Best Diet for Natural Bodybuilders (Natty Bulking Plan)

 Natty bodybuilding diet

The Best Natural Bodybuilder Diet Plan

What is a natural bodybuilder diet?

A natural bodybuilder diet is a diet that helps you build lean muscle and burn fat without the need for anabolic steroid assistance. It consists of lean meats, healthy fats and whole foods to enable maximum muscle repair and adaption. 

In this article we will focus on both bulking and cutting phase eating plans as well as working out which is the best one for you and your goals. 

Natty bodybuilder shopping list

Natty Cutting - The Best Way to Cut for a Natural Bodybuilder

Low Carb Vs. Low Fat Vs. Fasting

There are a few different options for losing body fat whilst in a cutting phase. Ultimately you will need to be in a calorie deficit and, as your competition draws closer, reducing excess water retention. There are three main methods for achieving this:

Low Carb Diet:

A low carb diet allows you to eat a lot of protein and healthy fats which is great for muscle growth and maintenance. It is also a good option if you naturally retain a lot of water and are often bloated. 

Taking starchy carbs such as white potatoes and white rice out of the equation helps to reduce water retention and can leave you feeling much leaner. 

In a study published in 2013, researchers found that in people who followed a low-carb diet for six months, the participants experienced an increase in resting metabolic rate.The study also found that these people had lower levels of insulin and C-reactive protein which are both biomarkers for cardiovascular risk. 

Over time, the average person will lose weight and experience a decrease in body fat percentage without a noticeable loss in muscle mass. This is ultimately the aim of a bodybuilder making this a great option for cutting. 

Some people experience a loss of energy with this approach as the body goes into ketosis, especially in the first two weeks if you are used to eating a lot of carbs. This can obviously have a detrimental effect on your training output. 

We would suggest easing in to a low carb cutting phase and possible consider leaving starchy carbs out of your diet even when bulking. Opt for Sweet potato rather than white potatoes, wholemeal bread instead of white bread and wholegrain rice instead of white rice. 

If you stick to these guidelines during bulking, you will probably not feel fatigues when you go into ketosis at the beginning of a low-carb cycle making the whole process much more bearable. 

Low Fat

Reducing fat in the food you eat is the most common way to lose fat in the body. It is easy to do as there are a lot of low-fat or fat-free products on the market that make it easy to eat a lot of the foods you enjoy. 

Some bodybuilders just can not do without carbs and rely heavily on them as an energy source for training. They obviously can not cut out protein so they will opt to cut out fatty foods as way to reduce calorie intake. 

In general, this is not something that most bodybuilders would recommend as healthy fats are essential for muscle growth, recovery and maintenance. It is also very restrictive when it comes to protein selection as a lot of fish and red meats have a high fat content. 

A few bodybuilders swear by this approach and feel that by cutting out the carbs, their energy levels dip too low and they are unable to retain muscle mass. It is ultimately down to you and how your body reacts to the different macros and methods. 


Fasting is another option for bodybuilders - eating in the morning, before going to the gym, then fasting until dinner time when you eat again so that your muscles can repair and adapt whilst you sleep. 

Fasting allows you to consume fewer calories without feeling deprived or hungry all day long, which can make it easier for people who are used to eating a lot of food to stick with the fast.

There are a few different ways to fast and it can be mentally tough for the first few days but, if you can stay disciplined, your body soon adapts to this new schedule and you will find that you have a lot more energy. 

Fasting is relatively new to the world of bodybuilding but studies and reviews are showing very positive results. It enables you to eat all of the beneficial nutrients at a time of day that offers maximum benefits in terms of muscle repair, growth and maintenance. 

Some bodybuilders are also seeing positive effects of longer fasts. A 72 hour fast starting on day one of your cutting phase gives you a great metabolic boost, flushes toxins from your system, reduces any retained water and gives you a great kickstart to fat-loss. There also seems to be little or no loss of muscle mass over 72 hours.

Note: You should only do a 72 hour fast once every few months but shorter fasts can be added in between. 

Natty Bulking - How to Pack on Lean Muscle Mass

If you are bulking to add on muscle mass for a competition, you should not look on it as a free-for-all on any foods. The more sugary foods and trans-fats that you eat whilst bulking, the harder you are going to have to cut for a defined physique. Not to mention the negative effect it has on your training, mood and overall health. 

For this reason, it is a good idea to have an eating plan. This will likely involve a lot of meal prep and discipline. 

Meal preparation can be done once per week and the foods that you eat do not have to be boring. Try to stock your freezer up with high protein meals and snacks that you actually enjoy so that eating does not become a chore. 

Natty bodybuilder meal prep

Youtube is your friend here. There are loads of chefs and athletes that show you how to prep with tasty looking meals for the week as well as recipes for cooking with protein powders. 

Put aside a couple of hours each week, maybe a Sunday evening, to plan and cook your meals. Weigh out your protein and carbs for each meal and throw in a good portion of greens to keep you feeling full. Cook it up, pack it up and store it for the week ahead either in a fridge or freezer. 

When it comes to schedule, little and often is the best way forward when bulking. Your body can only absorb 40-60 grams of protein every two hours so having one big meal each day is not going to give you the most from your nutrients. 

Try to get some macros into your body every two and a half hours for maximum absorption. This can be done with a mixture of foods from your meal prep and protein supplements such as whey protein shakes or whey isolate drinks

How should I start each day off?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to breakfast if you workout in the morning. Some people find it beneficial to eat a big breakfast so that they can fuel a big workout. This would usually consist of protein, some healthy fats and some fast digesting carbs such as oats. 

Other people find it easier to work out on an empty stomach and just eat a big post-workout meal. 

There has been extensive research on both methods and they all pretty much say the same thing. It doesn't matter! 

There seems to be no significant benefit to either method unless you are seeking strength gains. For hypertrophy, just do whichever suits you and enables you to have the best training session. 

Hyperhydration for natty bodybuilders

One thing that everybody can agree on is the importance of hydration in the morning. For the normal person, just drinking a glass of water should do it. If you are going to put your body through a tough training session, go big. 

Hyper-hydration is gaining more and more popularity as it seems to have many benefits. By drinking 2.5 litres+ when you first wake up, you are flushing out toxins from your body that have built up overnight and making sure that you are fully hydrated. 

You can take this to another level by adding electrolytes, lemon juice or even a pre-workout to your drink to get the most from it. 

How to choose the best natural diet plan for your goals

The best natural bodybuilder diet plan is the one that is tailored to your goals and preferences. 

If you are just starting out, it's best to choose a beginner-friendly meal plan and keep it simple. You will soon learn how to get the best from meal timings, the food you eat and portion sizes.

If you are a competitive bodybuilder and not using steroids to keep your body in an anabolic state, you are going to have to work hard at it in other areas. This means higher training volumes, a higher intensity and making sure that you have your diet absolutely nailed down. 

There will probably be no room for cheat days and you will need to be extremely disciplined. You will likely already know the diet plan that suits your training, fat loss and body type but if you are not seeing what you think are your best results, consider switching it up and trying one of the methods detailed above. 

Ultimately, the best natural bodybuilding diet plan is the one that works for you.

The best supplements for a natty bodybuilder

Having your training and diet on point is great but if you want to take it to another level, you are going to need supplements. Especially if you are cutting and lacking certain vitamins or minerals. 

Supplements are a bodybuilders friend. Any bodybuilder that says that they can get all of the nutrients that they need from food is lying to you and lying to themselves. 

The essential supplements for a natural bodybuilder are:


Whilst it is possible to hit your daily protein markers with food, it is incredibly hard, especially of you are trying to restrict calories during a cutting phase. You should always have either whey protein, whey isolate or a vegan protein powder in your cupboard to supplement your meals and as a post-workout drink. 

Post-workout is where a protein drink comes into its own. It is a fast-absorbing protein that gets to your muscles fast enabling a quicker recovery and better adaption. 

We recommend:

Whey protein
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Creatine is one of the cheapest and most commonly used supplements in bodybuilding. It is naturally produced by the body but supplementing with creatine monohydrate will enable quick recovery from your workout and an increase in lean muscle mass.

You can buy creatine from any good supplement supplier and as long as you are buying a pure form, you do not need to worry about branding and gimmicks. Go for a cheap but pure form. 

Our recommendation:
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It doesn't matter how good your diet is and how hard you try, you are never going to meet the recommended RDA for all of the vitamins and minerals. This is why a good multivitamin is important for everybody, not just bodybuilders. 

Don't skimp on price her. Do some research, look at reviews and opt for a good, synthetic, slow release multi-vitamin. Cheap, natural multivitamins look good on the label but they break down immediately upon digestion and most of the goodness is passed out through your urine. 

Our Recommendation:
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Beta-Alanine is an optional supplement but it is great for enhancing recovery time and boosting energy levels. Try adding it into your pre-workout (if it is not already in there) and you will probably feel a huge difference in focus, energy and concentration. 

Our recommendation:

Beta Alanine
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Fish Oils

If you eat a lot of fish, red meat, eggs and avocados, you will probably not need this but if your protein comes from chicken, turkey and protein shakes, add it to your arsenal. Taking 2-3 capsules a day is a great way to get your healthy fats that will help with bodily functions, cognitive functions and energy levels. 

There are huge benefits to heart health, brain health and joint health from omega 3,6 and 9 fats so they should be a part of everybody's supplement stack. 

Our recommendation:

Fish Oils
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The Best Natural Bodybuilding Program

There are a lot of training programs online and in magazines that are usually endorsed by elite bodybuilders promoting some kind of variation to the bro-split. There is no doubt that these programs work for them and are effective, but they are all assisted with anabolic steroids.

These programs are not going to be beneficial to the natural lifter and if you are following one, you are missing out on some serious gains. 

If you want to get as big as possible without using steroids, take a look at our HyperGrowth program by clicking on the link below. It will show you how to optimise training frequency for each muscle to attain the maximum hypertrophy through science-backed research. 

HyperGrowth workout split for natty lifter


In conclusion, if you are a natty bodybuilder looking to get the best results possible, you are going to have to train harder, eat better and supplement wisely. 

In reality, you can do all of these and you will still never be as big as Jay Cutler or Ronnie Coleman. If this is what you are aspiring to, you are going to have to consider cycling steroids under medical supervision. Keep in mind the negative effects (and the huge cost) of doing this along with the possible size gains. 

We hope that you have found this article informative. Check out some of our training programs for natty lifters by clicking on the menu bar at the top of tis page. 

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