If you're a fan of bodybuilding, especially the classic "golden-era" physiques like Arnold Schwarzenegger's in the 1970s, then you may be familiar with JF athlete Chris Bumstead —back-to-back Mr. Olympia classic physique champion. Bumstead, also known by his affectionate nickname, Cbum, has garnered substantial fanfare on Instagram. Millions of followers tune in to see what his life entails, in the gym and beyond.
Outside of Instagram, you can catch Bumstead posting videos on his YouTube channel where he shares day-in-the-life-esque insights into his fitness, nutrition, and workouts. It doesn't take long to realize Cbum is not the typical "meathead" bodybuilder; he's entertaining and humorous, partly due to his endearing lisp.
Bumstead's persona is one of humility, approachability, and genuine charisma. The young Ottawa native hasn't let all the fame go to his head. He's a veritable "people's champion."
Of course, when it's time to buck down and get serious in the gym or on stage, Bumstead goes "full thavage." A true competitor in every sense of the word, Cbum is as dedicated to his diet, health, and training as they come, and his body reflects that. At his height of 6'1," which is fairly tall for a bodybuilder, he maintains a lean look year-round with a weight ranging between 225-240 lbs (a little over 100 kg) depending on contest preparation.
Naturally, many bodybuilding aficionados wonder what Chris Bumstead eats to maintain such a lean physique with as much muscle as he carries. Lots of chicken, broccoli, and rice, right? Well, yes and no. Cbum gets a bit more creative in the kitchen than you might presume. Being a professional bodybuilder doesn't mean you have to eat the same uninspired meal every two hours throughout the day.
Chris competes in the relatively new Classic Physique division, which the International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB) instated as a counterpart to the men's bodybuilding division. As such, he isn't too concerned about getting massive in the offseason since he needs to keep his waist tight for a nice v-taper come show day.
He eats plenty of "clean" foods and quality protein, but he's also not afraid to indulge in tasty treats from time to time. Heck, he'll even pack away a delicious chocolate chip muffin from Starbucks before he hits the gym. As hard as he trains, he can use the extra calories anyway.
For someone as busy as Bumstead is, he mostly uses the mirror as a gauge of progress and keeps a ballpark idea of his total calorie and macro intake. As long as he's packing on size without adding too much body fat in the offseason, that's the main thing.
Again, not to say he uses the offseason as an excuse to get out of shape and eat tons of junk — there's a balance to be found, and Chris acknowledges that.
Of course, when the yearly Mr. Olympia contest approaches, Bumstead is more strict about his food choices. To bring the insane conditioning he does to the stage, proper nutrition is key. So yea, lots of "clean" foods, like chicken breast, sweet potatoes, egg whites, and rice are on Cbum's menu during contest prep.
Chris Bumstead's meal plans are constructed by his contest prep coach Iain Valliere, who is also an IFBB bodybuilder. To give you an idea of what Cbum eats in the weeks leading up to the My. Olympia competition, here is a sample menu with approximate macros and calories:
Daily Totals: 331 g protein, 322 g carb (~25 g fiber), 95 g fat, 3475 calories
*Note: All food measurements are based on cooked weight, where applicable.
As the Mr. Olympia contest date approaches, the portion sizes are reduced accordingly to ensure Chris gets to peak stage condition. The above meal plan is just an example of what his diet is like during contest prep.
During the offseason, Bumstead is a bit less strict with food choice and portion sizes. He mostly goes by how his body looks; if he feels like he's putting on a little too much body fat, he'll eat a bit less.
Since Cbum competes in the classic physique division at the Mr. Olympia, he doesn't use the offseason to "blow up" way beyond his stage weight. This makes it much easier for him to get shredded when contest prep rolls around.
Here's an example of what Chris Bumstead eats in a day of his offseason:
Daily Totals: 310 g protein, 519 g carb (~35 g fiber), 113 g fat, 4,325 calories
*Note: All food measurements are based on cooked weight, unless otherwise noted.
Now, not everyone should follow Bumstead's exact diet plan since he's a pro bodybuilder that lives and breathes the iron game. The stress of training as intense as he does requires ample nourishment to allow him to maintain his weight. Chris's calorie and macronutrient needs are likely quite a bit higher than most gym-goers.
However, Bumstead's general approach to nutrition in the offseason and during contest prep is something any athlete or up-and-coming bodybuilder can learn from. Here are his essential nutrition guidelines:
Counting macros and planning meals in advance is very likely to overwhelm people at first. However, you'll find that the process is actually quite simple once you integrate it into your daily routine and find a groove.
Remember, consistency is crucial, but it's okay if something comes up and you have to eat a "less-than-ideal" meal; stressing out about it will do more than harm than anything. If you're on-the-go frequently, carry some Authentic Bars just in case (Bumstead's fave is the Peanut Butter candy flavor).
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