It doesn’t matter how much you can bench or how many pull-ups you can pump out — a poor diet will ruin your gains every single time. The problem is that many diets taste terrible, are too expensive, or take forever to make meals.
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The Athlean X meal plan might just be what you’re looking for.
About the Creator – Jeff Cavaliere
Anybody can create a diet and post it on the internet for all to see. But Jeff Cavaliere, creator of Athlean X, is no random internet user.
Here’s why the Athlean X meal plan might just be legit.
Jeff Cavaliere has two college degrees: A Bachelor’s Degree in Physioneurobiology & Premedicine and a Masters Degree in Physical Therapy. So right off the bat, he has more qualifications than most who claim to be fitness or nutrition experts.
Yet, Cavaliere did much more than sit through 6+ years of school and walk across a stage.
He also has a strength and conditioning certification through the NSCA. To top it all off, Cavaliere spent time with the Mets back in their glory days in the early 2000s in the role of trainer and physical therapist.
His goal as a trainer? To take a scientific approach to exercise to prevent injury and maximize gains across the board.
And he’s jacked.
What is the Athlean X Meal Plan?
The Athlean X meal plan we’ll be talking about is one that Jeff Cavaliere personally uses. It’s based around the same Athlean X goals of improving strength, power, speed, and overall fitness (muscle & cardio).
So this meal plan goes a bit further than just cutting down on your body fat and bumping up your gains. It’s about improving your fitness and encouraging a transformation into an athlete.
Athlean X Meal Plan Principles
Before we get into meal plan details, it’s important to go over a few things that Cavalier clarifies at the beginning of his video.
- This meal plan is only meant to serve as a guideline, so this isn’t one of those diets where you’ll eat the same thing every single day.
- There are carbs and fats in this diet (scary, but you’ll survive).
- Adjustments should be made to this plan if it doesn’t fit your needs.
- You’ll be eating animal proteins and possibly sugar substitutes.
- Consistency is key in nutrition. So if you don’t like something, don’t eat it because you won’t be consistent.
Athlean X Meal Plan Details
This Athlean X meal plan will get you started toward your calorie goal and load you up with protein, carbs, and fat before you even leave the house.
Here are the details:
- Pumpkin walnut oatmeal: Start off with 1 cup of oatmeal, a little Ceylon cinnamon, some pumpkin pie spice, a drizzle of maple syrup, and 4 ounces of skim milk. After taking it out of the microwave for 3 minutes, add some pumpkin (not pie mix), Splenda brown sugar, walnuts, dried oats, and whipped cream (you’ll see more of this later).
- Egg whites: Take the equivalent of 7 to 10 egg whites (from a container) and pop it into the microwave for a little over 2 minutes. Add some pickled ginger and then salsa to the egg whites.
- Skim milk (to drink)
This should bring you to about 850 calories right off the bat.
This is what your protein-stocked lunch will look like:
- Grilled chicken wrap: You’ll need to take a good amount of grilled chicken (seriously, a lot), grilled vegetables like eggplant and zucchini, and some olive oil. Add some hot sauce and pesto for some additional flavoring.
- Full-fat Greek yogurt with whipped cream
Lunch on its own will tack on an extra 755 calories to the day.
When nighttime rolls around, you have to be prepared for a massive dinner. We’re talking about piling up an entire plate with grilled chicken and starchy carbs.
This is what dinner is going to look like for you:
- Tomato Orzo Soup with crushed crackers (or stew instead)
- Grilled chicken: Once again, there’s going to be a lot of grilled chicken. Feel free to add something for better flavoring, like mango ginger salsa.
- Starchy carbs: A good amount of your plate is going to be carbs. That can be anything, like pasta or mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon or butter.
- Fiber: Don’t forget to add some vegetables onto your plate to finish off the meal. Corn, Brussel sprouts, and broccoli are great choices.
- Seltzer water: This is a great way to keep up with your water intake if you find the taste and consistency of water to be bland.
That’s going to add on 1,000 or so calories.
Finally, we have dessert.
Yes, you heard that right. Jeff Cavaliere, the creator of the Athlean X trainer, suggests eating dessert every night.
Here’s what dessert might look like.
- Fat-free ice cream or frozen yogurt
- Whipped cream (that’s the third time for the day!)
This is an extra 280 calories.
Then, you also have the supplements that Cavaliere takes. That includes a protein shake (X-LR8) with skim milk every day and Reconstruction for muscle recovery for an extra 300+ calories to finish off the day.
The day will end with around 3,000 calories.
Athlean X Meal Plan Pros & Cons
Athlean X Meal Plan Pros
Gives Some Freedom
The best part about this program is that Cavaliere emphasizes the concept of variety. While you should be focusing on getting enough of the macronutrients and calories, you wouldn’t want to eat the same thing every single day.
The more variety, the more likely you are to stick to your diet. And the goal is long-term maintenance for nutrition.
Doesn’t Cut Out Fats or Carbs
A lot of diets are a little insane. Not only is it unsafe to cut out carbs or fats to a certain extent, but it also leaves you with basically nothing to eat.
This diet includes every nutrient, even fat!
You probably could tell by the fact that Cavaliere added whipped cream to just about every meal. Just keep in mind that the fat and carbs need to be within moderation, so keep a close eye on your eating habits during the day.
You know you need to eat a ton of food to put on mass, but it’s sometimes hard to find your appetite to make that possible.
That’s not much of a problem with this diet, though.
A lot of the food is calorie-dense and is only spread among 3 meals. That means you won’t have to be scarfing a meal down every hour of the day to become bigger, leaner, and stronger.
Instead, you’ll actually have time to do other important things (like go to work or school).
Athlean X Meal Plan Cons
Sacrifice Good, Fast, or Cheap
Even Jeff Cavaliere knows that dieting is hard. That’s because you usually have to give up one of these three: Good, fast, and cheap.
That’s no different with this diet.
Skipping out on good food means you’ll be able to make your meals faster and spend less money at the grocery store. It also means your gains might slow down.
So, you need to figure out which one you’re willing to give up if you want to stick to a diet.
Can Be Triggering
It’s awesome that you can eat carbs and fat with this diet and that you’re not constantly tracking your caloric intake.
But this diet might not be for you if you lack self-control.
Look at how often whipped cream is used and take a look at the concept of eating frozen yogurt or fat-free ice cream every night. Unless you’re able to use the recommended serving sizes and eat nothing more, then you might struggle with this diet.
The Athlean X meal plan is a solid option if you have experience in the gym or not.
First of all, it’s nothing like most other diets out there. You don’t have to completely revamp your diet and you’re not stuck eating what tastes like cardboard in order to get the body you want.
This food might taste pretty good and it gets you the macros you need to get fit and your ideal physique. Just be aware that this diet might be a little expensive, time-consuming to make, and even a little triggering if you struggle with self-control.
But even if you get your diet dialed in, you still need a workout program to make gains!
Check out this Athlean-X beginner program to get started!
Athlean X Meal Plan FAQs
Does Athlean-X have a meal plan?
Yes, there is a meal plan that goes with just about every Athlean X program. But after fans demanded to know what Jeff Cavaliere eats to stay lean year round, he revealed that he consumes calorie-dense foods that keep you satiated while keeping things flexible to fit a few guilty pleasures in the mix.
Is Athlean-X Meal Plan worth it?
Yes, the Athlean X meal plan Jeff revealed is worth it, but it’s more like a guideline than a meal plan. The meal plan gives you a solid framework for eating healthy enough to support muscle growth and fat loss while keeping it flexible enough to fit in some of your favorite foods.
How many calories does Athlean-X eat?
Jeff Cavaliere says he consumes 3,000-3,500 calories per day to maintain his physique. However, the meal plans that come with the Athlean X programs don’t support calorie-counting and instead focus on portion control.