One cup of watermelon has only 46 calories, the same as half a slice of bread.

It is the best fruit to add when cutting down calories for a bodybuilder in a weight loss phase. Other fruits that are similar in calories per cup are mangoesdragon fruit, and grapefruit—all excellent choices when trying to lose some fat mass.

On the other hand, a bodybuilder in a bulking phase needs high-energy dense foods to reach the total daily calories. For example, a bodybuilder in a bulking phase could have a caloric intake in excess of 3000 kcal, which means that having a snack that is only 45 kcal is not enough.

However, one of the benefits of watermelon is that you can create smoothies with it. Therefore, you can easily mix watermelon into a shake that is higher in calories if you’re looking to gain weight. 


Watermelon only provides carbohydrates. This is a good thing for a bodybuilder since their carb intake could be 50-60% of their daily caloric intake. Carbs help you get fueled during the day, and it provides an extra boost if you add them before training.

Keep in mind that a cup of watermelon can be very low in carbs for a bodybuilder’s needs. Only having 11.5 g of carbs in any meal can be a little bit down. No matter what phase you are in.

For a bodybuilder in a cutting phase, you can have 2 cups of watermelon as a snack. On the other hand, 2-4 cups of watermelon provide the necessary carbs to have enough energy for a bodybuilder in a bulking phase.

Most fruits are high in fiber, but watermelon is relatively low in fiber. One cup provides 2% of the daily recommended intake of fiber. If you are looking to add fiber to your diet, probably watermelon isn’t the way to go. However, since it is low in fiber, it is easy to digest and won’t cause many gastrointestinal issues.

Since it is only a source of carbs, it lacks the other two macronutrients; a bodybuilder needs protein and fats. You add watermelon ass a protein source like a protein shake and some healthy data like flax seeds. 


Watermelon is not only a good source of carbs. It is also high in some nutrients. It is high in vitamin C and vitamin A, among other vitamins and minerals. Here are some reasons why you should pay attention to these two vitamins if you are a bodybuilder.

  • Vitamin C. Along with being a potent antioxidant, it also helps boost immunity. If you have increased immunity, it leads to skipping fewer gym days. Additionally, it increases collagen synthesis, which makes your joints stronger.
  • Vitamin A. It is a potent antioxidant that helps decrease inflammation in the body. Having less inflammation after training increases your recovery. It also helps boost immunity

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

3 Pros Of Eating Watermelon For Bodybuilding

pros and cons of eating watermelon for bodybuilding

Due to watermelon being high in carbs, it provides the energy they need to have a hard training session. It is also easy to access and carry. Here are some other benefits on why you should get ass watermelon if you are a bodybuilder.

1. Promotes Hydration

Water is an essential element in the body. Without the adequate hydration balance, there could be an impaired performance.

Most people don’t always pay attention to their water intake. Having as little as a 2% decrease in your water balance could cause you to have symptoms of impaired cognitive function, which means you can feel lethargic.

Watermelon is almost 90% water. If you are not used to drinking water during the day, adding fruits and vegetables that are high in water helps you keep hydrated.

Additionally, thanks to watermelon mainly being water, it adds bulk to your diet without adding calories. This leads to feeling fuller and helping you cut down calories—ideal for a bodybuilder in a cutting phase. 

2. Improves Recovery

Watermelon has an amino acid called citrulline. One of its benefits is that it increases nitric oxide (NO), which helps how your body dilates your blood vessels. This means that more oxygen can reach your muscles, which means that you are more likely to increase performance.

Another benefit of citrulline is seen in muscle recovery. There was a study where watermelon juice was given to participants. The results showed increased muscle recovery in those who took the watermelon juice thanks to citrulline. 

3. Reduces Inflammation

Vitamin A and vitamin C are potent antioxidants. Along with these vitamins, watermelon also has lycopene, which is another powerful antioxidant. They help decrease inflammation in the body.

Having less inflammation leads to a more significant muscle recovery, which in the end helps have better muscle growth. 

1 Con of Eating Watermelon For Bodybuilding

We all know the most significant drawbacks of fruits: they are lower in protein, which is an essential macronutrient for bodybuilders. There is one other big drawback of adding watermelon if you are a bodybuilder.

It May Produce Gastric Problems

High FODMAP foods tend to cause gastric problems in people with IBSFODMAP is an acronym for fermentable short-chain carbs that are not digested by the body.

Watermelon is a food high in FODMAP, which means that bodybuilders with IBS could cause gastric problems like bloating and abdominal pain.

Overeating watermelon could lead to feeling sluggish, and in the end, could result in altered performance. 

Takeaway:  Be sure to know your limit for how much watermelon you can eat in a given sitting.

Can You Eat Watermelon Before Workouts?

Watermelon is a great option to help fuel your training session. Since it is low in fiber, it is easily digestible, giving you energy straightaway. You can add 2-3 cups of watermelon 30-60 minutes before a training session as a pre-workout snack. Since watermelon is 90% water it also helps hydrate you before training.

Watermelon For Bodybuilding

If you think of having a snack right before training, you need a simple carb that doesn’t take too long to digest. This will give you the necessary energy to have an arduous training session. Watermelon provides the carbs required for that.

How much watermelon can you have, depending on your phase?

In a cutting phase, you need around 20-30g of carbs before training. That is achieved by having 2 cups of watermelon before a workout.

On the other hand, if you are in a bulking phase, you can have 3 cups of watermelon to help you fuel up your session. If you feel that having 3 cups of watermelon is a lot, you can always blend it to create a smoothie.

Remember that watermelon doesn’t have any protein or fats. If you want a steadier energy release, make sure to add a protein source like a protein shake and some healthy fats like nuts. 

Can You Eat Watermelon After Workouts?

Watermelon is suitable as a post-workout snack. It has the necessary carbs to help you replenish the energy lost. It also has citrulline, which is an amino acid that supports muscle recovery. Add a protein source and healthy fat along with watermelon to make it the ultimate post-workout snack.

It is essential to add a carb source after training to replenish the energy lost. Filling your carb storage helps prevent protein from being used as energy, and it helps muscles recover faster.

Watermelon also has several potent antioxidants that combine with the effect of citrulline, males it the best choice for muscle recovery.

Additionally, since watermelon is mostly water, it also helps replenish the water lost during training. 

For a bodybuilder in a cutting phase, you can have 2 cups of watermelon to help replenish your energy storage. On the other hand, if you are a bodybuilder in a bulking phase, you can have 3-4 cups of watermelon. If this is too much, you can blend it or add honey to increase the carb intake.

After training, it is essential to have a protein source to help repair and grow muscle. Make sure to add a source of protein like cottage cheese to increase muscle recovery. You can also add healthy fats to increase omega 3 fatty acids, known for being anti-inflammatory. Add some healthy nuts and seeds. 

Does Watermelon Help Muscle Growth?

Watermelon can add carbs to your diet, which is key for muscle growth. However, the carbs and overall calories are quite low, so watermelon is not the best fruit for muscle building.  But, watermelon does have antioxidants that aid in the recovery process, so having some watermelon while bulking is still beneficial.

For you to gain weight, there must be a calorie surplus. This means eating more calories than your body needs. You can blend watermelon to help you achieve this, but on its own it wouldn’t be enough calories. 

Although, the antioxidants and citrulline found in watermelon help muscle recovery, which means promoting a positive environment for muscle growth to occur.  Just know that watermelon isn’t the only thing you need to eat.

For muscle growth, you also need protein, something watermelon lacks. To make it the ultimate muscle-growing snack, use a protein source like Greek yogurt to help muscle development. 

Watermelon Recipe For Bodybuilding

This watermelon-based salad is ideal to have as a pre-workout or even as a post-workout. You only have to make a couple of adjustments for having it after training.

I hope you enjoy it! 

Watermelon Cucumber Salad

Watermelon Cucumber Salad Recipe For Bodybuilding


  • Calories: 317
  • Carbs: 28.4 g
  • Fats: 19.4 g
  • Protein: 10.8 g


  • 2 cups of watermelon diced
  • 2 oz of feta cheese
  • ½ cucumber diced
  • Zest of a lemon
  •  tablespoon fresh basil
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil  


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
  2. You can add salt and pepper to taste. 


  • Watermelon can release a lot of water, so it is recommended to have it served immediately.
  • If you have it as a post-workout snack, make sure to add an extra protein-like 3-4 of chicken breast on the side. 

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.