20 Best Books on Bodybuilding Nutrition

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Good exercise and nutrition are great. Bodybuilding requires a special exercise and nutrition routine. Good books can be a great help here. Want to find some? You are at the right place.  Let’s check out some bodybuilding nutrition books.  Happy reading!

Read All About It

My purpose here is to provide some of the best books out there about bodybuilding nutrition.  I will provide you with a link to where you can buy them, providing basic information to help you decide if they are good for your needs.   

Things to look for: the author’s expertise, the specific subject matter, what others are saying about them, the skillset of the intended audience, and any deficits that might be red flags.


[1] The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding: The Bible of Bodybuilding, Fully Updated and Revised by Arnold Schwarzenegger  (Author), Bill Dobbins  (Contributor) 

Many today think of Arnold Schwarzenegger as an actor and politician.  In the 1970s, however, his claim to fame was bodybuilding.  Bill Dobbins is an American photographer who specializes in bodybuilding, physique, and fitness photography.  

This book has become known as the “bible of bodybuilding” and is a comprehensive resource.  The updated version spends more time on diet and nutrition.  This is a good basic resource for bodybuilding, including showing how nutrition fits in with other aspects of the whole process.  

Possible Problems: Too large and not specifically focused on nutrition.  

[2]  Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body by Michael Matthews

Matthews argues that a good bodybuilding approach aims to get a leaner muscular body rather than bulking up massively. He is the founder and CEO of Legion Athletics (all-natural nutrition supplements) and a certified physical trainer.  

Matthews argues that you could have a “Hollywood hunk” body without following a bland, boring, bodybuilding diet and without doing exhausting weightlifting workouts you hate. This book provides guidance on how to be a bodybuilder naturally, without guilt, and do so in a few months.  

Possible Problems: Not ideal for those who do want to bulk up massively and use pills and powders that the author deems inappropriate.  

[3] Joe Weider’s Ultimate Bodybuilding: The Master Blaster’s Principles of Training and Nutrition by Joe Weider and Bill Reynolds

Joe Weider, the creator of Mr. and Mrs. Olympia, is a classic figure in the bodybuilding profession.  Weider wrote this book at age seventy (though lived for another 25 years, so knew a thing or two about good healthy living) and had a lifetime of knowledge to share.  

The Weider System, followed by top bodybuilders including Arnold Schwarzenegger, is all here.  As one two-time Mr. Olympia said: “One of the most fundamental secrets of successful bodybuilding is getting to know your body and how it reacts to various training and nutritional practices.”  This is not easy and this guide will help immensely.  

Also May Like: The Weider Book of Bodybuilding for Women

Possible Problems: The book is from the 1980s and certain modern methods and knowledge are left out. Some readers criticized it for not addressing the problems of drug and steroid abuse.  

[4]  Men’s Health Muscle Chow: More Than 150 Meals to Feed Your Muscles and Fuel Your Workouts by Gregg Avedon

Gregg Avedon is one of the world’s most successful male models, appearing in many magazines including Esquire, GQ, Vanity Fair, and Uomo Vogue.  He is also a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

This book is a great bodybuilders cookbook.  The book has simple recipes, which are good for a basic bodybuilder routine.  This is not a book for gourmets with complicated ingredients or fancy recipes.  It uses the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) philosophy to promote healthy eating.  

Possible Problems: Some complain the functional recipes are too bland. Grouping recipes by ingredient makes it harder for those who are eating for specific goals such as bulking.  

[5]  The Ultimate Bodybuilding Cookbook: High-Impact Recipes to Make You Stronger Than Ever by Kendall Lou Schmidt

Kendall received a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences.  She also had recreative and competitive sports experience and was selected as one of 5 female finalists in the Bodybuilding.com BodySpace Spokesmodel Search.  Kendall also has experience as a trainer, coach, and motivational speaker.  She has both book and experience learning bona fides

This is a good cookbook to build muscle while not sacrificing delicious and healthy meals.  Good for gluten-free diets. Includes formulas on determining what calorie and protein intake are right for you.  Good layout with easy-to-understand recipes.  

Possible Problems: No illustrations. 

[6] The Vegan Bodybuilder’s Cookbook: Essential Recipes and Meal Plans for Plant-Based Bodybuilding by Samantha Shorkey (Author), Amy Longard (Contributor)

Samantha Shorkey is a certified personal trainer and the first-ever vegan World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (WNBF) bikini pro.  Amy Longard is a registered holistic nutritionist, plant-based chef, speaker, and consultant. She’s the founder of a wellness consulting firm.

Bodybuilders are not any one type. We have seen how they have different philosophies regarding body muscle mass.  There are also different beliefs regarding the types of food appropriate for one’s body.  This is a good book for building muscle and staying shredded on a vegan diet.  The book has over 100 easy-to-make recipes with guidance on successful eating.  

Possible Problems: Plant-based recipes can be useful for meat eaters, but non-vegans might want non-vegan recipes. Lack of illustrations. 

[7]  The Body Sculpting Bible for Women by James Villepigue and Hugo Rivera

James Villepigue is a nationally certified personal trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist. Hugo Rivera is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer, engineer, and international best-selling fitness author.  Both have over twenty-five years of experience.

A comprehensive guide for women including exercises and workouts plus nutritional guidance, meal plans, the inside scoop on supplements, advice on keeping fit while traveling, and weightlifting information for all ages.  A good resource for women bodybuilders to have.  

Possible Problems: Unlike the title, it’s not specifically focused on women’s bodybuilding.  

[8]  Men’s Health Natural Bodybuilding Bible: A Complete 24-Week Program For Sculpting Muscles That Show by Tyler English

Tyler English is a professional bodybuilder and bodybuilding coach. He won the 2010 World Natural Bodybuilding Federation Pro-Am Lightweight Championship.  

Fans of Men’s Health Magazine should enjoy this book.  It provides a diet and workout plan for those who want to be a professional bodybuilder or just look like one.  The book is well written and information is provided in an easy-to-understand format.  Illustrated as well.

Possible Problems: Not enough about bulking.  Some readers wanted more nutritional materials.

[9]  The Anabolic Cooking Cookbook: The Ultimate Cookbook And Complete Nutrition Guide For Bodybuilding & Fitness by Dave Ruel

“Anabolic” cooking aims to build muscles and burn fat.  

This book provides over 200 anabolic-friendly recipes aimed not just to be healthy and goal-oriented, but fun and tasty.  Clear cooking and preparation instructions; cook a week’s work of meals in less than three hours.  Good for men, women, beginners, and pros.  

Possible Problems: Those who do not prefer anabolic diets might find it too specialized.

[10]  The Bodybuilder’s Kitchen: 100 Muscle-Building, Fat Burning Recipes, with Meal Plans to Chisel Your Physique by Erin Stern

Erin Stern is a professional bodybuilder and two-time Miss Figure Olympia.  

This book provides over 100 recipes, enough for five weekly meal plans, providing a professional’s know-how on what it takes to burn fat and build muscles.  The many illustrations help you plan your meals, geared to different goals such as bulking, cutting, and carbo cycling.  

Possible Problems: Some readers found the recipes too complicated and grocery lists inaccurate in some cases.  


[11] Sport Supplement Reference Guide by William Llewellyn

William Llewellyn is a scientist in the field of human performance enhancement as well as a former user of steroids himself. This is a comprehensive look at sports supplements, which discusses both ingredients and what each supplement is used for. Bodybuilders often use supplements and this is a helpful guide to have on hand.  

[12]  The Complete Macro Cookbook: 2-Week Meal Plan for Muscle Gain, 2-Week Meal Plan for Fat Loss, Workout Guidance and Routines by Brittany Scanniello 

Brittany Scanniello is an award-winning registered dietitian with her own Colorado-based integrative nutrition company. This is an attractive, well-formatted cookbook. It provides expert-based recipes to lose fat and gain muscle, the prime goal of bodybuilding.   

[13]  The Bodybuilding Cookbook: 100 Delicious Recipes To Build Muscle, Burn Fat And Save Time by Jason Farley

Jason Farley uses over a decade of training to guide readers. The book provides reasonably priced meals that are healthy, tasty, quick, and easy to make that will build quality lean muscle mass and burn fat fast.  All his nutritional advice is backed by science.  

[14] Vintage Physique: A Golden Era Bodybuilding Guide to Health and Aesthetics by George Kelly 

George Kelly is a registered dietitian nutritionist, who specializes in chronic, autoimmune conditions.  George is the owner of Metabolic Body®.

This book is a low-carb, Old-School bodybuilding guide.  It provides secrets, tips, and techniques established by Old-School bodybuilders of the Golden Era of bodybuilding.  The book discusses nutrition, supplements, and training to help obtain this style of bodybuilding. 

[15] Bodybuilding Cookbook for Women: Muscle-Building, Fat Burning Recipes to Make You Stronger Than Ever by Paula Kennedy

This is a good reasonably priced cookbook with over 100 healthy, easy-to-make recipes including breakfasts, meats, fish, vegetarian options, sides, snacks, salads, soups, shakes, and desserts.  Many high-protein recipes.   All recipes have macro profiles.  

[16] Ask a Diet Coach: Q & A Covering Nutrition, Training, Fat Loss, Supplementation, Bodybuilding, Muscle Gain, and Business by John Gorman 

John Gorman is the owner of Team Gorman, a company that works with a wide variety of people ranging from professional bodybuilders, CrossFit athletes, powerlifters, high school wrestlers, the mom of 3 kids looking to get into shape, athletes trying out for the NFL, and more.

This book answers a range of questions, including about bodybuilding.  Gorman provides an interesting perspective on all the types of people he counsels.  The book is structured as a conversation with the reader.  Readers also appreciate its science-based focus.

[17] The Bodybuilding Meal Prep Cookbook: Macro-Friendly Meals to Prepare, Grab,and Go by Michelle Vodrazka 

Michelle Vodrazka is a nutrition and fitness expert, blogger, international speaker, corporate wellness consultant, and former competitive bodybuilder.  

This is a highly rated bodybuilding cookbook. It provides a six-week meal plan as well as additional recipes for further additional meals to customize to your particular diet.  Each recipe is provided in an easy-to-read format.  Recipes are easy to follow and good for beginners.  

[18]  Muscle-Building Diet Essentials: The Flexible Eating Plan For Losing Fat And Getting Lean: Vegan Bodybuilding Diet Book by Shaneka Priesmeyer

This is another recently published cookbook for the plant-based bodybuilder or those who want to find some good, easy-to-make plant-based recipes.  Enough recipes for a six-week meal plan with clear step-by-step instructions with recipes geared to fulfill your macronutrient needs. 

[19] Ketogenic Bodybuilding: A Natural Athlete’s Guide to Competitive Savagery by Robert Sikes. 

Robert Sikes is a natural ketogenic bodybuilder and founder of Keto Savage, a health and fitness company that offers coaching, training, and nutrition for athletes and bodybuilders.

A “keto” diet is low in carbohydrates.  This book provides a guide to keto-based bodybuilding nutrition from someone who found success using the approach.  

[20] The Shredded Chef: 125 Recipes for Building Muscle, Getting Lean, and Staying Healthy by Michael Matthews 

A high protein cookbook that shows you how to lose weight, build muscle and get healthy eating delicious, fitness-friendly, easy-to-make meals.  It’s for men and women. Over 55 full-page pictures. Every recipe contains prep time, cook time, servings, calories, protein, carbs, and fat content.  A highly reviewed up-to-date cookbook worth a look.  

Thoughts on Body Building & Nutrition

Bodybuilding is about looking good as compared to physical strength and endurance.  Bodybuilders are usually judged by muscles.  Massive muscle growth is an important goal.

Bodybuilding has specific diet and exercise goals and routines.  The average person who works out to keep in shape, for instance, will not usually try to obtain a bodybuilder body.  

A good diet is often not something that just comes naturally to people.  Good books can be a great help.  Good books can be even more helpful when following a more specialized nutrition routine geared to something like creating and maintaining a bodybuilder physique.  

People choose bodybuilding for a variety of reasons. Some choose to go professional, including modeling and contests.  Others choose bodybuilding as a life choice, preferring the physique involved and other reasons.  

In each case, it is a lot of work, including maintaining a proper diet.  Bodybuilding nutrition books such as these will help a lot.  Happy reading.