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Strongman Nutrition

By | Eating for performance, Food for thought, Health Tips, Nutrition, Strongman | No Comments

I’ve been asked many times in terms of nutrition, what do I eat when I’m preparing for a competition? How many calories do I consume a day? How many times do I eat a day? Do I enjoy eating donuts? There is no hard and fast rule for nutrition especially in strongman. Of course we have heard that the Pro athletes are eating 10000 to 12000 calories a day.  So I’m going to take some time to answer these questions and share with you my daily nutrition when I’m preparing for a competition.

What do I eat when I’m preparing for a competition?
Mostly animal protein and vegetables with some carbs. I used to be on a “seefood diet” where whatever I see I will eat it. This was fun while it lasted but this wasn’t very beneficial for performance especially if you are eating junk. I knew I needed to fix this, so I worked with a nutritionist, because I know NOTHING about nutrition. I’ll share my nutrition plan later on during this article.

How many calories do I consume a day and how many time a day?
Some professional strongman do eat 8000 to 12000 calories a day, but nutrition is not a one standard plan that fits everyone. Like in my earlier article that even hydration for performance is different for every athlete. Because each strongman athlete are different in size, weight and type. I consume 4800 to 5000 calories a day over 8 to 10 meals during the whole day

Do I enjoy eating donuts?
No, I do not like donuts at all. I think they are excessively sweet and too rich but I have a soft spot for ice cream and waffles. To be exact… Salted Caramel ice cream from my favourite ice cream parlour.

Best thing I’ve done for myself
One of the best things I’ve done for myself is to work with a nutritionist. If i wanted to be serious about my performance and own personal development, I need to take care of the little things. But nutrition is not little, it’s actually quite a big portion of being an athlete and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Initially I was skeptical because I love my food full flavoured and I’m pretty sure I don’t like dry and tasteless chicken breast. So let’s just dive into the diet then, the first two weeks was just an observation of what I ate on a usual day, this was done in a journal and was constantly reviewed daily, with 5-6 meals a day.

And the one take away was that my diet was lacking in greens and leafy vegetables.  So from 3rd week onwards is just tweaking of my diet with more vegetables. Only restrictions I had were no processed food(anything out of a packet, can or tin) and no carbonated drinks. So after a while this was how my daily nutrition looked like

Pro Complex Protein Shake 3 scoops + Glutamine + Physillum Husk

5 eggs omelette with mushroom, capsicum and cup of spinach
2 toast with no butter

10.00am to 12.30pm (This was my training time)
Pre training –  2 Bananas, Handful Almonds and Raisins
Intra training – ON Pro BCAA, Glutamine
Post training – Pro Complex Protein Shake 3 scoops + Glutamine + Physillum Husk

3 roast chicken breast, 2 hard boiled eggs, 1 cup basmati rice and 1 cup of stir fry Chinese Kale

1/2 roast chicken, 1 cup of arugula and baby spinach with shredded sour mango

1/2 roast chicken, 1 cup of arugula and baby spinach with shredded sour mango

1/2 roast chicken, 1 cup of arugula and baby spinach with shredded sour mango

250g of lean beef topside with mushrooms, capsicum and 1 cup arugula

1 scoop of ON Pro Complex Whey Ice cream

After a few months or so, I discovered that my body responded better when my carbs intake are after training, protein high and fat intake lower. This was actually a trail and error and it’s never a one solution fits all. You just have to be patient,  trust the person you work with, keep an open mind and make adjustments or tweaks as you go along. I struggled with the new plan because it’s really a lot of food and by 5pm I was so full that I didn’t even want to be in the kitchen or have food in front of me.

But then some things started to happen

  • I started feeling less sore even after heavy or double training sessions days
  • I woke up feeling rested
  • Had more energy during training, I was able to push myself harder and longer
  • I looked different and my body was going through a recompositioning
  • My shirts got tighter while my pants got looser

After 3-5 months, I started to see more muscular growth in my shoulders, thighs and I had an outline of abs! “What scocery is this???” I thought to myself. Then it hit me…. I’ve been consistent with my training and been taking care of my nutrition. My weight has been the same but I feel stronger, sleep better and just feel way better! Who would have thought that stuffing my face with vegetables would make magic happen! If you look at my nutrition intake, my main source of food is FOOD! Supplementation is about 20-30% of my nutritional intake. Operative word… Supplement

Now before you get adventurous and tell yourself “If Taufiq can do this and eat this much… I can do this too!”. Before I got into this whole nutrition process. I had a full comprehensive blood work done just to make sure my body could take the load of so much eating. This was by order of my nutritionist, so that we could eliminate some food that would not work for me. Always get yourself checked out first and always consult a credible sports nutritionist to work with.

In the meantime, train hard and stay injury free.