sushi, clams, and sashimi

When it Comes to Bodybuilding, Nutrition is More Important Than Training

As many of you know, I’ve been retired from competition since the bodybuilding 2016 awards. I was recently asked about what a pro bodybuilder eats after he trains.

One of my favorite things to eat is sushi, so every now and then on the way back from the gym I’ll pull into one of my favorite restaurants and grab a meal. For example, I usually get two orders of tuna sushi, two orders of salmon sushi, one order each of tuna sashimi and salmon sashimi, an ahi tower, a big bowl of steamed rice, and my own little special crab roll – a mix of avocado and shrimp topped with tuna and salmon.

So that’s my post-shoulder workout meal. After 27 years of bodybuilding, I’ve just learned to eat healthy for the most part, don’t eat junk food, never eat sweets… but every now and then I do like a good cheeseburger. I love Italian food, but only once a week maybe and that’s it.

Many of you know that as you start bodybuilding you start eating more and more. Your appetite grows as you grow. Now that I’ve been retired for a few years I don’t need near as much as I used to – on average I eat about four meals a day plus a protein shake.

The hardest part, and most important part, of bodybuilding is nutrition. Training is the fun part, but nutrition’s hard, and it’s a job. I mean, you eat seven big meals a day, day-in and day-out, consistently for years, and it becomes a job.

These days I have more fun training than I ever did in the past because I’m not under pressure now. I’m doing this purely for fun, and I love this shit.

If people ask me why I still train so hard, I say it’s because I love it – there’s nothing that I’d rather be doing.

The best way to explain being a pro bodybuilder when it comes to nutrition, is that you’re pretty much miserable all year. During the offseason you’re trying to grow, because off-season is when you really improve your body and make big changes. It’s just as important as the pre-contest phase. In order to grow you have to eat an excess of calories, protein, carbs, etc.

I remember having to eat a lot of food, being up until one in the morning and force-feeding myself, trying to finish my last meal. I’d take a bite, chew it up, drink some water to swallow it, and just be miserable. I walked around feeling stuffed all the time.

Then I would start getting ready for competition and did the exact opposite, where I was starving. Very rarely did I feel good when it came to nutrition because I was always following a plan. I wasn’t eating for taste or enjoyment, I was eating for a reason and a purpose, so in that respect it’s very much like a job.

One of the keys to being a pro bodybuilder is consistency with your nutrition, first and foremost. 70-80 percent of what you do is nutrition, it’s even more important than training. If you don’t have that right then it doesn’t matter how hard you bust your ass in gym, you’ll never get the results you want.