Are Bagels Good for Bulking? (7 interesting facts)

Ah, bagels: it’s hard to imagine a life without them!

Who doesn’t love a fresh, lightly toasted bagel with a splash of butter and jam? 

These comforting circular creations are a hit worldwide, and people are inventing new topping combinations every day to garnish them with. 

Recent breakthroughs (where I’m from at least) have meant that bagels aren’t merely a breakfast food anymore; instead, they can be (and are) enjoyed all day long.

Taking into account their deliciousness and mainstream popularity, you may be surprised to learn that bagels have a great nutritional profile. 

If you are on a health and fitness journey right now and are wondering whether or not you can use them as part of your bulking routine, you’ve come to the right place! This article will discuss:

  • The nutritional properties of different types of bagels
  • The pros and cons of eating bagels for bulking
  • Whether you should eat bagels before or after your workout
  • Other top tips surrounding implementing bagels into your bulking diet.

Let’s get into it!

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Nutritional Breakdown of Bagels 

First and foremost, bagels are a great source of complex carbohydrates. 

These types of carbs offer a sustained release energy boost, meaning they are a great food group to eat before working out – and especially for bodybuilders who are bulking!

With that being said, different bagels offer different nutritional profiles, which means they can be optimal for different situations. 

A comprehensive rundown of the profiles of whole wheat bagels and plain bagels can be found here:

*the following figures are based on a 105 gram serving of both bagels*

NutrientWhole Wheat BagelsPlain Bagels
Carbs51.3 grams55 grams
Protein10.7 grams11.1 grams
Fat1.6 grams1.4 grams
Fiber4.3 grams1.7 grams
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Pros and Cons of Eating Bagels for Bulking 

We’ve discussed how different bagels’ nutritional profiles stack up, but now let’s deep dive into how exactly they can impact your bulk, whether that be positively or negatively!

First we’ll address the pros, and then the cons:

The Pros of Eating Bagels for Bulking:

  • High Carb Content: Bagels are loaded with carbohydrates, which is the most significant benefit of this food for bodybuilders who are bulking. Only one bagel provides your body with approximately 50 grams of carbohydrates – this will come in handy before and after workouts
  • Caloric Density: The scientific basis of a bulk requires a calorie surplus to be attained in order to gain and support muscle mass.  Bagels are relatively calorie-dense, meaning they offer a handy tool in any bodybuilder’s bulking arsenal.
  • Convenience: Bagels are relatively inexpensive, easy to prepare, and highly versatile. What’s more, their shelf life can be increased substantially simply by storing them in the fridge (or even better – freezer!)
  • Easy to Digest: This is one of the reasons why bagels are so effective as a pre-workout boost: they only take between 30 – 60 minutes to digest! The complex carbs contained within them will be converted into energy quickly, and provide that all-important boost to your workout.
  • High in Protein: Bagels offer around 10 grams of protein per serving. That’s more than an egg offers! This is great news for people who may be looking to minimize their meat consumption.

The Cons of Eating Bagels for Bulking:

  • High in Calories: You may be thinking, “Hang on! That was on the pros list!” You’d be correct. While it is beneficial to be eating calorie-rich foods as part of a bulking diet, you still need to be mindful of how much you’re putting into your system.
  • Processed food item: Most dietitians and experts suggest that you should follow an 80-20 diet. It means that 80 percent of all your daily meals should consist of natural and whole foods and 20 percent on processed sources.  Be mindful that if you incorporate bagels into your diet, you shouldn’t be eating many more processed foods on a day-to-day basis.
  • High in Sodium: Bagels are also high in sodium. On average, one bagel offers about 450 milligrams of sodium. Eating food high in sodium can lead to many health problems, including heart disease and high blood pressure. It can also reduce the amount of calcium in your body, which can weaken your teeth and bones. That’s why it’s important to restrict your daily sodium intake!

Should I Eat Bagels Before or After Working Out? 

This question has a lot of different variables, such as personal preference, digestive requirements, and overall dietary strategies. 

The main benefit of eating bagels before a workout is that they are prime sources of energy!

As well as this, consuming carbs before a workout can raise blood sugar levels which also supports energy levels.

The main benefit of eating bagels after a workout is that this will help with muscle recovery, which is crucial for growth. 

Meals containing both carbs and proteins eaten post-workout optimize this muscle repair. 

If this meal is consumed during the anabolic window (the period of time after a workout in which your body is the most receptive to nutrient absorption), this will only further benefit recovery.

In Summary 

Bagels are high in carbs and calories and can actually help you with bulking. You can use them to create both pre-and post-workout meals to get energy and support the muscle-rebuilding process. Make sure that you eat them in moderation and monitor your daily intake of macro and micro-nutrients to enjoy the benefits they bring to the table.

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