Latest News

Bulking on a Budget With Bodybuilder Derek Lunsford

Weight loss scale with centimeter. Diet concept. Healthy food background. Food photography different fruits and vegetables. concept slimming diet fresh vegetables. top view.

The 2022 Mr. Olympia runner-up Derek Lunsford is in the off-season looking to add muscle mass to his frame to clinch the 2023 Mr. Olympia on Nov. 2-5, 2023, in Orlando, FL. Bulking — eating a caloric surplus — is necessary to build muscle, but consuming more food doesn’t have to be expensive.

Lunsford detailed an entire off-season grocery list while on a budget in a YouTube video published on his channel on March 27, 2023. Check it out below:

Admittedly, Lunsford indicated that most of his daily meals come from MegaFit Meals now. However, Lunsford prepped all his meals when he started bodybuilding. 

Derek Lunsford’s Off-Season Grocery List While Budgeting 

Here’s a breakdown of the 2021 212 Olympia champ’s off-season bulking grocery list recommendation while on a budget. 

Boneless Chicken Breast — 4.69 pounds
Sirloin Tip Side Steak Thin Slice — 2.5 pounds
Large Egg Whites
Jasmine Rice
Olive Oil 
English Muffins

The total price for all the food above is $93.39.


Lunsford steers toward three primary sources of protein at the store.

Boneless Chicken Breast & Sirloin Tip Side Steak

Boneless chicken breasts are a great lean protein choice, containing 53.4 grams of protein and only 284 calories. For $5.99 per pound, Lunsford gets sirloin tip-side steak in thin slices stating, “There’s not much fat in this. It’s all protein.” 

The cost-to-lean protein ratio isn’t the only benefit of the sirloin. It is typically more flavorful than lean poultry. Since it is thinly sliced it is quick and easy to cook.

Large Egg Whites 

Lunsford hasn’t eaten eggs or egg whites recently, but they’ve been a staple in his bodybuilding journey. 

A fattier fish like salmon is perfect for an off-season meal. I eat that regularly.

These three whole-food protein sources and a protein powder are all that’s needed for Lunsford to fuel his physique. However, he feels fish could also be incorporated into the grocery list as he prefers one beef meal and one fish meal daily. Still, fish is often pricier, making it an easier cut while on a budget.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Derek Lunsford (@dereklunsford_)

[Related: 2023 1 Bro Pro Show Men’s Physique and Bikini Division Results]


Lunsford noted that carbs are cheap since one of the most affordable items is rice — a great source of complex carbohydrates. One big bag of rice lasts a month for Lunsford’s meals and costs less than $20. 

Different kinds of rice exist (e.g., brown, white, and jasmine). Lunsford suggests the best option depends on one’s goals. Brown rice has a lower glycemic index, so it won’t raise blood sugar levels as much. 

Lunsford favors Basmati rice while prepping for a show because he feels it helps curb his appetite. Although brown rice has a low glycemic index, Lunsford doesn’t like it.

While he doesn’t find jasmine rice satiating, that’s the rice of choice in the off-season, as Lunsford wants a strong appetite to fuel his caloric surplus. 

Oats & Fruit

The 212 Olympia champ eats oats and grits during the off-season but only oats pre-contest. Oats are a great source of fiber and help Lunsford stay satiated. He pairs them with eggs for breakfast

Although fruit, like various berries, has sugar, Lunsford affirms the benefits for digestion since fruit often contains fiber and is healthy for the liver.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Derek Lunsford (@dereklunsford_)

[Related: The 11 Best Supplements for Bodybuilding (2023 Update)]

“I like to [eat fruit] in the off-season. Pre-contest, we’re restricting calories and carbohydrates, so I eat veggies.” Lunsford continued, “In the off-season, I’m already eating a lot of food volume, so I don’t want to add more veggies.” Instead, Lunsford gets his fiber through fruit, oats, and fiber powders.

Lundford prefers blueberries and blackberries but sometimes eats apples and bananas. Substituting other fruits, such as strawberries, pineapples, mangos, and grapefruit, is also okay, though most of his carb intake comes from rice.


While there are fats in fattier fish and red meat, below are the fat sources Lunsford uses to flesh out his macros.

Avocados & Walnuts

Lunsford selected soft avocados as a source of healthy fats. Avocados are a good source of potassium and fiber, beneficial for cardiovascular health.  Lunsford says eating almonds as an alternative to walnuts is fine, but he prefers walnuts during the off-season since they’re packed with omega-3s

Olive Oil

Olive oil was one of the last items Lunsford grabbed before checking out. It is a rich source of antioxidants and monounsaturated fats. Since it’s the off-season, Lunsford grabbed seasoning and Enlighs muffins to treat himself. 

Lunsford’s grocery list is comprised of three sources of protein, fats, and carbs. Some alternatives include fish for protein and pasta or potatoes for carbs. While Lunsford hasn’t eaten organic food since becoming a pro bodybuilder, he feels if one can afford it, buying organic is more optimal. Organic food typically has less sodium and fewer fillers, which is helpful during prep to stay as lean as possible.

More Bodybuilding Content

Lean Beef Patty and Brett Wilkin Crush Legs via Ascension Sets With Chris Bumstead
Frank Zane’s Advice to Competitive Bodybuilders: “Don’t Stay Peaked”
Watch Shaun Clarida Do FST-7 Training For the First Time with Hany Rambod

Featured image: @dereklunsford_ on Instagram

The post Bulking on a Budget With Bodybuilder Derek Lunsford appeared first on BarBend.

It’s taco Tuesday! – 3 recipes with video

Previous article

2023 World’s Strongest Man Events Schedule Announced

Next article

You may also like


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Latest News