See what foods land on Big Ramy’s shopping list.
Today we’re sitting down with 2x Mr. Olympia Big Ramy who joins us from Dubai to talk nutrition. We’re going to discuss the best diet for bodybuilders, his favorite food sources, and what his grocery shopping list looks like heading into the 2022 Mr. Olympia. As an accomplished and dedicated bodybuilder, Big Ramy knows exactly what is needed to see huge gains and make sure he only puts the best foods into his body. Knowing what professional athletes do to succeed can only help you as you seek to mimic their massive gains. And we here at Generation Iron have this exclusive interview thanks to the team at Enhanced Labs.
About Big Ramy
Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay is an Egyptian professional bodybuilder who rose quickly in in the pro bodybuilding world. With a past as a fisherman, he spent years working in Kuwaiti waters before starting to train. Once that happened, he fell in love with bodybuilding and perfect genetics allowed him to thrive in the sport. As someone who wants to improve his physique and compete in competitions, his desire to be unstoppable has not only made him a big name, but earned him the title of Mr. Olympia at the 2020 contest.
For years, Big Ramy stood tall as one of the biggest bodybuilder’s on stage from every angle with his massive size and height proving to be useful. It served him as a powerful tool to have if conditioning can be kept under control. To date, Big Ramy’s toughest challenge throughout his career has been his conditioning but he works diligently to fix this. Ramy spent years in Kuwait as documented in Generation Iron 2. He finally nailed it in 2020 when he earned his first Olympia win and then repeated in 2021 with his second.
Q&A With Big Ramy
We sat down with 2021 Olympia champ Big Ramy for an exclusive interview prior to the Dubai Muscle Show to talk nutrition and see what lands on his shopping list. For only the best advice from a true professional, let’s jump into our conversation.
Generation Iron: Hi Big Ramy. Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us today! It’s been quite the journey watching you develop into today’s number one bodybuilder. Many of our readers remember our coverage from 2016 and 2017 while you trained in Kuwait.
Big Ramy: Always my pleasure. I appreciate so much being a part of Generation Iron 2 and welcoming you to my home. Generation Iron has always been a great source of information for bodybuilding and I’m happy to do this interview with you, Vlad, Edwin and your team.
Generation Iron: It is our pleasure. Let’s get right into it then! Keto, IIFYM, paleo, carb cycling… It seems like there’s a hundred different diet styles to choose from! Which of these have given you the best results in the Men’s Open division and which do you recommend?
Big Ramy: I think all diets have their place, but I’ve always been a believer in high carb diets for bodybuilders. Carbohydrates keep the muscle full and fuel intense training. strength-building technique not meant for beginners or those struggling with obesity. It’s a strategy me and my trainers use. I recommend it for people who have hit a fat loss or strength plateau. So if you struggle breaking through more fat loss or gaining more strength, I highly encourage it.
Generation Iron: That makes sense! Carb cycling is the idea that you alternate high-carb and low-carb intake days. How many carbohydrates do you consume in a typical day? Many athletes we have interviewed have a different set of carb cycling programs. What are yours?
Big Ramy: I cycle my carbohydrate intake depending on which body part I’m training. On a leg day I’ll consume as much as 1,000 grams of carbohydrates. On a rest day I’ll consume 300-400. So one day, I might eat bowls of rice or potato, and the next day I could cut down to keto. Typically I eat more carbs on heavier training days and then cut carbs on less active days or even days I rest.
Generation Iron: 1,000 grams! Wow, that’s a lot of carbohydrates!
Big Ramy: Keep in mind I am around 330 pounds in my off-season. It varies with different weight classes. But yes, it is a lot of food. It’s important to find carbohydrate sources that digest easy for your body. My favorite carbohydrate sources are white rice, potato and Carb-Tech carbohydrate powder by Enhanced Labs.
Generation Iron: That makes sense. I imagine your grocery shopping bill must be through the roof!
Big Ramy: Eating like a bodybuilder is expensive but it’s not as bad as you’re probably thinking. I buy in bulk and try to stock up during off-season whenever possible. I recommend all bodybuilders purchase a deep freezer! My favorite fat sources are avocado, olive oil and coconut oil. My favorite protein sources are skinless chicken, eggs, extra lean ground beef, tuna and salmon. Using a protein powder like the Enhanced Labs Isolate for 1-2 meals per day also really helps keep your grocery bill under control.
Generation Iron: That’s good advice! How many meals do you typically eat in a day?
Big Ramy: I always eat at least 5 meals per day. Most days I’ll eat 6 or 7. I don’t feel like the typical three-square meals is enough for me or bodybuilders mostly. Even on the road. I just finished a show in India where I was guest posing and here in Dubai I am having my 5 meals per day.
Generation Iron: You heard it from Mr. Olympia himself. You have to eat big to get big! How much protein and fat do you typically consume each day? Long periods of training and exercise can lead to depletion of muscle and liver glycogen. How do you stay balanced with protein, carbs and fats?
Big Ramy: My protein intake stays pretty constant. I consume around 350 grams of protein every day. My fat intake varies depending on my carbohydrate intake. On lower carb days, I eat more fat. On higher carb days, I eat less fat. I try to keep my calories around 5,000 each day regardless if it’s a rest day or training day.
Generation Iron: Do you have any closing remarks before we sign off?
Big Ramy: Like training, my diet is a vital part of bodybuilding and success. Eating the right foods in the appropriate amounts provides your muscles with the nutrients they need to grow bigger and stronger. In order to be Mr. Olympia you need to eat big and train hard!
The Best Supplements For Additional Gains
When it comes to that massive physique, it’s important to eat the right foods but also supplement with the right products. Working with popular supplements like pre-workouts, BCAAs, and protein powders can greatly affect your gains and what you want out of your workouts. Others to definitely consider are fat burners, testosterone boosters, creatine, and multivitamins, for these will work in each of their own ways to maximize your gains.
The right foods and a proper nutrition plan is a game changer for your gains and this Q&A with Big Ramy hopefully answered any of those nagging questions you had. As an accomplished bodybuilder, he knows exactly what it takes to succeed and relies on only the best to power him through his workouts. Take notes from Big Ramy and see similar results for yourself.
*Images courtesy of Big Ramy Instagram