The 4,000-Calorie Diet That Helped Tristyn Lee Gain 40 Pounds

Bodybuilder Tristyn Lee has taken his physique transformation seriously. Over a year, the 21-year-old bulked up from 138 pounds(62.6 kilograms) to 175 pounds (80 kilograms). The most notable change he made was ditching his carnivore diet and adding in carbs, a decision he outlined in a video posted to Renaissance Periodization’s YouTube channel nine months ago (from when this article was posted).

Lee posted a snapshot of the one-year mark of mass-gaining efforts below:

Lee rose to social media fame years ago as a shredded teenager with soccer skills and a world-class work ethic. At age 13, Lee committed to the low-carb ketogenic regime for years until adopting a carnivore diet when he’d consume fewer than 10 grams of carbohydrates daily. 

However, eating mostly meat seemed to make building muscle mass challenging for Lee. The influencer now consumes over 500 grams of carbs daily. His new diet approach, combined with a specific strength training plan, helped him add 40 (18.1 kilograms) in the past year after switching focus.  Watch Tristyn Lee’s full day of eating in the video below:

Lee is usually an early riser, eating his first meal around four or five a.m. With his groggy crew sleeping in, the Lee settled for a nutritious performance shake around 8:30 a.m. to power his chest and biceps workout. Here’s the pre-workout performance recipe:

85 grams of carb powder

25 grams of whey protein

Five grams of creatine monohydrate

A scoop of glycerol powder

“Since the first full day of eating video I ever did on this channel, I touted the benefits of glycerol powder for getting a nasty pump.” Whey is muscle-repairing, carb powders supply fast energy, and creatine does a little of both. (1)

Lee’s Chest and Bi’s Workout

Lee commenced the push-curl gym sesh with a pre-pump arm measurement courtesy of his brother, Tyler Lee, who came for the “vibes.” The bros squeezed a series of intense chest contractions and flexed their biceps under a heavy weight for multiple sets. 

Following the biceps routine, Tristyn Lee revisited his arm measurement at 16.75 inches. Tyler’s measured 17.2 inches.  The full workout is listed below:

Dumbbell Bench Press: 4 sets x 8-12 reps

Smith Machine Bench Press*: 3 sets x 10-15 reps

Close-Grip Bench Press: 4 sets x 12-20 reps

Incline Dumbbell Curl: 3 sets x 10-15 reps

Arm Blaster Curls: 3 sets x 10-15 reps

*Lee performed sets with a slight incline.

[Related: The Best Biceps Exercises For Your Next Workout]

Post-Workout Lunch — 12:30 P.M.

Lee limits his fiber and fat intake before and after training to allow for faster carb and nutrient absorption into his muscles. His post-workout food combination is as follows:

100 grams of cucumber 

75-100 grams baby bella mushrooms

4 ounces skirt steak

180 grams of Jasmine white rice

[Related: What to Eat After a Workout]

“If you’re trying to get more food down [to] bulk, try higher glycemic foods, especially around your workouts,” shared Lee. “You can eat more meals more frequently because you’ll be hungrier faster.”

Mid-Day Meal — 2 P.M. 

An hour and a half later, Lee eats a fatty marine protein, nutrient-rich beef liver, slower-digesting sweet potatoes, quick-absorbing white rice, and olive oil for additional healthy fats.  Here’s the breakdown of each food by weight:

2 ounces smoked salmon 

2 ounces beef liver 

375 grams of sweet potato

60 grams Jasmine rice w/ olive oil

100 grams cucumber 

[Related: Why Omega-3s Are Extra Helpful for Strength Athletes]

Does Tristyn Lee Have Cheat Meals? 

The strict bodybuilder would rather have double portions of his normal meals than consume cheat meals he’s not used to. It’s easier to track how a specific food or macronutrient affects his body. 

Dinner — 5 P.M. 

While unwrapping his groceries, Lee enjoys having sugary cereals during his bulk. “I’ve tried putting any sort of sugar into my diet, and I just feel absolutely terrible.” The athlete’s loyalty to Jasmine white rice is commendable. 

Lee usually breaks this meal up into two but combines them for time. Let’s see what’s on the dinner menu:

8 ounces salmon

3 ounces avocado

150 grams of zucchini w/ 7 grams of olive oil

125 grams white Jasmine rice w/ 7 grams of olive oil

Protein Pudding and Supplements — 7:30 P.M. 

For a satiating pre-bedtime meal/snack, Lee conjures protein pudding (he did not share the recipe) and gets additional calories from nuts and more white grains. 

40 grams of casein protein powder

45 grams walnuts 

125 grams white rice w/ olive oil

Magnesium bis-glycinate

“I don’t take many supplements, and no, none of these are necessary,” Lee admits — a notion rarely heard in bodybuilding. Lee shared his secret for a good night’s rest, “the only one that crosses the blood/brain barrier,” referring to magnesium bis-glycinate. “Helps me sleep tremendously.”

 “Having that (Casein protein) before bed keeps muscle protein synthesis higher throughout the night,” touted Lee.

[Related: When Is The Best Time To Drink A Protein Shake?]

Full Day of Calories 

Before signing off, Lee broke down his meals and shared the full day’s calories and macronutrients using the MyFitnessPal app, which displayed the following numbers. 

4,173 calories

588 grams of carbohydrates 

201 grams protein

116 grams of fat

The beefed-up YouTuber informed viewers of his often-changing diet, but that’s all part of having body goals. The transformation continues as the calories keep coming.


Farshidfar, F., Pinder, M. A., & Myrie, S. B. (2017). Creatine Supplementation and Skeletal Muscle Metabolism for Building Muscle Mass- Review of the Potential Mechanisms of Action. Current protein & peptide science18(12), 1273–1287.

Featured image: @tristynleeofficial on Instagram

The post The 4,000-Calorie Diet That Helped Tristyn Lee Gain 40 Pounds appeared first on BarBend.


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