Benefits of Oatmeal In a Bodybuilding Diet

Bodybuilding is not just a choice; it’s by all means a demanding lifestyle that requires brain and body dedication both in and out of the gym.

You basically need to put your life on a schedule completely inline with your diet, and the diet itself needs to be structured in a way that it provides your body with the most efficient kinds of fuel available.

This is where Oatmeal comes in the picture mostly because it’s known as a “good” food full of carbohydrates and fiber, which are ideal for a bodybuilding diet and a bodybuilder’s demanding lifestyle.

However, it is for the best that you check the nutrition facts and benefits before eating because many instant oatmeal brands on the market today are loaded with added sugar and other unhealthy stuff you don’t want if you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle.

Basically, the main big difference between instant oats and regular rolled oat is actually the shape of them! The shape of the oats affects the overall time they need to cook.

Instant oats are basically just rolled oats in a smaller form, and rolled oats on the other hand, are made from oat groats that are comprised of cereal germ, bran, and endosperm, and that Is why they are categorized as whole grains.

Is oatmeal good for building muscle and bodybuilding ?

What exactly adding oatmeal to the diet does for bodybuilders and fitness athletes ?

If bodybuilding is to be considered, then it’s very important to incorporate oatmeal into your daily diet plan as it does offer a lot of nutrients that are crucial in helping you do more while you’re working out.

Now, with all of that said, we have compiled 7 reasons why oatmeal is perfect and crucial when building muscles!

1. Energy

Every time when you find yourself in a grueling intense training session, your body is burning calories as energy source for your muscles. These calories follow under two categories – fat and carbohydrates.

A 2009 study conducted at the University of St. Thomas by Dr. Daniel Carey, has discovered that during times of low intensity, the body uses as much as 57 percent fat calories and 43 percent carbohydrate calories.

However, during times of high intensity training sessions, which are the majority of the exercises performed by any bodybuilder, the body will use as much as 87 percent carbohydrates. In that line, oatmeal, rich in “good” carbs according to the Harvard School of Public Health, is an ideal pre-workout meal.

2. Oatmeal is one of the best carb sources out there

So, when choosing your carb source in your diet, it’s recommended to choose the foods that are made of complex carbohydrates, and oats are exactly that! What exactly do complex carbohydrates do, you ask? Well, they are slow digesting foods which can provide your body with bountiful energy throughout the day.

Another good thing about complex carbohydrates, oats specifically, is that they don’t spike your insulin, which means that you won’t have an energy crash later in the day.

Specifically, when you replace simple carbs with complex ones, you’ll feel a big energy spike throughout the whole day.

The carbohydrates you consume are converted into glucose in our blood, so when you eat just simple carbs, they’ll be converted into glucose a bit to quickly and are then stored as fat.

Putting aside its amazing energy enhancing capabilities, complex carbs also are able to give your muscles that full look, so if you mostly consume protein filled foods your muscles will end up looking pretty deflated.

3. Calories

According to a recommendation issued by the United States Department of Agriculture there is a certain amount of calories for every person based on their activity level, age etc.

For example, a 32-year-old female who lives an average activity lifestyle needs only 1,800 calories per day to maintain a healthy energy level.

Meanwhile, a 27-year-old male with high intense lifestyle as a bodybuilder may need well over 3,000 calories per day. One serving of oatmeal contains about 140 calories, which for an athlete following a bodybuilding diet allows multiple servings per day between full meals.

4. Protein content

Speaking of protein, oats have some in them as well! Consuming oats will give you the energy that you need for the gym and then provide some protein needed to help repair the muscle tissue afterwards. It’s always a good thing when you get protein out of very carbohydrate dense foods such as oatmeal.

Oatmeal has a 16.9 grams of protein per 100g of raw oats. This is good, but while this does give the protein level total a bit of a boost, unfortunately it’s incomplete and needs to be supplemented.

The missing amino acid in oats ( and other cereals ) is Lysine. This particular amino acid needs to be obtained from other sources, so that you complete the amino acid profile that’s needed for muscle building. Some good sources of lysine are mostly animal proteins and beans and lentils as well.

5. They’re full of dietary fiber!

Dietary fiber has amazing benefits! Not only is it good for preventing constipation, since bodybuilders have to eat a great amount of protein obtained from meat, fish, chicken, etc, so that can cause issue with overall digestion.

So, we know that oatmeal is rich in dietary fiber, but did you know that that oat fiber also contains beta glucan, a soluble fiber that is known contributor to lowering the bad cholesterol known as LDL?

The sum total of dietary fiber in a cup of oats is a whopping 16 grams.

Healthy Fats

We all should know by now that just because it’s called fat it doesn’t mean it’s not good for you. Some examples of good fats are ones such as omega-3 and polyunsaturated fats, and not only is omega-3 a good fat, but it also is proven to lower the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and at the same time, increase the lever of HDL which is the good cholesterol.

Get those iron levels up with just one cup!

Approximately 156 grams of oats amounts to around 7.4 mg of iron. Since oatmeal is so rich in iron, it can most definitely help you reach the daily intake requirements of it!

Why is this so important though? Iron helps the production of red blood cells and roughly 70 % of the iron found in the body is in those red blood cells that are also called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin that’s found in the muscle cells is called myoglobin. Hemoglobin is responsible and crucial for transferring oxygen in your blood from your lungs all the way to various tissues in your body.

Full of magnesium

To add to the muscle building goodness that oats provide, it’s also full of magnesium! Magnesium is an electrolyte that helps immensely in muscle building. What it actually does is that it helps the muscles relax and that prevents muscle cramps from occurring. One single cup of oats contains about 41.6 mg of magnesium.


As we mentioned above, a bodybuilders lifestyle demands a certain schedule and timing is an important part of it. According to a research study done by the Mayo Clinic, your meals should be timed specifically around when you lift weights.

Smaller meals such as a bowl of oatmeal needs to be eaten 2-3 hours before intense workouts, allowing the food to digest and leave the gut before you start training.

Larger meals that just contain oatmeal as a side dish need between three and four hours to digest before workouts. If the food has not yet been processed, your body will be derailing precious energy to digesting the food, which could otherwise be used toward lifting weights.

Traditional or Instant Oatmeal For Bodybuilding ?

Choosing oatmeal is kind of like a difficult decision made of two options; traditional steel-cut oats and instant microwavable oats. Traditional steel-cut oats contain only whole-grain oats with zero additives, meaning no sugar, no sodium and no saturated or unsaturated fats.

Instant oatmeal on the other hand is packed with lots of sugar and 240 mg of sodium, which equals roughly to 16 percent of your daily sodium recommendation.

Instant oatmeal also contains 1g each of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Therefore, traditional oatmeal, due to its pure contents and no additives, is much healthier and effective choice in keeping you full and energized.

Additional Considerations

Muscles don’t grow from only huge amounts of carbohydrates. Carbs can provide you with the energy needed for the extensive workout, but, your muscles require large amounts of protein on a regular basis to increase in size, according to a 2001 French study led by Dr. Martial Dangin.

The USDA recommends that bodybuilders eat as much as 0.8g of protein for each pound (although this number could be up to 1-1.2g pre lb) of body weight, which can be found in the following food choices: whey protein shakes, grass-fed beef, lean turkey breast and fatty fish.

Conclusion and final thoughts

Looking back at everything in this article, you can clearly see why oatmeal is a great source of nutrients that can help you achieve your all time bodybuilding goals.

A bowl of oatmeal is a source of healthy carbohydrates, protein and fiber, and can be an excellent addition to your bodybuilding diet to help repair muscles.

They’re many options you can combine it with if you don’t like to eat it plain such as bananas, berries, raisins, strawberries and similar stuff like that.

And if more flavor is missing you can drip some natural honey or real maple syrup on there if you have a sweet tooth. Bodybuilder or not, you still need a complex carbohydrate such as oatmeal in your diet plan because it’s crucial for getting you through the day.

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