Anabolic Diet- Bodybuilder’s Diet to Build Muscle & Lose Fat User-agent: * Disallow: /wp-admin/ Allow: /wp-admin/admin-ajax.php Sitemap:

The Detailed Guide to Anabolic Diet- The Bodybuilder’s Diet

Anabolic diet

What is Anabolic Diet?

The anabolic diet is a low-carbohydrate diet with little-carb and towering-carb days alternated as per requirement and phase. Initially, it was formulated only for bodybuilders but now a day people who do not belong to this field also include an anabolic diet in their daily routine to get the same result as a bodybuilder. 

It is a muscle-building and fat-loss eating plan created by Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale as a way for weight lifters to achieve steroid-like gains safely. While the Anabolic Diet is not ketogenic in the strict sense, it is based on some of the same physiological concepts, according to Dr. Di Pasquale. 

Unlike traditional dieting methods, which focus on either developing muscle or burning fat for long periods, the Anabolic Diet is a three-phased diet that includes:

  • Maintaining
  • Bulking
  • Cutting

Why it is known as an Anabolic Diet?

Dr. Di Pasquale claims that manipulating macronutrients and eating the foods he suggests will help your endocrine system work at its best. He’s made the bold assertion that the diet has “steroid-like” effects, but it has somewhere similar effect as a steroid but does not work the same as asteroid. Because he felt carbohydrate cycling could mirror the effects of anabolic steroids (performance enhancers), he termed his strategy the anabolic diet. You’ll get to know more further.

Why it is considered to be the best diet for the bodybuilder?

Let’s discuss the mechanism of an anabolic diet. When you follow an anabolic diet then mainly, insulin plays important role in muscle building. It stimulates muscle growth by increasing the function of amino acids which led to a rise in the protein level in muscle. 

Insulin is an anabolic hormone that promotes nutrient accumulation and helps to avoid cell destruction. This makes it ideal for bodybuilding, where the goal is to increase muscle mass through a combination of food and exercise. Anabolic Diet precisely controls insulin levels throughout the bodybuilder’s day and week, resulting in an anabolic effect without the undesired fat gain.

Insulin, along with testosterone and Gh, works together to enhance muscle growth. As it is already mentioned above that there’s a rise and fall in carbs level alternatively. Growth hormone productions rise when insulin levels fall, as they occur on weekdays when you’re following the high fat/high protein/low carb diet. They increase lipolysis (breakdown of lipids) and fight lipogenesis (synthesis of lipids/fatty acids) by generating an anabolic environment and inducing cells to utilize fat instead of sugar for energy. 

Growth hormone has a similar effect to a “hunger” hormone. When your body is in difficulty, when you’re threatened, or when you’re in “fight or flight” mode, GH kicks in to mobilize energy reserves in the body to deal with stress and increasing demands. It will also rise in response to physical exertion. Normally, insulin reduces growth hormone production, but the body perceives the large increase in carbs and insulin during the weekend as a stressful scenario, similar to exercise, and growth hormone rises with insulin. 

This Diet is also excellent for testosterone, which is important for health and growth. All the hormones mentioned above work hand in hand to enhance muscle growth in an anabolic diet.

Phases of Anabolic Diet

It has been classified into three phases:-

1. Maintenance and Induction phase:- This is the first phase and it is also known as the mass phase. The first phase called maintenance, which lasts for four weeks. The goal is to consume just enough calories to maintain your present body weight. The first phase is focused on the keto diet, which restricts carbohydrates to a bare minimum (5 %). 

The majority of food is made up of fat, with fat accounting for 60% of the diet and protein accounting for 35%. During this period, you must maintain a negative calorie balance, meaning that you consume fewer calories than you burn throughout the day. The period lasts roughly 6 days, during which time the body’s metabolism alters and fat deposits are reduced (ketosis), while insulin is rarely secreted.

2. Bulk phase:- After you’ve finished week 4, you’ll begin the bulking phase in the fifth week. Allow your body weight to rise to 15% above your ideal weight during this phase. The bodybuilder should intake 20 to 25 calories per pound of bodyweight desired daily to achieve this.

The purpose of the “bulk phase” is to keep eating and accumulating weight until you achieve a weight that is 15% above your “ideal weight” or a body fat level of 10%, whichever comes first. Di Pasquale recommends calculating your optimum bulk weight by multiplying your ideal body weight in pounds by the number of pounds you want to gain.

3. Cutting phase: As soon as you’ve finished bulking, you’ll enter this phase. The cutting phase is a low-carb weight-loss regimen, with mass-phase calories reduced by 500 to 1,000 calories. This phase should be repeated until you reach your ideal body fat percentage, which should be less than 10%. It will last as long as you are satisfied with how lean and defined you are after cutting.

 You’ll begin restricting calories once more, to lose excess body fat while keeping as much lean muscle tissue as possible. You should now aim for a caloric deficit of 500–700 calories. This means you’ll be eating 500–700 calories fewer than your body need to stay in its current state. It’s critical to keep weight loss modest and gradual, so aim for a weekly loss of no more than 1.5 pounds.

You can keep a regular check on your calorie count by using tdee calculator. It helps to estimate total energy expenditure of a person based on their age, physical characteristics and activity level.

How Effective is Anabolic Diet?

It is considered to be one of the best diets if you want to lose fat and gain lean muscle. An individual who includes this in his/her routine will surely observe changes in his/her body but as we know everything has two aspects, positive and negative & positive side of this diet include gaining of muscles, toned up body & strengthening. It also keeps your sugar level under control.

Initially, you’ll not enjoy this diet as it includes lots of restrictions but over time when you’ll observe a positive outcome, your mood will cheer up. It focuses on fat burning which sometimes led to weakness, fatigue, and mood swings which can be improved by incorporating few modifications in the diet like increase calorie content in the bulk phase then balance it during the cutting phase.

Is Anabolic Diet Safe?

Yes, it is safe until and unless you start observing the symptoms mentioned below. This is intended to shift your body into ‘fat-burning mode as rapidly as possible, as the transition might be uncomfortable. The following are some of the most common symptoms that some people have:

  • Dizziness 
  • Fatigue
  • Overactive thyroid
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Mild mental haziness.

Don’t be panicked; as your body switches from running on carbohydrates to running on fats, symptoms usually fade within 24-48 hours. Do not overdo it as it can cause a panic attack and fluid retention. Keep yourself motivated but do not force yourself. If the symptoms continue for longer than 48 hours then consult your health expert for necessary modification.

Also Read:

1. Keto Diet Plan

2. Build muscle with vegetarian diet plan

Benefits of Anabolic Diet

1. The anabolic diet has the advantage of not being calorie-restricted. Because the body requires calories to maintain muscle mass, any reduction in calorie consumption may result in the loss of lean body tissue.

2. In phase 1, the body taps into stored fat which is very beneficial. 

3. In phase 2, the body stores carbs in the muscular tissue for later use. In an adverse situation like starvation that stored carbs can be used by the body.

4. In this diet, your body is nourished with all nutrients and a balanced diet can be maintained overall by altering the phases.

5. Compared to strict low-carb diets, it’s easier to stick to and gives you more energy for everyday tasks.

6. Maintain a healthy blood sugar level.

7. It increases endurance in athletes. 

The downside of Anabolic Diet

  • Diabetics and others with metabolic problems should avoid it.
  • The ketogenic diet [FIRST PHASE] can cause weariness and a lack of energy.
  • If you eat a lot of high-fat foods, you can have digestive issues.
  • In the first phase, consuming too many carbohydrates or failing to maintain a calorie deficit in the cutting phase might easily compromise effectiveness.
  • If you’re overdoing, it can cause fatigues, laziness, body ache & haziness, etc.

1 Week sample Anabolic diet plan

Phase 1-Induction phase, food items are included to maintain present weight


MealsFood items
Meal 1 Cottage cheese+  1 medium bowl spinach salad[250gm]
Meal 21 tbsp. Peanut butter [15gm approx.]
Meal 3Chicken stew/soup- 1 large bowl
Meal 4Boiled rice +quinoa chapatti + egg curry[2 eggs]


MealsFood items
Meal 1  1 Banana pancake 
Meal 21 tbsp. Peanut butter with a handful of roasted flaxseed.
Meal 3Cottage cheese+1 corn- salted chapatti
Meal 4Red meat +boiled rice



MealsFood items
Meal 1 2 boiled egg
Meal 2Whey water + flax seed
Meal 3Cucumber+ avocado sandwich 
Meal 4Sauté fish[salmon] + 4 peanut butter toast 

Phase 2 – Bulking phase, consists of an additional 15% calorie which will increase the ideal weight. 


MealsFood items
Meal 1 2 Scrambled Egg +Avocado  
Meal 2Banana protein shake
Meal 3Tuna –penne pasta salad
Meal 4Sauté chicken + avocado-mint sauce +cottage cheese
Meal 52 tbsp. Peanut butter +1 banana/handful nuts[almonds+cashew]


MealsFood items
Meal 1 Chicken/ 2 egg wrap
Meal 2Banana protein shake+  handful roasted flaxseed
Meal 3Avocado +cucumber +spinach sandwich
Meal 4Smoked salmon + 1 boiled potato+ 2 corn chapatti
Meal 5Protein shake+ 1 boiled egg

Phase 3- Cutting phase, calorie deficit phase. This phase will bring down your body fat percentage.


MealsFood items
Meal 1 Oatmeal[with milk/ spiced salted ]
Meal 2Cottage cheese + granola bar
Meal 3Spinach+ cucumber salad
Meal 41 fillet smoked tuna+1 citrus fruit


MealsFood items
Meal 1 Berries+ boiled quinoa
Meal 2Protein shake+ 1 boiled egg[without egg yolk]
Meal 3 2 meat balls+ 1 chapatti+ boiled spinach and beans 
Meal 4Medium-sized baked potato+ avocado smoothie

Overall an anabolic diet is good for bodybuilding but for the common individual, it can sometimes show negative consequences. You can stick to it if you want to gain muscle and lose body fat. It is based on the assumption that you want to convert your body into a ‘fat-burning organism’ rather than a carbohydrate-burning one.

The idea is that if you can persuade your body to switch modes and start burning fat and maintain it burning, you’ll be able to go down to the desired body fat level faster. The most significant advantage is that when you run on fat for fuel, you don’t experience as many hunger fluctuations as when you run on carbohydrates, making dieting much more manageable.

You want to choose foods that are high in both protein and fat throughout the low carbohydrate stage of this diet (during the week) because these are the two macronutrients you will be focusing on. Have a quick look at the food items to be consumed listed below.

Foods to consume in anabolic diet

  • Eggs
  • Chicken breast
  • Flaxseed
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Avocado
  • Whole nuts
  • Nut spreads
  • Oil
  • Cream
  • Butter
  • Quinoa
  • Bananas
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus 
  • Full–fat milk [as per phase]
  • Cucumber
  • Beans
  • Oats
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Mustard
  • Fish

This diet is quite similar to a Ketogenic diet, but with fewer workout restrictions. On a ketogenic diet, you’ll do a scheduled depletion workout shortly before carbohydrate loading to assure your muscles are completely exhausted. However, this diet is not a suitable choice for most people who engage in a lot of high-intensity activity, as that type of training relies heavily on glycogen storage.  


ParameterOut of 10
Treats lifestyle disorder8
Negative consequences7
Nutritional value9
Positive consequences8.5
Overall diet rating8


Anabolic diet is popularly known as body builder’s diet but nowadays it is commonly practiced by women who have attained menopause. It was first formulated and bought in the field of health & fitness by Dr. Di Pasquale. It is somewhere similar to the ketogenic diet but not alike in every aspect. Its mechanism is way different from the ketogenic diet which has been already discussed above.

It has three phases i.e. maintenance, bulk, and cutting. It consists of low-high carbs alternatively. Apart from positive outcomes sometimes it also shows negative effects on the body like fatigue haziness etc. Certain food items are highly recommended like dairy products, meat, green beans, oils, nuts, flaxseed, etc. 

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  • Mausam Mangalam

    A dietitian and nutritionist who enjoys writing and eating. My goal is to help people feel as good as they look through healthy lifestyle changes focusing on nutrition, diet planning, advanced dietetics, female hygiene, and health.

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