My Bodybuilding Diet – How I used to eat
It’s funny. You often hear people say the phrase “if only I knew then what I know now”. And it is so true! Especially when looking at my bodybuilding diet, or should I say my old bodybuilding diet from about 8 years ago!
I came across a copy of one of the old diet plans I was following back when I was bodybuilding. The bodybuilding diet looks almost like it was copied straight out of one of the bodybuilding magazines I used to read. And that’s because it probably was – with maybe a few alterations!
Just for fun, I thought I’d share this old bodybuilding diet plan of mine with you here. I can’t pinpoint exactly when this is from, but if I was to guess, I would say it is from maybe 2010. It is clearly from the bodybuilding “offseason”, when I was in a “mass gaining” rather than a “dieting” phase. Let’s just say that I certainly wasn’t doing Intermittent Fasting at this time! No way could I consistently everyday pack all of those calories down to grow if I were doing IF. I would have severe GI distress if I did!
Offseason Mass Gain Bodybuilding Diet:
1. Pre Workout (as soon as waking): 25g Whey Protein + 1 x tsp Creatine + 1 x Banana
+ 1 x serving N.O-Xplode
2. Post Workout (immediately after): 40g Whey Protein + 1 x tsp Creatine + 1 x Banana
+ 1 x serving NO Animal M-Stak
3. Breakfast (about 1 hour later): 10 x Egg Whites and Porridge (150g Oats)
4. Lunch: 2 x Tins Tuna and Vegetables (1 x Frozen Mixed Veg Packet)
5. Afternoon Meal: 10 x Egg Whites and Porridge (150g Oats)
6. Dinner: 2 x Tins Tuna and Vegetables (1 x Frozen Mixed Veg Packet)
7. Bed Time Snack: 300g Tub Low Fat Cottage Cheese + 25g Casein Protein Shake
8. Middle of Night Snack (I had it ready-made by my bed!): 25g Whey Protein Shake
Bodybuilding Diet Nutrient Break Down
Here is the macronutrient and calorie break down of the bodybuilding diet.
2,950 calories: 358g of protein. 293g of carbohydrates. 38g of fat.
So the bodybuilding diet doesn’t actually have as many calories as you might think at first glance. I think that is because the dietary fat content is so low. The protein content certainly isn’t low though!
Let me make a few comments on this bodybuilding diet, now that I am a littler more educated and experienced than I used to be back then. And yes, just about all of these comments below are tongue-in-cheek!
- N.O-Xplode – who else remembers this haha?! I think every gym-goer at the time was taking it. I can confidently say that this was most probably a waste of money!
- Notice the protein shake and “fast acting carbs” immediately before and immediately after training. Gotta get those nutrients in during that “anabolic window”, right? How else could I possibly grow if I didn’t immediately slam down a shake after training without a moment’s delay?! Haha
- Animal M-Stak – oh man! Yes, most probably another waste of money. Their marketing was really good though. I felt very hardcore taking it!
- 10 egg whites at a time? Wow, not surprisingly I remember the gas I used to get afterwards!
- So much tuna! My cooking skills at this time were almost non-existent! I would much rather have eaten chicken over tuna, but I was incapable of cooking it for myself! Also, I thought tuna from the tin was the cheaper option!
- Vegetables – at least I was eating them. That’s good, right? Even if they came ready prepared frozen in little microwavable bags, at least I was eating my veggies still!
- No carbs after 6pm. Because any carbs eaten after 6pm immediately turn into body fat by the magical carb fairies….
- Middle of the night shake? Oh boy! At least it was just a shake…I heard stories of guys getting up in the night to eat full meals!
The Good Parts
- I make fun of the “anabolic window”, but I must compliment myself on at least having nutrients in my system before / during training. It is my opinion when it comes to muscle growth and fueling hard training, that you are better off NOT training fasted. So while I don’t think it is necessary at all to slam down a shake immediately before and after training, for fear of your workout being a “waste of potential gains” otherwise. I do think it is good to have eaten / had a shake at some point before, so that you have nutrients in your system.
- The “no carbs on an evening time” is another myth I make fun of, but I must add that there is logic to this nutrient timing approach. I was having my carbs predominantly before training, and then continued to have more carbs for the next few hours after training. Logically this is when my body needed them most for energy and recovery. Also, a “carb-timing approach” can help many people not go overboard with the number of carbs eaten each day. Carbs are very easy to overeat, which can then lead to body fat gain due to taking in too many calories. So placing self-imposed rules like “carb back loading” or “carb front loading” can help people control their calorie intake rather than just having an unstructured food frenzy free for all!
- My bed time snack, of cottage cheese and casein is actually a good idea! Casein, which cottage cheese also has a high content of, is a slow digesting protein. This means that having it before bed “drip feeds” your body with a supply of protein over a stretch of hours while you sleep. And remember, your body repairs and grows most while you sleep, so having a protein supple during sleep is ideal.
- The bodybuilding diet refreshingly includes fruit and vegetables, which so many people (including bodybuilders) sadly neglect. This is despite all of the known benefits they have!
- Notice that there is no junk food in this bodybuilding diet! I was very professional in my approach to nutrition, so processed foods, or foods high in sugar, just didn’t have a place. I’m not saying that I never had a “cheat meal” every so often, but this was rare. I just didn’t feel the need!
If I Were To Do It Again
- I’d comment on the number of meals I was eating, but to be honest, for that amount of food eaten every day, I think splitting my food intake like this was probably the best option. It was too much food to be eaten per serving if I was to try eating your classic three-square meals a day.
- If I were to do this again now, I imagine most of my calorie intake would come in the form of liquid meals – i.e. whey protein shakes, smoothies, etc. No way would I want to eat that volume of solid food again, nor would I have the time to sit and eat every few hours either!
- Where are the fats? There is definitely loads of protein, which is good for recovery. There are ample carbs (with no added sugar) to fuel hard training and to provide the energy needed to repair, recover, and grow. But where are the dietary fats?! Oh let me guess, it’s because fats make you fat, right?! Fats are essential for maintaining the vitamin absorption and for energy, not to mention hormone production! These are very important for a bodybuilder!
This bodybuilding diet worked for me. I can criticise it now all I want, but the bottom line is that it gave me results. It helped me work my weight up to 88kg at about 13% – 14% body fat.
It is often the case with many people’s diets, that you can criticise away, but cannot deny the fact that they are still delivering results. They may be far from perfect, they may not be optimal or most efficient, but if they are delivering results you could argue “why fix what isn’t broken?” Of course, you could then argue that if a person was seeing good results with a less than optimal diet, imagine what phenomenal results they could have had if they did follow an optimal diet?