If you’ve been interested in bodybuilding for any amount of time- you already have seen the classic ‘rice and chicken’ diet plastered EVERYWHERE. But- why do bodybuilders eat rice and chicken?
Well, there are many reasons. And- yes, we will be trying to cover them all in this post.
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But the main reason bodybuilders eat rice and chicken is because it’s cheap, clean, and incredibly good for building muscle. This is because it gives a good mix of carbs to replenish the muscles right after a workout, with a ton of protein to start the muscle building process as well.
Furthermore, it is incredibly healthy for you. Rice and chicken is great for your body and it isn’t some ‘processed filler’ and filled with tons of artificial junk- it’s natural.
But let’s cover this way more in-depth. And really answer the question, why do bodybuilders eat rice and chicken?
It’s Incredibly Cheap
Look at the facts- bodybuilding is expensive. Really expensive. Not really because of the gym memberships or anything, but because of the eating aspect.
To gain muscle, you have to eat A LOT of food. Like- A LOT OF FOOD. And if you’re using my secret to getting big (Dirty Bulking), it might even be more expensive.
While rice and chicken aren’t worth pennies on the dollar or anything- it’s fairly cheaper than a lot of food options you might find. Which is a necessity in bodybuilding to not go bankrupt.
Let’s take a look at the price of rice and chicken.
Most people will do roughly 1/2-1 cups of rice in each serving of their rice and chicken meal. This varies on everybody (I REALLY like rice, so I put way more) but we will just assume they are using 3/4ths of a cup of rice.
This means you will likely get 4-5 servings of rice in one bag. Most people just have one serving of rice and chicken every day as a bodybuilder. This means you’ll spend $4 for a week of meals.
Chicken is way harder to really gauge. Many people have different preferences on the chicken they eat- and furthermore the price of chicken is really inconsistent.
We’re going to assume the chicken is chicken breast. And I found some really cheap canned chicken breast. (Yeah, might not taste the best, but if you want to cook it yourself go ahead).
People usually do about 3oz/chicken per rice and chicken meal, which puts you at like $4 for chicken per week.
The overall cost of the food is roughly $8/week. And that’s for good healthy food. This is like the stuff Rich Piana’s meal plan would’ve consisted of.
While it’s cheap, there’s a bigger reason people eat it.
It’s Incredibly Good For You
I talked about this a little bit before.
But there’s not much that’s healthier than rice and chicken. And I mean you know, good and natural rice. If you like white rice, that’s okay.
But personally, I like my food as close to the ground as possible. First, it gives way too many nutrients, and it tastes way better. Brown rice is just superior to me because it gives a ton of extra fiber and protein, plus, it just takes better to me.
Rice is a pretty healthy food, and humans have been eating it for literally thousands of years. (Since 7,000 BC!)
This is way better than just eating like, poptarts. Poptarts don’t really have much in them for terms of nutrients, and are kind of like empty calories.
Meanwhile, Rice has a lot going for it. It’s not a food you’re concerned about putting in your body.
Chicken is also an incredible food source. While many people will argue tooth and nail over if beef is good for you, most people will stay fairly calm when discussing chicken.
It is an incredibly high protein and low-calorie food. This is good for reasons I don’t think we need to discuss. But chicken is a fairly hearty food that’s excellent for your health too.
None of these options are disgusting, processed, or artificial. But, what about nutrition?
The Nutrition is Incredible
The nutrition in rice and chicken is incredible. This is the main reason why so many bodybuilders eat rice and chicken.
Look, it’s cheap and tasty, but ultimately at the end of the day, the macros are what is important.
There are many cheap and tasty foods, but not many of them have great macros. When you’re bodybuilding, trying to reach these macros can be for lack of better terms, a disaster.
The normal bodybuilding diet strays from the normal mainstream diet. I mean seriously, on a ‘normal’ American diet, you would likely get 30-40g of protein a day. Now, as a bodybuilder, you are expected to be getting 120-150g of protein a day.
What’s The Nutrition in Rice and Chicken Exactly?
So, there are tons of different recipes you can use. Instead of me trying to find ‘the best/most nutritious recipe’- I picked the one most people would use.
I just did a quick google search, and picked basically the easiest and tastiest recipe that was meant for bodybuilding. Here were the results:
- Calories: 576
- Carbs: 68g
- Fat: 9g
- Protein: 43g
So, considering this is the average result, that’s not bad at all. If you’re on a cut, that’s going to be roughly 1/3rd of your daily calorie intake.
If you’re on a bulk, that will roughly be 1/5th of your daily calorie intake. Either way, it is knocking out 30-40% of your daily protein requirement already.
This meal gives you enough carbs for your muscles to replenish after the workout, and enough protein to start the muscle growth process.
It’s Incredibly Filling (Super Important!)
Let’s face the facts here. Why do bodybuilders eat rice and chicken? Sure, great nutrition, great taste, but here’s something interesting: it’s very filling.
In my dirty bulking post, I go super in-depth about why being full is important in bodybuilding.
Here’s the thing: when you’re full, you eat less and feel better. When you’re on a cut, feeling full is incredibly important. That lowers the chance that you’ll eat and makes you feel less fatigued.
(Regardless if you’re cutting or bulking, there is no worse feeling than eating food and not feeling full after)
Eating rice and chicken will make it super easy to not gain weight on a cut, just because of how it fills you up.
Sure, you could eat a protein bar with the same macros, but the truth is this: you just won’t be full, and you’ll reach for more food.
If you’re bulking, this can be a double-edged sword. I know you obviously want to eat a lot of food when bulking. But hear me out, sometimes after a workout, you have to go to work or school.
The last thing you want to be at work or school is starving, and rice and chicken can ‘hold you over’ until your next meal.
Is Chicken and Rice Good For Building Muscle?
Many people ask ‘is chicken and rice good for building muscle?’. The answer is: YES!
With incredible nutrients, tastiness, inexpensiveness, and fillingness- chicken and rice is the secret weapon for building muscle. It will fuel your muscle growth, give your body adequate nutrition, and get you stronger for the next workout.
Hopefully, that answers the question, ‘why do bodybuilders eat rice and chicken’. There’s nothing ‘special’ to it, other than it’s really good food that doesn’t empty your wallet when you buy it!