‘Tis the season to make serious gains. On May 15, 2022, Classic Physique Mr. Olympia Chris Bumstead greeted his YouTube audience with a much-needed full day of eating video. The 27-year-old Ottawa native is currently on a 5,000-plus-calorie bulking diet in preparation for his fourth title defense at the 2022 Mr. Olympia competition, set for Dec. 16-18, in Las Vegas.
While certain selections such as his mushroom coffee might seem a little off-kilter, Bumstead actually appears to eat many of the same reliable bulking foods as any mere mortal — he just puts down a lot more of them.
You can check out Bumstead’s full day of eating video below, as well as a comprehensive breakdown of what it takes to bulk up:
Breakfast: 985 Calories
Upon getting out of bed, Bumstead’s girlfriend and 2016 Bikini Olympia champion Courtney King has already prepared for him a hot cup of coffee mixed with a mushroom blend for immune health and chocolate sea salt electrolytes to keep his hydration levels in check.
“Make sure you’re paying attention to your body, try and figure out if you feel bloated after eating something, and if you do, try cutting that out and see if you feel better. Digestion is the key to everything.”
Bumstead has talked about suffering from digestive issues and he’s been more proactive about identifying and eliminating the potentially troublesome foods from his diet.
Digestion is the key to bulking.
The Canadian bodybuilder typically prefers starting his day with some pancakes. However, he suspects the eggs were causing stomach discomfort, and recently swapped them out for two cinnamon raisin bagels with ghee or almond butter and a whey isolate protein shake (with added glutamine and fiber powder) to see if it helps.
Bumstead explained that he’s not eating as much during this off-season, but rather implementing a carb cycling strategy to put on weight fast, and will then reduce his food intake slightly to remain around the same body weight. This way, he can feel better overall and focus on training hard.
Lunch: 796 Calories
For lunch, Bumstead combines 185 grams of ground turkey, 300 grams of boiled white rice and approximately 15 grams of olive oil. He’s eating less rice than before and adding in a little more olive oil, which has improved his digestion and energy levels.
“If it’s hard for you to bulk and eat a lot of food like myself sometimes, you have to make sure that you understand what works best within your days.”
Bumstead notes that if you’re bulking, you should have a meal-planning strategy in place to ensure you’re getting in enough calories throughout the day.
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Between meals, Bumstead had a protein bar and snacked out on some organic sea salt rice cakes. He did not provide the total number of calories for the snack.
Pre-Workout: 700 Calories
Bumstead likes the convenience of a pre-prepared meal from Mega Fit that gives him seven ounces of steak and two and a half cups of sweet potatoes to fuel his workouts. The Classic Physique superstar typically avoids red meat before the gym, as it’s harder for him to digest. However, it was just more convenient on that particular day.
Post-Workout: 1,154 Calories
“This is when I have my largest appetite.”
After a training session, Bumstead tosses 180 grams (145 grams of carbs) of brown rice pasta in a pot of boiling water. The pasta is mixed with 100 grams of beef, 100 grams of turkey, and 250 milliliters of marinara sauce. He also takes two glucose pills to help with managing his blood sugar after a carb-heavy meal.
Bumstead washes his post-training meal down with a can of prebiotic soda for digestive maintenance.
Before his final meal of the day, Bumstead enjoys a 340-calorie Perfect brand peanut butter bar. He eats one a day to fill in his calorie needs since he’s eating five times per day instead of six.
Before catching some zzz’s, Bumstead heated up 290 grams of his favorite white Jasmine rice, and added it to a bowl with 120 grams of ground turkey and a drizzle of olive oil since, it is, after all, bulking season. Bumstead didn’t specify exactly how many cals were in his pre-sleep meal.
If you want to bulk, add calories slowly and see how your body responds.
The IFBB Pro takes it easy on the meat before bedtime so he can rest peacefully.
“All you got to do to bulk is figure out what the hell you’re eating currently, track it, food diary whatever you need to do, and then if you want to put on weight, add like 300 calories, 200 calories a day, see how your body responds and just slowly go from there.”
Bumstead notes that his bulking diet will not work for everyone, and that each person needs to develop a plan based on their body weight and goals. But he does recommend being in a slight caloric surplus to gain muscle mass.
All in all, Bumstead isn’t afraid to go as hard in the kitchen as he does in the weight room. Here’s how his nutrition shakes out at the end of a long day of Mr. Olympia off-season bulking:
- Calories: 5,203
- Carbs: 666 grams
- Fat: 156 grams
- Protein: 290 grams
Chris Bumstead seems to have found his strategy with the right diet and training program to yield the champ-caliber gains he’s after. The three-time reigning Classic Physique Olympia winner has seven months to prepare before he takes the big stage at the 2022 Mr. Olympia in December. Luckily, he’s willing to share his dietary approach along the way.
Featured Image: @cbum on Instagram