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Huel For Athletes & Bodybuilders - Does It Work?

Huel For Athletes & Bodybuilders - Does It Work?

Huel has gained a ton of coverage for being a great choice for those who are busy and on the go. But, is Huel for athletes, bodybuilders or gym goers?

Medical News Today reported, ‘The ISSN states that athletes who train intensively may expend 600–1,200 calories or more per hour during exercise. Therefore, athletes who train for 2–6 hours per day on 5–6 days of the week will need a higher-than-average calorie intake.

The ISSN notes that athletes weighing 50–100 kilograms (kg) may require 2,000–7,000 calories per day, while athletes who weigh 100–150 kg may need 6,000–12,000 calories per day. The ideal amount will depend on the volume and intensity of different training phases.’

Huel is a meal replacement drink that provides complete nutrition with 400 calories per serving. This is an ideal addition to athletes and bodybuilder’s diets that need to consume more calories to coincide with incredibly active lifestyles or to add more muscle.  

Huel can have many benefits for athletes including convenience, complete nutrition and high protein content.

Read on to find out more…

Huel’s Nutritional Values

Every Huel Ready-To-Drink bottle contains all 26 essential vitamins and minerals, protein essential fats, carbs, fibre and phytonutrients and is naturally gluten-free.

A balanced macro split of 35:20:42:3 (carbohydrate, protein, fat, fibre) and provides 400kcal per bottle.

Huel RTD is made from plant-based sustainable ingredients like oats, pea, rice, flaxseed, coconut, and sunflower.

How do Athletes & Bodybuilders Eat?

Muscle building or 'bulking' requires bodybuilders and athletes to consume more calories than their body burns. For optimal athletic performance, ensuring a speedy recovery following a workout is essential.

Athletes and bodybuilders will also build their diet around macronutrients "macros" - not just calories. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

The correct macronutrient balance is incredibly important for athletes looking to maximise performance and minimise recovery. 

To kick start the recovery process it's important to replenish the glycogen your body burns immediately following a workout, and to maximise protein synthesis, consume protein.

This is otherwise known as a 'post workout shake'. Something high in fast acting carbs, high in protein and virtually fat free.

Athletes need proteins to repair and rebuild their muscles. Think of protein as the building blocks for adding muscle. After a workout your muscles are damaged, so having a high protein diet, allows them to come back stronger.

A high carbohydrate diet is also very important for athletes as they are training for longer than 60 minutes every day, so this ensures that they are receiving a high amount of energy, with the role of glycogen’s main function as energy substrate.

Athletes need fat as it provides an energy source to aid the absorption of vitamins which aid hormone production and protects vital organs.

The old-school bodybuilder will eat typically 5-6 times a day. For high-performance athletes, this is optimal for performance to take full benefit of protein synthesis.

How does Huel Benefit Athletes and Bodybuilders?

Huel benefits athletes and bodybuilders as it's macro profile can help increase energy and endurance, muscle growth and recovery. It's convenient for those with high caloric diets, as it allows an easier way to consume enough calories, with the correct macro profile, without force feeding.

Popular sports that Huel can be used for include:

  • Bodybuilding
  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Swimming

Athletes should include Huel in their diet alongside essential vitamins and minerals in a way that supports their training needs and general health, recovery and performance.  

Huel claims that ‘its products are easier to digest than solid foods. Liquid food may be useful for athletes, particularly if they have digestive symptoms or need to consume more calories. Using Huel as a meal replacement for some meals may be a convenient way for athletes to fuel their energy and training needs.’

Huel For Bodybuilding Prep

During a bulk, Huel can be very useful to supplement normal meals and to help bodybuilders hit their macro and calorie goals.

When bodybuilders prep for a bodybuilding show - they restrict their calorie intake and increase the amount of calories they burn through longer training sessions and (or) cardio.

Most competitive bodybuilders tend to eat their meals when "cutting" for a bodybuilding show. This is because they're so hungry and a shake isn't as filling as something you can chew and swallow.

During the early stages of a prep when calories are still high, Huel might make for a convenient diet supplement. However when calories are low and hunger is high, we'd suggest opting for whole foods over a Huel RTD.

Side Effects

The 7 most prominent Huel Side Effects are:

  • Gas formation and bowel issues
  • Digestive Issues
  • Acid reflux & heartburn
  • Headaches
  • Rash and Skin problems
  • Brain Disorders
  • Nausea

Usually they are brought on when someone eating a ‘unhealthy’ diet adds a meal replacement shake, containing fiber and other ingredients that their body is not used to, into their diet.

Whilst most of the side effects are extremely uncommon - it’s still important to point out.

Success Stories said, ‘Many years ago, a friend and I decided that it’d be a great idea to ride a bike 200 miles in less than 24 hours. The great news is that we made it! But the exciting part is how we fueled this completely self-supported ride.

If we wanted to take all the food we required with us, it would have most likely consisted of sugary, unnaturally color-filled energy bars and drinks. Not ideal when you’re already stressing your body. Instead, we survived on Huel! And a lot of it!

If I remember correctly, we did stop once at a grocery store, but other than that, Huel powered us the whole way. All we had to do was pick up water from various places, fill our shakers, and keep moving!

My wife and I have also hiked with Huel too. It’s a great lightweight calorific alternative to food when doing multi-day hikes.’

On Reddit’s Huel for Bodybuilding reviews, j-random said, ‘I generally use Huel as a mass gainer. I mix one scoop with one scoop of protein powder and blend with water. I do this 3-4 times a day, intermixed with my regular meals of chicken and rice. I find it gives me more energy than straight protein powder and I think it's healthier too. When I'm cutting I often have only Huel some days, as it's easy to keep track of my calories and macros.’ also said, ‘Being runners, we tend to require a lot more calories than the average Joe. I often find myself peckish throughout the day, and I’m often tempted to reach for unhealthy snacks or even healthy snacks but just in excess. Huel is a great choice to fill the gaps between meals.

Huel allows you to replace low-quality foods with a more nutritionally diverse option.’ 

How To Supplement Your Diet With Huel

As a great post workout meal, grab a shake of Huel containing both carbohydrates and protein as well as rehydration with the water content. In a ready-to-drink bottle it is easy to bring along to the gym or workout and drink on the go, without any preparation.

If you would like to introduce Huel into your diet in a morning you could incorporate this into a recipe, such as this Berry and Cinammon porridge recipe from Huel.


Makes 1

  • 100g Unflavoured & Unsweetened Huel
  • 500ml water
  • 3g raspberry flavouring
  • 1g cinnamon


  1. Mix the Unflavoured & Unsweetened Huel with the water and raspberry flavouring and pour into a microwavable container.
  2. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, stirring halfway through. Leave to stand for 2 minutes before eating.
  3. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top. 

Huel vs Other Shakes

Many people confuse Huel as being a protein shake, instead of a meal replacement shake and they are both useful, but for different reasons. However when used as part of a balanced diet, they can both help you to increase your calorie intake and pack on muscle.

For more information, read Huel vs Protein Powder- What Are The Differences?

The Verdict

Huel can be used as part of an athletes or bodybuilders diet. Its especially useful when bulking to help get the calories required to add muscle mass, and recover from workouts.

It can be used to lose weight - however athletes and bodybuilders who are looking to drop weight tend to opt for whole food meals to help them feel fuller when their calorie intake has dropped.

Depending on goals and training schedule, adding Huel in to your diet once or twice a day is a healthy way to ensure that you have the energy you need to get through your training, repairing your muscles in the process.

For quick and easy meal replacements on the go, Shop Huel Ready-To-Drink.

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