10 Best Low-Calorie Foods for Body Builders

December 2, 2020 by  
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When you’re trying to stay lean while building muscle, finding protein-rich, low calorie foods is a must. While it’s important to give yourself adequate fuel when you’re bodybuilding, if you don’t watch what you eat, you’ll just get fat instead of muscular! In this world of high fructose corn syrup and saturated fat, finding healthy food with the right nutrients might seem hard at first. Luckily, you can get what you need from some very basic low-calorie foods you can find in any grocery store.

Low Calorie Foods FAQ

Before we dive into what specific foods you should look for at the supermarket, let’s go over some of the basic aspects of nutrition that you should consider when bodybuilding.

1. Why Choose Low-Calorie Foods?

If you’re like most people, you like to eat. One of the challenges of staying fit is to not overindulge in food. We have a very extensive snacking culture in most developed countries, and this sneaks a lot of hidden calories into our diets. We can easily end up eating more calories than we burn and storing those calories as bubbling fat.

What’s the point of bodybuilding if you’re just going to end up covering all that muscle definition in a layer of fat?

There are a few ways to tackle this problem: One of them is to simply put less food into your mouth. All things being equal, you will probably eat fewer calories if you have fewer meals. This isn’t feasible for many people, though, especially if eating is a hobby.

Instead of depriving yourself, you can simply switch out some of the food that you eat with low calorie foods instead. These alternatives can keep your stomach feeling full and give you some protein, but will be less likely to put you over your caloric limits.

2. What Should I Look For in Body Building Food?

Foods that are good to eat when you’re bodybuilding have a few things in common:

  • They have adequate protein
  • The protein ideally contains a good mix of amino acids
  • They have a lot of micro nutrients, such as vitamins
  • They are not unreasonably high in calories
  • They don’t have a ridiculous amount of refined sugar

You should look for foods that have complete proteins especially since these are the ones that your body can most easily turn into muscle. “Complete” means that the protein contains all of the essential amino acids. You can also combine foods to get this effect.

Some bodybuilders may tell you not to worry about the specifics and to just stuff your face with whatever food will make you “big.” This might work temporarily, especially if you’ve never lifted before, but it’s not a good long-term strategy. There’s no point in having bulging muscles if the food you’re eating is going to lead to health problems down the road. Eat food that will help you stay healthy enough to lift for years to come.

3. When Should You Not Eat Low Calorie Foods?

Now, low calorie foods are a good idea for most people, but they might not be for everyone. There may actually be circumstances where you should not concentrate on eating low calorie foods. Take a more calorie-dense approach if:

  • You don’t like to eat
  • You often forget to eat or have very few meals per day
  • You have a very fast metabolism

Most people have the opposite of the above problems, but if you’re a “hard gainer” because you burn through calories like crazy and don’t like to eat, then you’ll need to focus on very caloric foods. If you eat high-calorie foods, then you can get the energy you need with fewer meals. Otherwise, you may find it hard to gain muscle.

This doesn’t mean that you should eat junk, of course. There are plenty of healthy foods that you can incorporate in your diet that are also calorie-dense. Nuts, legumes, and grains are just a few examples.

4. Are Healthy Foods and Low Calorie Foods the Same Thing?

No! There are plenty of foods that are extremely calorie-dense, so you will have to limit your intake. For instance, avocados are healthy, but they are also very high in calories, and you shouldn’t go crazy with them if you’re trying to keep your intake low. They have a lot of good fats in them, but fat molecules are very caloric.

The reverse is also true: not all low calorie foods are healthy, either. For example, many popsicles are actually low in calories (because they’re just frozen, flavored sugar water), but they aren’t exactly great for you. They’re just empty calories, basically.

To know if something is good for you, check the label.

5. Do Protein Powders Count as Low Calorie Foods?

Protein powers may be called a “supplement,” but actually they’re really just food. Protein is food, the same way fat and carbs are. Whether your protein powder counts as a low calorie food or not depends on how caloric the protein powder is.

If the powder is pure protein with nothing else, then that’s as low calorie as it gets, really. If there are a bunch of additives, like sugar, to make it taste a certain way, then it might have some extra empty calories. Again, check the label.

How We Reviewed

We determined which foods work best on a bodybuilding diet using a number of factors. The main concern was the protein-to-calorie ratio. Since protein is a macronutrient, and it contains four calories per gram, anything with protein is going to have some calories. We focused on finding healthy, natural low calorie foods with few additives that are easy to find at the store.

What We Reviewed

  • Chicken Breast
  • Eggs
  • Watercress
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Tuna
  • Frozen Greek Yogurt
  • Celery
  • Shrimp
  • Zucchini
  • Halibut

Chicken Breast

H.F.'s Outstanding All Natural Skinless Boneless Chicken Breast, 40 Ounce
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The most popular kind of poultry by far, chicken is tasty, easy to make, and absorbs flavors well when it’s cooked with seasoning. Chicken breast is some of the leanest meat on the chicken, meaning that it has less fat than other parts. This makes it less caloric, as well. If you cut out the fat, you can cut out a lot of the calories, since fat—at 9 calories per gram—is by far the most caloric macronutrient.

Pros

  •  Easy to find at any supermarket
  •  Some of the cheapest meat you can get
  •  Easy to prepare
  •  Easy to use as a substitute for more caloric meats in many dishes
  •  Can be prepared in a variety of ways
  •  Contains all the essential amino acids

Cons

  •  A bit bland on its own sometimes, especially since the breast has little fat
  • Can be a bit dry if not prepared correctly
  • Since it comes from an animal, it is not vegetarian- or vegan-friendly

Eggs

It's Just - Whole Egg Protein Powder, Made in USA, Non-GMO (20oz)
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Eggs are the go-to breakfast staple for a lot of people because they’re so easy to prepare. If you’re a busy person on the run, you can simply boil a few eggs before your workout and scarf them down when you’re done. They’re also one of the least expensive sources of amino acid-complete protein.

You can buy dried, powdered, fresh, or freeze-dried eggs.

Pros

  • Fairly low in calories for the amount of protein you get
  • Protein contains all the essential amino acids
  • Extremely inexpensive
  •  Easy to prepare

Cons

  • High in cholesterol
  • Contains some saturated fat
  • Not vegan

Watercress

Micro Greens - Watercress - 4 x 4 oz
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Watercress is one of those low-calorie foods that is almost too good to be true. Its 0.8 grams of protein per chopped cup may not seem impressive at first, but it is when you take into account that this same amount only contains 4 calories! In other words, the largest source of calories in watercress is its protein.

Pros

  • Extremely low-calorie food for the amount of protein
  • Goes well in a fresh salad and is easy to prepare
  • Contains tons of micronutrients, including vitamin A and vitamin K
  • Works for vegans and vegetarians

Cons

  • Because it has so few calories, it may not be as satisfying as other foods
  • A bit expensive when taking into account how many calories one gets
  • Since it is seasonal, it may cost more out of season
  • Amino acid profile not as ideal as that of eggs, dairy, or meat

Where to Buy

Greek Yogurt


Greek yogurt is one of the least expensive sources of complete animal protein. It is also fairly low in calories for the protein punch that it packs. Since it is fermented, it may have some added benefits for your gut bacteria, too.

Pros

  •  Contains a lot of protein per serving
  • Ready to eat; does not require preparation
  • Can be made easily into parfaits or other healthy deserts
  • Possibly offers probiotics that aid digestion

Cons

  •  Not appropriate for people who are sensitive to dairy products
  • May contain a lot of sugar
  • Not vegan

Tuna

StarKist Chunk Light Tuna in Water - 5 oz Can (Pack of 4)
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Fish has a lot of advantages over land animal meat. For one, it contains a lot of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health. It also tends to be leaner than other meats, with more protein and fewer calories.

Pros

  •  Full of micronutrients, such as omega-3’s
  • Comes in many formats that are easy to prepare, including from cans
  • Can be worked into many different meals or even eaten raw in some cases
  •  Easy choice for pescatarians

Cons

  •  Not appropriate for people who are sensitive or allergic to seafood
  •  Like almost all seafood, tuna contains some mercury
  •  Not vegan

Frozen Greek Yogurt

When you have a sweet tooth, you’re going to need to find alternatives if you want to stick to low calorie foods. Frozen Greek yogurt makes for a nice dessert that doesn’t have nearly the amount of calories that ice cream does. It can also be easier to digest for some.

Pros

  • Lower in calories than other sweets like ice cream
  • Goes well with fresh fruit
  • Contains more protein than most other deserts

Cons

  • Can contain a lot of sugar
  • Might be hard to find at some conventional grocery stores
  • Not vegan
  • Not appropriate for those who are sensitive to dairy

Celery

CELERY FRESH PRODUCE LARGE FRUIT VEGETABLES PER BUNDLE (1)
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Celery is a common snack for people on a diet because it hardly contains calories at all. It is made mostly of water and micronutrients, so it gives you something to munch on that won’t add to your waistline.

Pros

  •  Very, very low in calories
  •  Contains lots of vitamins, like vitamin K, vitamin A, and folate
  •  Goes well in soups and salads

Cons

  •  Not as protein dense as watercress
  •  Since there’s hardly anything to it, it’s not very satisfying for most people
  •  The taste is too bitter for some people, though cooking can help with this

Shrimp

Sea Best 41/50 EZ Peel Shrimp, 2 Pound
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Shrimp is a great source of protein and fat for seafood lovers. It can be prepared in different ways and is fairly low in calories for the nutrients that you get.

Pros

  •  Easy to make and can even be eaten raw
  •  Less mercury than fish
  •  90% of its calories come from protein
  •  Contains no carbs, so it’s perfect for those on a low carb diet
  •  Contains an abundance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids

Cons

  •  High in cholesterol
  •  Not appropriate for those who are allergic to shellfish
  •  Not vegan or vegetarian

Zucchini

ZUCCHINI SQUASH GREEN FRESH PRODUCE FRUIT VEGETABLES PER POUND
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Zucchini is a versatile vegetable that can be used as a substitute for grains when you’re on a low-carb diet. Regardless, it is low in calories and high in vitamins, which makes it a great food to add to your menu.

Pros

  •  Contains a lot of vitamins, such as vitamin C
  •  Can be used as a substitute for pasta or rice in many dishes
  •  Contains almost no fat
  •  Great for vegans and vegetarians

Cons

  •  Contains a higher amount of sugar than protein
  •  Not a complete protein

Halibut

Today Gourmet - Halibut Fillets - Alaskan Wild Caught 12 - 6/7ounce Fillets(5 Pound Pkg)
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Halibut is another fish that is worth considering if you’re on a bodybuilding diet. It is one of those low calorie foods that still manages to include plenty of protein. Like a fish, it also contains those essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Pros

  •  High in protein
  •  High in omega-3 fatty acids
  •  No carbs or sugars

Cons

  •  Since it’s fish, it may contain mercury
  •  Won’t work for you if you have a seafood allergy
  •  Contains cholesterol

The Verdict

Finding food that works for you when you’re on a bodybuilding diet doesn’t have to be complicated. Low calorie foods are actually really common, and you can find them at most grocery stores.

So, which one of these low calorie foods should you eat? Ideally, all of them!

Of course, not all low calorie foods will be for you. For instance, if you’re vegan or you’re just trying to lower your meat intake, you should focus on plants foods like watercress and celery. If you’re on a low-carb diet, then focusing on the meat and seafood would suit you better, since these foods are low in sugar and high in fat and protein.

Regardless, all these low calorie foods are natural, healthy, full of muscle-building protein, and make a great addition to any bodybuilding diet.

10 Best Pre Workout List

September 6, 2019 by  
Filed under Weight Lifting

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If you have ever worked out after a long day, you know how tired and fatigued your body can be by the time you reach the gym. This lack of energy can zap your motivation, severely bog you down, and prevent you from giving your best. Fortunately, there’s a way out of this. A good pre workout supplement can recharge your body and mind. In this article, you will learn more about these supplements, their advantages, and the best pre workout supplement among the tons of options available in the market.  

Product FAQ

What Is a Pre Workout Supplement? 

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Similar to whey protein, pre workout supplements come in a powdered form and can be dissolved in either water or other liquids and can be consumed orally. Designed to boost your workout performance, they need to be consumed an hour before your workout, so the supplements have enough time to act on your body.  

What Does a Pre Workout Supplement Do?        

man inside the gym

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A good pre workout supplement provides your body with a rush of energy, increases muscular strength and endurance, decreases muscular fatigue, boosts focus and concentration, and promotes increased blood flow to the muscles by dilating the blood vessels. These effects translate to better and amplified levels of performance when working out.

What Are the Factors to Consider before Buying a Pre Workout Supplement?

man showing off his muscles

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Some factors you need to consider before getting a pre workout supplement are the ingredients and their quality, transparency in disclosure, the presence of unnecessary additives or fillers, and user reviews.  

Where Can I Buy the Best Pre Workout Supplement?

man working out

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You can get pre workout supplements online through various websites such as Amazon, Strong Supplement Shop, GNC, and Walmart, among others. You could even visit your local supplement store or your local supermarket to pick one up.        

How We Reviewed

Among the many pre workout supplements out on the market, we picked 10 of the most highly rated supplements and compared them to each other. We then reviewed them based on thier ingredient lists, pros, and cons. Our team also went to great lengths to understand the ingredients used and the effects they have on the body to give you an unbiased overview and talked with real users.

What We Reviewed

  • Wild Thing by Assault Labs
  • Seismic Surge by Hard Rock Supplements
  • Edge of Insanity by Psycho Pharma
  • Pre-Kaged by Kaged
  • Jacked Nitrosurge
  • Pre-Jym by Jym
  • ENGN Shred by Evlution Nutrition
  • C4 Original by Cellucor
  • NeuroCore Pre-Workout by MuscleTech
  • Pump Boost by RSP Nutrition

Wild Thing by Assault Labs

Features

This pre workout supplement contains 5 grams of citrulline malate in a 2 to 1 ratio, 2 grams of beta alanine, 2 grams of arginine, and 2 grams of GlycerPump as the primary ingredients. Citrulline malate and beta alanine work together and reportedly reduce muscle fatigue, increasing the amount of high-intensity activity that your muscles can endure. The arginine and GlycerPump matrix may boost the nitric oxide content in your body, increasing the amount of blood that flows to the muscles. More blood flow equals a more muscular pump.  

Pros

  • Creatine hydrochloride increases the muscular strength, improves performance, and promotes muscle hydration
  • Mixes well with the water and does not clump together
  • Prevents muscle fatigue and improves muscular endurance

Cons

  • Due to the presence of caffeine, consuming it close to your bedtime can interfere with your sleep
  • Flavor choices are  limited with just two on offer

Seismic Surge by Hard Rock Supplements

Features 

Elevate your training to the next level with Seismic Surge by Hard Rock supplements. This pre workout supplement contains beta alanine, arginine alphaketoglutarate, and agmatine sulfate as the primary ingredients. They help reduce muscular fatigue and increase the vascularity, delivering more blood to the muscles worked. Synephrine HCL and alpha yohimbine in the supplement promote thermogenesis in the body and supports the utilization of fat stores for energy.  

Pros

  • Contains multiple ingredients that help promote focus and concentration
  • Muscles get a great pump
  • Provides clean energy with no jitters or shakes

Cons

  • Does not contain citrulline malate, which helps delay muscular fatigue
  • Does not contain amounts per serving for individual ingredients

Edge of Insanity by Psycho Pharma

Features 

Edge of Insanity by Psycho Pharma gives your muscles a great pump and increases the amount of blood that flows to your muscles. This is because the pre workout supplement contains arginine alphaketoglutarate (in a 2 to 1 ratio) and agmatine sulfate as the primary ingredients. The supplement is high on stimulating ingredients such as caffeine, phenibut, yohimbine extract, and green tea extract, which isn’t very healthy for your body in the long run.

Pros

  • Perfect for people who prefer supplements with stimulants
  • Gives you a high dose of energy with a mild euphoric feeling

Cons

  • Lacks the ingredient citrulline malate, which helps keep muscle fatigue at bay
  • Amounts per serving for individual ingredients are not listed

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Pre-Kaged by Kaged

Pre Workout Powder; KAGED MUSCLE Preworkout for Men & Pre Workout Women, Delivers Intense Workout Energy, Focus & Pumps; One of the Highest Rated Pre-Workout Supplements, Fruit Punch, Natural Flavors

Features 

Unlike other pre workout supplements, the Pre-Kaged by Kaged Muscle does not use any proprietary blends to hide supplement information. The supplement features 6.5 grams of citrulline malate, which is known to reduce muscle fatigue and lactic acid build-up and increase performance. Besides that, citrulline malate also improves your body’s ability to use amino acids such as BCAAs as a fuel source.

Pros

  • All the ingredients are listed along with their amounts per serving
  • Contains 6.5 grams of BCAAs that provide your muscles with energy and delay fatigue
  • Consists of creatine HCL, which increases muscle volume and strength

Cons

  • Issues with mixability as it doesn’t seem to dissolve completely
  • Flavors not great

Jacked Nitrosurge

Features 

Even with very few ingredients and a tiny serving size of just 9 grams, the Jacked Nitrosurge provides your body with the focus, strength, and energy to break through plateaus. The primary ingredients of this pre workout supplement are citrulline, beta alanine, and betaine anhydrous. Although the supplement contains caffeine, it is in a relatively low dosage, which is just enough to keep you alert and focused. L-Theanine in the supplement helps to counteract and manage the stimulating effects of caffeine, preventing crashes.  

Pros

  • Features AstraGin, which helps support absorption of the ingredients by the body
  • Does not contain fillers, unnecessary ingredients, or proprietary blends
  • Is not overloaded with caffeine or other highly stimulating ingredients

Cons

  • Has a slightly strong aftertaste which may not be appealing to everybody
  • Comes in only two flavors

Pre-Jym by Jym

Pre JYM Pre Workout Powder - BCAAs, Creatine HCI, Citrulline Malate, Beta-Alanine, Betaine, and More | JYM Supplement Science | Black Cherry Flavor, 20 Servings

Features 

The Pre-Jym by Jym Supplement Science is arguably one of the cleanest pre workout supplements ever created. The supplement does not contain any proprietary blends, is fully transparent, and lists out all the ingredients used along with the amount per serving values. Backed by science, the ingredients in the supplement are in the right doses and come in the right combinations to provide maximum performance enhancement.  

Pros

  • Comes in five refreshing flavors
  • Provides your body with smooth energy and does not jolt you
  • Contains creatine, beta-alanine, BCAAs, citrulline malate, and a host of other ingredients in a single scoop, eliminating the need to take separate supplements

Cons

  • Very expensive when compared with other alternatives
  • 300 mg of caffeine can cause issues with sleep if consumed closer to bedtime

ENGN Shred by Evlution Nutrition

Evlution Nutrition ENGN Shred Pre Workout Thermogenic Fat Burner Powder, Energy, Weight Loss, 30 Servings (Cherry Limeade)

Features 

Besides boosting your performance in the gym, the ENGN Shred also contains vitamins and minerals such as vitamins B6 and B12, folic acid, and niacin. Aside from providing you with a rush of energy and focus, ENGN Shred also helps increase your body’s potential to burn fat as it contains ingredients such as CLA, Capsimax, L-Carnitine, and Yohimbe extract.  

Pros

  • Delays muscle fatigue and increases endurance
  • Promotes fat loss via thermogenesis and increases the body’s ability to tap into fat stores to use as fuel
  • Can suppress appetite

Cons

  • Some ingredients do not have the amounts per serving listed out individually
  • Some users experience stomach issues and nausea after consumption

C4 Original by Cellucor

C4 Original Pre Workout Powder Pink Lemonade | Vitamin C for Immune Support | Sugar Free Preworkout Energy for Men & Women | 150mg Caffeine + Beta Alanine + Creatine | 60 Servings

Features 

Similar to ENGN Shred, the C4 Original by Cellucor also contains a blend of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, niacin, folic acid, and calcium. Except for 1.6 grams of beta alanine, 1 gram of creatine nitrate, and 1 gram of arginine alphaketoglutarate, there aren’t any other significant ingredients in the supplement.  

Pros

  • Due to the low caffeine content, the supplement does not cause any issues with sleep
  • Flavors taste great and do not have a chemical or artificial taste 
  • Provides your body with a high dose of energy

Cons

  • At just 6.5 grams, the serving size is too small with inadequate dosages of ingredients
  • Features very minimal ingredients and lacks several others

NeuroCore Pre-Workout by MuslceTech

Pre Workout + Muscle Builder | MuscleTech Neurocore Preworkout | Creatine HCl + L Citrulline + Yohimbine + Beta Alanine + Caffeine | Pre-Workout Powder for Men & Women | Blue Raspberry (33 Servings)

Features 

Neurocore is a tried and tested pre workout supplement from one of the most well-known manufacturers of supplements, MuscleTech. Featuring a healthy dose of beta alanine, citrulline, and creatine HCL, the supplement delivers exceptional energy, strength, and endurance, enabling you to perform better. NeuroCore is low on highly stimulating ingredients, providing you with clean, smooth energy with no jitters.

Pros

  • Caffeine content is low and does not cause insomnia or caffeine crashes
  • Mixes well and dissolves completely in water, leaving you with no clumps or residues
  • Creatine HCL helps increase the muscular strength

Cons

  • Requires you to take 2 scoops to feel the effects
  • Some users report nausea and other digestive issues with 2-scoop servings

Pump Boost by RSP Nutrition

RSP Pump Boost - Stimulant Free Pre Workout & Nitric Oxide Booster, N.O. Boost for Enhanced Pumps, Energy Boost, and Improved Training Endurance

Features

The Pump Boost by RSP Nutrition is one of the rare pre workout supplements with absolutely no stimulating ingredients in the formulation. The primary ingredients of the supplement are 2.5 grams of L-Citrulline and 1.5 grams of Glycerol. Due to its stimulant-free nature, it can be consumed at any point in the day to get a slight boost in energy.

Pros

  • Affordable when compared with other alternatives
  • Free from stimulating ingredients
  • Contains 250 mg of coconut water powder that supports hydration of the body

Cons

  • Muscular pumps are not on the level of other pre workout supplements with stimulants
  • Slim ingredient profile might not appeal to most people

The Verdict

Based on our comprehensive review of the best pre workout supplements, the Pre-Jym by Jym Supplement Science scores high on the effectiveness scale. It is the perfect supplement for both first-timers and seasoned consumers alike. Pre-Jym claims that your body does not develop a tolerance to it, allowing you to enjoy the effects consistently without having to take a break from it.

Though high in stimulant ingredients, Wild Thing by Assault Labs is another great alternative. Wild Thing gives you a rush of crazy energy and intense focus with a massive skin ripping pump. If you’re not a huge fan of highly stimulating supplements, the Pump Boost by RSP Nutrition might interest you with its no-stimulant formulation.

Weight Lifting Workouts for Building Muscle and Training for Body Building

April 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Weight Lifting