Of all the questions I receive from people, the most common is in regard to my diet. It just so happens, sharing my diet is my least favorite thing to do. Time and time again I am met with requests, either in person or online, for a glimpse or copy of my detailed diet plan. I’m sorry to say, but if you think you will see results solely by emulating the diet of a bodybuilder, you might want to reevaluate your entire bodybuilding protocol. It’s just not that simple.
There is no secret behind what healthy eating is. Any serious fitness enthusiast will know the difference between a good and bad food choice. The simplest principle, everything in moderation, will for the most part bring many people great success. Appropriate portion sizes that avoid excess fats, sugars/carbs, and processed foods, are all you really need to get started. As Jason Kaiman says, “If it can be harvested or killed, eat it.”
I have already outlined basic methods for determining caloric requirements. To reiterate, the methods outlined in that writing are generic methods for determining an appropriate starting point. Since everybody is different, and every BODY is different, only you can really gauge how to fine tune the diet to suit your needs.
I have prepped for shows using starvation, zero carb, low carb, high carb, fasted cardio, HIIT cardio, steady state cardio, no cardio, zero fat, dehydration, sodium manipulation, dairy free, fruit free and more. If you are a frequent reader of my articles, you will know my current views on many of the above mentioned tactics, all of which have been derived through lengthy research.
I try my best to provide simple guidelines for establishing a rewarding and healthy lifestyle, but I’m just one man. My body is my business card – my methods work for me and I feel they speak for themselves.
With that being said, I’m still not going to divulge my “diet.” It is highly individualized and to be honest, will probably not help you one bit. What I will offer is what I used to form my diet. I am a huge fan of Scivation and Layne Norton. I attribute a lot of my earlier success to the methods I learned from the Scivation Team. One of my first training partners was a representative for Scivation, so my first real experience was at the hands of another. Scivation has written many books that deal with dieting and contest prep. In addition, they also came up with an Acceptable Food List, which I have referenced in earlier writings. Adhering to this list, I have over time formed my daily diet practices. I used to adhere to their advice 100 percent, but as time went on I saw that I could get the most out of my body by changing a few things here and there to better suit my body type and needs. My diet only slightly resembles what it used to be, proof that there is no cookie cutter plan.
The list is comprehensive, far too large to post here, but it is available online. Scivation has made it available on their website and Bodybuilding.com. Layne has also published the list in many of his articles/blogs/forums. To be clear, I do not eat everything in this list. In fact, I only eat a small fraction of the items contained in this list. Cost and convenience play a huge factor in what I eat.
For what it is worth to you, I typically meet my macros with these foods:
White and Sweet Potatoes
Almond Butter and Peanut Butter
Portion sizes are solely dependent on my established macros, and I by no means eat every one of these items every day. Using the above items I mix and match to create as much variety as possible from day-to-day. When I prepare diets for others, I use these items and more. I even use items that I myself don’t eat.
I know bodybuilders that don’t touch dairy, chicken and fruit. That’s not to say that their diets are “wrong” or lacking. It is obviously a preference they have formed as a method for achieving their desired goal. Of all the methods I have tried, and all the foods I have blacklisted and then reintroduced, I have still been able to get up on stage lean without fail. There is no one answer.
Emulating the program of another is nothing short of attempting a fad diet, and is ultimately a short-cut not worth taking. The real question that should be asked and this is one that I have NEVER heard is, “What advice can you give me for implementing a successful diet?”