Bulking Food? Oats Are the Answer!!

Why Are Oats Such a Good Bulking Food?

Bulking Food Oats

All too often, people give everything they’ve got in the gym and despite eating a decent bodybuilding diet, fail to make any real gains in muscle mass.

I was one of these people until I discovered a bulking food with almost magical properties… Oats! Oats have been the single most effective bulking food supplement that I have taken, and have been responsible for most of my gains.

They have a low glycemic index (low G.I.), which means that they are a slow burning carbohydrate.

Once eaten, low G.I. foods take a long time to burn off, and as a result, provide the body with a long lasting supply of fuel. This is important to bodybuilders, as in the absence of fuel, the body will enter a catabolic state and begin to break down it’s own muscle mass and use it as energy.

When Should I Eat Them?

Bulking Food - Oats

A very effective bulking food - Oats in their rawest form are known as Groats.

The importance of the pre-workout meal is widely agreed. Beginning a workout having eaten little or nothing is a big mistake, and will most probably be counter-productive.

The body not only needs protein pre-workout, but also a good source of carbohydrates to offset the large amount of calories that will be burned off in the gym. Without taking in sufficient fuel for the workout, the body will find it from elsewhere. In most cases, this will be from the breakdown of valuable muscle fibre.

Consuming a good bulking food, such as oats, along with a good source of protein, before hitting the gym, is a sure fire way to ensure that the body has everything it needs for an intense workout.

Equally as important is the post workout meal. Straight after your workout is the period when your muscles will be most receptive to any macronutrients that you take in. Protein is paramount here, as it is needed for the body to recover from the stresses it has been put under, and to repair damaged muscle tissue caused by lifting weight. As it repairs muscle tissue,  new tissue is also grown, and it is this process that accounts for your gains in muscle mass. Protein is essential for this to happen. Having burnt off so many calories during your workout, your body will also be craving carbohydrates to replenish its energy stores.

Oats are a fantastic way of providing this. I suggest mixing about a cup of oats in with your protein shake, and consuming it immediately after your workout. You cannot grow without proper nutrients. You’ll be amazed at the difference a good bulking food like oats can make.

What Kind of Oats Should I Buy?

Oats can be bought in a variety of forms: But most important for the bodybuilder are rolled and steel cut.

The main difference between rolled and steel cut oats is the degree of refinement. Oats in their rawest form are known as Groats, which are of no use as they are too hard to chew and/or digest.

Steel Cut Oats

Groats are passed through steel cutters to produce steel cut oats. Processing them in this manner retains the greatest amount of the grain and flavour, whilst also allowing your body to digest them effectively and at a steady rate.

Rolled Oats

The next step in the process is to roll the steel cut oats between large drums to produce rolled oats. Rolled oats retain the majority of their flavour and texture, but are absorbed by the body considerably quicker as a result of the additional processing of the grain.

Quick/Instant Oats

Quick oats, such as those produced by Quaker are of little use to the bodybuilder due to the quick rate at which they are digested by the body. Quick/Instant oats are rolled oats which have been steamed to make them quicker for the consumer to cook. It is this steaming process which starts to break down the oat and makes them so quickly digestable.

Glycemic Index

The reason oats are such an effective bulking food lies with their glycemic index, which is very low. Although each of the types of oats discussed above have different GIs.

Here is a list of the types of oats, from lowest GI to highest:

  • GroatsLow
  • Steel cutLow/Med
  • RolledMedium
  • Quick/InstantHigh

Despite the high glycemic index of quick/instant oats, when compared to many other breakfast items and cereals, oats in any form are always the better choice as a bulking food.

What should be avoided are oats that have additives in them, such as fruit flavourings, or sweeteners. It is much better to add your own fresh fruit or honey as required, than to buy ‘ready made’.


There are many supplements out there claiming to provide magical results, but none of them even come close to plain old oats! They cost next to nothing, so there really isn’t a reason why you shouldn’t give them a try as a bulking food. Especially if you’re stuck on a plateau!


1 ping

Skip to comment form

  1. Adrian

    Hi I’ve been having 5 scoops of ready brek with flaked almonds and hazelnut chips with 2tblespoon of flax seed do you think this is a good muscle building brekki ?

  2. Andy

    This sounds like a fantastic breakfast! You could even mix some protein powder with your Ready Brek to make it even more effective for muscle building.

  3. Serge

    One question, what about the crunchy oat bars? Are they highly processed?

  4. Andres

    Hi there, I use Oats (almost 150gr + whey powder 22gr protein). I take it 3 to 4 times a day. I don’t have enough time or money for doing 6 hot meals. I have been doing this for 2 months and with 2 to 3 proper lunchs a day and multivitamins, I feel great.

    Any advice?


  5. Andy

    If you’re looking to bulk, you are right to be aiming for a calorie surplus. The best way to do this is through food, but if thats not available, what you have described will certainly fill the void.

  6. Andy


    Yes – most definitely, although if you are struggling for a decent supply, processed oats are better than no oats!

  1. Basics of Bodybuilding | CoreWorkout.NET | CoreWorkout.NET

    […] Bulking Food? Oats Are the Answer!! […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *