Okay. I wrote this post in a rage. I searched up, ‘Is Cereal Good For Bulking?’ and the first answer said: no. That’s completely wrong. Cereal is REALLY good for bulking actually.
Here’s the thing: Cereal is good for bulking. Cereal gives a ton of carbs for a morning workout and gives lots of crucial vitamins that your muscles need to recover. Furthermore, combine it with milk and you’re going to have a ton of protein to help jumpstart muscle recovery in the morning. Not to mention the great taste and the high calories that will for sure put muscle on.
But, let me tell you a little more in-depth why cereal is so good for bulking!
Tons of Vitamins and Minerals
One of the biggest things that cereal has is a ton of vitamins and minerals.
Most people actually don’t know this but look at the nutrition label of your cereal box, and you’ll be surprised. In fact, in some of my posts, I have compared cereal to a multivitamin.
Here’s a picture of the side label:
That is well, an incredible list of minerals/vitamins. I’m sick of people saying cereal is just useless sugar. No, it definitely has decent nutritional value.
Now, not all cereals have the same amount of vitamins or whatever, so check the labels of each one. That cereal is from a fairly common sugary cereal, so don’t think I’m trying to use a healthy cereal as an example.
The point is though, most cereals in general have this much vitamins in them.
Vitamins Are Critical For Muscle Growth, But People Forget This
People don’t realize this, but when you’re a bodybuilder (or any fitness junkie), things are different. What do I mean? Well, you’re exercising constantly, way more than the average American.
Tons of vitamins are used up in your intense exercise, and tons of vitamins are sweated out naturally. But, most of us aren’t taking tons of vitamins or supplements to replenish that loss.
That’s where cereal comes in.
First, do I really need to mention vitamin/mineral deficiency? I had an iron deficiency for a while, let me tell you- that’s like living life on hard mode.
But things like Zinc, Vitamin B12, Riboflavin, Vitamin D, Calcium, all come together to grow your body and make it stronger. Sure, a lot of these vitamins help with your muscles, but also your body growth in general.
There are tons of parts of bodybuilding we don’t talk about. Bone strength is one of them. Calcium is incredible for that. But, from your mood to digestion, to just normal functions of your body, they all require these vitamins to do.
Unfortunately, many fitness junkies have a vitamin deficiency for this reason. I will say that a lot of fitness people have, in general, better diets than most- but again, many people can lose these vitamins, even when they are critical to our life.
If you’re not sold on that part, let’s talk about the general nutrition of cereal itself.
So, cereal is kind of a weird food. Not a lot of protein or fats, just a lot of carbs. However, when you combine it with milk (which we will discuss later in this post) it kind of balances out.
But, let’s just focus on the cereal part for now.
- Serving Size: 3/4 cup
- Calories: 110 calories
- Carbohydrates: 22g
- Protein: 2g
- Fat: 1g
So, what does that tell us? Well, cereal is a food with high carbohydrates and pretty low protein/fat. That’s something really important to note, especially for bulking.
Many people are going to be quick to say that cereal is a bad food to eat because it has low protein and fats. But…what about oatmeal?
If you’ve read my post, about eating oatmeal when bulking, you’ll understand that oatmeal is a low protein food. But, for some reason, every bodybuilder recommends you eat oatmeal all the time. Why?
How is this possible? If oatmeal has low protein and fats, how could it ever be good food for bulking?
Well, it’s actually very similar to oatmeal, and here’s why:
Cereal Gives Great Energy For a Morning Workout
Look, I’m not going to lie and say I’m some superman. I get tired of going to the gym all the time. Going to the gym and working out regularly is incredibly taxing.
I do take C4 before the gym (Read: C4 Sport Pre-Workout Review), but I also eat a lot of carbs in the morning.
Carbohydrates give you fast-acting energy. And that’s needed. Most workout programs (including the best program ever made, The Arnold Schwarzenegger Blueprint to Mass) will start off your workout by having the heaviest compound lifts first.
And there’s a good reason for this. When you start your workout, you have the most energy. The compound lifts are known for targeting a ton of muscles at the same time and really testing your strength.
Simply put, you won’t be able to bench as much at the end of your workout, as you could right away. It’s just how our bodies work.
With this knowledge in mind, taking pre-workout and eating carbs before a workout can do a ton for your energy.
Those carbs can give you a ton of fast-acting energy to easily knock out some heavy overhead pressing right away at the beginning of your workout!
This means you will be overloading the muscle more, therefore gaining more muscle in the long run. Sounds cool, right?
Carbs Are NEEDED After Your Sleep
So most of us sleep around 7-9 hours every night. Back in my “golden days” of bodybuilding (before I had bills to pay) I would wake up in my sleep and eat protein bars to keep the muscle growth going.
Honestly, it worked really well. Unfortunately, I’m too old for that now. And most of us don’t even wake up in our sleep to do that stuff.
Point is, after 8 hours of sleep, there is no food in your body. Everything is low: protein, fat, carbs, all is in the danger zone.
This means your mood is going to be, well, horrible. You’re going to feel sluggish, and hungry.
So, You have two choices:
- You can jumpstart your muscle recovery by eating in the morning.
- You can do a fasted workout.
Generally, there are no benefits to have been shown for fasted workouts. Other than it might help people with stomach issues (helps me time-to-time).
Regardless, you’re usually better off just eating in the morning. It will make you happier, give you more energy, and prepare you for the workout.
Cereal With Milk
So typically when people ask the question, is cereal good for bulking, they don’t really specify if they mean cereal with milk, or cereal without milk.
Truthfully, cereal with milk is a big game-changer. Personally, for me, I’m lactose intolerant (lmao RIP) so I generally don’t have milk with my cereal in the morning.
But, sometimes I do, because it’s hard to beat something like this for food in the morning.
Here’s the nutrition of cereal with milk:
- Serving size: 3/4 cup of Cereal with 1/2 Cup of Skim Milk
- Calories: 150
- Carbs: 29g
- Fats: 2g
- Proteins: 6g
With the skim/fat-free milk, you get a ton of carbs and a decent amount of protein. I personally recommend putting in like 2% milk to add a little more fat to balance it out a little bit.
But overall, when you combine milk with cereal, it’s really good taste wise and nutrition wise.
You find a fairly balanced meal in the morning that’s going to give you enough energy to finish that workout, help your calorie totals for the day, and give you some protein right away.
“Too Many Calories?” Not When You’re Bulking!
I’ve seen people all around the internet say cereal has way too many calories.
Hold up? Aren’t we supposed to be bulking? The definition of bulking is to literally gain weight?
Look, I’ll admit- I’m a bit biased. I wrote a big guide on why dirty bulking is the secret to getting big, but regardless, if you’re clean bulking: cereal is still an option!
I’m sick of people out here trying to say that just because you went into the gym you can’t enjoy food. “Ohh!! You need to eat 1500 calories of steak every day, and 1500 calories of rice and vegetables!!”.
What the heck? Most of these people are the same people that are small. I’m just going to call them out.
The same people that told me all of that are still stuck benching 165, deadlift 225, and squatting 200. They have decent muscle but look tiny compared to me.
They spent a ton of money and time eating spinach and grilled chicken all day (someone at my school will know who I’m talking about) and now doesn’t even lift.
I ate cereal and look at what I became: THOR.
Like, so much information you read online are not from real ‘bodybuilders’. It’s from guys that have been lifting for 3 years and obtained like a slightly above-average physique that got them a 4/10 girlfriend.
The same people saying that stuff are the same people who weigh 127 lbs after 4 years of bodybuilding. Then you’re just confused at what they’re doing?
Yes, You NEED To Gain Weight
Look, this is a bodybuilding website. Not like a ‘fitness culture’ site. And I assume you’re a bodybuilder if you’re using the word ‘bulking’.
When I mean bodybuilding, I mean like we are getting big. We are putting on SERIOUS muscle mass that will make our shirts barely fit on us. I’m not talking about having a shredded 8 pack all year round with 13-inch biceps. I’m talking BIG muscle.
You need to gain weight, it’s that simple.
It’s the golden rule of bodybuilding that never changes: you need to eat more than your body burns every day to gain weight/muscle.
It just never changes. If you go to the gym, leave everything out there, go home barely able to walk and talk, but you don’t gain any weight- no muscle will come.
You’ll be spinning wheels, and nothing will happen.
Cereal has a decent amount of calories. Honestly, not that many calories compared to other foods, but it’s nothing to be scoffed at.
Most New Bodybuilders Need To Eat 3,000+ Calories Daily
Most bodybuilders, even new ones, need to eat around 3,000+ calories daily. Even when I weighed 110 lbs at 5’6 when I started, I still had to down nearly 2400 calories a day.
Most men are around 150 lbs, 5’10 (I’m 5’8 lmao I’m a manlet) and their TDEE is going to be around 2300 calories. Going to the gym bumps that number up, and most people will find themselves eating 3,000 calories a day to put on serious muscle.
Lots of experienced bodybuilders that weigh 200-300 lbs will find themselves eating 4,000 calories a day.
Do 300-400 calories of cereal really matter? That’s very insignificant in the entire process.
Look, if it tastes good, and it gives you calories and decent nutrition, why not?
But, Isn’t There High Sugar Content?
Yea, I guess. Unfortunately, the effects of sugar and bodybuilding aren’t really studied too well.
Some say sugar helps, some say it doesn’t. I will agree that the sugar is kind of high, but I think most bodybuilder’s diets are decent enough to not let this be a problem.
Look, being a bodybuilder means a lot of your diet has to be structured around high protein foods. Most of these high protein foods don’t have a lot of sugar.
A lot of bodybuilders find themselves eating a ton of meat every day. Turkey sandwiches, beef, steak, etc. All in all, it should kind of balance out.
Most of us know sugar isn’t great for us, and if you are that concerned about your sugar intake I do recommend finding sugar-free cereals or cereals with whole-grains.
But, compared to the normal American diet, most bodybuilders do far better. A bowl of cereal in the morning likely isn’t going to do much.
If you are feeling sick or anything after eating that sugar, I recommend you cut it out and see a doctor.
Like I’ve always said, moderation for all things. Eating cereal 50 times a day? Probably not the greatest idea. Same thing with eating 50 steaks a day- probably not the best idea.
So, Is Cereal Good For Bulking? Final Verdict
Yes! If you like cereal then go eat it. It gives a ton of calories and carbs to get your morning workout started off right. I recommend adding some milk to get a little more protein right away, but it’s up to you. Plus, the vitamins will help you recover, and the great taste will keep you munching.
So, let’s get BIG!