How Chris Bumstead Eats to Get Shredded For The Olympia

At only 27, Chris Bumstead is arguably one of the most impressive bodybuilders today. 

He got the second spot in the 2017 and 2018 Mr. Olympia Classic Physique competitions, but his determination brought him back to win five consecutive titles from 2019 – 2023.

Will 2024 bring his sixth title in the Classic division? Only time will tell, but Mr. Bumstead is not leaving anything to chance. His training, nutrition, and recovery are dialed in, and Chris is on the fast track to making history.

With that in mind, read on to see how the three-time Mr. Olympia champion eats in preparation. 

The Chris Bumstead Diet to Get Shredded For The Olympia

CBum aims for 2,800 to 3,000 calories per day at five and a half weeks out of competition. 

As you can see, this is not your traditional way of eating to get shredded. Most people cannot possibly hope to lose fat on a 3,000-calorie diet, especially this close to stepping on a bodybuilding stage.

But given his excellent muscular development, Chris has a much higher resting metabolic rate than the average person and expends a ton of calories during training and while recovering.

A Breakdown of Bumstead’s Meals to Hit 3,000 Calories And Shed Fat

Meal 1 (Breakfast)

Chris starts his day of eating with a morning meal around 9 AM. One of his favorites for a morning meal is pancakes. He follows a special recipe, which he dubs the good old CBum protein pancakes.

Here are the ingredients he uses to make these pancakes:

  • 90 grams of oats blended into flour
  • 210 grams of egg whites
  • A whole egg
  • A scoop of vanilla protein
  • A scoop of glutamine
  • Dash of vanilla flavoring
  • 60 to 70 grams of canned pumpkin
  • 20 grams of almond butter

Blend everything together and start cooking on a preheated pan. Chris recommends heating your pan to a sizzling temperature because it would allow you to cook the pancakes more quickly and not lose any of the moisture. 

During his preps, Bumstead avoids adding any cooking spray to save up on some calories.

You can add some cinnamon on top of your pancakes while they are cooking for extra flavor.

Once the pancakes are done, spread some almond butter and enjoy.

Observation from CBum:

He doesn’t mind making his pancakes a bit thinner by adding water to the mixture. It helps him feel fuller on fewer calories because he gets to enjoy a more voluminous meal without the extra calories.

Meal 2 (Lunch/Work office meal)

Meal 2 is nothing to write home about, but it is a classic that gets the job done: 180 grams of chicken breast, 200 grams of white rice, and 70 grams of green beans. 

With the rise of nutritional approaches like if it fits your macros (IIFYM), most people now assume that every meal needs to be complex, beautiful, and aesthetic enough to be posted on Instagram with the hashtag #gains

But, as we can see, the basics are still relevant, at least for one of the top bodybuilders on the planet. 

Here’s what Chris had to say about his meal with absolutely no sarcasm:

“This is my beautiful meal, very extravagant: chicken, rice, and some green beans. Green beans are always baked in the oven. I don’t know why they taste better like that. That’s it.

I’ve been hardcore this year, probably because of Hany. He said I’m not allowed to have sauces on all my meals.”

Bumstead has been incredibly diligent with his diet, and he monitors every calorie that goes into his body, including those coming from sauces and condiments. He allows himself some yellow mustard or Sriracha, but most of his Tupperware meals are plain, and he enjoys them with a bit of salt on top. 

Meal 3 (Pre-Workout)

Chris aims for three meals before working out because the extra fuel helps him push through his incredibly demanding high-volume workouts. 

The third meal of the day is identical to the second one, apart from one difference: 

Instead of having chicken, Chris enjoys 200 grams of white fish, jokingly referring to the meal as his white fishy fish meal. His choices of fish are typically haddock and cod. Chris recommends both types of fish because you can get them wild-caught instead of farmed, like other fish varieties (e.g., tilapia). 

In case you’re wondering, Bumstead keeps his diet exactly the same on training and non-training days. While there is a lot of talk surrounding calorie and carb cycling for better gains, Chris enjoys the simplicity and finds the approach as effective as any other.

To top off his meal, Chris adds some shredded lettuce, which he claims is crucial for getting shredded. Like, totally unsarcastically. Not even a hint of sarcasm in that claim.

(Just kidding. He knows calories in versus calories out is what matters most for weight loss.)

Here’s a breakdown of the meal:

  • 200 grams of white rice
  • 200 grams of white fish (in this case, cod)
  • Spinach
  • Shredded lettuce

Meal 4 (Keeping it simple)

Meal number four for Chris is typically a shake after his workout, but he prefers to go with something warm and soothing after an ice bath.

The fourth meal of the day is:

  • 350 grams of raw-weight potatoes
  • 200 grams of white fish

Chris usually weighs everything cooked because that’s more practical but prefers to use the raw weight of potatoes. He reasons that it’s never clear how much potatoes will shrink during the cooking process.

Quick side note: Hany Rambod, who is coaching CBum through his current contest preparation, has a slightly unique approach to macronutrient tracking. 

Instead of counting all of the nutrients from every food, he focuses on the protein from protein-rich foods (e.g., meat, fish, etc.) and the carbs from carb-rich foods (e.g., rice, potatoes, etc.). 

In other words, they don’t track the small amounts of protein found in foods like oats and rice.

Here’s an extra bit of info from Chris:

“I’ve heard somewhere that if you take your potatoes, cook them, let them cool down, and then cook them again or re-heat them, it actually lowers the glycemic index and is less likely to spike your blood sugar. I try to do that when I have the time to do that, but I just normally cook them in the air fryer, and they taste great like that.”

In addition to the meal, Chris enjoys a protein shake. To paraphrase him:

“You have to hit your protein goals even on rest days. Especially then. Rest days are for recovery, and protein is crucial for giving your body the building blocks it needs to repair itself.”

The shake consists of the following:

  • Two scoops of protein
  • Ice
  • Water

“If you’re not on prep, you can do this with almond milk or some kind of milk. It blends up a lot smoother.”

Meal 5 (The Final One)

Meal number five is the final one for Chris. It usually includes a fatty protein source, such as beef or salmon.

“I’ve been having a lot of salmon recently. Get those omegas in, be nice and healthy before bed. But I like to chop it up before putting it in the microwave. I think it dries the salmon a bit less when you’re re-cooking it like that.”

For this particular meal, Chris paired his salmon with green beans cooked in the air fryer.

In addition to his last meal of the day, Bumstead takes a magnesium supplement because of its calming and relaxing effects on the body.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • 200 grams of salmon
  • 75 grams of green beans

Things We’ve Learned From Bumstead

As you can see, the diet Chris follows to get shredded for the Olympia stage isn’t anything new, groundbreaking, or out of this world. If anything, his nutritional approach is rather bland because Chris often eats the same thing for more than one meal, repeating the process day after day.

His only ‘breaks’ from the rigid dieting regimen come in the form of some ice cream and protein powder blended into a deliciously sweet smoothie.

Without further ado, here are some ideas inspired by Chris on attacking goals and being successful:

1. Push Through, No Matter How Hopeless it May Seem

After winning his third Olympia title, Chris was given a chance to say a few words, and his short speech was truly something worth listening to. 

He said that, just a few weeks earlier, he was sitting on his bathroom floor, sobbing, and thinking that all of that effort would not amount to anything. But, despite his low point, he continued pushing forward, landing the most prestigious title in professional bodybuilding.

He continued by saying that, the morning of the competition and after pre-judging, Chris had that same cry. But this time, it was a cry of gratitude and pride that he had pushed through the challenging times and self-doubt to land his third title.

His words are inspirational for everyone, regardless of goals, professional occupation, and life circumstances. We all deal with difficult times, and everyone feels hopeless from time to time. 

But, no matter how bleak it may seem, pushing forward pays off.

2. Find What Works For You

Bumstead falls in the small percentage of professional bodybuilders, social media influences, and fitness models that keep it real and don’t try to push an agenda to their followers. 

When asked questions like, “What exercises should I do to look like you?” or “What kind of a diet did you follow to build this body?”, he doesn’t try to sell a cookie-cutter training plan or diet. 

Instead, Chris tells it as it is:

You must find what works for you. Doing so makes the process more enjoyable, keeps you motivated, and helps you reach your goals one day. 

For example, don’t look for a magical combination of movements when deciding what exercises to add to your routine. Instead, put together a balanced plan and pick the activities that feel most natural and lead to the best muscle activation.

3. Focus On The Basics and Be Consistent

People often chase shiny objects that will get them closer to their goals, often wasting too much time on research instead of getting to work

One of the big lessons we can learn from CBum is to focus on the basics and be consistent.

Chris has been open about his steroid use. Still, he typically refuses to go into specifics because he fears that impressionable people will take what he says and run with it. Whenever he talks about his ‘supplements,’ he emphasizes the point of covering the basics before thinking about anything else.

While it can be tempting to look for shortcuts or magical solutions to reach an outcome, be it fitness or not, it pays to master the fundamental principles. 

In addition to focusing on the basics, one must be consistent. In a full day of eating video, Chris concludes with the following:

“So, I’m going to go to bed, wake up and repeat the whole process again. And again. And again.”

It sounds so simple that many people overlook his words, but these few words illustrate the mindset Chris carries and how consistency played a huge role in where he is today.


There you have it: a full day of eating for Bumstead during his 2022 Olympia prep.

As you can see, his approach is nothing special. In fact, many people, especially those outside the bodybuilding sphere, would call his diet rather bland because there isn’t much variety.

But, regardless of what people think, the approach works for Chris and is getting him closer to his fourth Olympia win because of his drive, determination, and persistence.

This is perhaps the best lesson we can all take away from his approach:

It’s not about fancy tactics, ancient Chinese secrets, or gimmicks. It all comes down to mastering the basics and pursuing them relentlessly, especially when you don’t feel like it.

Need help counting your macros? Check out our macro calculator here!

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