What I Eat And What Supplements I Take

January 22, 2013 — 11 Comments

So PZillaFX asked me on Youtube the other day to write a blog post detailing what I eat and what supplements I take.

what-i-eat

Actually, he asks “how” but I’m going to assume he meant “what” because I’m sure he’s not interested in what type of utensils I use or how I chew my food etc.

And this seems to be a somewhat common question I get from a variety of places from time to time, so I might as well write a blog post about it.

Before I get started, there’s a few things I want to mention when it comes to my approach to eating and supplements.

1. First, if you didn’t know already, I’m 5’4” tall (or 163 cm) and fluctuate between roughly 200-205 lb (or 90.9-93.2 Kg).

I have gained a few pounds or so since eating like this (around late spring/early summer 2012), and right now my body weight is holding steady.

When I started taking barbell training seriously around late November of 2010, I was about 183 lb. I did not take any supplements except fish oil and a multivitamin.

I was living in Bangkok, Thailand until July 2011, and up until then, I only ate real food. Because food was cheap I ate out a lot.

This includes sushi buffet, pizza buffet, breakfast buffet (unlimited eggs and bacon!), Sizzler, KFC (ordered a family size bucket and ate this with rice), McDonalds, Outback Steakhouse, mango and sweet glutinous rice with coconut milk, Thai stewed pork leg with 5 spices and rice, Korean pork with rice, and a bunch of other stuff that I can't remember.

Trying to recall what and where I ate is making my mouth water as I write this.

I also had a slow cooker and rice cooker that was used on a regular basis. And I ate many bags of chips and drank a lot of pop (usually Coke Zero or Sprite Zero).

Man, I miss Thailand!

Back then, I also ate food before working out. Eating a big bowl of rice/meat/veggies before heading out to squat with a belt on was not comfortable.

When I came back from Thailand to Canada in July 2011, what I ate was more of the same (rice,meat,veggies). I just didn't eat out as often as I did before.

And this may come as a surprise to some people, but I only started taking whey protein around early January 2012 (I found an old receipt in my email to verify this), and creatine sometime early-April of 2012.

2. I don’t count calories or figure out what my “macros” are.

It just seems like a pain in the ass counting calories and trying to accurately figure out something that is at best, an approximation.

By the way, “macros” is a relatively new term for me. Previously I have known this word to be meant as something big (ex. macroeconomics, or macrophillia), something to do with programming, as in a macro in Excel, or something to do with photography.

Somehow, it has been adopted by the internet fitness world as a short form for “macronutrient”.

I like the long form of macronutrient better.

I mean, you wouldn’t call macroeconomics and microeconomics “macro 101” or “micro 101” right? Or maybe people do. I don’t know.

3. I am jaded by taking crappy supplements in the past that did nothing but burn a hole in my wallet and/or give me an upset stomach in the past.

I’m skeptical of marketing claims made by supplement companies and generally “stick to the basics” so I don’t take a whole lot of supplements. I prefer things that make a big impact, rather than some substance that claims a certain effect if you take it, but in reality, couldn’t really tell the difference between the “supplement” from a placebo.

I do take a multivitamin and fish oil, just in case. But that’s about it.

Anyway, I describe below what a normal day is when it comes to eating and supplements. I started eating this way around late spring or early summer of 2012.

The timestamps are approximations, so they vary from day to day.

6:30 AM - Morning Coffee With Whey Protein

I start my day off with some instant coffee and whey protein. I’ll add heaping teaspoon of instant coffee, and either half a scoop of whey protein if I’m using 1 flavor, or 2x 1/4 scoop if I’m using 2. I eyeball the quantity in the scoop so it’s not exact. I wrote an article describing exactly how I add whey protein to coffee here.

what-I-eat (1)

During this time I’m catching up on email, looking through my Facebook feed and RSS reader. Once that’s out of the way and the caffeine starts kicking in, I’ll try to do something productive.

I’ll go through 3 cups of coffee and total of about 1.5 scoops of whey protein.

9:30 AM – Make My Shake & Take Some Pills

Now, I make my pre-peri-post workout protein energy drink. I’ll add caffeine and sometimes ephedrine HCL into a shaker cup, mixed it up with water, followed by approximately 5g of creatine and 2 scoops of whey protein. Full details about how I make my protein energy drink is covered here.

I recently struck a deal with some nearly-expired Ultimate Nutrition Whey Sensation 81 whey protein for $9.99 for 2 lb. The flavors are cookies and cream, and chocolate truffle. So I’m mixing in 1 scoop of cookies and cream, and another scoop of chocolate truffle. Tastes ok, but the cookies and cream has actual cookie bits in there.

Also, at this time I’ll take a multivitamin and fish oil. I take these so that I’m not deficient in any vitamins and minerals, and I don’t eat fish at home and unfortunately I cannot eat sushi buffet everyday.

what-I-eat (2)

This is the cheapest multivitamin I could find. I even accidentally got the “adults over 50” version! It makes my urine neon yellow like the color of the Nike Romaleos 2 Volt shoes. Should be fine.

I don’t believe in taking super expensive, supposedly high quality multivitamins, simply because I’ve never found that it made any significant impact on my health. But it can make an impact on my wallet.

I like the Now Ultra Omega-3 because it’s in a pill format (drinking liquid fish oil seems a bit gross), and contains the most EPA/DHA per pill that I know of. Decent price too.

10:00 AM

Now I brush my teeth, and try to do something productive for a couple of hours!

During this time, I take sips from that protein shake I made, simply because I am feeling hungry.

Once I my stomach starts grumbling and I can’t take it anymore, that’s what I begin preparing for my training session of the day.

Sometimes, I’ll take my favorite pre-workout supplement, ibuprofen (generic name for popular brands such as Advil, Motrin, Nuprin or Nurofen):

Pre-Workout Supplement

12:00 PM – Start Training

During my workout, I’ll sip on the DIY protein energy drink I made earlier. Occasionally I’ll add extra water after a few gulps so I have enough to drink throughout my workout.

Every now and then, I’ll even go back upstairs and add another scoop of protein and water into the shaker cup. It really depends on how I feel based on the duration and how tough the workout is.

3:00 PM – Finish Training & Post-Workout

Usually by this time I’m done with my protein drink.

At this point, I’ll make a post-workout sandwich. Today, it’s a triple-decker peanut butter and bee vomit honey sandwich.

P1211381

After eating this, I’ll take my post-workout shower.

3:30-4:00 PM – Meal 1

Time for real food meal #1. Which is generally a huge bowl of rice, some sort of meat and vegetables.

I eat rice everyday. I’m sure members of the Chinese Olympic weightlifting team eats rice everyday. I’m kinda strong, and they’re really strong. Coincidence? Winking smile

Rooster Rice

As you can see by the picture below, I’m running out of cooked meat. I made this last week.

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Time to defrost something from the freezer…

what-I-eat (4)

I throw in some baby spinach whenever possible.

I’m not into this “organic” food craze that’s been popular lately. I’ve tried organic baby spinach, and it tasted gross! Also, it was more expensive for less amount of spinach. I’ve been eating this non-organic spinach for a long time. It’s good enough.

I'll also toss in an egg, sprinkle some cashews if I have them, and pour on some Sriracha hot sauce.

P1211385

7:00 PM – Meal 2

Same thing as my first meal, but without the egg.

7:30-8:00 PM – Snack time!

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Occasionally I’ll eat potato chips, fruits, cereal, chocolate, cookies or whatever else that’s available.

As you can probably tell, my “diet” loosely follows the Carb Back-Loading protocol (as in, I eat my carbs after my workout). I find that it works pretty well. I feel comfortable when I train, can see the outline of my abs under the correct lighting sometimes, and I’ve continued to get stronger since eating this way.

Over the course of the day, I drink water. It’s tap water, filtered by a Brita filter that’s stored in my refrigerator.

Occasionally I drink juice if it’s in the fridge, and only have milk when it’s in my cereal.

And that’s basically it.

Hope that answers anybody’s question about what I eat and what supplements I take!

John Phung

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Ever since I started taking strength training seriously, I was bitten by the Iron Bug. Then it burrowed under my skin and laid eggs in my heart. Now those eggs are hatching and I... the feeling is indescribable.




Quick Stats
Height: 5'4" on non-squat days
Weight: 200 lb 210 lb ~220 lb (FOREVER BULK BRAH)

Credentials


Programs
  • Texas Method: March 4, 2011 - April 28, 2013
  • Smolov Jr for Bench Press: June 4 - 22, 2012
  • Starting Strength: Nov 29, 2010 - March 4, 2011
  • Shreddy Brek

    Sounds like one hell of a daily schedule! Are you self employed to be able to live with this flexibility John?

  • Stephan R

    Curious to know, is this a typical day for you? Or do you throw in some work somewhere to sustain your lifestyle..

    • Yes this is more or less a typical day. I do throw in some work here and there haha

  • deeps

    I second that ..buying supplements is a pretty much wastage. Apart from fish oil, multi-vit i dont get any supplements. i try to cover protein intake through lot of lentils, soyabeans, whole grains and occasionally meat. Is it fine for a beginner/intermetiate? Also I was wondering if you are a fulltime powerlifter/trainer?

    • Personally I would gain my main protein sources from meats. When I did SS and the beginnings of TM (November 2010-December 2011), I ate all real foods, no supplements except for multivitamin and fish oil. Didn’t start taking whey protein until early January 2012. And I didn’t go the GOMAD route, but I did eat a lot of meat. Meat with every meal.

      Full time powerlifter/training? No, I only workout 4-5x per week for a few hours at a time (probably just as long as a gym rat/gym junkie in a commercial gym), and have only competed in powerlifting once. At this point, I really don’t train anyone but myself. I am getting pretty good results though haha

  • koofteh

    How many calories do you eat on training days, and non-training days? The food you described doesn’t seem like that many calories.

    • I don’t count calories, so I don’t know. The bowl I use is a 1 quart serving bowl, so it’s pretty big.

      • koofteh

        Sorry, I see you mentioned that in the article. That’s a pretty big bowl. From the picture it just seems the bowl is not that man calories, especially for someone your size.

  • Craig Hirota

    I’m with you. Wasted far too much money on supplement hype. I pretty much follow the same list as you except no ephedrine and I take zinc, magnesium, and B6 at night. I bought them separately rather than the over-priced ZMA formulations. Saved 66%.

    I used to do fish oil caps but started using the oil and it didn’t take me too long to get used to it but I also like eating sardines out of the can so “fishy” or “oily” doesn’t bother me. I take a couple tablespoons in the morning with my multi-vitamin and some vit D (I drink my coffee black so whey or heavy cream is not an option) and it keeps me from getting hungry for a couple hours.

    • I think that bodybuilding/health snake oil will continue to persist over time, simply because a lot people are looking for a magic pill to a short cut to whatever gains (or loss) they’re looking for, are willing to suspend critical thinking and pay money for it.

      Eating sardines and drinking black coffee are things I don’t think I could get used to lol.

      Zinc, magnesium, and B6 at night sounds interesting though. I’ve heard/read of people having some vivid and lucid dreams using that. Why do you use it btw?

      • Craig Hirota

        It helps with the quality of my sleep and I do notice more vivid dreams, otherwise, I’m pretty sure I get enough zinc and magnesium from food. For just a sleep aid, I find I don’t need to take nearly as much as one would get in recommended ZMA dosing. I’m taking half the amounts with my a la carte supplementation before bed and getting the same effects.