Is Pasta Good For Building Muscle Mass? (tuna, whole wheat, brown)

January 9, 2024 |

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You build muscle mass when your body has enough energy (calories) and protein to recover and grow after intense strength training.

Train hard, eat carbs and protein, and get plenty of sleep.

These are the most important factors in muscle building, and they set the background for why Pasta is so popular worldwide.

Pasta offers some important nutrients but lacks others – which has raised the question, ‘is Pasta good for building muscle?

Is Pasta Good For Building Muscle?

Pasta can be good for building muscle when combined with a protein source – it is a carbohydrate that provides essential energy for muscle-building. It has a medium absorption speed, making it a good, sustainable source of energy over time.

This makes Pasta popular with bodybuilders and athletes in many sports, where energy levels are important for performance and growth.


Pasta is mostly a portion of food combined with other ingredients for better muscle-building.

It won’t build significant amounts of muscle by itself, but it forms a perfect combination with other foods.

Pasta combined with chicken, tuna, or other lean protein sources is perfect for muscle growth.

Pasta Macronutrients and Nutrition Basics

For nutritional purposes, Pasta is a medium-absorbing carbohydrate source with very little protein and fat.

It’s a mixture of flour and egg, which means that it will provide a lot of carbs (from flour) and a small amount of fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals from the egg content.

The nutrition information for Pasta is typical, in the following range of 100g:

Protein: 5.5g

Carbs: 35g

Fats: 6g

These are good ratios for a staple carb source and typically work out to around 65% carbs, 25% fats, and 10% protein by calories.

As you can see, it’s weak in protein which is why it’s best combined with a protein-rich food to get the most from your Pasta for muscle growth reasons.

There is a relatively little vitamin and mineral content in Pasta.

You’ll typically get around 1-5% of your important vitamins and minerals, so, once again, it’s best to combine it with a food that is rich in vitamins and minerals.

What is Pasta Good For?

If you’re paying attention, you’ll see a potential muscle-building meal taking shape.

Pasta is low in protein, vitamins, and minerals. These are best added from elsewhere – so what’s the best pasta meal for building muscle?

Typically, it will be Pasta with a lean protein source (like beef) and vegetables (like spinach).

This easy combination with muscle-building foods makes Pasta such a simple and effective muscle-building food.

Pasta is also easy to digest and super comfortable in the stomach.

It is popular before and after workouts, as well as during the day, to avoid over-fullness.

This makes Pasta a great muscle-building choice simply because it’s versatile, packed with energy, and combines beautifully with other choices.

How to Use Pasta for Building Muscle?

Pasta is a great staple carb choice for building muscle.

This is the best way to use it – get good at making Pasta and build a series of simple and easy meals with lots of protein and carbs.

Having 3-5 delicious meals with good macronutrients makes gaining muscle much easier, especially on evenings when you’re tired and have low motivation for cooking.

buidling muscle

Pasta can be the basis for a high-calorie meal, but it’s also light.

It’s a great choice, and you can use different types of Pasta, but vary the protein source and veggies, as well as the sauce, to get a lot of value and versatility out of just one type of carb.

Using Pasta for muscle building is about cooking Pasta and experimenting with high-protein and nutrient-dense ingredients.

Pasta is the carbohydrate foundation for some of the best muscle-building meals around!

Pasta for Bodybuilding: Pros and Cons

So, should you use Pasta for bodybuilding?

Let’s take a look at some of the most important pros and cons of Pasta for muscle building and strength gains – and some real-world considerations you might want to keep in mind.


  • A versatile carb source that pairs with tons of options and can be used for any level of formality
  • Easy to prep and better cold than some other carb sources (like potatoes) and easy to prepare in advance
  • Great variety of options for ingredients that provide the appropriate protein, fats, and vitamins/minerals for your diet
  • Good mid-digesting option with plenty of water and salts to replenish lost electrolytes after a workout and support rehydration – especially in athletes
  • Better carb content than many other options, making it a very good option for just carbs if you’re using other ingredients for other purposes – like chicken and pesto.
  • Delicious with amazing options – from light and fresh to hearty, creamy, and cheese-filled pasta dishes


  • It can be much more water-retention risky than rice, for example, which may be a problem for bodybuilders who want to stay lean and dry in the short term.
  • It is better as a post-workout meal than pre-workout, where it typically sits heavier than potatoes or rice, changing the experience of eating high-carb meals for muscle gain!
  • Pasta prep is better than potatoes but arguably less reheat-friendly than rice, with some risks of ‘soggy pasta.’
  • Some of the cooking options require a lot more effort than others and may not be the easiest choice for short timings of eating.
  • The carbs are very simple compared to other sources (like whole grains such as oats), with a faster absorption rate and less fiber.
  • Pasta does have a lower protein content than other forms of carbohydrate like beans, bagels, and rice – making it a less ‘all-round’ choice without added ingredients.

Pasta for Muscle Building: FAQs

Is Pasta Good After Exercise?

Yes – Pasta is a medium-digesting carb source. It is a great option for replenishing energy stores after exercise.

It’s a great choice for recovery, where it’s fast enough to produce immediate energy availability – but long-lasting enough to keep you fuelled for hours.

Combined with a good protein source, a pasta meal is perfect after exercise for post-workout recovery!

Do Bodybuilders Eat Pasta?

Yes – many bodybuilders and athletes use Pasta as the main carb source because it’s versatile, easy to cook and prep, and has a lot of ingredient combinations.

This makes it a good way of adding carbs to high-protein ingredients like chicken and tuna.

Pasta isn’t always the #1 choice for bodybuilders – probably rice or even potatoes – but it’s very popular.

Arguably, Pasta is more popular with athletes than bodybuilders, whose “wet” nature makes it more suitable for recovery and performance and less likely to cause bloating.

Is Pasta Good For Weight Lifting?

Yes – Pasta is a fantastic fuel source for most forms of weight training, as well as gymnastics, speed and power training, and even machine exercises.

The carb content is great for short-term energy, sustained release, and supporting energy throughout the day.

This makes Pasta a great daily meal for energy reserves but a great post-workout meal for weightlifting.

Make sure you combine it with the two things it’s missing: a high-protein ingredient and some veggies for extra vitamins and minerals.

Is Pasta Good For Muscle Recovery?

Yes – Pasta is a good carbohydrate choice for muscle recovery because it’s digestible, has medium absorption speed, and is super versatile.

You should combine Pasta with a protein source, some veggies, and whatever sauce you like.

The result is an easy and hearty food source that can be high in protein, carbs, vitamins, and minerals.

The variety of sauces and protein choices make it versatile, too – you can eat Pasta 5 days in a row and have a completely different experience each time.

Rice Vs. Pasta For Muscle Growth?

Rice and Pasta are equally good for muscle growth – they’re both high-carbohydrate foods with plenty of easy combinations with high-protein ingredients.

Bodybuilders typically prefer rice because it’s less bloating, while athletes often use Pasta for its rehydration and versatility benefits.

You should probably eat both at different times in your diet.

There’s no real better or worse; experiment with whichever you prefer.

Is Pasta Good Or Bad For Bodybuilding?

Pasta is great for bodybuilding, providing a super easy-to-use carb source with tons of water for rehydration and a little extra salt.

It’s a perfect off-season or ‘bulking’ food to support muscle growth.

You must combine it with a protein source like chicken, beef, venison, or tuna to get the best results.

You also want to add spinach, tomatoes, and other veggies to ensure you’re getting plenty of vitamins and minerals – which Pasta is quite low in.

Can Pasta Make You Bigger?

Pasta is a good food to add to your diet to get bigger.

It is good for building muscle mass with a higher carb and protein intake.

The carbs are inherent in the Pasta, and it’s a fantastic choice with the added water and salt content to support muscle recovery and growth.

Pasta won’t make you bigger by itself.

You still need to eat more calories than you use, add protein and veggies, pick a good sauce, and lift heavy weights.

Pasta is one of the best and most popular ways to replenish your energy stores and get muscle-building calories and carbs into your diet.

Is lasagna good for building muscle?

Lasagna is a good option for building muscle for skinny guys who need to eat more to build more muscle mass. Lasagna is typically built around three core ingredients: cheese, Pasta, and a mince.

Using a lean steak mince with lots of protein and relatively little fat makes the lasagna a great choice for weight gain.

A serving will include plenty of protein, carbs, and some fats to provide lots of muscle-building calories.

As with many other pasta dishes, the way you construct your lasagna and the ratio of ingredients is key to making it a muscle-building meal.

More cheese and Pasta and less (or fattier) mince produce a high calorie but lower protein meal.

This means lower quality weight gain (more fat and less muscle) – and the opposite is true.

Use a lasagna as a higher-calorie pasta dish than others (like chicken and tomato pasta) for a huge calorie intake and to support weight gain if you’re struggling to hit your daily calories.

Is Pasta Good for building abs?

Pasta is a good food source for improving your total muscle-building, including abs – but it’s not the best cutting food.

This means it’s good for building muscle and bigger abs but won’t give you visible six-pack abs.

This is because building muscle and showing it off typically occur in opposite directions.

Pasta is quite versatile, but its best uses are for performance and muscle building, which may involve a little water retention and make it sub-optimal for getting lean and shredded.

You can still make Pasta lean with high-quality, protein-rich ingredients like chicken and tuna.

Focus on lower-salt options and simple sauces like Pomodoro rather than pesto or creamy sauces to see your abs!

Is chickpea pasta good for building muscle?

Chickpea pasta is a good choice for building muscle.

However, it may not provide the high-calorie content you normally expect from pasta dishes.

This means it usually needs to be combined with other ingredients to get the best results – or with larger quantities of mince (or fattier mince), extra layers, or more cheese.

These are fine adjustments, but you must remember that chickpea pasta isn’t the same as the original, and most muscle-building happens in a calorie surplus.

Consider chickpea pasta as a leaner option.

But remember, this does skew towards weight loss compared to normal Pasta.


Pasta is a good muscle-building carbohydrate for your diet with various high-protein ingredients.

This is what it takes to build muscle, making it a fantastic choice for any bodybuilder, athlete, or fitness enthusiast looking for foundational food.

There’s a ton of culinary history with Pasta and thousands of possible ingredient and sauce combinations. It’s easy to make and tastes pretty good by default.

You can make it as delicious or protein-packed as you want, based on how you cook it and what you add.

It’s not a glamorous food, but it’s a perfect choice for a basic carb and an excellent all-rounder.

Everyone should have a few healthy pasta dishes stored for a busy day, and even more so for building muscles, recovering from workouts, and energizing yourself for the next training session!

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