Akim Williams sheds some light on his shocking one year “McDonalds Binge Diet Challenge.”

In a recent episode of the Generation Iron Podcast, renowned IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Akim Williams, often referred to as the world’s strongest bodybuilder, took over hosting duties alongside Edwin Mejia Jr., Vlad Yudin, and Ehsan Farahi. This informative conversation delved into Akim’s incredible journey, his injury and recovery after a car accident, and his bodybuilding diet plan. Most notably, Akim Williams also discusses in detail his “McDonalds Binge Diet” – where he ate only McDonalds for every meal, every day for one year.

Victor Martinez is still traveling this week, but we have a great guest host to bring his expertise to the podcast conversation. Akim Williams is a pro bodybuilder who has been competing for over a decade. He has been called the strongest modern bodybuilder in the world – and has made impressive placings at major competitions such as the Mr. Olympia and the Arnold Classic.

Unfortunately, Akim suffered an injury after a car accident in 2022, requiring a surgery this year that has put him temporarily out of competition. He plans to make a return in 2024. In the meantime, the GI crew sit down with Akim to discuss his off season diet, his contest prep cutting tactics, and answer some fan questions. Let’s dive into the highlights of this captivating discussion.

Akim Williams’ Year-Long McDonalds Binge Diet: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

One intriguing aspect of the podcast was Akim’s dietary journey. In his early years in bodybuilding, budget constraints were a major limit to his bodybuilding routine. Looking back, Akim believes this led him to under-eat. When asked how many calories he eats today without that kind of financial limitation – he said that he doesn’t even count calories anymore. He goes off of knowing his body and feeling it out.

But during his earlier years, Akim recalled a unique challenge from his past that allowed him to bulk massively while also saving money. He calls it the “Binge MacDonalds Diet.” While being coached by Dave Palumbo, Akim consumed McDonald’s for every meal for an entire year, devouring everything on the menu.

Akim Williams committed to this diet earlier in his career, recalling that he committed to the challenge in 2012. The McDonalds diet allowed him to pack on tons of bulk during the offseason while also saving big on his budget.

Surprisingly, Akim reveals that didn’t accumulate excessive body fat during this challenge, attributing it to his intense training regimen. Often times, if a bodybuilder “dirty bulks,” it can lead to a much more challenging contest prep during the weight loss cutting stage. Akim didn’t find this to be the case despite eating McDonalds every day for an entire year.

Ultimately, he abandoned the experiment, understanding that such a diet wasn’t ideal for long-term health beyond weight – such as his heart and cardiovascular health. Also, he can’t see the challenge being helpful today – as fast food is not a cheap as it was in 2012.

Balancing the Scales

In the internet era of bodybuilding, there are often surprising claims and videos made by influencer bodybuilders. These videos often showcase a person consuming massive amounts of calories in a single day.

The GI Crew asked Akim Williams if he would ever eat upwards of 10,000 calories in a day. Akim dismissed it as unnecessary and akin to force-feeding. Many people may not realize just how much food 10,000 calories really amounts to. Despite being a mass monster, Akim makes it clear that consuming that many calories per day is simply unnecessary.

The Cost of Competitive Bodybuilding

Akim Williams also shared the costs of competitive bodybuilding. He shared insights into his weekly grocery bill, averaging around $300-$400 per week. This is in part due to Akim’s  preference for red meat, primarily steaks. Akim noted that his body responded best to red meat, while fish caused water retention issues. This commitment to nutrition amounted to a significant annual expense of approximately $20,000.

Beyond food, there are many other regular expenses that a competitive bodybuilder needs to partake in. Akim emphasized the financial burden, particularly with the costs associated with supplements. Sponsorships that cover supplement expenses can be a significant relief. The hosts mentioned that bodybuilders like Victor Martinez have claimed to spend around $60,000 annually on their bodybuilding endeavors, reinforcing the substantial financial commitment required.

Akim Williams Gives An Update On His Injury, Recovery, and Future Plans

Akim’s recent car accident, which necessitated shoulder surgery, forced him into a rough spot at the 2022 Mr. Olympia. He wasn’t able to compete or show a physique that he was proud of. It also caused him to completely sit out of competition in 2023.

Akim finally underwent surgery for his injury this year and is still recovering. The accident temporarily altered his path to success, but he remains determined to make a comeback and participate in the Arnold Classic in 2024.

Akim Williams also wanted to use the podcast as an opportunity to speak candidly about an invisible challenge of injury in bodybuilding. Recovery can be physically hard, due to how it limits your functionality. However, as much as physical therapy can be a challenge – the psychological toll can also derail bodybuilding careers.

Akim explains how an injury and the subsequent recovery leads to a reduced physique. He recalls looking in the mirror and seeing a physique much smaller than what makes him happy. This reduced size can completely derail motivation, thus making it even harder to recover through physical therapy. This delays the comeback to competition even more.

Akim Williams wanted to speak on this to make it transparent for other bodybuilders who may be going through the same situation. And also for the fans so they can be understanding when a competitor comes back to the stage with a potentially weaker physique. It’s a long process and the psychological battle can delay it even further – or even derail a career completely.

Balancing Size and Health

Akim shared that his heaviest off-season weight reached 320 pounds, a point at which everyday tasks became challenging. He humorously remarked that even activities like having sex posed difficulties at that size.

When asked for advice on weight cutting for aspiring bodybuilders, Akim acknowledged the effectiveness of cardio, which his body responded well to, despite it being less common among open bodybuilder competitors. He emphasized the mental aspect of cardio and consistent training. Akim also discussed fat-burning supplements, including natural options like black coffee to boost energy and fat metabolism.

Testosterone Cream vs Pills vs Injectables

A fan question sparked a discussion about testosterone cream, pills, and injections. Akim emphasized the safety of injectables compared to pills, which can harm the kidneys. He recommended using an estrogen blocker like Aromatest when using testosterone. The hosts also discussed the potential benefits of testosterone cream for those who can’t tolerate injections or pills, particularly older individuals seeking a testosterone boost.

Whether you’re a natural athlete or an enhanced athlete, if you want to get the best results and build hard dense muscle, you should understand a process known as aromatization, and how to gain control of it.

Generation Iron has officially reviewed MuscleMeds’ Aromotest product.

Wrap Up

The Generation Iron Podcast episode featuring Akim Williams delivered an insightful look into the life of a world-class bodybuilder, shedding light on diet, recovery, and the financial realities of competitive bodybuilding. Akim’s humility, dedication, and resilience continue to inspire both seasoned athletes and aspiring bodybuilders alike.

You can watch the full episode above. Don’t forget to check back every Tuesday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.