Feb 2009 25
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5,000 Calorie Bodybuilding Diet Program

By Vince Del Monte -Author, No Nonsense Muscle Building

A clean bodybuilding diet program is the cornerstone of your muscular development. A bodybuilding diet program that leaves you in a caloric deficit is like trying to buy a $50,000 car with only $25,000 in the bank.

Another analogy of a weak bodybuilding diet program is rowing against the current.  You’ll move a little but in the end you’ll be exactly where you started.

That sadly explains why many guys look the exact same as they did last week, even last year.

The Secret Is In The Surplus

Your body requires 3,500 calories to gain 1 pound of weight. That means that you need to consume an extra 1,000 calories 3x a week or an excess 500 calories each day.  Both approaches can work.  If you only trained 4 days a week, you could stagger your calories.  Lets say your maintenance calories were 4,000 calories a day. You could eat 5,000 calories on your workout days and 4,000 calories on your off days.  You would still consume an extra 3,000 calories which would lead to about 1 pound of weight gain a week.  And that is where the growth happens!

If you weigh between 200-225 pounds and not gaining muscle mass, take a close look at the 5000 calorie bodybuilding diet program below.  You might discover that you’ve been grossly under-eating.  A lot of food eh?!

Don’t expect to eat 5,000 calories tomorrow.  That’s like attempting a 5-day bodybuilding program if you’ve never worked out before.

Figure out how to start adding these calories gradually.  You could focus on eating the entire breakfast for one week.  Next week, focus on eating all of meal 1 and 2.  The week after focus on consuming all the calories from meal 1,2 and 3.

Scale it up gradually and don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to following a bodybuilding diet plan that might be too challenging at first.

vince delmonte bodybuilding diet programI used a 5,000 calorie diet to bulk up before cutting down for the CHIN show in Toronto, Ontario, June 2008

Time to chow down!  Here is your 5000 calorie bodybuilding diet program:

6:00 am Breakfast:

56 grams Protein powder
3 cups Milk, low fat (1%)
2 cups Cereal, cold
2 cups Blueberries
6 tbsp Almonds, slivered

77g P – 99g C – 18g F – Calories: 866

9:00 am Snack:

1/2 cup Cottage cheese, light/low fat
56 grams Protein powder
2 cups Grapes
3 tbsp Barley
1 1/5 oz Sunflower seeds

70g P – 90g C – 18g F – Calories: 802

12:00 pm Lunch:

4 1/2 oz Chicken breast
4 oz Cheese, low or non fat
4 cups Vegetable soup
4 Crackers
3 whole Pita
12 Peanuts

77g P – 99g C – 18g F – Calories: 866

3:00 pm Snack:

49 grams Protein powder
1 1/2 cups Yogurt, plain, low fat
1 1/2 tbsp Barley
3 tbsp Almonds, slivered
1 tsp Olive, Flax, Hemp or Salmon Oils
2 Tangerines

70g P – 99g C – 18g F – Calories: 802

6:00 pm Dinner:

11 oz Beef, lean cuts
4 cups Cauliflower
2 cups Rice
6 tbsp Almonds, slivered
1 1/3 cups Fruit juice

77g P – 99g C – 18g F – Calories: 866

9:00 pm Snack:

11 oz Turkey breast, skinless
2 cups Chickpeas
1 cup Mushrooms
1/4 cup Onions
1 head Lettuce, iceberg
3 cups Cherry tomatoes
6 tbsp Almonds, slivered

77g P – 99g C -18g F – Calories: 866

Total Daily Portions: Protein: 441g Carbohydrates: 567g Fat: 108g Calories: 5004

There you have it.  If you want more information like this, check out an article I wrote on creating your own bodybuilding diet program.

If you liked this article, please click the “Share” button below.  Questions or comments? Post them below.


  1. aryan says:

    Hi. I am regularly going to gym please make a diet chart for me. I am pure vegetarian.

  2. roger.merrell says:

    meet to say on that one part you could take steroids and without proper food intake you will still not grow or grow slow. so yes food is the key.and no i dont recommand steroids at all not the way to go its easy if you know how.

  3. roger.merrell says:

    first thing first man stop working out for a few days to a week and let your body recovery its drained and needs rest. rember working out does not equal muscle recovery from a good work out not from lots of them. and you need to up your cal. and started eating a good clean meal before bed that well help people dont know or whatever the case but your body burns about 70 cal a hour at rest/sleep not moveing. so eat then and make sure you use a protein before and after work outs with some fast carbs you must get those carbs for recovery and nitrogen retention levels to come back from working out. i know ive been trainging people for years. food is the most inmportant thing in working out when it comes to muscle building you could take lots of steroids and with proper food intake you will gain even slow with them. so eat lots make some shaks and drink them make sure they are a good high carb/cal not suger shake to get the extra cal. easy put just eat lots dont work out to much workout like just bices one day skip a day a then something else just to get you in recovery mode again you will grow fast working out this way trust me like cutting something and soewing it back together it takes longer fix something then to brake it. and dont workout for long periods of time. you burn up to many cal. and not leaving any to build muscle and that is stoping your recovery. so stop and get the cal right is your first thing to do you have all the time to workout. get to gaining first then start the workouts. well iam going to bed hope it help you good growing man. god bless.

  4. roger.merrell says:

    dude i book cant tell you are any person how much to eat by height and weight because some people at 150 are fat and have very little muscle mass and some have lots of muscle at 150 for there size and not much fat. what the 5000 cal does is makes sure you are gaining do you what to change gain or do you want to gain. i take in 7000 a day just to make sure i stay big. and if 5000 is to much then lower it if your gaining to much to fast because if so your gaining fat to much. dont short your self man with books thats like saying everybody in the world thats 150 pounds should eat. 2750 cal. you should no by now everyone is not the same.

  5. Lui says:


    I’m 39 year old male I weight 195 pounds, can you help to choose the right diet for a person like me.

  6. Aizaz says:

    hi, i am 17 years old , 59kg wight and 6 foot hight.i play football.creat my diet.please

  7. George says:

    hey. my goal is to gain weight and muscles by boot camp while at the same time achieving little struggle during the PFTs we will have. i am 21 years old, 155 lbs, 6 feet 1 inch. after i did a lot of googling and research, i came up with 3500 calorie intake, 170 grams of protien, and 88 grams of carbs. when posting on some sites for help and ideas on diets i can use (5 meal diets) they all say my calorie intake seems low so would 5000 be the ideal target or am i right to stick with 3500? and also if it is indeed 5000 calories i consume a day, does the carbs and protein count stay the way it is or do i increase that cause i'm guessing it stays the same. i'd greatly appreciate any help anyone may bring. thank you.

    • Anna says:

      You mean, you have 2500+ calories from fat in this diet??? 284g of fat with miserable 170g of protein and 88g of carbs? Somebody wanted you to die soon…
      Well, I'm not surprised, there is a lot of garbage information online :(
      My advise as nutritionist, pick the 3K calories meal-plan from Vince, do it for 4 weeks and see what's going to happen. Plus supplements of cause, and good WO/recovery protocol. You can not do 5000kcal right now, you simply won't be able to absorb all this food with your 155-lb body, 3K of good-balanced food will be sufficient for start, or you can always rise the calories for your needs, but keeping the macros proportions.

  8. Will says:

    Hey Vince,

    At the moment I have decided to stop using my car and bike to the gym mainly because I simply cannot afford the insurance tax and petrol at the moment, it means I will be biking 25-30km per day 3-4 days per week, I was thinking of following this diet as a means of getting in the calories to keep gaining weight, currently I gain about 1lb per week on a 3500 calorie diet, so I think this stand me in good stead, what do you think? Would you suggest having any meals before/during/after my rides? I was thinking of recovery shakes before weights.

  9. Beast says:

    what is the cheapest high quality natural protein powder?

  10. [...] Bodybuilder Diet – 5000 Calorie Bodybuilding Diet [...]

  11. Akashdeep Singh says:

    i have brought your no nonsense program
    i have been using 3000 calorie veggie plan
    my mom erased my history on computer when i try to access your website on
    it doesn’t let me enter it doesn’t let me enter on the mac i have mac but it lets me enter in the computer microsoft but i don’t have that
    can u please send me a email of a 3000 veggie plan

  12. mark says:

    i am 18 years old and weight 120lbs, im just wondering what diet should i start with

  13. [...] have to check out the amount of calories you are consuming for a week. Here is a sample 5000 calorie bodybuilding diet by Vince Delmonte.You have to track down everything you eat and write it on a piece of paper. Now [...]

  14. Marcelle says:

    Hey Vince. goog work mate. I have been training for the last 3.5 months. I lost 39 Lbs in this peroid. I now weight 210lbs but i’m batling with my strenth. I have reaced a limit and can get passed it. For instance I properly bench 110Lbs plus the bar and can do 3 – 4 reps then no more. This has been like this for the last 2 weeks. How do I gain strenth?

  15. Nick says:

    Hey Vince,

    I’m 18 years old and I weigh 204 lbs. I recently lost about 90 lbs. over the course of about a year. I used to have a huge waistline, and to lose the weight, I basically cut calories and did mainly cardio exercises. So, in addition to losing alot of body fat, I lost alot of muscle as well. So with my 204lb body, I would say I have around 15-17% body fat. I work out about 4-6 times per week, and tend to consume around 2000 calories a day. To build muscle and burn the remaining fat, should I increase my caloric intake or cut back?


  16. Zach says:

    I have been reading and trying out some of your stuff for a while. But this most recent email, kinda bugged me. Also reading all of your diets bugged me. Now I know you are an honours student so you know about referencing, I was wondering if you could send me some references for where 3500 kcal actually is 1 lb. If I recall correctly 3500 kcal deficit is loosing one pound of fat. To gain 1 lb of muscle the surplus needed is much closer to 5000 per week.

    Protein in your diets is crazy high. This is above and beyond anything safe in long term. For a 90 kg guy on your 500 calorie diet that is 4.8 g per kg. From anything I have come across the most ever recommended is 2. And the IOC sports nutritionist say 1.7 g/kg for body builders. Anything above and beyond the 2 is extra stress on the kidneys, but also a waste of money. You literally shit out the extra protein and don’t utilize it. Of course this is just what I have learned. If you could send me some studies that would be awesome. Flip my world over please.

    I have been a hard gainer, but I took the leap from 140 to 180 in 4 months with much less protein and the same amount of calories.


  17. mona says:

    i agree that such diet is very helpful for those underweight like me ;49k but how can i found the time to eat such a subsequent amount of food while studing and working . another point i would like to draw your attention to is that how a female would make exercises to gain muscles just like men .i don’t ever like to see a female body full of muscles like what i saw in the part of your website devoting for fermales.thank you very much vince for listening to our minds

  18. Ben says:

    Hey man,
    I was wondering -

    I’ve been hearing quite abit from other sites about how you should take a break in between workouts for about 2 weeks after about a 2 month workout period

    they also say that during this break is the time you will put on the most muscle and you should take in a ton of calories

    what do you think about this?

  19. Spencer says:

    Thanks for the help Vince

  20. Nick says:

    Will I still gain weight if i have really high metabalisom. Plus muscle mass, because im really young too so im not sure if that will make a difference? please reply im looking up to u. Peace.

  21. Ritesh says:


    can i get some tips on losing weight

  22. Jason says:

    Hey Vince,

    I was wondering do you think 2,000 diet or 3,000 is good for me , I am 5’11 170lbs
    Im trying to eat healthy to get my abs to show more and currently lifting 4times a week


  23. Fernando says:

    Hi! My case it´s a little bit complicated because I have a cronic liver pathology and then to reach my optimal weight it’s really hard and worst to mantain the weight. I’m not a bodybuilder but I do bodybuilding training in the gym and I’m really strong, powerful and constant, in spite of my 48 years old, and when I go to the gym my muscles grow a lot. I need to tell yopu that when I was 22 years old I reached the black belt 2º Dan in Judo. Usually I try to trainning with personal trainers, but this is Spain not USA. Four years ago I had the fortune of can be training with the bodybuilder that in that year was the Spanish Champion of Cruise Weight (96 Kg.)and 14 in the World Championship of this year as Heavy Weight. He was my personal trainer. After 7-8 years trainning in the gym almost 4-5 days a week each month I have diceded that my muscles should be seen but for this I have to lost weight. Actually I have 95 Kg. after have done a hyperproteinic diet to conserve my musculature and which I lost 9.80 Kg. just in 1 month and 12 days. Actually my ABDs, my cuadriceps(legs), and my deltoides(shoulders) begin to be visibles, but is more for be a big size muscles in my body that for I will have reach my weight. To make really visibles my all muscles my weight should be no higher than 85 Kg., I believed but I’m not quite sure. Till then i don’t want to training really hard in the gym because my appetite grows a lot and now is time to be defined. Another problem is that I’m having to much work in my business, I’m a veterinarian and I have an Animal Private Hospital. Sorry for that long letter

  24. Lee says:

    I have been following your NO NONSENSE MUSCLE BUILDING program for about a year now in this program you say not to use supplements, however in these high calorie healthy diets you say to have some protein powder. I would like to know what protein powder you recommend for someone who is 6 ft and weighs 195 lbs with about 8% body fat. currently aiming for a 4000 healthy calorie diet. and how much protein I should be taking every day.



  25. Rian says:

    Hi Vince I`m from South and I was wondering how do I proceed to get your No-nonsense muscle building book as I cannot find it in local stores.Can you perhaps give us some tips on how to construct a budget diet?I find that the most difficult factor about body building is not so much the training but the diet and the time of eating correctly.Thank you for all your effort.

  26. Bob Sowell says:

    I have been following your advise for almost a year now and feel Great! Thanks!
    I am 50, 6’2″ and now weight 195 lbs., down from 250 lbs. I do bodyweight exercises with dumbbells at home three times a week. But I have have one problem – high cholesterol. I eat healthy whole foods and stay away from processed foods. I do not want to take meds. Do you have any guidence to help lower cholesterol?

  27. Hisham says:

    Hey Vince,
    Im 15 I weigh 152, im going to attempt this diet, but the only problem is i can rarely ever stomach that much food. Any tips on increasing my appetite and keeping it all down?

  28. Bartosz says:

    Hi Vince!!!
    Diet is good but I prefer diet suitable for my type of blood.My type of is 0 so if I drink milk or eat cheese I have some digestion problem and this type of food cause inflammation in my body.I think everyone should eat according to type of blood.

    Bartosz Konarski

  29. denis elhaloui says:

    hi vince my name is denis, am 19 years old and am 6″2 inches in height. all my life i was the tall and skiny guy; and alwes had a hard time puting on size. but when i perchaced your e book , it helped me alot. i whent from 142- to 165 pounds. in 6 mouths. lol and know i whant to go from 165 to 215. so would you please just tell me the calorie intake and stuff, and a lil sample diet plan. oh and my bench press whent from 95- to 205 for one rep.

  30. hector says:

    this is very good info!!! ilike and apreciate the help.

  31. Danny says:

    Hi Vince,

    I am about 180cm and am only 59kg. I have weighed this much for years and can not put on size for the life of me. If you looked in the dictonary of the word hard gainer, my picture would be next to it. I train 3 nights a week for the last year and a half and have only put on 1kg. I have been able to tone up but its not what I want. Any advise to help me seriously bulk up would be much appreciated.

    Cheers champ

  32. Aviral says:

    Hello sir,
    I am 5’6 and about 57kg. Well i have lost about 20kgs of weight in last few months through exercise and diets. However,still some fat and lose skin especially around my abs remain. I have started weight training and want to gain muscle mass also. Though i have gained quite few gud pounds of muscles,but i just wanna slightly bulk up more, just to look nice,not any kind of body builder.

    However my question is,how much and what should my diet be(maintenance shud b 1900-2000 cal as i cheked out) so that i continue gaining muscles too along with losing that belly fat and some last pounds of fat keeping in mind the exercises i do coz they also use up my calorie intake . Also i strenth train 2 days in a week,1 day for abs and 2 days usually for overall body training(performing pushups,dumble renegade rows,mountain climbers etc. in circuits.) Answer to this question will be highly appreciated. I am really worried
    Thank you

  33. Nathan says:

    Sorry i forgot to mention i am 18 and 5′ 9″.

    I also am not looking to get fat but i am looking for a weight diet that is very low in fat.

    But i still do cardio just to stay in shape because im looking in going into he armed forces in a few years.

    Also do you have your own gym and are you also a personal trainer?

    And if so where is that gym located?

    Im not totally sure if you are, i thought i saw something saying you were but correct me if im wrong.


  34. Nathan says:

    Hi there,

    I was reading on your calorie intake diets on this blog and i have also reading mens health. You and also a different source that i have talked to said that i should be taking in 4-6000 cal per day in order to sufficiently build muscle.

    Now mens health does a math equation where you multiply your weight by a certian number to get the amount of calories you need just to support your body mass. Then does a few other equations to find out how much you should be taking in order to build muscle.

    Now i weigh a solid 150 (lol i know i just started working out 6 months ago but already put on 20 lbs) and it says that i should only be taking in 2750 cal per day.

    What do you suggest.

    Also is it ok to be working out everyday, if im doing a split routine?

    Like lets say monday i work Arms and shoulders and traps, then tuesday i work chest and upper back then wednesday i work legs and lower back? Then rest on weekends. Is this ok or do i need rest in between each individual workout?



  35. Ian says:

    Mr. DelMonte,

    I have been following along with these blogs and tips and what not on how to gain weight and muscle, just be more healthy. This is all well and good for people on their own, but do you have any suggestions for those, like myself, in college? Also while I have your attention, what are realistic gains (such as bench press weight) for someone who has never worked out before. I admit there is a bit of muscle needed to carry around a sousaphone. Being the band geek that I am, I have never really found it necessary to gain any muscle, that is until I have to lug around a 50lb instrument on one shoulder for hours on end.

    Much appreciated

  36. Jerry says:

    I am 5/10″ and very thin, have lost a lot of muscle mass. I used to be about 160# and have 7% body fat by the electronic method of measurement. I am now 154# with a 34″ waist (too large) I need to lose some stomach/abdomen and gain weight in my arms & legs.

  37. ali says:

    hello dear sir vince delmonte
    i want to ask something from you and want to mention that i dont need for losing weight in return i m so thin and want to gain wieght also gain muscles so please show me the best way that you use for your own . have a great time
    good bye

  38. Kim Murray says:

    I would like to see more information for us women on how to trim down, I am 5’5 I weigh 146 lbs and would ideally like to be about 130-135 lbs. I have been working out for years and as you can guess I have stayed the same. I never seem to see results, which is frustrating for anyone. I need help, but I find it hard to relate to 5000 calorie diets. I am not out to be a body builder just want to slim down and be toned for once in my life. I carry my weight in my bottom and legs and I can lose weight quickly in and easily around my waist (yet don’t have visiable abs) and arms. I recently started running to train for a 1/2 Marathon in May but i know I need help when it comes to weights. Can you help?

  39. Vince says:

    Start with the 2000 calorie meal plan posted a few days ago

    • Brian says:

      hey Vince, big fan and all, but these diet plans are really no good to the average person. like for example, im a student so A) i have classes to attend and dont live in a kitchen, and B) i cant be getting meals like these ready due to time constraints, unavailability of a kitchen etc. any chance of a diet for people who dont have time for this kinda thing?? thanks, and keep up the good work :)

  40. Spencer says:

    Hi I was wondering how many calories I should consume to gain weight fast. I weigh 132 pounds, I’m 15 years old and I’m 5 foot 7 inches.

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