Seven Reasons Why Oatmeal is Good for Bodybuilding

Published By: Debbie Luna
Last Updated:
March 19, 2021

In the bodybuilding world, oatmeal is a staple for many. There are several types of oats to choose from too; Ranging from steel-cut oats, rolled oats, quick oats, instant oats, and oat bran. Whatever oats you decide to eat, they are all usually healthy. However, it’s best to check the nutrition facts as some instant oatmeal brands are loaded with added sugar.

The main difference between instant oats and regular rolled oats is the shape of the oats. This shape affects the overall cook time. Quick oats are basically rolled oats in smaller form. Rolled oats, on the other hand, come from oat groats that are comprised of cereal germ, bran, and endosperm, hence why they are categorized as whole grains.

Meanwhile, oat bran is made purely from bran, meaning it’s not 100% whole grain. The difference lies mainly in the nutrition facts of each. Oat bran has 15 grams of dietary fiber per 100 grams. On the other hand, rolled oats only contain 10 grams of fiber per 100 grams.  While bran isn’t necessarily oatmeal, it’s still in the same category with the same benefits.

Is Oatmeal Good for Bodybuilding?

oats cereal

When bodybuilding is considered, it’s crucial to add oatmeal into your daily diet as it offers plenty of nutrients that’ll help you do more during your workout sessions.

With that said, here are seven reasons why oatmeal is essential for bodybuilding nutrition:

1. Oatmeal is Rich in Complex Carbohydrates

When choosing carb sources, you should opt for foods that are mainly comprised of complex carbohydrates like oats. Complex carbohydrates are slow-digesting meaning they can provide your body energy throughout the day.

It doesn’t spike your insulin either meaning you won’t experience a crash later. When you replace simple carbs with complex carbs, you’ll feel more energized throughout the day. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose in your blood.  When you eat simple carbs, they are converted into glucose too fast and are stored as fat. 

Aside from its energy-enhancing capabilities, complex carbs can also give your muscle that “full look.” If you only opt to eat protein, your muscles will end up looking flat. 

It’s Rich in Protein

As mentioned above, oats will allow for the energy needed in the gym and the protein helps repair the muscle tissue. It’s always a bonus when you can get protein from carbohydrate dense foods.

For vegan bodybuilders, adding oatmeal to your diet is essential as protein sources can feel sparse. A cup of oats is equivalent to 6 grams of protein.

Dietary Fiber Overload

Fiber is crucial in preventing constipation, and since bodybuilders have to eat ample amounts of  protein from meat, fish, chicken, etc, this can cause issues with digestion.

Oatmeal is rich in dietary fiber. Oat fiber also contains beta glucan, a soluble fiber that is known to lower LDL (bad cholesterol).

A cup of oats contains 16 g of dietary fiber.

It Contains Less Saturated Fat

A bodybuilder’s goal is to lower their consumption of saturated fat as much as possible.

A single cup of oatmeal only contains 1.9 grams of saturated fat. Over consumption of saturated fat may lead to critical health conditions such as stroke and cardiovascular diseases.

Rich in Healthy Fats

Just because it’s called “fat” doesn’t mean it’s bad for you. Aside from bad fats such as saturated fat, there are also healthy fats.

Options such as omega-3 and polyunsaturated fat are two examples of good fats. Omega-3 is also proven to increase the number of HDL (good cholesterol) while keeping LDL (bad cholesterol) levels low at the same time.

It’s an Iron Powerhouse

156 grams of oats is equal to 7.4mg of iron. Oatmeal is filled with iron, and it can help you reach your daily intake requirements.

Iron helps in the production of red blood cells. Roughly 70% of the body’s iron is found in red blood calls called hemoglobin. In the muscle cells it is called myoglobin. Hemoglobin is essential for transferring oxygen in your blood from your lungs to the various tissues in your body.

It’s Rich in Magnesium

Magnesium is an electrolyte that helps in muscle building. What it does is it helps muscles relax which prevents muscle cramps from occurring. A single cup of oats contains 41.6 mg of magnesium.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, oatmeal is a good source of nutrients that can help with your bodybuilding goals. If you don’t want to eat it plain you can add fruits such as bananas, berries, raisins, and the like.

Add a little bit of flavor by adding natural honey or real maple syrup for the folks with a sweet tooth. Even if you’re not a bodybuilder, a complex carbohydrate like oatmeal is essential for getting you through the day.

Debbie (Deb) started powerlifting and Olympic lifting in High School as part of her track team's programming; She continues to train in order to remain athletic. Inspire US allows Deb to share information related to training, lifting, biomechanics, and more.
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