Introduction As a Health and Fitness Coach you can imagine that I get to meet many prospective bodybuilders on a daily basis. These beginners are often enthusiastic at the start of our sessions as they excitedly envision a successful bodybuilding journey. But from experience I know that not all bodybuilding beginners are able to stay the course. So while I admire the childlike interest in most upstarts, there's always that apprehension at the back of my mind. From my experience, many novice bodybuilders are not opposed to the expected hardwork in the gym. If anything, most fresh-faced bodybuilders tend to relish the hustle and bustle of regular workouts. What I discovered with many beginners was that they were so eager to start a androgenic-anabolic steroid cycle. It was as if they thought AAS was a magic pill that would suddenly grant them all their bodybuilding hopes and aspirations. While AAS is undoubtedly effective in bodybuilding it is not and should not be seen as the end-all and be-all of bodybuilding. Indeed, there are many other facets of bodybuilding that are equally important. Nutrition is one. I discovered that many beginners struggled to maintain a structured bodybuilding meal plan. Nutrition as we all know is a vital part of any workout regime, but many beginners find it hard staying true to the dietary plan that is ideal for their bodybuilding needs. Failure to supplement your workout routine with a good nutritional plan can be disadvantageous to your bodybuilding efforts. At the start of my sessions I often have to answer many enquiries on nutrition. Some of the most commonly asked questions by my clients include: What's the best bodybuilding meal plan for beginners? What's the best dietary plan for losing weight? What's the best meal plan for gaining weight? What's the best nutrition plan for High Interval Intensity Training (HIIT)? What's the best diet for staying healthy while bodybuilding? In this simple meal plan guide for bodybuilding beginners, I will provide you with answers to these questions. This thread will be broken into three parts. In this first post I will provide a list of key grocery items. In the second part I will state five key essentials for bodybuilding nutrition, and the third post will highlight a meal plan template that is best suited for most personal fitness goals and bodybuilding needs. Happy reading! Part 1: List of Key Grocery Items The first thing you need to know whether you intend to lose body weight or bulking your skeletal muscles is that you need four essential food groups. These food groups will help to boost your energy levels while promoting increased skeletal muscle growth. These four food groups remain a constant in every meal plan and they should be top on your list of grocery items. So what are these four food groups? #1. Fruits, Legumes and Vegetables: The first food group consists of tropical fruits like oranges, apples, berries, avocados, and so on. It also includes legumes like peas, red kidney beans, and brown beans. Vegetables should also be included in your grocery list; preferably fibrous leafy green veggies. Fibrous vegetables help to boost your digestive system and prevent constipation. Fruits, legumes and vegetables improve your immune system while boosting your red blood cell production. This increases the amount of oxygenated blood available to your brain, muscles, heart and every other vital organ in your body. Oxygen-rich red blood cells help to promote your cardiovascular conditioning while also boosting your energy, stamina, and strength. #2. Fats and Oils: Your grocery list should also include healthy fats and oils. Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats are essential for increasing your High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) levels which helps in regulating your blood pressure, preventing blood clotting, atherosclerosis (i.e. a hardening of your arteries), stroke, and heart attack. You can find monounsaturated fats in canola oil, olive oil, peanut oil, avocados, non-hydrogenated margarine, cashew nuts, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, and almonds. Polyunsaturated fats can be obtained from cold-water fish such as; herring, sardines, and mackerel. You can also find Polyunsaturated fat in walnuts, pine nuts, flaxseed, pecans, and omega-3 eggs. #3. Protein: The third type of food you should budget for is protein. While you can get protein from junk food, you need to keep to healthy sources of protein for your meal plan. The best sources of healthy protein include: Greek yogurt, white meat (e.g. chicken), whole eggs, egg whites, white fish, and protein powders. Protein is essential for promoting skeletal muscle repair and growth. #4. Starches: Natural starch can be obtained from foods such as: potatoes, brown rice, oats, cereals, quinoa, wheat bread, whole-wheat pastas, and yams. Starch provides your body with essential calories and gives you the energy needed for HIIT. So whenever you go shopping at your local grocery store make sure you have a list of items that include these four essential food groups. Regardless of your bodybuilding needs, your meal plan should include these four types of foods. In the next part of my Simple Meal Plan Guide for Bodybuilding Beginners, I will highlight the Five Key Essentials for Bodybuilding Nutrition, so stay tuned for that.