Bender Bikini Competition Diet

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Hi Everyone,

Since competing in my first NPC Bikini Competition and sharing my training here, I have received a lot questions about my diet. 

There are a lot of scary and dangerous diet plans out there, especially when it comes to the world of fitness and physique competitions. People often go to extremes to get the physiques that you see on stage. 

I used a completely different approach to my diet and training than you typically see. I never stepped foot in a gym, and did all of my workouts at home. Also, the lowest my caloric intake ever went was about 1800-1900 calories per day. That is lower than my normal calorie consumption, but not dramatically. I averaged between 1900-2000 calories per day over the course of my 12 week prep. Some days my calories were 2200-2400.

Lunch packed for work:
Tilapia, fresh baby spinach, tomatoes.
Sweet Potato, zucchini, squash, eggplant.
Granny Smith Apple. 

A diet is not necessarily about restricting calories, it’s about determining what type of fuel your body needs. I was never hungry during competition prep. When I stepped on stage I wasn’t drained, I felt healthier and stronger than ever. 

The biggest change I made was cutting out sweets for the last 6 weeks. I satisfied my sweet tooth with healthy options like fruit, and recipes like this one: Peanut Butter Oat Stuffed Baked Apples. I also cut out my french vanilla coffee creamer, and used Almond/Coconut milk instead or a homemade clean coffee creamer. 

I have shared my meal prep, grocery list, and a typical day of meals during my competition prep. 

I also logged a majority of my meals during competition prep. I am sharing some of them below. *I logged my food at the end of the day instead of pre-logging because I wanted to be sure I was following my bodies hunger signals and not getting to caught up on the numbers. 

You will see that my diet stayed consistent throughout my prep. I did not carb deplete, but I did focus on getting a lot of my carbohydrates from vegetables.

If you are preparing for a competition please remember to focus on keeping your body healthy throughout your prep. Your diet should be individualized to your needs, but you should never feel like you are starving. Food is nourishment and fuel for everything you do. 

Example 1 (5 days Out from Competition):

Coffee with Organic So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk
100 Calorie Whole Wheat Flat Bread Roll 
1 Large Egg
Fresh Baby Spinach (on my egg sandwich)

AM Snack: 
Fruit and Nut Trail Mix Bar

2 Cups Baby Spinach with 5 Cherry Tomatoes
2 Cups Baked Spaghetti Squash
4 oz Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
2 Stalks of Celery with Smucker’s Organic All Natural Peanut Butter (2 Tbsp)
1/2 Cup Black Seedless Grapes

PM Snack:
Green Smoothie (This recipe minus the kiwi: She Hulk Smoothie Recipe)
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup 0% Greek Yogurt Plain
2 cups spinach
1 tablespoon almond butter
1/2 Banana

Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf (Quinoa, spinach, cherry tomatos, eggplant, zucchini, onion, tomato, extra virgin olive oil)
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast with 1 tablespoon cream of chicken soup

Example 2: (2 Weeks out from Competition):

Coffee with Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut Milk
2 Slices Ezekial Bread with 1 Egg and Baby Spinach
Plain 0% fat Greek Yogurt mixed with 2 tablespoons of PB2

AM Snack:
Fit and Active Double Chocolate Protein Meal Bar

4 oz Boneless chicken breast
Fresh Baby Spinach with Cherry Tomatoes
5 Stalks of Asparagues (baked with olive oil)
1/2 Acorn Squash (baked)
2 oz baked sweet potato
Granny Smith Apple

After Work Snack: 
1 Slice Ezekial Bread
2 Tablespoons Smucker’s Organic Natural Peanut Butter

4 oz baked Chicken
2 oz baked Tilapia
Zucchini sauteed in olive oil
Sweet Potato Chips

Example 3 (4 Weeks Out for Competition):

Coffee with Unsweetened Almond Milk
Egg Sandwich on Whole Wheat 100 Calorie Flat Bread
1 tablespoon of hummus
1 Homemade Gluten Free Protein Muffin (10/10 Protein Muffin)

AM Snack:
Kashi Dark Chocolate Coconut Granola Bar
Protein Muffin

Salmon Salad with Baby Spinach and cherry tomatoes
Granny Smith Apple
Greek Yogurt mixed with Almond Butter

After Work Snack:
Ezekial Bread with almond butter and half of a banana

Tilapia in a Whole Wheat Tortilla with Greek Yogurt (in place of sour cream)
Baby Spinach
Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips

Tilapia, Whole Wheat Tortilla
Salsa, Baby Spinach
Greek Yogurt

Example 4 (8 Weeks Out from Competition):

Coffee with Unsweetened Coconut Milk
Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal with fresh Walnuts
Fit and Active Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Meal Bar

AM Snack:
1 Slice Whole Wheat Bread
1 Tablespoon Smucker’s Natural Peanut Butter

Crockpot Spinach and Tomato Chicken 1.5 cups
Walnut and Spinach Salad
Granny Smith Apple

After Work Snack:
Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt with dark chocolate chips 

Sushi (A mixed combination)

After Dinner Snack:
Almond Coconut Milk
Crunch Cranberry Almond Multi-grain cereal (1 cup)

23 thoughts on “Bender Bikini Competition Diet

  1. Hi Melissa,

    I am going to a personal trainer to tone and lean out. They have me on a high protein (120g) diet with no carbs after 2pm. I’ve found it pretty difficult to consume 120g, as I don’t eat red meat and I’m just so FULL after eating so much protein. I tried switching up chicken, fish, and peanut butter with protein shakes and energy bars, but they told me not to use those as my body “won’t recognize those sources and won’t metabolize it properly.” However, I see you incorporate protein bars into your plan, and I know you are very educated in nutrition. What is your take? Thanks!

    • FYI ..Each person who trains for different titles need different specifics to their life style and every trainer knows that. a bobby builder will intake more proteins, a runner will jump on more carbs, and yes even a bikini model has their own true way. Trainers have you cut out carbs in the beginning to help control carve to the early morning to help the body burn more during the night. carbs at night are put in later in training to see where the persons fitness level is at. so its okay to cut out carbs after 6pm but not sure about 2pm. what are your going for in strength training?

  2. Anonymous

    Hello Melissa, I am 45 years old and I have always worked out. I’m in pretty good shape just soft around the middle. I’m seriously thinking about taking on a new venture since I no longer have any children in the house and start to train for at the competitive level like bikini. could you please suggest any good suggestions. I know that I really need discipline when it comes to diet but the exercise I can handle. Where to start who should I contact for guidance. I would really appreciate your help. Thank you and I love your videos. F

  3. Anonymous

    Hi Melissa, everything is very helpful, but I was just curious at to what your macros are? I’ve always eaten well, but have recently been doing a low carb/ high fat diet and although did see some results, it is time for a change. I am just very constricted on what I eat with the lchf diet, especially being vegetarian. What would you say is your daily intake of carbs, protein, and fat?

  4. Anonymous

    Hi Melissa! Thank you for sharing this amazing information with all your followers/fans. As mentioned above, I am also wanting to tone and build muscles. I am very petite (105 pounds). My diet consists of lots of veggies, low-glycemic fruits, lean chicken breast, salmon, etc. I eat very clean and workout about 4X a week. I notice that toning up is harder than I thought. I started to lift weights and do your challenge workouts but I am not seeing fast results. What else should I be doing to tone up my arms, legs and abs. Any suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciate it! Thank you so much!!!

  5. Anonymous

    I love you Melissa!! Thank you soooo much for all your tips. I guess for me is something else than just being fit. You are helping me with my self love and sooo much more. Love u and thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.

  6. Anonymous

    Can’t thank you enough for all the fantastic information offered here!! I just decided that I want to enter my first competition on Sept 27th and am so inspired to find a step by step program that doesn’t involve unrealistic or unhealthy food intake or have a gazillion supplements to buy. Just did the jiggle free thigh workout this AM and it was awesome…sooo looking forward the seeing how my body will transform in the following months by using your plan. You’re awesome and an inspiration…thanks a million!!

  7. Anonymous

    Anyone have any tips on how much you should weigh before starting to cut for a competition? I am 5’2″ and the most I have weighed is 108 (which I currently weigh), I am shooting for 115 before I start to cut. Any tips? Also tips to gain weight healthy and quickly?

  8. Hi Melissa, would I have to give up classes like les mills body attack and body combat? Im an instructor and would love to enter a bikini competition but not sure its possible with my job… I teach these classes about 4x per week. Eva x

  9. Anonymous

    HI Melissa my name is Silvia, I am really interested in follow your one month bikini fitness workout and looking at your diets I got a question.
    What is the best moment in the day for train and after and before of which of the meals should I train?thats my question and also if you take some supplement before ytain or after!thank you so much I love your page 😉

  10. Hello mellisa. I’m edyta. Thank you for the tips. Im very curious in what I need to doing. I’m in very good shape I’m 115 lbs with 16 percent body fat. I’m going to compete in my first fitness competition in July. Is it necessary for me to stay on the diet for 12 weeks or can I cut it down to 4 weeks?

  11. Anonymous

    Hi Melissa! Is your 1/5 days meals the same breakfast everyday mornings for 5 days and similar to Lunch,dinner and snacks?

  12. Anonymous

    Hello! I’m training for my first Bikini Competition and it’s in Oct. my trainer currently has me doing weights & isometrics 4-5 days a week and tells me not to do cardio because all it does is eat up my muscle growth. I’m 5’5 / 121lbs and need to shred. Muscles are there but my stomach is not showing a six pack and inner/putter thighs need to shed some fat still. Is it true that I should not do any cardio? He also tells me carbs are bad.

  13. Ariel

    Hello Melissa, I was thinking about doing your meal planning. I saw that you said you take in about 1800-1900 calories up to 2200 a day. I’ve been doing your 21 minute workout. Is that enough of a workout to have that much of a calorie intake per day? What is your daily workout? Do you do more then just your 21 minute workout? Thank you so much for all your videos.

  14. S.C.

    Hi! I am wanting to start training for a competition and I was wondering if you took other supplements along with this diet and exercise? If so, what do you recommend? I am going to train from home as well thanks to your workouts! 🙂 Thanks!

    • benderfitness

      Occasionally I used a protein powder, but not consistently. I also took a multi-vitamin daily. I would recommend tracking your meals and macros. If you find that you are low add a supplement. It can be tricky to make sure you are getting everything you need, while restricting your diet. 🙂

      Here is a link for a Protein Coffee Frappucino recipe I used to satisfy my sweet tooth.

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