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Eating plans for natural bodybuilders

Serious dieting for the natural bodybuilder - Australian Iron Man Magazine

Serious about dieting? Dietitian Mark Robinson recommends a carefully calculated eating plan

The decision to get into the best shape of your life brings with it numerous challenges. These include discovering the true meaning of commitment, dedication, self-discipline, and strength — both mental and physical.


These four traits will be required in their fullest form during your training sessions, but are needed even more in your nutrition plan.

Before we discuss such an eating plan, let me define these necessary traits by consulting the trusty dictionary:

Commitment: a pledge to do.
Dedication: complete and whole hearted devotion.
Self-discipline: training and control of oneself and one’s conduct, desires, emotions and actions.
Strength: the state or quality of being physically or mentally powerful.

An upcoming bodybuilding competition or photo shoot is most likely going to motivate you sufficiently to ensure you look your absolute best come event day. Motivation will go a long way in supporting the practice of the four above necessary traits for training and dieting. But first you must establish a correct eating plan to follow. Such an eating plan must meet carefully calculated specific requirements of daily energy, protein, carbohydrate and fat for goals of increased lean muscle mass and decreased fat mass. 


Here are my recommendations:

  • Daily energy: 120–160kJ per kilogram per day

For an 80 kg male this would equal 9,600kJ–12,800 kJ per day. Importantly though, this energy must come from the correct ratio of macronutrients. Your desired breakdown would therefore look like this:

  • Protein: 3–4g/kg/day (40–50% of daily kilojoules)
  • Carbohydrates: 2–3g/kg/day (25–35% of daily kilojoules)


  • Fats: 0.5–1g/kg/day (15–25% of daily kilojoules)

These requirements have been incorporated into the below Daily Eating Plan for Serious Bodybuilders with accompanying nutritional analysis:

Daily Eating Plan for Serious Bodybuilders

Early breakfast (4.30am)

  • 40g protein (680kJ), 5g fat (185kJ), 44g carbohydrate (704kJ) = 1569kJ
  • Homemade Bircher Muesli: ½ cup oats, 2 teaspoons sunflower seeds, ¼ cup mixed berries, 150g reduced fat natural yoghurt
  • Protein shake (90 per cent protein/10 per cent carb split) made with water (40 minutes pre-training)
  • Macchiato coffee (15 minutes pre-training)

Train, resistance (5.30am)

  • Pure amino acids (BCAAs) during session.
  • Protein shake (90/10) and pure glutamine immediately post-session

Breakfast (7.30am)

30g protein (510kJ), 8g fat (296kJ), 60g carbohydrate (960kJ) = 1766kJ

  • Porridge: 1 cup oats made with water, 2 teaspoons pumpkin seeds, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Egg white omelette: 6 egg whites, mushrooms, capsicum, onion, light cottage cheese

Morning Tea (10am)

38g protein (646kJ), 4g fat (148kJ), 31g carbohydrate (496kJ) = 1290kJ

  • 180g tuna tinned in spring water
  • 100g brown rice
  • 1 cup chopped spinach leaves
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Lunch (1pm)
95g protein (1615kJ), 10g fat (370kJ), 50g carbohydrate (800kJ) = 2785kJ

  • 1 large chicken breast grilled without oil
  • 150g brown rice
  • 5 florets steamed broccoli
  • 10 steamed green beans
  • Lemon and lime for flavouring and vitamin C for aiding in iron absorption

Afternoon tea (3.30pm)
20g protein (340kJ), 5g fat (185kJ), 12g carbohydrate (192kJ) = 717kJ

  • 1 whole egg hard-boiled
  • 3 egg whites hard-boiled
  • Small sweet potato mashed with 1 tablespoon of light ricotta cheese

Train, cardio or light high repetition (5pm)
Pure BCAA and Glutamine immediately post-session

Dinner (7pm)
85g protein (1445kJ), 26g fat (962kJ), 3g carbohydrate (48kJ) = 2455kJ

  • 2 medium salmon steaks, oven baked with homemade tabouleh: fresh parsley, diced onion, chopped tomato, lemon and vinegar
  • 4 asparagus spears
  • 4 broccoli florets
  • 1 small zucchini

Supper (9pm)
20g protein (340kJ), 10g fat (370kJ), 1g carbohydrate (16kJ) = 726kJ

  • 1 thick slice of chicken breast (50g)
  • 5 walnuts with 1 tablespoon light cottage cheese

Total kJ: 11,308kJ

Macro nutrient composition:

  • 328g protein (55,76kJ), which is equivalent to 49 per cent of consumed energy
  • 201g carbohydrate (32,16kJ), which equals 29 per cent of consumed energy
  • 68g fat (25,16kJ), 22 per cent of energy
  • 0g alcohol