Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!


It’s a simple fact that on the bodybuilding journey (or any serious athletic pursuit) if you fail to prepare, you must realize that you are going to fail and will never achieve your full potential! There is no one else to blame except yourself and the lack of organizational skills. You can have the best diet, best gym equipment, best prep coach in the world but without proper organization and implementation at the foundations you’re going nowhere fast. So I am going to share with you in this series of articles some of my favorite tips for staying on course to achieving my goals within the bodybuilding game. These have become my blue print. The foundation of everything I do. From designing my own personal nutrition strategies, training programmers and planning and setting goals for the upcoming months year.


Part 1


A Bodybuilder’s Shopping List


When going shopping it is always a good idea to have a shopping list to guide you.  A bodybuilder is no different, a shopping list will help avoid temptation and make sure all of the essentials are purchased.  The list should be pre-planned and focused on the current nutritional cycle, and will help stop you from going down the frozen desserts isle and loading your trolley up with god knows what nasty little treats! After a while the list will become almost automatic.


Bodybuilders are creatures of habit.  Ask a bodybuilder what they ate last night for dinner and it will be some sort of chicken or fish dinner with some rice or pasta choice.  Often the choice changes little over a month span.  Each day might be slightly different so the week presents a varied menu, but that week may be repeated over and over again.  There are some bodybuilding gourmets that break this trend; however, there are many more bodybuilders who find the lack of time to prepare meals makes consistency important.


When heading to the supermarket it is important to have an eye on the future.  Planning the weeks, or how ever many days or weeks you are shopping for, meals ahead of time makes preparing a shopping list easier.  Knowing what ingredients are needed for each meal will ensure you have them when the time comes and prevents the need for last minute shopping trips, which can lead to new temptations.


If possible, it is best to buy everything in one trip, even if it means going to multiple stores in one day.  This prevents doubling up, or purchasing multiples of some items and forgetting others.  If you get your supplements and specialty foods from a health food store, regular grocery items from a grocery store, and bulk items at a wholesale club, then make a day of it and get everything at once.  This ensures that you have everything you need and keeps everything on one list. 


Wholesale stores are great for buying bulk items like chicken breasts, canned tuna, rice, pasta, and many other staples of the bodybuilding diet.  Then, whatever can’t be found at the wholesale store can be purchased at the supermarket store.


The list can be organized by the store, item category, or, more often, just a random list with items added as they come to mind.  How it is organized is less important than the list itself.  Shopping without a list can dangerous, and lead to many impulse buys.  Items that you would not think of buying when you are making your list may look really good when you get in the store.  That does not mean that you can’t pick up things you forgot to add to the list, but at least a list helps you narrow down the choices and make sure you get the essentials first.


So, what should be on a bodybuilder’s shopping list?  There are many staples of a bodybuilding diet that will make it on the list, such as tuna, rice, chicken breasts, whole grain cereals and pasta, and eggs.  But, there are a lot of other items that should make the list.  Below is a sample, basic list broken down by category.  The quantities of each item will vary depending on the cycle of diet you are in and the total number of calories needed in a week.



Lean ground beef (96%) or ground turkey (This is very versatile and can make many different meals)

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (Frozen is the most convenient)

Tuna in a can (In water is the healthiest)

Salmon (or other fish) steaks (These give you a twist on the healthy fats and protein of fish, and a break from tuna)

Eggs (These are so versatile they are a must for the bodybuilder)

Cottage cheese

Skimmed Milk (Great protein source and a great base for your protein drinks)



Rice (Long grain, white, brown, basmati)

Pasta (Whole grain choices have more fiber and complex carbohydrates)

Potatoes sweet and white varieties (Good starchy choices)

Greens (Spinach, lettuce, kale, and other leafy green vegetables are great for salads and added to sandwiches)

Vegetables (A wide range of vegetable selections provides many different meal options)

Hot peppers (These add spice to the meal, and may even boost your metabolism)

Cereal (Whole oat or whole grain cereals are good options)

Bread (The same as the cereals)


Fats and Oils:

Nuts (These are packed with protein and healthy fats, but also calories, so go sparingly)

Olive oil (An essential oil for cooking, much better than butter or other oils)


Spices and Flavorings:

Vinegar (A great low calorie way to add flavor to your meals.  It can also be combined with the olive oil to make a healthy dressing)

Mustard (Another great low calorie flavoring that can be used with many meals)

Individual spices (Oregano, Basil, Marjoram, Dill, and many other spices help add a little zest to otherwise bland meals)

No calorie Sauces such as Waldens farm range available from Performance Foods Lincoln.

Cinnamon (A low calorie, sweet choice that can actually help keep blood sugar levels in check)



Multi-Mineral/Vitamin formula

Protein Powder


Meal Replacement Powder or Ready-To-Drink formulas

And any other supplements you need to replenish


These are just some examples that should be on every bodybuilder’s list as they head to the store.  They give the necessary nutrients and have a wide array of amino acids, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.  The supplements are just the basics that most bodybuilders should be using, and then you can add the extras you use.  These items can generally all be found at the supermarket.  If you want to take a side trip to a health food store, you may find many other choices that could be added to your list.  As a bodybuilder, what you put in your cart, and later in your mouth, is vital to total success.  So, plan ahead, make your list, and head to the store for the fuel your muscles, and body, need to blast your off to new levels of growth and development.


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