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Big Man On Campus: Nutrition

Proper nutrition is a crucial component of building muscle. Pack on size like a pro with the Big Man nutrition plan!

Eating clean can be tough for college students, but remember: You're in control. No one can force you to eat junk food. Keep your goals in mind—more muscle, more strength, better test scores, a healthier life—and you will navigate college nutrition with ease. High marks in Nutrition 101 lead to even greater athletic and aesthetic success.

Big Man On Campus: Nutrition Overview

Watch The Video - 09:56




In college, you're young, still growing, and your metabolism is fast. Unless you're competing, I don't think you should stress about each and every meal. Even so, good nutrition is good nutrition.

Your diet has a huge impact on your results, as well as your mood and overall health. You need to eat for physical and mental performance. Keep your brain fueled and your muscles fed.

Nutrition Basics ///

Good nutrition sets the foundation for great results. The basics of nutrition start with the macronutrients. There are three macronutrients that make up whole foods: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Each nutrient plays a variety of roles.

  • Protein is responsible for tissue growth and repair. It's essential for building muscle.
  • Carbohydrates are the body's preferred energy source.
  • Dietary fat is required to digest fat-soluble vitamins; it also plays a role in healthy skin and hair, organ protection, cell function, and more.

Your diet should be comprised primarily of:

  1. Quality proteins, like lean meats, eggs, poultry, fish, and whey
  2. Complex carbs, like vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and some fruits
  3. Healthy fats, like fish and olive oil
Nutrition By The Numbers ///

College is fast-paced and hectic. It can be tough to count calories and track how much food you eat each and every day. I suggest eating at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight daily. If you weigh 200 pounds, you'd eat at least 200 g of protein-from a combination of food and supplement sources-for muscle growth. If you really want to pack on more size in a short amount of time, don't be afraid to eat 1.5-to-2 g of protein per pound, per day.

The protein target is a great starting point for most people. However, if you like to be as detailed as possible, take your weight and multiply it by 17.5. The resulting number is how many calories you should be eating per day. A 200-pound male would eat 3,500 calories daily, roughly split between: 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat.

Big Man Mass Calculator

Enter Your Body Weight:
Calories Needed:
Protein:
Carbs:
Fats:

It might look like a lot of calories, but remember: You can't build muscle and add mass without a caloric excess. You need to eat more than you're burning for your body to grow. Also, your total daily calories will be spread across multiple meals.

Eat every few hours to fuel your body with enough nutrients to build and repair muscle throughout the day. Eating small, frequent meals can also help you manage hunger and curb cravings. I like to eat 6-or-7 relatively small meals throughout the day. It might sound crazy, but snacks, protein supplements, and meal preparation make frequent eating easy.

College Cafeterias

Eating On Campus ///

Even though there's a lot of peer pressure and social activity in college, it's fairly easy to eat clean. Most college cafeterias offer numerous healthful options. Even campus cafes typically offer lighter fare and low-carb choices. When you're at parties, you can always modify food to make it better for your goals. I would pass on pizza and doughnuts, but I'd grab a burger, ditch the bun, and eat the patty.

Meal preparation is critical to beating bad nutrition and achieving your muscle-building goals. Keep a stash of pre-made, ready-to-eat, muscle-building meals or snacks readily available. Stockpile protein bars, low-sodium jerky, Greek yogurt, veggies, fruits, and almonds in your dorm room. With healthful food at hand, you won't spring for nutritionally bankrupt junk.

Avoid candy bars and sugar-loaded energy drinks. They're addicting, packed with fast carbs, will make your energy crash, and won't do anything to help your muscle-building goals.

Food is fuel; eat like you're a Ferrari, not a minivan. If you haven't already, watch my video on Time Management, where I cover easy ways to tackle meal prep and planning.

Budget Muscle-Building ///

To build muscle, you need nutrient-dense food. There's a myth that healthful food is expensive, but you can definitely eat clean on the cheap. Bulk brown rice is a perfect, inexpensive, complex carbohydrate.

Eggs, canned tuna, and chicken are cheap, lean protein sources. As long as you have some salt-free spice blends and a George Foreman grill, you can prepare any lean meat.

Follow these additional tips to build your body without breaking the bank:

  • Buy in bulk
  • Watch for sales
  • Shop with coupons
  • Ask about student discounts

Even if you're forced to grab cheap fast food, you can still make a muscle-building meal. Order off the dollar menu and skip the condiments. Drop the white-bread bun. Get a grilled chicken sandwich from McDonald's and ask them to wrap it in lettuce. Believe me, it works. It's not ideal, but you have to get the most from what you have available.

Social Snacking ///

When you go to restaurants, don't be afraid to make special requests. Most places are willing to swap fries with a vegetable, withhold fatty condiments, or make other adjustments.

If you've already eaten, just grab a cup of coffee or green tea. Don't turn down something fun because of your fitness goals. Instead, make the fun fit your goals.

Sample Meal Plan

Total Daily Calories
  • Calories: 3,430
  • Carbs: 311.165 g
  • Fat: 101.222 g
  • Protein: 321.33 g
Meal 1

    Omelet and Oats

  • eggs

    Whole Eggs

    2
    Calories: 111 | Fats: 8 g | Protein: 8 g | Carbs: 685 mg

  • eggs

    Egg Whites

    6
    Calories: 69 | Fats: 224 mg | Protein: 14 g | Carbs: 1 g

  • green pepper

    Veggies of choice (Bell Pepper)


    Calories: 24 | Fats: 202 mg | Protein: 1 g | Carbs: 6 g

  • oats

    Oats

    3/4 cup
    Calories: 157 | Fats: 3 g | Protein: 6 g | Carbs: 28 g

  • blueberries

    Blueberries (Frozen)


    Calories: 42 | Fats: 244 mg | Protein: 548 mg | Carbs: 11 g

Breakfast Alternative
Meal 2
  • protein shake

    Protein Shake (ON Whey)

    1
    Calories: 120 | Fats: 1 g | Protein: 24 g | Carbs: 4 g

  • apple

    Apple

    1
    Calories: 91 | Fats: 273 mg | Protein: 482 mg | Carbs: 24 g

  • almonds

    Almonds

    15
    Calories: 112 | Fats: 10 g | Protein: 4 g | Carbs: 4 g

Meal 3

    Sandwich and Fruit

  • bread

    Ezekiel Bread (or Whole Wheat Bread)

    2 slices
    Calories: 160 | Fats: 1 g | Protein: 8 g | Carbs: 28 g

  • turkey

    Roasted Turkey

    4oz
    Calories: 192 | Fats: 5.5 g | Protein: 33 g | Carbs: 0 g

  • cheese

    Low-fat American Cheese

    2 slices
    Calories: 76 | Fats: 3 g | Protein: 10.3 g | Carbs: 1.48 g

  • banana

    Piece of Fruit (Banana)

    1
    Calories: 105 | Fats: 389 mg | Protein: 1 g | Carbs: 27 g

Meal 4: Pre-Workout
  • chicken breast

    Chicken Breast

    8oz
    Calories: 409 | Fats: 19 g | Protein: 56 g | Carbs: 0 g

  • salad

    Mixed Salad

    10oz
    Calories: 15 | Fats: 0 g | Protein: 2 g | Carbs: 3 g

  • sweet potato

    Sweet Potato

    1
    Calories: 128 | Fats: 571 mg | Protein: 2 g | Carbs: 29 g

Pre-Workout Alternative
Meal 5: Post-Workout
Meal 6: 1 Hour After Workout
  • steak

    Steak (or any lean protein source)

    8oz
    Calories: 473 | Fats: 25 g | Protein: 58 g | Carbs: 0 g

  • broccoli

    Broccoli

    1 cup
    Calories: 27 | Fats: 319 mg | Protein: 3 g | Carbs: 5 g

  • brown rice

    Brown Rice

    1 cup
    Calories: 217 | Fats: 2 g | Protein: 5 g | Carbs: 45 g

Meal 7
  • yogurt

    Greek Yogurt

    6oz
    Calories: 130 | Fats: 3.5 g | Protein: 17 g | Carbs: 7 g

  • almonds

    Almonds

    15
    Calories: 112 | Fats: 10 g | Protein: 4 g | Carbs: 4 g

  • granola

    Granola

    1 cup
    Calories: 400 | Fats: 6 g | Protein: 12 g | Carbs: 78 g

Meal 8


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Greu

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Greu

Unless you live with your parents while in college or you're parents are rich so they can pay for so much food (especially for so much protein), it's too expensive to eat like this

Aug 31, 2012 2:34pm | report
 
Manu888

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Manu888

thats a pretty ******** excuse man, u dont have to be rich to eat right.

Aug 31, 2012 3:09pm | report
RichSchoony

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RichSchoony

and once again, as so many people forget, this is known as a SAMPLE meal plan. you do not have to follow this to a t. this would be the plan that someone like Steve Cook would follow because of his body's needs. I am at college right now, freshmen, at the University of Pittsburgh, and these videos are realistic. He explains how it's okay that it would be really difficult to follow all of the guidelines that are stated, but to basically follow them as best as we can. obviously you did not watch all of the videos, or you wouldn't have posted that comment.

Aug 31, 2012 3:28pm | report
robwein83

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robwein83

I fully agree that it is very expensive to eat like this. I am not a student, and I struggle to pay for all the food. I shop as smart as possible. But really, whether you're buying your protein sources as cheap eggs, cans of tuna, chicken, beef (expensive), fish. Getting in 300 grams of protein a day is going to cost you. Not to mention your carbs and fats. There is no getting around it. I also supplement with protein shakes, and purchase 10 lbs bags of bodybuilding.com whey, which I find the most economical. Being very smart and only buying when on sale, it's still a struggle. No it is not an excuse. FOOD IS EXPENSIVE! Obviously, BB.com will utilize this program to sell supplements as well, however, if we're trying to be economical, you don't need to be using Hyrdrowhey. Using a standard whey protein will do just fine. The claims that go along with a hyped product certainly are not going to make or break a beginning bodybuilder. A would take an advanced bodybuilder to possibly see any of the differences resulting from spending an extra $320-$30 on Hydrowhey. Even then, its minimal.

Aug 31, 2012 6:04pm | report
Savyna

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Savyna

maybe just save up allowance to buy the whey protein at a later time, but look to buy the other foods maybe in costco or something. I know i can get 24 eggs for 3$ where I live. And you can buy the big tin of knockoff/storebrand oats for like 2$. I'm not sure where you live but blueberries usually are on sale 2/5$. Maybe if the food is too expensive maybe you should find out if you qualify for food stamps. That could help.

Sep 3, 2012 1:40pm | report
toferandrews

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toferandrews

i'm in college, and i see all these meals as fairly cheap, expensive for some, but it's a lot cheaper than ordering take out food like most of my friends. the only thing that could get expensive would be the produce, which you may find at a farmers market at half the price. the onlly thing i struggle with is fitting 6 full meals in one day

Sep 10, 2012 1:41pm | report
armen

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armen

Yes sir it is.

Sep 19, 2012 11:03am | report
ameyp97

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ameyp97

hey listen bro,guys like bruce lee and many other old school bodybuilders had great physiques without any protein supplements,just stick to the basics,have lean meat,snack on fruits and veggies and if possible have a local but good protein powder

Sep 21, 2012 11:33am | report
sadoek

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sadoek

Food costs a lot unless you're really dedicated and savy with coupons and stuff. I always try to be smart about how I spend my money on groceries, but if you wanna get quality nutrients it's not as easy as it sounds.

Whole, real foods like fresh vegetables, fruit, and meat is where it's harder to save. You just gotta come up with a weekly budget on how much you're gonna spend on food and try to stick to that budget.

Supplement wise search online everyday, they constantly have new deals and promos at decent prices. And if you see a BOGO deal hit up a buddy and go halves on it or something. If theres a really good deal, spend a little more that one time and save some cash a month or two down the road.

Believe me though, it ain't easy being in college and trying to eat healthy and stack up on supps!

Sep 22, 2012 11:39am | report
Bobbyjo1

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Bobbyjo1

I agree with manu888 that is a pathetic excuse tbh... I'm 16 years old now and I don't put excuses infront of my awaited success!!! I get �30 a week and its about $45 dollars and all my friends spend their money on sweets and alcohol.... And they look at me stupid when I walk out of ASDA (Walmart) with 20 cans of tuna in my hand. If you want it bad enough you will dig deep and work extra hours or something!!!!! NO EXCUSES!! Just do it :)

Oct 15, 2012 3:01pm | report
DreUd

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DreUd

i eat like this, it costs me 75 per week at walmart. I eat everything mentioned in this article and 2500 cals a day.

Oct 30, 2012 7:51pm | report
Buckeyes100384

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Buckeyes100384

When I was in college, my meal paln would have lasted a week or two on this diet. I think it would be hard for people to survivie on wal mart food, if peopleofwalmart is not an indication, I'm not sure what is. Bob...buddy I'd put the tuna back and get some weight watchers....

Oct 31, 2012 5:48am | report
pbrooke123

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pbrooke123

There are always ways to eat a bb diet on a budget. Sams club where I live has chicken breast for 1.88 a lb. I can keep my grocery bill under 50 a week and I'm a 200 BB. Buy in bulk my friend, it saves a ton of money for meats, veggies, and fruit.

Apr 24, 2013 8:36pm | report
italianmax85

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italianmax85

Real Life 101 --> (Setting Priorities)

If you think this is too expensive, budget every penny of your money and see where it is going. You will surprise yourself. (BE HONEST W/ YOURSELF, account for everything you spend money on period)

Back in the day I wouldn't blink at dropping 100 on going out nights. I fully regret those decisions of the past, but for me personally.. I learn everything the hard way.

Apr 30, 2013 9:16pm | report
Juicedoutloon

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Juicedoutloon

lmfao this guy is a joker...its not expensive at all its probably what some waste man would spend on junk **** anyways....budget n be smart...discounts n coupons might have to hit up the less expensive grocery stores but whatever you to have to do to maintain proper eating habits

Jun 28, 2013 2:39am | report
Mythenthefang

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Mythenthefang

BS

If you want something, you go and get it, don't let anyone tell you you can't have it.

that's from Will smith in "the pursuit of happiness" and by talos it's the most amazing expression to live by.

Aug 25, 2013 5:12pm | report
Want2BHugeAndCut

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Want2BHugeAndCut

78g seems about double the carbs of what I would want or that my body would use and not store as fat...especially for the 7th meal of the day. I would double the yogurt and half the granola. What do you guys think?

Aug 31, 2012 6:02pm | report
 
vhuynh42

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vhuynh42

If you ask me, it's kind of hard to put on muscle without adding a little body fat. Some people respond well with less carbs, and others need to take in more. I unfortunately am one of those people that require a fair amount of carbs to bulk, but I only require about 3/4 of a gram of protein per 1lb body weight when bulking. Also you want to take in the right balance of carbs and protein so your body doesn't use the protein you're consuming as an energy source

Aug 31, 2012 6:22pm | report
westonstepp

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westonstepp

everyone has their own metabolism, ultimately there is no set guideline to find the "perfect" plan. these videos are essentially "guides" and great tools to find your way. if there was a "perfect" workout/diet, we'd all look like the ARNOLD.

Jan 17, 2013 10:45pm | report
BenjiiBoy

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BenjiiBoy

I agree brother. I definitely try to keep the carbohydrate low at the end of the day.

Jun 13, 2013 1:49pm | report
vhuynh42

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vhuynh42

I ate relatively well when i was a freshman in college... Buying the whole chicken and cutting it up yourself saves money, canned tuna is cheap, bulk brown rice is cheap, I probably spent 30-40 bucks a week for groceries.

Although i spend a lot more now because I eat a mostly organic diet

Aug 31, 2012 6:15pm | report
 
buffalorats

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buffalorats

Canned tuna is cheap? Did I miss something?

I do agree the brown rice and whole chickens can be had for pretty cheap.

Sep 5, 2012 4:10pm | report
DreUd

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DreUd

a can of tuna is 78 cents at my walmart if thats not cheap i dont know what is?

Oct 30, 2012 7:57pm | report
Buckeyes100384

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Buckeyes100384

Wal-mart canned tuna is cheap. But its gross

Oct 31, 2012 6:14am | report
samerym

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samerym

Cool, at 6:50 we see Kris Gethin and his wife shopping.

Sep 1, 2012 3:23am | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 198 Comments

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