‘I Eat Six Meals A Day To Get Ripped For Bodybuilding Competitions’

Have you ever looked at pictures of bodybuilders and wondered how the eff they get those crazy 10-packs? Yeah, me too.

Apparently, in addition to the gym time, it takes lots and lots of food: “When I’m in prep and in season, I eat six meals a day,” says Ariella Grinberg, who lives in New York and has been training and competing in bodybuilding competitions for over two years. Let that sink in. Six. Meals. A. Day.

#transformationtuesday * * * * Here’s a look at the 3 shows I competed in from the 2018 season. Left @bevsgym #atlanticstates ➡️ #npcuniverse ➡️ @musclecontest #npcusachampionships * * * * While my wishful goal was set at obtaining my pro card…that didn’t happen this season…but that doesn’t mean I am giving up. 💪🏼 I am extremely proud of the physiques I brought to the stage! I took the judges feedback and brought a fuller package with rounder glutes to VEGAS in less than four weeks after Universe…& am looking forward to a strong #offseason full of improvements. As long as I know each package was a step up from my previous one…I am happy and proud of the work I put in…that is winning in my book!

A post shared by Ariella Grinberg-Peters (@ella_fit2) on

#transformationtuesday * * * * Here’s a look at the 3 shows I competed in from the 2018 season. Left @bevsgym #atlanticstates ➡️ #npcuniverse ➡️ @musclecontest #npcusachampionships * * * * While my wishful goal was set at obtaining my pro card…that didn’t happen this season…but that doesn’t mean I am giving up. 💪🏼 I am extremely proud of the physiques I brought to the stage! I took the judges feedback and brought a fuller package with rounder glutes to VEGAS in less than four weeks after Universe…& am looking forward to a strong #offseason full of improvements. As long as I know each package was a step up from my previous one…I am happy and proud of the work I put in…that is winning in my book!

A post shared by Ariella Grinberg-Peters (@ella_fit2) on

During prep for a competition (which lasts between eight and 12 weeks), Ariella says the diet dictated for her by her coach is extremely strict. “I weigh everything. There’s not a lot of wiggle room.” (Just look at her intense fridge in the video above and you’ll see what I mean.)

The plan she follows requires precise amounts of carbs, protein, and fat in order to fuel the specific results desired in bodybuilding competitions—extremely buff, lean, chiseled bodies. Even gum can be off-limits because of the potential extra carbs, she says.

In the off-season, Ariella says her diet gets a little more lax—but admits it can be hard to find a natural balance when she’s used to following strict rules. “If I have a box of Oreos in my house now, I can’t stop once I start,” she says. She also has to remind herself during the off-season that “I’m not always going to be shredded and have a six-pack, and that’s okay.”

Four years ago was our first year celebrating the Fourth of July together…I spilled bean dip on your sneakers & we were poochless! Now look at us!!! Married, furbaby & clean kicks!!!! If that isn’t goals I don’t know what is! 🤣 Happy Fourth of July ‘errrrbody!!!!

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Despite all the challenges, she emphasizes that this lifestyle is her choice—and she’s all in. “I love competing,” she says. “You do it for a reason and you love it.”

Here’s what a day of eating looks like for Ariella when she’s training:

6 a.m.: Wake up and work out.

First thing in the morning, “I usually do around 45 minutes of cardio,” Ariella says.

7 a.m.: Breakfast.

After working out, Ariella fuels up on breakfast: six egg whites (!!!) and half a cup of oatmeal. She also goes for a cup of coffee with zero-calorie creamer.

#transformationtuesday * * * * These pictures may not appear to be major transformations but it’s so interesting to me to watch the body change in the last few days leading up to a show. The picture on the left was my check in photo right after landing in Las Vegas. The middle photo was taken the evening before prejudging & the photo all the way to the right is show day! * * * * With the eye of my incredible coach @juandieselmorel checking in with me after every meal, we tweaked my meals and water manipulation differently than previous shows. Every single prep is different and my body definitely treated this one differently than my previous two shows this season. I am excited to see what the offseason brings & cannot wait to see what we bring to the stage next year!

A post shared by Ariella Grinberg-Peters (@ella_fit2) on

#transformationtuesday * * * * These pictures may not appear to be major transformations but it’s so interesting to me to watch the body change in the last few days leading up to a show. The picture on the left was my check in photo right after landing in Las Vegas. The middle photo was taken the evening before prejudging & the photo all the way to the right is show day! * * * * With the eye of my incredible coach @juandieselmorel checking in with me after every meal, we tweaked my meals and water manipulation differently than previous shows. Every single prep is different and my body definitely treated this one differently than my previous two shows this season. I am excited to see what the offseason brings & cannot wait to see what we bring to the stage next year!

A post shared by Ariella Grinberg-Peters (@ella_fit2) on

11 a.m.: Lunch #1.

Ariella’s next meal generally consists of three to four ounces of chicken or tilapia and green veggies—usually asparagus, green beans, or cucumbers. “A lot of greens have carbs too, so I have to be mindful of that,” she says.

2 p.m.: Lunch #2.

For her second lunch, Ariella has three to four ounces of a lean red meat, chicken, or turkey, 12 almonds (no more!), and more green veggies.

5 p.m.: Pre-workout meal.

Can’t help but love a good #shoulderpump #flexfriday * * * * #strongwomen #bossbabe #npc #bikini #teamdiesel #nowitsaparty #muscle #strong #powerful #fitspo #fitness #bouldershoulders #lovewhatyoudo #flex #lift #loveyourself #fitchick #whosaidbikinigirlsdonthavemuscles #tgif

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Before heading down to lift, Ariella has another three to four ounces of lean protein with veggies or some brown rice or sweet potato. “They’re a slower-digesting carb,” she says, and they help her stay energized throughout a long workout.

8 p.m.: Post-workout meal.

After a strenuous workout, Ariella looks for carbs and protein to help her recharge. She usually goes for another serving of lean protein with three ounces of jasmine rice or brown rice, or four ounces of sweet potato.

In order to keep all these similar-ish meals tasting interesting, Ariella says she loves experimenting with seasonings. “My go-tos are Mrs. Dash’s seasoning,” she says. “There’s a bacon and chive one that I put on my veggies a lot, and a garlic herb seasoning that I put on steak.” She also likes garlic powder and Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel seasoning (which usually goes on her egg whites).

10:30 p.m.: Last meal

That’s a wrap on @musclecontest 2018 USA Championships! The biggest shoutout for this prep has to go to my husband & #1 supporter @muscletov_fitness This has definitely been one of the most challenging preps yet, and the first time prepping for a show without you. Even though you weren’t competing yourself, you treated everyday as if you were. You ate boring prep food with me, didn’t let me skip one cardio & pushed me everyday to my fullest potential. I love you so much, your actions are by no means unnoticed. NATURALLY…I would not be walking on any stage if it weren’t for my bomb ass coaches @juandieselmorel @dieseldolls Not only do they snap my off season body into incredible prep shape…but they are my family & inspiration! I love you guys so much and appreciate you putting up with #crazyella for months at a time! Cannot wait to continue this journey to my pro card with you in my corner! Major thank you to @dieseldolledmua & @suitsmesuitsyou for completing my dream girl stage looks this season. Kissies for my sissy @darahnycole @clearlyconfident for perfecting my stage routine this year! I love you so much & love my “hip tap” 🤣 Final thanks to @cynnsbeautybar for my awesome VEGAS flash stage makeup! I absolutely loved it 😘

A post shared by Ariella Grinberg-Peters (@ella_fit2) on

That’s a wrap on @musclecontest 2018 USA Championships! The biggest shoutout for this prep has to go to my husband & #1 supporter @muscletov_fitness This has definitely been one of the most challenging preps yet, and the first time prepping for a show without you. Even though you weren’t competing yourself, you treated everyday as if you were. You ate boring prep food with me, didn’t let me skip one cardio & pushed me everyday to my fullest potential. I love you so much, your actions are by no means unnoticed. NATURALLY…I would not be walking on any stage if it weren’t for my bomb ass coaches @juandieselmorel @dieseldolls Not only do they snap my off season body into incredible prep shape…but they are my family & inspiration! I love you guys so much and appreciate you putting up with #crazyella for months at a time! Cannot wait to continue this journey to my pro card with you in my corner! Major thank you to @dieseldolledmua & @suitsmesuitsyou for completing my dream girl stage looks this season. Kissies for my sissy @darahnycole @clearlyconfident for perfecting my stage routine this year! I love you so much & love my “hip tap” 🤣 Final thanks to @cynnsbeautybar for my awesome VEGAS flash stage makeup! I absolutely loved it 😘

A post shared by Ariella Grinberg-Peters (@ella_fit2) on

To end her day, Ariella goes for egg whites and vegetables, sometimes including a whole egg in the mix for fats. Then it’s off to bed—to do it all again in the a.m.

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