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Bodybuilding on a Carnivore Diet: Bulking or Losing Muscles? [Meal Plan]

Bodybuilders and athletes always look for the diets to improve their exercise results. This article will focus on Carnivore diet bodybuilding to find out if it can help bodybuilders for bulking or avoiding muscle loss. Also, you’ll get a free meal plan to build your muscles and reach your health and fitness goals.

Bodybuilding on a Carnivore Diet: Bulking or Losing Muscles? [Meal Plan]
Highlights
  • The Carnivore Diet can improve bodybuilding results and muscle gain by increasing protein intake.
  • The Carnivore Diet aims to achieve lean muscle, strength, and body composition by avoiding plants, consuming more protein and healthy fats, and hydration.
  • Decrease carbohydrates but consume enough calories to reach your muscle-building goals.
  • Caloric deficit, carb deprivation, nutrient imbalance, hydration issues, and lack of protein can cause muscle loss.

Bodybuilding on the Carnivore Diet

Carnivore diet bodybuilding refers to consuming animal products while training for muscle growth to boost the results.

The Carnivore diet aims to minimize carbohydrates, maximize fat, keep protein in moderation, and remove plant-based products. It means the dieters can eat meat, fish, eggs, and limited dairy, but no plant-based foods.

Let’s see what goals this diet seeks to achieve and what its main rules are.

What Is the Goal?

The main goals of the Carnivore diet for bodybuilders is to

  • build lean muscle by training and consuming protein and animal products;
  • gain strength and improve physical performance;
  • achieve a healthy and fit body composition by decreasing body fat and increasing muscle mass.

Rules

  • Eating only animal products, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products
  • Avoiding plant-based products, including fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, and plant oils
  • Avoiding carbohydrates, including complex and simple sugars like bread, pasta, rice, and fruits
  • Consuming protein-rich animal foods
  • Eat healthy fats, i.e., fatty cuts of meat and other animal fats
  • Stay hydrated by drinking enough water, bone broth, etc.
  • Avoiding or limiting spices and seasonings
  • Taking supplements if needed after consulting a healthcare professional
  • Monitoring changes and your body’s reactions to the dietary changes, including your energy levels, performance, and overall health, to modify where needed.

Learn More: Carnivore Diet vs Atkins Diet: Which Is Better for Weight Loss?

Is a Carnivore Diet Good for Bodybuilding?

Yes, the Carnivore diet can be beneficial for both bodybuilding and general health. Let’s see what these positive effects are.

Compatibility with Bodybuilding and Powerlifting Activities

Although carbohydrates provide energy, athletes can still provide enough energy following the Carnivore diet and consuming protein, fat, and adequate amounts of calories (source).

Weight Loss and Cardiometabolic Health

Meat-only diets like Carnivore can speed up weight loss and improve markers of cardiovascular health (source).

Chronic Disease and Mortality

There is a correlation between consuming meat and mood disorders, colorectal cancer, and all-cause mortality (source).

Autoimmune Disease

There have been reports of the Carnivore diet’s effect on alleviating the symptoms of autoimmune conditions (source).

Now that we know the answers are positive regarding the effectiveness of the Carnivore diet on bodybuilding let’s get into details and learn more about the benefits of the Carnivore diet bodybuilding.

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The Carnivore Diet Benefits for Bodybuilding

  • Consuming High-Quality Protein: Animal products like meat contain high amounts of high-quality protein, i.e., amino acids necessary for muscle growth and repair. If bodybuilders go on a Carnivore diet, they can gain the amino acids needed for muscle development and recovery.
  • Simplicity and Convenience: The Carnivore diet is easy to follow, and bodybuilders, even with zero culinary experience, can use the Carnivore diet recipes and make delicious and healthy meals. The simplicity of these recipes makes them suitable for busy athletes.
  • Reduced Inflammation: Although inflammation naturally occurs as a response to muscle damage from exercises, chronic inflammation can delay recovery and progress. The Carnivore diet can decrease inflammation, which means it helps faster recovery between workouts.
  • Low Carbohydrate Intake: The Carnivore diet removes carbohydrates, which helps regulate insulin levels and enhance fat loss. However, carbohydrates are necessary to provide energy for workouts and refill glycogen stores.
  • Weight Loss: Consuming high amounts of fat and protein increases satiety and decreases overall calorie intake, which promotes weight loss and maintains muscle mass.
  • Decreased Bloating: Avoiding plant-based foods on a Carnivore diet can help digestive function and reduce bloating, which boosts well-being during workouts.

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What Should You Eat to Gain Muscle?

The most important factor in increasing strength and muscle size is to eat in a small calorie surplus over time. Focus on these foods to get adequate energy and rich nutrients:

  1. Ruminant meats, beef & lamb
  2. Eggs
  3. Bacon
  4. Butter

It's that simple! But bodybuilders who are new to the Carnivore diet need a comprehensive food list and a proper meal plan.

The Carnivore Diet Bodybuilding Food List

To save you many hours searching the net and looking for a suitable food list for bodybuilders, I’ve made this free Carnivore diet bodybuilding food list containing the foods you must eat and avoid.

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Foods You Can Eat

Here are the foods you can eat on the Carnivore diet for bodybuilding.

Food You Cannot Eat

  • Plant-Based Foods: Fruits (apples, bananas, berries, etc.), Vegetables (lettuce, broccoli, carrots, etc.), Grains (wheat, rice, oats, etc.), Legumes (beans, lentils, peas), Nuts and seeds
  • Processed Foods: Processed meats (sausages, deli meats with additives), Processed dairy products (flavored yogurts, sugary milk products), Any foods with additives, artificial sweeteners, and preservatives
  • Plant-Derived Oils: Vegetable oils (soybean oil, canola oil, etc.), Seed oils (sunflower oil, safflower oil, etc.), Olive oil (opinions on this vary among Carnivore Diet followers)
  • Carbohydrate-Rich Foods: Sugar (table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup), Sweets (candies, cookies, cakes)
  • Beverages: Fruit juices, Soft drinks, Alcoholic beverages

The important point for bodybuilders is to make a suitable Carnivore diet meal plan for bulking, which I’ve provided in the next section.

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Carnivore Diet Bodybuilding Meal Plan for Bulking

For muscle gain or to build muscles, you need a tailored meal plan. The one I’ve given here is a general 7-day meal plan, which you can use for free. You can also consult professionals and get different meal plans based on your specific needs.

Remember to drink plenty of water and contain enough fat and protein in your meal plan to reach your bodybuilding and muscle gain goals.

Day 1:

Day 2:

  • Breakfast: Omelette with 4-6 eggs, diced ham, and cheese
  • Lunch: Ground beef patty (10-12 oz), salmon fillet (6-8 oz)
  • Dinner: Lamb chops (10-12 oz), mixed organ meats (liver, heart, kidney)

Day 3:

  • Breakfast: Sausage links (6-8 pieces), fried eggs (4-6)
  • Lunch: Pork ribs (12 oz), bone broth
  • Dinner: Turkey leg (10-12 oz)

Day 4:

  • Breakfast: Beef steak (12 oz), fried eggs (4-6)
  • Lunch: Grilled chicken breasts (2), cottage cheese
  • Dinner: Bison burger (10-12 oz), bone broth

Day 5:

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs (4-6) with diced bacon and sausage
  • Lunch: Pork belly slices (10-12 oz), salmon fillet (6-8 oz)
  • Dinner: Beef short ribs (12 oz), mixed organ meats

Day 6:

  • Breakfast: Omelette with ground beef (8-10 oz), cheese
  • Lunch: Chicken wings (10-12 pieces), bone broth
  • Dinner: T-bone steak (12 oz)

Day 7:

  • Breakfast: Sausage patties (6-8 pieces), fried eggs (4-6)
  • Lunch: Ground pork patty (10-12 oz), bone broth
  • Dinner: Prime rib (12 oz), mixed organ meats

Now that we’re talking about food lists and meal plans and have mentioned meat as the main source of protein in the Carnivore diet for bodybuilders, let’s learn more about the features of the best meat for muscle building.

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The Best Meat to Eat for Building Muscle

One of the main sources of building muscles is high-quality protein. Here are some of the best types of meat to eat for building strong athletic muscles.

  • Grass-fed Lean Beef: it contains good amounts of protein, iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins, which are mainly found in lean cuts like sirloin, tenderloin, and eye of round.
  • Chicken: Skinless chicken breast contains high levels of lean protein and low levels of fat, making it great for muscle building.
  • Turkey: Like chicken, turkey breast is lean and is rich in protein, B vitamins, and minerals like selenium.
  • Pork: Pork loin and tenderloin are lean cuts of pork that are good sources of protein, B vitamins, and minerals like zinc and phosphorus.
  • Fish: Fish like salmon, tuna, and trout contain protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids with anti-inflammatory benefits.
  • Lamb: It is a good source of protein and various nutrients, including zinc, iron, and B vitamins.
  • Bison: Bison meat is lean, high in protein, and a rich source of iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.
  • Eggs: While not meat, eggs are a highly bioavailable protein source containing essential amino acids and nutrients like vitamin D and choline.
  • Organ Meats: The liver, heart, kidney, and other organ meats can provide a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, iron, and B vitamins.
  • Venison: Deer meat (venison) is lean and packed with protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin B12.

So, does all this mean if you eat meat on a Carnivore diet, you can build muscles as a bodybuilder?

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Can You Build Muscle on a Carnivore Diet?

The short answer is yes, you can build muscle by only eating meat.

Meat is a great source of protein. It contains all the essential amino acids that your body needs to maintain itself and build muscle, so it's definitely important to include it in your diet if you're trying to gain weight or bulk up.

Meat also contains BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), which are three amino acids with specific functions in the body: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

These three together make up about 5% of all protein found in meat; they're thought to be particularly helpful for increasing muscle mass when working out regularly because they help prevent muscle breakdown during exercise.

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How Can the Carnivore Diet Help You Build Muscle & Lose Fat?

You might be familiar with the Carnivore Diet by now. It's a zero-carb, all-meat diet that's been gaining traction in the fitness space primarily because it's just so simple: eat meat and drink water, and you'll lose weight!

According to Dr. Kevin Stock, muscle building is a slower approach than fat loss, even if you are eating only meat.

To gain muscle, you need to eat a slight calorie surplus over time while lifting progressively heavier weights.

If you would like to gain muscle and lose fat at the same time, it's possible if you are a novice trainer. For example, if you are a new lifter without much history of working out. Similarly, if you are overweight, lift heavy, and follow a Carnivore lifestyle, it's possible to achieve recomposition, which allows you to build muscle while losing fat.

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How to Build Muscle Fast?

To build muscle as fast as possible and gain strength, you'll want to lift heavy weights. You need to make sure that you're resting enough between workouts and getting adequate sleep so that your body can recover from the workout.

If you're not recovering properly, then it will be difficult for your muscles to grow and become stronger.

Healthy fats are important because they help with energy levels, satiety (the feeling of being full), hormone production, brain health, and more. There are some healthy animal fats that should be included in every bodybuilding diet, such as beef, butter, bacon, and eggs. Healthy proteins also help with satiety, so it's important that they're included in every meal.

According to Dr. Stock, the adequate amount of protein is 1g per pound of lean body mass, and focusing on quality proteins from red meat will provide optimal recovery and energy.

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The Best Workout to Build Muscle

The best workout to build muscle is one that you enjoy. If you don't enjoy the exercise, then it's not going to be effective for you.

You can choose whether or not to follow a specific routine, but make sure whatever exercise routine you choose works well with your body type and fitness level.

The best workout to lose fat is one that's consistent and will help shed pounds at a steady rate over time—not just when following an intense diet plan (which won't last).

Make sure that if you're trying to lose weight, your workouts aren't too intense or strenuous because this can actually slow down the process of losing fat.

When choosing exercises for muscle building, look for compound movements like squats and deadlifts (that use multiple joints) instead of isolation movements such as bicep curls or leg extensions (which only work one joint).

Compound movements involve more muscles than isolation ones do and therefore burn more calories during their execution—resulting in greater calorie expenditure overall!

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Dietary Tips to Gain Muscle Fast

So, the Carnivore diet, together with proper workouts, can help you build lean muscle. Taking these steps helps you get faster and better results.

  1. Know How Much You Eat Daily.

You must have a ballpark idea of how much food you consume every day on the Carnivore diet. Avoid overeating and undereating, get used to the diet, eat normal portions, and keep your daily normal as a baseline.

  1. Increase Protein Gradually.

When your body adapts to the new eating habits on the Carnivore diet, start adding some protein, such as meat or eggs, and do not just add fats like butter. Try to increase your daily caloric intake by about 200-300 cal.

  1. Increase Caloric Intake Steadily.

After a month or six weeks (or whenever you feel ready), increase your caloric intake steadily by adding another 200 cal, again with protein and fat.

  1. Take Supplements When Ready.

After maximizing your whole food intake (over 6-12 months of starting Carnivore), and when you can't eat more whole foods, try to take supplements. You’d better do it after consulting a healthcare professional. You can take 50g when protein after the workout to boost your appetite and muscle growth. You can also eat a mix of beef collagen peptides and whey protein before bed to increase protein intake. Taking creatine can also promote muscle growth.

But avoid relying too much on supplements to gain muscles, and consider the following points.

  • Carbohydrates can help refill and recover glycogen reserves, which is possible even on a fat-adapted Carnivore diet.
  • Avoid the scale to measure muscle progress, as rapid scale weight gain can imply fat gain. Also, doing too much cardio can interfere with maximizing muscle gains.
  • Make a steady and progressive workout plan containing enough execution and manipulation of variables for progression.
  • Choosing an experienced trainer with a good understanding of execution and progression is the key to healthy muscle gain.

Learn More: What Is Ketovore Diet? Meal Plan, Food list

Can You Take Pre-workout on a Carnivore Diet?

The carnivore diet is a zero-carbohydrate, high-fat nutrition plan that eschews all plant foods (even most fruits). While the carnivore diet is generally considered safe for healthy people to follow long-term, and once you adapt to using fat as fuel, you will have limitless energy and less delayed onset muscle soreness.

What to Eat Post-Workout?

There is a myth that you need to eat immediately after your workout, but this is not true. While there is an optimal anabolic window of typically 30 minutes post-workout, you really don't need to worry too much about when to eat.

Following an animal-based diet will ensure you receive adequate proteins, BCAAs, and nutrients to optimize recovery and muscle growth.

So you can ditch the pre-workout and post-workout shakes, just eat when you are hungry, and eat red meats and plenty of fats to ensure a calorie surplus. 

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Why Am I Losing Muscles on the Carnivore Diet?

Let’s face it, if you follow the Carnivore diet rules properly and combine them with suitable, standard workouts, you will gain lean muscle. But if you do the activities listed below, you may lose muscles.

Causes

  • Insufficient Calories: If you're not consuming enough calories to provide the energy you need, your body may start breaking down muscle tissue for energy, which is one cause of muscle loss.
  • Lack of Carbohydrates: The truth is carbohydrates provide energy for the body, including your muscles. Without adequate carbs, especially during intense workouts, your body might tap into muscle protein for energy.
  • Limited Nutrient Variety: On a Carnivore diet, you need to consume different sources to get the essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in order to avoid nutrient deficiencies causing muscle loss.
  • Dehydration: Water is necessary for muscle function. If you fail to drink enough water daily, you may end up losing muscle mass.
  • Inadequate Protein Timing: If you consume protein unevenly during the day, you might miss out on optimizing muscle protein synthesis.

But don’t worry, here are the solutions to prevent muscle loss on a Carnivore diet bodybuilding.

Solutions

  • Consume Enough Calories: Choose calorie-dense animal-based foods like fattier cuts of meat.
  • Include Nutrient-Rich Foods: Organ meats are nutrient-rich foods you can use to gain essential vitamins and minerals. Supplementation is another option to avoid nutrient deficiencies. The best ones include vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Carbohydrate Intake: Although you need to limit carbs on the Carnivore diet, you must consume carb-rich foods around your workouts to have energy for intense training sessions.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink enough water during the day, as adequate hydration helps digestion and nutrient absorption.
  • Protein Distribution: Don't consume the daily protein all at once. Instead, eat protein-rich foods throughout the day to boost muscle protein synthesis. You can also consume protein in the meals after the workout for recovery.
  • Experiment and Adjust: If muscle loss persists, consult a healthcare professional and modify your activities and eating habits.

As our last question about the Carnivore diet bodybuilding, let’s see if we can consume protein powder and creatine and if they’re good for us.

Is Protein Powder and Creatine OK on the Carnivore Diet?

Ideas vary, and bodies react differently. Some prefer to stay loyal to the diet, and others prefer to spice things up by taking supplements and powders. But here’s the thing about protein powder and creatine on a Carnivore diet.

  • Protein powder is usually a byproduct of animal or plant sources. Some Carnivore dieters include animal-based protein powders, such as whey protein isolate or collagen peptides. But others avoid protein powders and consume only whole foods. If you want to take protein powders on a Carnivore diet, it’s better to choose the animal-based ones, which do not contain additives, fillers, or sweeteners.
  • Creatine can be found in small amounts in animal-based foods. Many athletes, including bodybuilders, do not solely rely on this small amount and supplement with creatine to improve their performance, gain strength, and recover muscles. Creatine supplements are generally made from animal sources, so they’re not against the Carnivore diet rules. If you wish to consume creatine supplements, choose a high-quality creatine monohydrate supplement without added fillers or additives.

Learn More: The Carnivore Diet Protein Powder: 4 Best Protein Powders

Summary

Carnivore diet bodybuilding refers to using Carnivore-friendly foods, including meat, to provide enough protein and fat to build strong muscles.

The Carnivore diet can help bodybuilders in bulking and avoiding muscle loss. But containing high-quality foods in the food list and meal plan is essential for bodybuilders and their health and fitness goals.

Also, remember that you need to consult healthcare professionals and seasoned trainers to make the most of the combination of a Carnivore diet and bodybuilding.

It’s important to remember that the Carnivore Diet is not just a muscle-building strategy. It’s also a great way to lose fat and improve your overall health.

A high-protein, zero-carbohydrate diet can help you feel fuller longer, which means you can eat fewer calories while still feeling satisfied at the end of the day.

If you want to try this diet out for yourself, start by eliminating all carbs from your meals until your body gets used to processing more protein than usual (this should take between three days and one week). 

FAQ

If you still have questions about the Carnivore diet bodybuilding, read the following Q&As to wrap your head around the subject!

Does the Carnivore Diet Work for Bodybuilding?

Yes, the Carnivore diet can provide the necessary protein, vitamins, and minerals needed for bodybuilders to make strong muscles.

Can You Bulk on the Carnivore Diet?

Yes, the Carnivore diet can help muscle building by providing high amounts of protein and healthy animal fat. Also, consuming 50g of carbs before and 50g after the workouts can boost muscle gain results.

Is Eating Meat Good for Bodybuilding?

Yes, meat is vital for bodybuilding as it contains adequate fat and protein. You can consume different kinds of meat, including lean cuts like beef, turkey, chicken breast, and lean steaks.

Why Is My Muscle Weak on Carnivore?

You may need to consume more calories or carbohydrates or not consume various nutrients. You may also be dehydrated or need proper protein timing.

Do You Lose Strength on Carnivore?

No, it’s not likely to lose strength on a Carnivore diet, as it focuses on meat, meaning you consume lots of protein and fat. But your body may need some time to adapt to the new eating habits.

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