As context and personal preference continue to drive the changes in diet and lifestyle trends, the 1 Meal A Day (OMAD) diet has become a popular choice for bodybuilders who want to maximize their performance while minimizing their meal times. The OMAD diet for bodybuilding entails a bodybuilder eating one meal a day, typically larger proportionally than several smaller meals would be. With OMAD, the bodybuilder gets to enjoy the beneficial effects of a solid macronutrient balance combined with higher insulin sensitivity and lower calorie consumption—but there are cons to this diet option that should also be weighed when considering it for optimal bodybuilding performance.
To understand OMAD in bodybuilding, it’s important to first look at the macro context of this meal plan and how it applies to bodybuilding goals. Generally, a bodybuilder on an OMAD plan eats one large meal per day, typically in the evening, with macros that are well-balanced and nutrient-rich (proteins, carbohydrates and fats). These daily macros are designed to support hormonal and metabolic balance—the goal is to reduce calorie consumption while still providing the body with sufficient energy and nutrients to optimize muscle growth. However, OMAD isn’t the best plan for everyone; every bodybuilder’s needs are different so the OMAD regimen may not be as beneficial for some, particularly those who need a higher calorie intake to maintain their size and weight.
When done correctly, there are several benefits to bodybuilders who choose to incorporate OMAD into their diet plan. The OMAD diet can help bodybuilders achieve improved hormone and metabolic balance—a key factor in optimizing muscle growth. An OMAD diet helps to prevent excessive calories from being consumed. It also promotes higher insulin sensitivity (responsiveness to hormones that help to control glucose levels) which in turn increases fat burning. And, since OMAD only requires one large meal to be eaten each day, bodybuilders can save a significant amount of time that would otherwise be spent planning and prepping meals.
While OMAD can be beneficial for bodybuilding, it can also be detrimental if not done properly. For example, when transitioning to the OMAD diet, some bodybuilders may find that their body is not adequately able to adjust to massive calorie restriction. This can lead to food cravings, decreased energy, and feelings of exhaustion. Further, if the one meal eaten is not properly balanced with adequate amounts of protein, carbs and healthy fats, the body may not receive the vital nutrients it needs to properly fuel workouts and maintain muscle growth. Finally, given its calorie limits and the fact that it only allows for one meal per day, OMAD may not be suitable for bodybuilding athletes who need a higher calorie intake to maintain their size and weight.
The OMAD diet is a popular option for bodybuilders striving to maximize performance outputs while minimizing meal times. With a well-balanced macro meal serving as the foundation for the plan, the OMAD diet can provide several benefits—enhanced hormone and metabolic balance, improved insulin sensitivity and calorie restriction—all of which support bodybuilding goals. However, given its significant limitations on food intake, there are cons to the OMAD diet that should be taken into consideration before embarking on this modality. Ultimately, while OMAD can be beneficial for some bodybuilders, it’s important to understand the pros and cons before deciding if it’s the right long-term approach for you and your specific goals.
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