It should come as no surprise:
The look of your physique is largely determined by what you eat.
Lifting weights causes a stimulus for muscle growth, but nutrition is responsible for the quality of results. You’ve heard the sayings:
“You are what you eat”
“Abs are made in the kitchen”
“You can’t out train a bad diet”
I went to see The Legend of Tarzan the other day. It was an okay movie, but Tarzan’s body was nothing short of astounding. Lean, muscular, and shredded with extreme definition. Alexander Skarsgård, the actor who played Tarzan, was interviewed by Conan. Alex said that the hardest part of building that body was his diet. His trainer had him eat some combination of chicken breast and broccoli every day for 10 months straight!
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Alex was able to get through the psychological and physiological struggles of eating the same meals everyday because it was his job. He was preparing for a movie that millions of people would see. He was told what to eat and he ate it. That type of lifestyle, however, is just not sustainable over the long term. This is why so many actors experience insane amounts of weight gain after completing a movie shoot, e.g. Gerard Butler after 300.
What is Anabolic Cooking?
Anabolic Cooking is a nutrition program designed to provide your body with the necessary tools required for muscle growth.
Anabolic Cooking was put together by Dave Ruel. Dave is a regular contributor to bodybuilding.com as well as a competitive bodybuilder, certified nutritionist, and a professional fitness coach.
Here’s what he has to say:
I am also a strong believer that bodybuilding and fitness nutrition DOESN’T have to be plain and boring and only composed of boiled chicken breasts, baked potatoes and broccoli. Without spending more time in the kitchen than you normally do, you can have meals that are full of flavors and that make it easier to reach your fitness goals.
His passion for nutrition has earned him the nickname of “The Muscle Cook”.
Who is Anabolic Cooking Intended For?
People associate the term “diet” with a short-term eating plan designed for fat-loss.
From this perspective, Anabolic Cooking is definitely not a diet.
Rather, it is a system designed to reprogram your eating habits and align them with the goal of more muscle gain. It is geared towards helping you gain weight rather than lose weight. As you probably know, muscle weighs more than fat.
That being said, the eating guidelines in Anabolic Cooking put an emphasis on body re-composition. This means that it is focused on minimizing body fat while maximizing muscular hypertrophy.
Anabolic Cooking is for you if:
- You are going to the gym 3-5 times a week
- You are having trouble gaining lean mass
- You want to add variety to your diet
- You want to minimize fat gain while in the pursuit of more muscle
- You are tired of bland, plain, and boring foods
After purchase you get access to 6 different modules:
- Quick Start Guide
- Calorie Calculator
- Meal Plans
- Anabolic Cooking Book
- Food and Training Logs
- The Ugly Truth About Supplements
I will now provide an overview of each of these components to paint a better picture of what they include.
Quick Start Nutrition and Cooking Guide
Dave starts off with an overview of macro-nutrients. How protein, carbs, and fat affect your body and how they factor into the muscle building process. Obviously protein is the most important component of the three, but without carbs and fat muscle growth cannot be maximized.
Next Dave goes over what he calls the fundamentals of muscle building nutrition. He lists them as non-negotiable principles if you want to be successful.
These principles include:
- Eat 6 meals a day
- Eat every 2-3 hours
- Divide your macronutrients strategically
- Eat enough food
- Avoid junk food
Next up is a section on grocery shopping and meal preparation. Dave explains the “perimeter rule”. Basically, about 80% of your groceries should be bought around the outer perimeter of the store. Most grocery stores are set up in a similar way: meats, produce, dairy, fruits, and vegetables placed around the store, while junk and a few necessities placed in the aisles. If you find yourself buying the majority of your foods form the aisles, it’s a pretty safe bet that you aren’t getting the necessary tools required for your body’s optimal recovery.
Preparing 6 meals a day, everyday, can be a nuisance. In the meal preparation section, Dave goes over the organization techniques he uses to prepare all his meals for the week within 3-4 hours on a Sunday.
The next section is on kitchen supplies. Dave recommends items that will make the process of preparing the meals more convenient.
So a bunch of your friends are getting together to try a new restaurant that just opened up. You are serious about your goals and you haven’t eaten out in two weeks. Would you opt-in to join your friends?
Dave talks about the 90% rule of eating healthy. On the Anabolic Cooking program you will be eating 6 meals a day. That is 42 meals a week. As long as 90% of your meals are healthy, you’re good. So you have 4 meals per week in which you can eat whatever you want. There is no need to be too stringent. 4 meals means 4 nights you can eat out with friends and family during the week.
Anabolic Cooking is a program designed to minimize guesswork around the nutrition of building muscle. The calorie calculator is provided to take your goals and current condition and output the optimal amount of calories for you to consume.
There are 4 plans to choose from:
- Progressive weight gain
- Advanced weight gain
The progressive weight gain is if you gain fat around the lower abdomen when you attempt to build muscle. This category is also optimal for those who want to maintain low body fat levels throughout the year.
You should aim for the advanced weight gain category if you have trouble gaining lean mass. It seems like no matter how much you eat, you just can’t seem to put on any weight. This category is for you if you are solely focused on gaining the maximum amount of muscle.
After going through the calorie calculator you will know how many calories to eat on training and non-training days.
Personalized Meal Plans
Once you know your optimal number of calories, you choose your meal plan.
The meal plans are divided into two categories:
- Lean Muscle Gains
- Optimum Fat Loss
I don’t recommend getting on this program if your main goal is to lose fat. The specialization of Anabolic Cooking is centred around muscle building meals.
The meal plans range from 2000 to 5000 calories. Match your optimal caloric intake to the meal plan best suited to you. The sample meal plans feature a list of meal ideas from the Anabolic Cooking Book.
The sample meal plans are just that: a sample.
You can replace any of the meal on there with recipes of your liking. As long as you are meeting the caloric and macronutrient requirements, you’re all good to experiment with variety and choose your favorite recipes.
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Anabolic Cooking Book
After you have figured out your ideal caloric intake and meal plans, you can move on to the Anabolic Cooking Book itself. This module forms the bulk of the program. There are over 200 recipes spread across breakfast, chicken and poultry, red meat and pork, fish and seafood, salads and soups, snacks and bars, and desserts.
Dave explains that his methods were developed so that you can have your cake and eat it too. His mission is to empower people with the knowledge to be able to get in the best shape of their lives enjoyably, without a plain, bland, and boring eating schedule.
Lets dive in.
In this section of the cookbook you’ll find recipes such as Reese’s style oatmeal, high-protein pancakes, Mexican breakfast omelette, or vanilla-blueberry muffins.
The standard American breakfast includes stuff like sliced bread, pancakes, cereal, and fruit juice. All these items cause an energy spike over the short term and an energy crash shortly after. The high-glycemic nature of these carbohydrate sources do not set you up with sustainable energy for the day ahead.
The breakfast recipes in the Anabolic Cookbook are designed to restore muscle protein and glycogen from the night of sleep. Furthermore, they provide high protein, high fiber, and low glycemic carbohydrates that deliver a lasting source of energy rather than cause sudden spikes and crashes.
Chicken and Poultry
In this section you will find stuff like Italian chicken parmesan, tangy Thai chicken, Dave’s famous turkey meatloaf, or even chicken pizza.
Again, the focus of these meals is primarily on protein. Even the chicken pizza recipe delivers 52 grams of protein and a mere 36 grams of carbs.
These meals are ideally eaten before a workout. The point of is to minimize carbohydrate intake as to utilize body fat as the primary source of fuel during a workout.
Red Meat and Pork
Grilled sirloin teriyaki, balsamic glazed pork chops, Lebanese beef kebabs, or roasted peppercorn tenderloin? Make your pick.
This section offers some of my personal favorite recipes because I love red meat (I ate steak and eggs for 2 months straight once).
The recipes feature an increase in carbohydrates and are suited towards post-workout meals. The red meat provides a natural source of creatine and the carbs provide a rejuvenation of the muscle glycogen lost during a workout.
Fish and Seafood
I have never really been a fan of seafood. Still, I have consistently kept tuna in my diet due to its tremendous muscle building properties. I used to eat tuna straight out of the can with a fork. I found it pretty disgusting, but carried on eating it anyway.
With the classic tuna melt patties recipe, that is a distant memory.
Fish provides a source of fatty acids and muscle building nutrients that are not found in poultry and red meat.
Adding fish to your diet is made easy with this section of delicious recipes.
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Salads, Sides, and Soups
If your diet does not provide the complete array of nutrients required for optimal recovery, you will see suboptimal results. I have always had trouble getting in enough vegetables and greens in my diet. It’s not something you can really point a finger at, but there were days when I would get a full 8 hours of sleep and still feel kind of tired the next day.
In this section of the cookbook, there are a number of delicious recipes that make it easy to incorporate delicious salads into your meal plan. Not only can you get a dose of greens from something like a spinach and chicken salad, but you can also fill up on some wasabi potato mash, or chicken barley soup.
Still, one salad will not be enough to deliver your daily requirement of greens. You will have to include vegetables in your other meals as well.
Snacks and Bars
The premise of a muscle building diet is to eat many meals throughout the day in order to provide a constant flux of nutrients for muscle protein synthesis.
This section of the cookbook provides a list of recipes for the times of the day that don’t fall under breakfast, lunch, or dinner. These are recipes you can include to pack a punch of protein between meals. Whether you’re on the go or just can’t leave the office to grab a bite, high protein fudge bars, Reese’s style cottage cheese, protein crepes, or cinnamon toasted almonds are easy to take with you.
Offering recipes like blueberry cheesecake, chocolate hazelnut biscotti, strawberry protein ice cream, and more, this section of the cookbook hits two birds with one stone. Satisfy your sweet tooth and build muscle in the process.
The blueberry cheesecake recipe makes 2 servings providing 57 grams of protein, 7 grams of fats, and a mere 8 grams of carbs!
Taking this into account, don’t expect the desserts to taste as good as a restaurant. The cheesecake will not taste much like something from cheesecake factory. The focus is on delivering protein and amino acids for muscle growth enhancement.
So although you can satisfy your sweet tooth, don’t expect the desserts to be exactly like the stuff you’re used to.
Food and Training Logs
The logs are provided to help you keep track of your diet and workouts.
It is a proven fact that keeping a journal and logging your experience with any sort of training and nutrition plan increases success rate.
If you are keeping track of everything you eat and the workouts you complete, you are more likely to follow through rather than skipping out when you don’t feel like it.
The logs are there to hold you accountable. You have less of a reason to make an excuse and will have a tangible journal to hold you accountable.
The Ugly Truth About Supplements
It should come as no surprise that most supplements being marketed today are all hype and no meat. No, you can’t take a magic pill and gain 12 pounds of muscle in 2 months (well, technically you can but that would be anabolic steroids). Most of the legal supplements you get on the market are not going to deliver the results that they say they will.
Supplements are not a major component to your success in building your best body. Sure, some can enhance your results but they are definitely not required.
The supplements that Dave recommends are:
- Whey protein powder
I would add creatine to that list, because it has been proven to enhance strength and muscle gains in study after study. Dave’s supplement list puts an emphasis on overall health rather than on muscle building. But then again, the proper supply of essential nutrients to your body determines the extent of its recovery.
What Do I Think
I am someone who has struggled with variety in my meals. As I said, I once ate steak and eggs for two months straight. That is not an exaggeration. I literally had steak and eggs 3 times a day for 2 months. Who knows how it impacted my overall health, but it was convenient and I loved steak enough to carry that on.
After that phase, I moved on to having an omelette for breakfast, chicken stir fry for lunch, and chilli for dinner. I carried on like this for another 3 months.
But as the saying goes, variety is the spice of life. Eating the same few meals everyday for the rest of your life is just not sustainable.
With Anabolic Cooking I am never at a loss for ideas. With over 200+ recipes I always have something new to try out. Furthermore, Dave is someone who understands the fitness mentality. Most of us do not want to spend hours everyday in the kitchen. I’d rather be working out or reading a book. In that sense, the recipes are extremely time efficient and can be prepared pretty easily with a limited amount of ingredients.
What I Didn’t Like
There was a lot of stuff you get access to with the purchase of Anabolic Cooking. They didn’t really do a good job at organizing the materials and guiding you through which stuff to go through first. Like I went through the cookbook before I went through the quick-start guide. But the order in which I have gone through the materials here is how I suggest you go through them.
Furthermore, the focus is too much on macronutrients and too little on micronutrients. What I mean by this is that Dave doesn’t really emphasize the importance of vitamins and minerals in your diet.
The focus of this program is on muscle building nutrition. But I feel like there could be more emphasis on healthy eating as well. Rather than going over the required vitamins and minerals in your diet, Dave just suggests that you take a high quality multivitamin and a greens supplement. Greens supplements are great, and I take one everyday, but given that this is a nutrition program there should have been more emphasis there.
Anabolic Cooking At A Glance
Price: $9 + up-sells
Creator: Dave Reul
Overall Rank: 82/100
Guarantee: Money-back guarantee within 60 days of purchase
Long story short: If you have trouble making lean mass gains, then you may be lagging in the nutrition department. Anabolic Cooking provides a series of guidelines designed to teach you exactly how to eat for muscle. Over 200 recipes that taste good and provide your body with the essential tools it needs for optimal recovery.
I hope you found value in my Anabolic Cooking Review.
I tried to be as detailed as possible, but leave any questions in the comments section if you require further clarification about the product.