Information on how to run faster, lift stronger and think deeper

Jim Wendler 5/3/1 diet [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Sep 5, 2015 5:33:14 AM

Jim Wendler 5/3/1 Diet

Jim Wendler 5/3/1 Diet

I am currently struggling to get my own act on diet together and have to improve. This post is to help you to get a picture of what is out there and save you 1 to three days of research combined with my personal experiences. To make a long story short: Get the obvious stuff in your diet sorted like cutting down on alcohol, having a daily routine of meals and getting to the gym regularly. Then move on to the more complicated world of paleo diets, supplements, and calorie counting, if you want to become a professional athlete.

If you want the most up-to-date news or ask direct questions, then you can follow me on Instagram.

Get the free 5/3/1 Calculator

Cut down on Alcohol

Before you do anything else have an honest look at your alcohol consumption. If you do a little internet research and ask personal trainers & coaches you know they will inform you that alcohol hampers with your training progression. I personally feel the older you get the worse this effect is due to your body being not as good as it used to be at recovering.
Our Judo trainer, who had won bronze medalist at Sydney on his roster, used to say that one proper night out is equivalent to throwing your weeks training into the bin. I personally found that to be a good rule of thumb. When I moved to Ireland i became a big fan of Guinness and I still am. It brought me to a place where I had nose bleed whenever I got stressed due to high blood pressure. When I stopped drinking and restarted exercising the pounds fell off and the nose bleed stopped. I was 26 by that time and I think there is a phase, especially in a young man's life, when you leave home where you build up some bad habits because you are getting out of your routine you had back at home with all the support of your family.
In a nutshell, before you go anywhere near meal plans, expensive supplements and pills, get this piece sorted to not constantly shoot yourself in the foot on Saturday while running towards a lifetime goal.

Get a routine 

Have 4 - 6 meals a day and get in the habit of having them at a fixed time. I was in the bad habit of skipping breakfast because I was prioritising that extra hour of sleep in the morning, having no control over my calendar at work (still have that sometimes, but getting better), therefore missing lunch and stuffing my face with crap out of the vending machine.

If you get a routine and manage your calendar at work in the way that you have breakfast in the morning, lunch at a reasonable time, dinner at home at a certain time and three snacks at the desk the following things will happen (tried, tested and found to be true in my personal case):

  1. You will start the day more energetic
  2. You will be less hungry for crap out of the vending machine
  3. You will become more appreciative of your time 
  4. Clients will respect your time more 
  5. You will spend more quality time with your spouse and kids 

I am not a doctor but I think it also makes sense that your body can cope better with a routine of good quality food at certain intervals and certain amounts rather than unpredictable attacks of crap at unforeseen times. If you shift the gears of a car from 5 to 1 in an instant, the gearbox will take that, but done every day this will leave the car with 2 - 5 years less life than it would have if you'd have a proper driving routine. To me this makes sense, although I am not linking the studies to back that up.

On this point getting a routine made me happier and made me feel like I am in control, which is also a huge step towards a better life and becoming a strong son of a bitch, mentally as well as physically.

Go to the gym!

This is not diet-related and this is exactly why it comes at this point. I would prioritize cutting down alcohol and getting a good meal routine over-exercising because I think this applies to everyone, even the ones not specifically on 5/3/1 to get stronger. Before you devote anymore time on meal plans and what to stuff in your face, make sure that you WORK OUT!
If you read this article and you only got one session in this week...get up and go to the gym before you read any further. Once you made it to three sessions a week on a constant basis whilst keeping the Guinness out of your throat and having your 4 - 6 meals a day start your research on shiny supplements and superfoods. Than you will have earned the right. 

Eat B.I.G.

If you do all of the things above (you see good routines gain you some rights and it is all related) you can and should eat a lot. If you burn 3000 - 4000 calories a day you do not have to worry about how much you put into the system. I like the "eat what you can see" diet which accompanies the Smolov lifting program on Stronglifts 5x5. However, keep in mind excess usually leads to problems. 

Satisfy your hunger, which will be constant if you train hard 6 days a week, which you will if you follow 5/3/1 as written ( I am counting in the conditioning sessions Wendler prescribes, which are often left out in online debates). 

Rest assured, it will not kill you. Back in the good old Judo summer camp days we trained three times a day and ate like pigs. It got so bad that we were specifically excluded from the all you can eat buffet in the hostel. One day the owner rolled in a massive tray of food directly to our lunch table and said "This is all you get a day from now on". Believe me the tray was stacked with food. The guy was really nice and only couldn't afford to feed the hoards of Judoka befalling the buffet and pushing away his other customers like it was World War Z. Darwin would have loved the case study to portrait the struggle for existence. Our team kept their weight and fought in the same weight classes unless we amped up the weight gain process supplementing creatine. So eat away...if you do your WORKOUTS!

Use good quality food

Also here use common sense. Eating big does not mean to go on the CT Fletcher diet. CT Fletcher is a ex powerlifter and one of the strongest people of his time on the three big lifts (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press). He used to go to McDonalds and order about 4 large Big Mac meals and flush it all down with 2 liters of Coca Cola. I might be wrong on the specific numbers, but you get the gist. This was only his lunch, he enjoyed it and celebrated it by letting a film crew put all of it on tape. 

I won't lie to you, this version of eating big also works. You will get strong and gain size, as with steroids. But if you think there is no price to pay for that, think again. Going back to CT Fletcher he had to get a bypass and open heart surgery which could have killed him. I think it is safe to say, that the 28 Big macs a week definetly helped to get him quicker to the ER. He survived and has now a thriving business. Got to love the man for his use of the word fuck and shouting "I command you to grow" at his biceps. Still more feeble and less strong-willed people would have killed themselves on that diet. You are NOT CT Fletcher, the meanest 50+ youtube muscle phenomenon. so please don't try.

Get protein

Chicken, turkey, beef, bacon are your friends. Have natural sources of protein in your diet and supplement with whey and casein to get your protein numbers up. If you skim and scan any plan of someone who is a powerlifter or super strong you will find a lot of protein in their diet

I cover this by having a Whey shake in the morning with my breakfast and a casein shake after my workout. For lunch I amp up my protein intake by having four to six eggs depending on what is still left at the buffet at work (here also the meal routine works in my favour, if I show up before everyone else, I get the eggs. This was a free lesson for life by the way, you are welcome).

You will find different claims on the internet about how much protein to take in and how much you shouldn't. Protein in various forms has relatively harmless side effects. Too much protein intake gives you the runs and makes you fart like a mule. So if those are your symptoms (both, the farting bit is unfortunately a given when eating to get strong) take the protein intake down a nodge.

Read free Lean Muscle Bundle Supplement review  

Keep it simple

If you are counting your calories, storing fifty different powders and pastes in the fridge, and having several alarms on your phone informing you when to eat and you are likely to get a Fukushima like meltdown if you miss your "window", while not being one of the most elite bodybuilders or powerlifters in the world, you got your priorities wrong. Jim is also not a fan of complexity to underscore this one.

Miniscule preparation and planning has its place, but only for elite athletes and olympians who make money with this. You and me are most likely mere mortals who want to be strong while having a life. Enjoy it! The road to becoming an elite athlete is long and rocky so take it step by step. Once you are ready for this crazy super dedication stuff it will come naturally to you because you want it so much and it will not be a burden. If it does not feel simple and natural to you, you are using techniques which you are just not ready for yet.

Stay away from Biotest products

You will come across these products when you research your supplement stack for Jim Wendler 5/3/1 (at least I did). I did read up on their products, asked several personal trainers and the feedback was without exception too expensive, no real functioning ingredients for muscle growth in there and stay away from these snake oil salesmen. 

In all fairness the feedback mainly came from people with less muscle and strength than the people who are advertising Biotest. However in my internet research with limited professional knowledge the general impression for me was:

  1.  The descriptions for usage are already fishy and I had to think of witches making their potion when I read the instructions (which made me dig deeper)
  2. The general feedback was "You can get the same effect for less money out of other products"
  3. People who seem to know their stuff (sorry I do not have a PhD in molecular biology, so most of it went over my head) state that Biotest products have not been clinically proven to work for humans and that it is of minor quality.

The final nail in the coffin for me, because that is an area I understand well from my business background, was a document I found which was filed for quality assurance of one of the Biotest products. The application had been not fully filled out, handed in late and therefore was declined. This carelessness is quite nerve-wracking for a food product in my book and I backed off.

My diet

  1. Get up, stretch hard, do 50 push up reps variations and situp variations 100 reps ish (I use 30 day challenges with increasing reps) than have porridge with berries, banana, chia seeds and a whey shake with water
  2. Get to work, at work have a coffee and nut mix to snack on until lunch
  3. Lunch is the meat of the day with potatoes, vegetables, goats cheese, and six eggs (eat until not hungry anymore, which for me is loads)
  4. The afternoon snack is two apples and maybe another nut mix
  5. Dinner is a slimming world recipe of the day made by my future wife 
  6. After my 5/3/1 workout in the evening, I have a casein shake with water and go to bed 

During the day I have about 3 - 4 liters of water. For that purpose I have a jug at my desk which I constantly keep filling with water. No supplements in here.

I have constantly been getting stronger on this diet for two years now. I am currently looking into clinically proven supplements and will update you once I found the mix of supplements I trust apart from Optimum Nutrition Whey and casein.

Further reading






Topics: Lift stronger, Jim Wendler 5/3/1, Powerlifting, Bodybuilding, Strongman