Cover-Worthy Nutrition: 3 Elite Athlete Meal Plans
We all need role models to look to when it comes to eating well. Yet when seeking a diet that will help you build (or at least maintain) muscle while getting lean, you're likely to be overwhelmed with conflicting information from myriad experts regarding everything from meal timing to carb consumption to fat intake.
Why not, then, find your role model in a guy who possesses the physique you want and find out what he eat? In the following pages, three men with sought-after physiques - a pro bodybuilder, a cover model, and an elite fighter - share exactly what they eat, meal by meal, in a typical day.
Job Title: IFBB Pro Bodybuilder
Accomplishments: 2005 NPC USAS Champion
Contact/More Info: Markdugdale.com
Unconventional is the word Mark Dugdale uses to describe his off-season diet. For one, even when he's trying to gain mass, he prefers to keep his carbohydrate intake in check, unlike many bodybuilders who endlessly scarf down carbs in the off-season to pack on size, even if much of it happens to be body fat.
"I'm a big proponent of keeping my body fat below 9% year-round," Dugdale says, "because I feel the body grows best while not carrying a bunch of extra fat."
Another quirk of his diet is the amount of game meat it contains. In fact, Dugdale likes bison so much he eats it for breakfast. "A five-pound bison brisket in my slow-cooker for eights hours provides me meat for a week's worth of breakfasts," he says.
- Favorable fat content (leaner).
- More essential fatty acids.
- Less toxicity (no hormones or chemicals), which translates into better recovery and growth.
Job Title: Fitness Model
Accomplishments: More than 150 magazine and book covers,
including two for Muscle & Fitness
Contact/More Info: Gregplitt.com
Dugdale thinks his meal plan is unconventional? Check out Greg Plitt's. He calls it a "caveman diet" because he stays away from all processed foods, opting for meats and vegetables only for his whole-food meals. What makes his diet truly unique, however, is that he typically consumes only one whole-food meal a day, and it's a big one, comprising around 3,500 calories.
In this respect, Plitt's eating habits are reminiscent of the Warrior Diet, where little is eaten all day and then one feasts for several hours. "I believe in eating one large meal in the middle of the day, whereas most [people] eat 5-to-6 small meals," says Plitt, one of the most recognizable fitness models in the country. "This ensures I have all the food digested before bed."
The rest of Plitt's calories come in liquid form before and after working out. What he eats can change day to day, the one constant being that his food intake is dictated primarily by his work schedule.
"My meal plan is directly correlated to whatever activities I have planned for that day," Plitt says. "Meaning, if I have to film or shoot that day [Plitt is an actor part time], my meal plan changes. It will also change as I prep for filming or shooting, as I'm usually in the gym twice a day during prep periods. I eat only when I've done the work to demand the supply of nutrition. I don't have breakfast, lunch, or dinner, per se, and I don't eat because the clock tells me that it's mealtime. I eat to fuel my body, not to satisfy an appetite."
Morning Lifting Workout
Meat, fish, or poultry, and vegetables - a large meal totaling around 3,500 calories.
Evening Lifting Workout Or Cardio
Job Title: Professional Mixed Martial Arts Fighter
Accomplishments: 11 wins as a pro, 4 losses
Contact/More Info: Brianstann.com
If you're counting pre-workout and post-workout shakes, UFC fighter Brian "All-Amercian" Stann eats a whopping 11 meals a day in peak training season. Are all these meals really necessary? On days you do three separate workouts, they most certainly are.
"If you're going to be a serious athlete, you need to be dedicated and disciplined not just in the gym but also with what you put in your body," says Stann, a rising middleweight and decorated combat veteran.
"That's the fuel that's going to allow you to perform. You're going to get out of your body what you put into it." Stann's diet - thanks in part to his wife, Teressa, who has a degree in nutrition and dietetics - is especially clean, consisting of quality protein sources like chicken breast, salmon, and egg whites; a variety of fruits and vegetables; and healthy fats from almonds.
Aside from whole foods, though, he relies heavily on supplements from his sponsor Gaspari Nutrition, which is evident in the sample meal plan below, where Gaspari products are present early and often during the day.
Stann's rigorous supplement regimen is crucial for keeping his strength levels up when he's cutting weight for a fight, as well as allowing him to hold on to as much muscle mass as possible in spite of his demanding workout schedule. "The last thing I want," he says, "is for my body to go catabolic when I'm training 3-to-4 times a day."
Grilled Chicken Breasts w/ Vegetables
Grilled Salmon w/ Vegetable Medley
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Agreed. A meal of Salmon and Assparagus for 3500 calories? What is he eating like 5 lbs of salmon in one sitting? or crazier yet 3500 calories of chicken and veggies. It would take something like 7 lbs of chicken in one sitting.
The only way Greg will be packing in calories with those foods is if he cooked it all with 1 cup olive/coconut oil!
Plitt's diet is known as the warrior diet. There's a thread on this site about it. As the link below has some info about it.
great read other then Greg's portion, notonly would it be impossible for anyone to get 3500 calories a day in one meal from just lean meat and veggies, it is totally unhealthy getting all your calories from protein and animal fat will surely knock years off your life
Plitt talks about his diet in one of his blogs on his site. this doesnt exaclty look like what he describes. He does only do one major meal a day but he also downs like 3 to 4 50gram protein shakes that are a mixture of fast and slow proteins. He also describes his diet as one to maintain weight. He tells you how to grow and cut on his site, they are totally different diets. He goes so indepth on his site its crazy he is really smart about everything he does and look at the results. its worth the 9.95 a month no doubt. His workouts on there will kick ur *** too. I paid for his site to try it out and I'm def staying a member. There is now about 20 other people in my gym that signed up and are addicted to his style of working out.
please share your progress so we can see how it has worked out for you..
I don't do the plan above because he says it is for maintaining and I still want to gain. I watched a video by him on ectomorph bulking and thats what I have been trying out for about 3 months now. I have gained 8lbs and actually lost 2 percent body fat since I started. My chest and arms have filled out and I have a better V-taper look now. I think this is the combination of his workouts and diet together. I have completely stopped doing cardio except for a warm up. I use my weight lifting as a cardio session by doing high intensity, short rest periods and lots of super sets. I feel like this helps me gain clean weight better than a conventional bulking cycle. I have started taking a lot more rest time too. I usually take a day off between each day I lift. This plan is designed for ectomorphs (hard gainers) and has worked for me. I would go into all the different variables on nutrition I have changed but this might turn into a book.
Because anyone really believes dugdale looks like that because of his amazing diet.......The guy is unnaturally huge. His abs look larger than my biceps. I agree with his philosophy on staying lean though.
I'm starting the warrior diet today, so far so good but not specifically pitts version but it is the warrior diet :), will update on progress: it is supposed to be great for fat loss and promotes growth in lean muscle mass
when your day consists of being a couple miles from the gym you lift and train at, and your wife cooks and serves your meals, that's easily possible. All he does is train most days during his camps before a fight
The Perfect Protein To Take Between Meals & Pre- & Post-Workout!