Bulking and Cutting for Gluten Free Athletes and Bodybuilders

Bulking and Cutting for Gluten Free Athletes and Bodybuilders

Have you ever wondered what helps to make bread so fluffy and cookies so soft? You can thank gluten. Gluten is the laymen's term for proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and the wheat-rye hybrid called triticale.

Products containing wheat may also list wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, khorasan wheat, or einkorn in the ingredient label. [1] While you don't see it on the list, those with Celiac or gluten sensitivity may also have an adverse reaction to rolled or quick-cook oats.

Related: Bulking and Cutting for the Lactose-Free Athlete and Bodybuilder

While oats are gluten-free by themselves, they are commonly processed and cross-contaminated with wheat, barley, and rye. Oatmeal is a great high-quality carbohydrate for those avoiding gluten, just make sure the product is certified gluten-free.

Gluten helps to maintain the shape of popular prepared foods like bread, pasta, and cereal. it's also hidden in packaged soups, salad dressings, food colorings, and sauces. Wheat, rye, and barley are also critical components of the fermented beverage beer. Read ingredient labels carefully and when if you still cannot tell, err on the side of caution so that you're not regretting it later.

Sadly, there is a growing population of individuals with a severe allergy to gluten. An estimated 1 in 100 people across the globe have Celiac disease. A genetic autoimmune disorder where the body attacks itself, specifically the small intestine, as an immune response after ingesting gluten. [2]

If left untreated, consuming gluten while also having Celiac disease can seriously damage your small intestine, leading to nutrient deficiencies due to malabsorption, and cause a wide array of unwanted gastrointestinal effects. The fastest way to determine if you have Celiac disease is to perform the appropriate blood tests.

Those who experience pain and discomfort after consuming gluten but tested negative for Celiac disease may have non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, commonly referred to as gluten-sensitivity. Researchers now believe approximately 18 million Americans have gluten sensitivity. [3]

This is over 600% higher than the number of individuals in the United States with Celiac disease. Unfortunately, individuals afflicted by gluten-sensitivity are often criticized by their gluten-eating peers since they don't have a blood test confirming full-blown Celiac disease.

don't let these naysayers get you down! If you feel awful after eating gluten, then consider eliminating it for a while to see if your condition improves. Even gluten-sensitive individuals without Celiac disease can do damage to their intestines. As researchers learn more about Celiac and gluten-sensitivity, the popularity of fad diets preaching the elimination of gluten to lose weight has simultaneously increased.

In many cases, fad dieters who have no gluten sensitivity at all tend to downplay or not believe those with allergies or sensitivities. The one saving grace from gluten-free fad diets is the increased attention on offering and creating gluten-free products.

While having Celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity can add challenges during school, work, and social settings, it does not have to put a halt to your fitness goals! The diets laid out below provide a framework to reach your muscle-gain or fat-loss goals without foods containing gluten. If you do not have or do not like the taste of a food below, then feel free to swap it with a comparable option.

The meal plans below are based on a 180-pound male with the goal of consuming at least one gram of protein and 0.4 grams of fat per pound of bodyweight. The remaining calories come from a mixture of high-quality carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

Adjust these intakes based on your age, gender, activity level, and goal.
Gluten Free

Sample 3,200 Calorie Diet for Adding Mass


  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 medium baked cubed to make home fries
  • 1 cup of cup cherry tomatoes
  • 3 slices of turkey bacon

Mid-Morning Snack

  • 8 ounces of low-fat plain yogurt
  • ½ ounce of shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1 scoop of MTS Whey Protein


  • 4 ounces of cooked chicken breast
  • 2 cups of sliced green peppers
  • 1.25 cups of cooked medium-grain rice

Pre-Workout Snack

  • 1 large banana
  • 1 tablespoon of almond butter

Post-Workout Shake


  • 5 ounces of cooked skirt steak
  • 2 cups of steamed broccoli
  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup of low-fat vanilla ice cream

Totals: 3,200 calories, 246 grams of protein, 316 grams of carbohydrates, 108 grams of fat, and 36 grams of fiber.

Sample 2,000 Calorie Diet for Losing Fat


  • 2 ounces of 97% fat free sliced ham
  • ½ cup of chopped red peppers
  • 2 ounces of onion
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 egg whites


  • 8 ounces of nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons raw chia seeds
  • ½ scoop MTS Whey Protein


  • 5 ounces of cooked 93% lean/7% fat ground turkey
  • 2 cups of shredded romaine lettuce
  • 4 ounces of raw carrots
  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette

Pre-Workout Snack

  • 1 large apple
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut butter

Post-Workout Shake

  • Creatine
  • 2 scoops of MTS Whey Protein


  • 4 ounces of baked salmon
  • 2 cups of steamed cauliflower
  • 6 ounces of baked sweet potato
  • 1 tablespoon of butter

Totals: 2,000 calories, 207 grams of protein, 135 grams of carbohydrates, 73 grams of fat, and 35 grams of fiber.

1) Smith, Janelle. "What is Gluten?" Celiac Disease Foundation, 2017, Accessed Feb. 2017.
2) Smith, Janelle. "What is Celiac Disease?" Celiac Disease Foundation, 2017, Accessed Feb. 2017.
3) Baker, Claire. "Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity." Beyond Celiac, 2016, Accessed Feb. 2017.
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matt - November 11, 2019

Nowadays there are so many options. But the best stuff is still meats and veggies. Big salads, a lot of steak, piles of vegetables… I eat fish sometimes too.

John Hennessy - October 8, 2017

Oh wow thanks for the article. I use to just eat of more ketogenic type of diet.

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