Why I Gave Up The “Bodybuilder Diet”


Do you ever look back on your past behaviours and think “Why in the heck was I doing that?”

I often do, but nothing shocks me more than the bodybuilder diet I used to adhere to in my teens and early twenties. Every day would go something like this…

7.30am – Four egg omelette with chicken and broccoli.
10am – Protein shake with handful of nuts and dried fruit.
12.30pm – Plain chicken breast, plain rice, plain broccoli.
3.30pm – Plain chicken breast, plain rice, plain broccoli.
7.30pm – Plain fish, plain potato, plain broccoli.
10.30pm – Casein protein shake made with milk and a handful of nuts.

Bodybuilder diet

This will speak volumes to anyone that’s familiar with a typical bodybuilding diet. And here’s the most hilarious thing – everyday was the same and I did it for easily around three years straight. I guess the big question is – Looking back do I regret eating like that? I don’t, but I do.

Adherence to this type of diet taught me many things.

Most notably it taught me discipline and self control around food. It taught me the importance of meal prep. Above everything, it also created a strong foundation for the physique I’ve built today.

It also worked well for me during the time I was at in my life. I had time and flexibility. Had I’d known what I know today about nutrition, would I have been so strict on myself for so many years?

Probably not!

So over the last four years I’ve developed a much more flexible approach to eating. I still use traits from the bodybuilder diet. For example, high protein, regular feedings and a balance between all macronutrients. But I’m not that super strict and rigid about everything. Here’s why:

I won’t lie, my old diet used to dominate my life. I worked everything around eating times. As I got older and took on more responsibilities it just didn’t work for me anymore.

I was very tolerable of it, probably because I was seeing results, but wow was it boring. I never looked forward to eating meals, I just did it. And I felt bad if I went off plan. These days I enjoy eating food more especially as every day is different from the last.

I Understand How Food Really Works
Energy balance overrules everything. You see back then, when I ate like that, I thought I was seeing results because of the high protein, regular feedings and macronutrient breakdowns. And yes this was part of it, but it was more down to the amount of calories I was taking in. That’s literally it! These days I respect the energy balance principle and eat a high protein diet that conforms to my energy demands for that particular day.

Sets An Example To My Clients
If I set any of my clients up following the typical, bland bodybuilder diet I just know they wouldn’t adhere to it! So what’s the point? By setting an example and eating a sensible, flexibly diet myself I’m basically saying “Look, you can eat all the foods you want and still get and stay in shape!”. That’s the sort of personal trainer I’d want to work with.

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