The Power of Simple: Why Bodybuilders Love Chicken, Broccoli & Rice

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The main reason that bodybuilders eat chicken broccoli and rice is because it provides them with ample protein, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals, while also being low in calories. This is ideal for building muscle, fuelling their workouts, and aiding recovery. This staple bodybuilding combination is also far less expensive than many alternatives. Plus, it’s quick and easy to cook and consume. With that being said, due to the high glycemic index of white rice, many bodybuilders typically prefer brown rice.

Chicken Broccoli and Rice is the “Perfect” Meal

Chicken Broccoli and Rice

Chicken, broccoli, and rice is pretty much a bodybuilding staple.

In fact, anyone who typically wants to pack on lean muscle will probably have tried this 3-ingredient meal at one time or another.

From a bodybuilding perspective, it is almost the “perfect” meal in terms of nutrients.

Let’s say that our bodybuilder is eating BIG.

So, they consume 300g of chicken, 250g of white rice, and 2 cups of broccoli.

This will provide them with 81g of protein, 70g of carbs, and 3g of fat.

This amount of protein is perfect for helping them build lean muscle, while also helping their muscles to repair themselves from their workouts.

The carbohydrates are more than enough to fuel those gruelling 2-hour bodybuilding workouts.

Plus, this is a minuscule amount of fat, which is perfect for physique competitors.

This entire meal will also only come in at around 664 calories.

“Simple meals can be effective for meal prepping or when you’re short on time. Chicken, broccoli, and rice is a quick and easy option that provides a good balance of protein, carbs, and some micronutrients.”

Martina Navratilova (Tennis Champion & Fitness Enthusiast)

So, a bodybuilder will feel well-satiated, alert, and can rest safe in the knowledge that this won’t impact on body fat.

With that being said, even though this is a “clean” meal, you can put on weight and unwanted fat.

Overeating is overeating, so regardless of how “healthy” a meal is considered, you will put on weight if you are consuming more calories than you’re burning.

This isn’t actually a bad thing from a bodybuilder’s point of view, as in order to pack on lean muscle you will need to also put on weight.

You have to remember that most professional bodybuilders are training for extremely long sessions, and multiple times a day.

So, in effect, it can be hard for them to overeat.

But still, the low fat content of chicken, broccoli, and rice is perfect for their requirements.

I will also add that the quantities I’ve mentioned are very filling as well.

A pro bodybuilder would need to consume a meal like this 4-5 times a day to get anywhere near their calorie requirement.

However, as this is such a filling meal, bodybuilders will often look at “alternative methods” to get their calories in.

Chicken Broccoli and Rice is Cheap

You’ll typically find that bodybuilders have extremely boring diets.

Basically, there are certain foods that will get the job done in terms of building muscle, fuelling workouts, and aiding recovery.

So, it makes perfect sense for a bodybuilder to stick to the same meals prior to competition.

However, due to the large amounts of food they need to consume it can become very expensive.

And this is another reason why chicken, broccoli, and rice is popular with the bodybuilding fraternity.

When you compare the cost of this simple meal to some of the other foods that bodybuilder’s typically eat then there’s no comparison.

For a protein source a bodybuilder may also consume turkey, steak, eggs, tilapia, salmon, tuna, and whey protein.

In fact, more often than not these will be the only protein sources they turn to.

However, in order to get the same amount of protein as chicken they will end up spending a lot more of money.

This is even true of eggs, believe it or not.

Okay, the difference in price is not as much as the other protein sources, but still, every penny counts.

You could say the same for rice as a carbohydrate source.

The only other real carbs a competitive bodybuilder will generally eat will include oats, sweet potatoes, and Ezekiel bread,

Once again, oats are fairly comparable in price, but the other ingredients are definitely more expensive.

For a source of vegetables a pro bodybuilder may stick to broccoli, kale, spinach, and asparagus.

So, in terms of what “appears” more filling and cost effective, broccoli wins once again.

Chicken Broccoli and Rice is Easy

The ease of preparing and cooking chicken, broccoli, and rice makes this a firm bodybuilding favourite.

Now, I’m not saying that some of the other ingredients I’ve mentioned above aren’t easy to prepare and cook, but there are differences.

Most bodybuilders will prepare, cook, and pack their meals into Tupperware containers.

This way everything is measured out to perfection, so they simply need to heat up a container for that day’s lunch or dinner.

“Chicken, broccoli, and rice can be a convenient and easily controllable source of lean protein, carbohydrates, and some micronutrients. However, for optimal health and performance, a more diverse diet is recommended.”

Layne Norton (Bodybuilder & Coach)

When you look at some of the other protein sources, while this is still possible, the outcome may not be as easy to consume.

Turkey can be a notoriously tough meat/poultry unless it’s ground/minced.

And this will simply get worse when microwaved on day 2 or day 3.

The same can be said for steak, and it’s not often that you’ll prepare eggs a couple of days in advance.

The carbohydrate options are not as bad, but it’s definitely far easier to cook and store a sufficient amount of rice than it is for the other ingredients.

Plus, even the other vegetable options are unlikely to keep as well as broccoli.

When it comes to chicken, broccoli, and rice you’re literally talking no more than 20-30 minutes to prepare an entire week’s worth of meals.

Simplicity is best.

Not All Rice is Created Equal

A Bowl of Rice

I feel I have to speak a little about rice.

Now, while I have a preference for white rice, and so do many bodybuilders, brown rice certainly seems to be more popular.

The main reason for this is the high glycemic index of white rice, which is something that bodybuilders tend to avoid.

So, refined carbohydrate sources such as white rice, pasta and potatoes are often left off the menu.

“Lean protein sources like chicken breast are excellent for building and repairing muscle tissue. Broccoli is a low-calorie vegetable rich in vitamins and minerals, and brown rice provides sustained energy through complex carbohydrates.”

Stuart Phillips (Exercise Scientist & Researcher)

With that being said, higher glycemic index (GI) carbs are ideal to consume right after a workout.

However, a competitive bodybuilder may opt for bananas, fruit juice, or even something very sweet.

But in the main, they will want to stick to lower GI carbs throughout the day.

This is why brown rice is much more of a mainstay in a bodybuilding diet.

Plus, brown rice is higher in fiber and can also help to control blood sugar levels.

So, a far better option for a pro bodybuilder.

Key Learning Points

  • Chicken, broccoli, and rice is extremely filling, but low in calories.
  • A “big” portion of this bodybuilding staple will contain 664 calories, 81g of protein, 70g of carbs, and only 3g of fat.
  • This 3-ingredient meal is also less expensive and far easier to prepare than many of the other options available.
  • Many bodybuilders may choose to consume brown rice over white rice due to its lower glycemic index.
  • Brown rice is higher in fiber which can help to control blood sugar levels.

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