The Ultimate Guide to a Bodybuilding Diet for Women

October 11, 2021

The sad reality these days is that a huge number of women base their diets around losing weight rather than actually being as healthy as they could possibly be. This means that there is a good deal of confusion around nutrition for ladies – especially in regards to a bodybuilding diet for women.

The female bodybuilding diet will go against a lot of set trends that have emerged in the world of women’s health. First off, you’re going to need to eat more, not less – and you’re going to have to worry a bit less about losing as much fat as you possibly can.

In this article we’re going to talk about the best bodybuilding diet plan for women so you can decide how you’re going to eat to help maximize your muscle gain. Whether you’re wanting a diet for a bodybuilding competition, or are simply a beginner to bodybuilding, you’ll find the information that you need here.

Importance of diet in female bodybuilding

Diet is important for everyone – not just for bodybuilders. However, a bodybuilding diet plan for women might differ a bit from the standard diet for a few reasons.

  • An average person needs to tailor their diet to ensure that they get the proper vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that they need to live healthily. Female bodybuilders need to do this as well, but there are more things that they need to pay attention to.
  • The intake of specific nutrients should be attended to. Known as macros, things like protein, carbs, and fats should be consumed in particular amounts to ensure the maximum benefit. More on this below.
  • Calories also need to be attended to – but instead of making sure that you’re eating under a certain amount of calories, females on a bodybuilding plan will want to ensure that they’re eating more than a set minimum number of calories.


Diet is extra important for bodybuilders because their bodies are going to require more than the average person’s body will require. If you’re pushing yourself hard enough to develop new muscles, you’re going to need a whole lot of protein and calories to keep you going. (Bodybuilders who love the barbeque rejoice!)

Active women are recommended to consume at least 2,000 calories a day just to maintain their weight. Unfortunately, a lot of women eat far less than this. If you’re hoping to actually gain weight, then you’re going to have to start thinking about putting on at least a few hundred more than 2,000 calories.

Furthermore, having a detailed understanding of female bodybuilding diet specifics will help you ensure that you can maximize your health and bulk while minimizing any potential damage that might get done.

Female bodybuilding diet macronutrients (how to use macros)

You’ve probably heard the term macro thrown around a fair bit recently. Macros – short for macronutrients – can be used to help provide a more detailed understanding of your dietary intake so you can tailor a better bodybuilding diet plan to maximize your gains.

The three main macros that are dealt with in the world of the bodybuilder are protein, fat, and carbs. Each provides the body with a particular type of energy and a number of different benefits. Different people will want to arrange their macro consumption based on what they’re hoping to achieve with their diet.

A good recommended macro balance for women hoping to gain weight is about 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbs. This will help to provide the ideal amount of energy while giving enough protein for them to actually put on pounds.


Protein is incredibly important for women bodybuilders (and for everyone) because protein helps build cells. If we didn’t have enough protein then our cells wouldn’t be healthy and we wouldn’t be able to build or repair new cells.

In terms of muscle building, this would be massively impractical since the growth of new muscle tissue means that you need more cells to form. For this to happen, you’re going to need an abundance of protein – especially if you’re working out your whole body.

Some professional trainers recommend that you try to consume about one gram of protein per pound that you weigh. Good sources of protein include fish, lean meat, and various protein powders.


Carbohydrates are necessary for providing energy to your body and your brain. Without carbs, your body won’t have access to glucose, which is the primary energy source that your muscles and nervous system use.

In addition to this, carbs supply calories to your body – meaning that they’re a great way to help meet your calorie intake once you’ve decided on a bodybuilding diet plan for women that provides you with enough protein.

Healthy sources of carbs come largely from vegetables like sweet potatoes and whole grains. Avoid processed carbs like white bread and sugar, which are devoid of nutrients and actually very unhealthy for you.


Fat is quite often overlooked in regards to female bodybuilding, but it’s still very important to make sure that you get enough dietary fat. Fat is one of the staples that we need to survive.

In addition to being very rich in calories – fat is much more dense in calories than either protein or carbs – fat is necessary for helping to maintain the integrity of your cells and your nervous system.

This means that fat (from healthy sources such as avocados and olive oil) can be a great way to quickly boost up your calorie count while making sure that your body functions at its optimal level.

Why you should count calories and how to do it

If you’re hoping to achieve your bodybuilding goals, then you might want to keep calorie counting in mind. While calorie counting is most often associated with people who are interested in losing weight, it can be equally viable and useful for people who are hoping to pack on the pounds.

The main difference here is that people hoping to lose weight want to make sure they’re consuming less than their daily maximum, and women bodybuilders want to make sure that they’re consuming more than their daily minimum.

There are lots of ways that you can do this. You could simply count the calories on the labels of the foods that you eat, but this doesn’t really help you if you’re eating a lot of fresh vegetables. Besides, doing math at the beginning of every meal can be a bit of a chore.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to take note of all the food that you eat during a day – including any cooking oils, spices, and additives – and record them in their respective amounts into an online calorie counter. This will let you know if you’re meeting your daily requirements.

Bulking and cutting diet for women bodybuilders

Bulking and cutting diets are completely different things, so that’s important to keep in mind.

  • Cutting is when you’re hoping to shed fat, slim down, and improve your overall appearance without necessarily improving strength or gaining muscle.
  • Bulking is when you’re hoping to put on actual pounds of muscle so that you can grow stronger and get bigger.

Cutting female bodybuilder diets

If you’re on a cutting diet, you’ll probably want to take care of a few things.

  • Decrease your total calorie count so that you’re consuming fewer calories than you’re burning. This is the simplest rule that will lead to a loss of body fat.
  • Avoid refined carbohydrates – these are high in calories and don’t keep you full for very long, leading to overeating.
  • Go easy on the fats – while fats are good for you in reasonable amounts, they’re very high in calories.
  • Eat a lot of vegetables. If you’ve ever eaten a whole bowl full of raw vegetables then you know how easy it is to fill up on veggies alone. Veggies are low in calories – assuming you don’t eat them with high-calorie dips.
  • Use some cutting supplements to help you shed weight.

Bulking female bodybuilder diets

The basics of a bulking diet include:

  • Increase your protein intake, trying to eat a gram of protein per pound of weight
  • Increase your caloric intake so you consume more calories than you burn
  • Consume generous amounts of carbs, fats, and proteins

How to prepare your bodybuilding meals

Now that you’re prepared to make some changes to your diet and start packing in more calories, it’s probably a good idea for you to find out a bit about how you can prepare your foods and actually get these calories into your diet.

There are some cool tips and tricks that you can utilize for food prep:

  • Cook your food in bulk. This is great if you don’t have a lot of time or don’t like cooking. Freeze or refrigerate portions you aren’t eating.
  • If you use equal-sized containers, you can weigh out portions of food after counting their calories so you can keep track of your intake.
  • Use generous portions of oil when you’re cooking. Oily food is easier to digest for some people and it’s always high in calories.

Daily bodybuilding diet plan for women

There are an infinite number of ways that you can take your bodybuilding diet plan, but here are some simple ideas that you can build on if you’re not sure about where to start. These are very basic outlines and you can tailor them to your own preference.


  • Oatmeal with peanut butter
  • Fruit
  • A handful of nuts for protein
  • Protein smoothie


  • One egg
  • Piece of fruit


  • Chicken sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes
  • Tuna salad
  • Fruit and vegetables

Snack before workout:

  • Nuts & seeds to provide energy and protein
  • Dates or dried fruit for carbs (energy)

Meal after workout:

  • Brown rice stir-fry with chicken or beef and lots of vegetables
  • Smoothie with milk and protein
  • Leafy greens

Snack before bed:

  • Cottage cheese with fruit

What can a woman eat on a vegan bodybuilding diet

If you’re a vegan and you’re approaching the female bodybuilding diet for beginners for your first time, you might wonder if you’ll ever be able to meet the protein intake required for building muscle.

You absolutely can, and anyone who tells you otherwise is full of it. In fact, you could replace foods in the previous meal plan with much healthier vegan options for a similar, if not cheaper price and have an equal – if not higher – amount of protein.

There are many vegan foods – aside from the holy grail of tofu – that are rich in protein:

Tofu, the obvious choice for bulkers. Unfortunately, soy contains phytoestrogens which can be counterintuitive to someone hoping to build muscle if they’re eating soy for their main source of protein.

Whole grains and legumes contain a whopping amount of protein. Lentils and chickpeas are particularly good sources of protein, and can be used as a base for most stir-fries. Most forms of beans are pretty rich in protein as well.

Nuts and seeds are great protein-rich snacks when you’re on the go. Nut butters like peanut butter can also add a wallop of protein to your morning oatmeal.

Nutritional yeast is rich in protein, B vitamins, and just about every nutrient a vegan could ever dream of that they’re not getting from their vegetables.

Hemp seeds and hemp protein are fantastic sources of protein.

In Conclusion

Bodybuilding can be very similar for both women and men, but it’s important to know the specifics for your gender. Bodybuilding diet plans for women are best tailored for the ladies, and they can provide the best benefis..




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