What I eat in a day: my diet plan for bodybuilding during bulking and cutting phases.

Usually I like to give people advice on diet based on what they already are eating, and what their goals are. There is no single diet that is correct for everyone. However, I also keep getting asked what my diet is, so here it is.

A couple of notes before I go into it:

First: I tend to switch between a bulking phase and a cutting phase over the course of the year. It’s very important that changes in diet happen very gradually, so as not  to confuse or freak out your metabolism. So I’m going to present an example of a 1 day diet during the peak of my “cutting phase” (i.e. least calories) and during the peak of my “bulking phase” (i.e. most calories), but please remember that I don’t switch quickly from one to the other.  I ramp my calories down and up gradually over time. What I’m going to show here is only the two extremes.

Second: I’m going to provide you charts for a “typical” day. Remember that once a week I also give myself a cheat meal, during which I eat whatever I want, and however much I want.  There are literally no limits on this, so I won’t bother charting it out. But sometimes I’ll have an entire box of cookies, sometimes a whole pizza, or third helpings of pasta… whatever. The whole point of a cheat meal is to eat so much you don’t want to cheat again for another week.

Third: You’ll notice, in  the chart below, that I tend to switch between two brands of protein powder for my protein shake supplements: IsoPure and Syntha-6.  Isopure is more pure protein and fewer calories, and Syntha-6 has more carbs, sugar, and more calories over all. That’s why I shift toward the Isopure during leaning: it’s a great way to cut calories without changing the volume of food I’m putting in my body (it’s still one shake).  In both cases I simply mix with water.

OK, with that said, here we go.

 


 

LEANING PHASE BULKING PHASE
8:00 am 1 serving ” Isopure” (300 cal)
¼ cup oatmeal, plain (75 cal)
2 servings “Syntha-6” (400 cal)
¾ cup oatmeal, plain (225 cal)
10:00 am 1 chicken breast, 12oz. (480 cal) 1 chicken breast, 12oz. (480 cal)
½  cup brown rice  (116 cal)
12:00 pm 12 egg whites (206 cal) 12 egg whites & 2 yolks (306 cal)
1 handful cashews (150 cal)
2:00 pm 1 serving ” Isopure” (300 cal) 2 servings “Syntha-6” (400 cal)
3:00 pm WORKOUT WORKOUT
5:30 pm 1 serving ” Isopure” (300 cal)
¼ cup oatmeal, plain (75 cal)
2 servings “Syntha-6” (400 cal)
¾  cup oatmeal, plain (225 cal)
8:00 pm 1 chicken breast, 12oz. (480 cal)
steamed veggies or plain salad (32 cal)
1 chicken breast, 12oz. (480 cal)
½ cup brown rice  (116 cal)steamed veggies or plain salad (32 cal)
10:00 pm 1 serving ” Isopure” (300 cal) 2 servings “Syntha-6” (400 cal)

The total calories per day during my leaning phase is about 2500, and the total during bulking is about 3600.

Again, I just want to emphasize: this is tailored to my needs: my age, my weight, my fitness level, the fact that I work out 1-2 hours a day 5 days a week.  2500 calories is way too much for some people for learning, and 3600 is way to little for some people to put on muscle.  So please don’t just take this as some kind of template to copy.

However, this does give you an idea of the overall pattern and the kind of thinking that I use when figuring out what to eat.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Leaning Phase vs. Bulking Phase



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  1. Sachin Kakkar says:

    Hi Greg,

    Thanks for sharing the Bulking and Cutting diet plans. I have few questions regarding the cutting diet plan posted by you. The cutting plan shared by you has 55-60 gms of carbs and almost no fat. Is that a right approach?
    I have a lean body structure. I am targetting to get six packs in next 8 weeks. I currently weigh 156 pounds and my height is 5 8″. I am targetting to have an intake of 2500 calories a day. My body fat % is 12%. Do you think I will be able to achieve this target? I have been following a clean diet plan till now.

    Thanks,
    Sachin

    • Greg Stevens says:

      Hi Sachin!

      Thanks for your comment. First, about your question about the carbs vs. fat. That approach isn’t going to be right for everyone, so that is a good question to ask! I have found that for me, the way my body responds, if I cut back on carbs too much I just get tired and can’t work out very effectively, but my body leans out very quickly when I reduce fat a lot. But you should definitely pay attention to your own body. I do know people who can keep a moderate level of fat in their body, and get very lean just by cutting carbs. The most important thing, I think, is to try a diet for long enough to see its effects (in other words, stay with it a few weeks… don’t give up after 2 days! LOL). But if you start feeling tired or physically bad, or are seeing negative results in you body, change and try something else.

      Now, about your goal of getting a 6pack in 8 weeks. I have a short answer and a long answer.

      Short answer: with your height, weight, and calories that you describe, with a clean diet, you will get the best results if you make sure DO CARDIO! If you only lift weights, you will probably not lean as quickly as you would like. But make sure you are doing cardio 4-5 days a week, 20-30 minutes a day, and you should see good results.

      Longer answer: I’ve said this before on my blog, so I feel like I need to say it again here. I always discourage people from setting goals for things like “getting abs in 8 weeks” or “I want to lose 10 pounds in 1 month” or anything like that. Fitness and health are not short-term goals. Any result that you arrive at QUICKLY will generally go away just as quickly, for both physical and psychological reasons. Psychologically, if you think of yourself as being on a “special program” for 8 weeks, then after that your mind will automatically go back to “Oh I’ll go back to the way things were before!” with your diet and exercise, which means your body will go back to what it was before. You need to train your mind to think not that you are doing a “special program” but that you are changing the way you live your life!

      Physically, short term goals are also not that effective. Your body is an adaptive machined. It has to get used to things slowly. It has its “normal” way of running based on habit, the way things have been for months and years of your life. If you induce a change for only 2 months, your body will immediately snap back to the way it was “before” the first chance it gets. You need to continually re-train your body for the long term, so that what it considers the “normal” and the “baseline” actually CHANGES to be the higher fitness level.

      So that’s my little speech. 🙂 I hope you do achieve your goal of a 6-pack in 8 weeks, but I hope your real fitness goals are setting your eyes on what you will look like 1 year, 2 years, and 5 years from now! 🙂

  2. dr sherif says:

    i weigh about 78kgs and i have started cutting phase. after cutting i have planned to build lean muscle mass. my diet plan something like this- morning pre-workout- 4 egg whites with 1 cap lipo6. post workout- one and half scoop whey pro. mid-morning oranges, afternoon=4 wheat breads and one chicken breast. 4pm- bananas and oranges. evening preworkout-5 egg whites wit one lipo6 cap. post workout whey pro and for dinner 5 breads and chicken breast. i workout twice daily morning aerobics and abdomen exercises evening weight training. plz advice me for better results

    • Greg Stevens says:

      There are a lot of good things about your diet. I like that you’re eating several times spread out over the day. I also like that you’re getting a little protein in most of your meals. Looking at the grand total amount of protein each day (9 egg whites, 2 chicken breasts, 2-3 scoops whey protein) it looks good. Also, since you are in the cutting phase, I like the fact that you are doing aerobics early and every day. Keep that up!

      One thing that jumps out at me: I’m not sure what you actually mean when you say “4 wheat breads” in the afternoon and “5 breads” for dinner. What exactly are you eating for the carbs? Remember, things like oatmeal and sweet potatoe and brown rice will be better for you than actual bread or crackers.

      Also think about timing: If you work out in the morning, I’d recommend moving some of your carb intake to the morning. Your body will need the carbohydrates more early in the day than later in the day. I would suggest getting more carbohydrates first thing in the morning, and then in the afternoon — rather than afternoon and evening.

      Finally, one more question: What BRAND of whey protein are you using? There are big variations between different types, and depending on whether you are using a very “pure” protein source or something with a lot of carbs and fat in it, the total calories can be very different.

      Let me know if you have any questions. It looks like you have a really good, clean approach to your diet! Keep up the good work!



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