Whole grain cereals, like oatmeal, are a major source of complex carbohydrates for energy, and are a good source of many vital minerals, including iron, magnesium, and zinc.
"Body builders train hard, so they need lean protein to build and repair their muscles, and then they need the carbs to fuel. So oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes, bananas -- these are all things that fuel [those workouts]," says Clark.
The complex carbohydrates found in whole-grain foods digest more slowly and help regulate blood sugar. These low-glycemic carbohydrates help repair the muscles that were broken down during our workouts, with their nutrients absorbed into the blood stream instead of being flushed away.
Clark is also a fan of brown rice and pasta. Serious weight lifters sometimes look askance at pasta, but again, the whole-grain variety is rich in carbohydrates, nutrients and fiber. Plus, it's a perfect compliment to other highly recommended foods, like lean meat, chicken and fish, and there's no rule against eating foods that taste good.
When buying grain products, look at the label and make sure they have at least 3 to 5 grams of fiber per serving [source: Zelman].