Plant-Based Bodybuilding Pre-contest Meal Plan

When I'm a few weeks from a contest, I really focus on my diet to get down to the ultra lean 4-5% body fat it takes to win a contest. For my last show, in which I placed first in my class ahead of 6 meat-based athletes, my diet strategies were these:

  • I created a calorie deficit by reducing calories eaten and increasing calories burned by increasing duration/frequency of cardio training.
  • When creating a caloric deficit, I reduced calories from fat as a first priority (fat is the most calorie dense macronutrient, and is the energy source most easily stored as body fat). I still made sure to get at least 10% calories from fat per day to support recovery from exercise.
  • I ate as unprocessed as possible. Processed foods are stripped of nutrients and already partially broken down, so they are less nutritious and much more likely to be stored as body fat than fresh, whole foods.
  • To lower calories even further towards the end of my preparation, I reduced carbohydrates, but they still made up the bulk of my calories at about 65%. I tried to keep protein at least as high as it had been pre-contest to maintain my muscle mass.
  • I ate low glycemic foods to keep blood insulin levels low and promote the burning of body fat while I exercised. This meant sticking to low sugar fruits like grapefruits only, and choosing things like sweet potatoes over white potatoes.

I kept several meals the same every single day to make tracking easier. A typical day meal plan went like this:

 

MEAL 1

Protein shake with Sunwarrior protein, strawberries, and unsweetened soymilk

1 Cup oat bran with cinnamon, cooked with water

 

MEAL 2

Whole food shake with Sunwarrior protein, strawberries, spinach, beans, and unsweetened soymilk

2 slices no sodium sprouted grain bread

1 tbsp almond butter

1 grapefruit

 

MEAL 3

Salad with balsamic vinegar

Bowl of lentil soup

1 baked sweet potato

 

MEAL 4

Whole food shake with Sunwarrior protein, strawberries, spinach, beans, and unsweetened soymilk

2 slices no sodium sprouted grain bread

1 tbsp almond butter

1 apple

 

MEAL 5

Salad with balsamic vinegar

Soft tacos with lentils, tofu, 1/4 avocado, and salsa in whole wheat tortillas

 

MEAL 6

Whole food shake with strawberries, spinach, beans, unsweetened soymilk, and 1 tbsp almond butter

Learn more about Derek Tresize

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