Eat Like A Pro

Eat Like A Pro

It’s no shock that the wounds still run deep for Dexter Jackson after the most coveted prize in the game, the Sandow, slipped from his grasp at the 2009 Mr. Olympia. But The Blade isn’t stewing over his loss. Instead, he has opted to embark on a mission to reclaim Olympia glory in a journey that starts — and ends — in his Jacksonville,Florida, kitchen.

Jackson understands that a fine-tuned offseason diet is a key ingredient for once again climbing to the top of the IFBB Pro League. But how do you create a meal plan for someone who has a lukewarm relationship with food? Simple. You shake things up with a little help from your friends. This hybrid method has given The Blade the edge to become one of this generation’s most decorated athletes without negating the necessity for Jackson to shovel down the grub. Why? Because that’s what it takes to be a champion.

8 AMMEAL #1: BREAKFAST1 packet of gritsNitro-Tech shake,2 scoops

TOTALS: 440 calories, 75 gprotein, 36 g carbs, 3 g fat

JACKSON SAYS: “My first meal is always carbs, either grits or oatmeal to give me energy for the day. Depending on where my numbers are, I’ll eat one or two packets. Closer to the show, I drop it to one packet.”

STOPPANI SAYS:“A big dose of fast-digesting protein, such as whey, and fastdigesting carbs, such as grits or Cream of Wheat, is a good start to the day. This combo stops the catabolism that sets in overnight and helps the body get back to building muscle.”


JACKSON SAYS:“The naNO Vapor is a shot of energy. It gets me amped before workouts and helps me hold a pump for hours afterward.”

STOPPANI SAYS:“A nitric oxide booster ushers more blood into your muscles during workouts, which adds more nutrients, oxygen and anabolic hormones. This translates into more intense workouts due to a spike in energy levels and muscle building.”



1 packet Meso-Tech1 scoop Nitro-TechTOTALS: 410 calories, 57 g protein, 35 g carbs, 5 g fat

STOPPANI SAYS:“Getting in a dose of fast-digesting protein immediately after workouts is critical for muscle growth. Carbs are also important, because they boost levels of insulin, an anabolic hormone that increases the process in muscle cells known as protein synthesis. Add the amino acids from the whey protein into the mix, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for growing muscle.”

STOPPANI SAYS:“Bring your postworkout shake to the gym, so that it’s ready to make as soon as your last set is over. Drink your postworkout shake within 30 minutes of your final rep. Research shows that waiting any longer can compromise muscle growth. Timing is everything!”

JACKSON SAYS:“Meso-Tech is a complete meal in a packet. It’s really filling and has everything my body needs after a workout: protein, carbs, vitamins and minerals. I add a scoop of Nitro-Tech and there’s my 50- 60 grams of protein.”

1 PMMEAL #2: LUNCH 2cups lettuce with onions and ginger salad dressing1 cup miso soup (tofu, onions, daikon radishes, mushrooms and somen noodles)12 shrimp (with salt, pepper, soy sauce and butter)6 oz lobster (with salt, pepper, lemon juice and butter)1 cup white rice (with soy sauce, garlic butter, peas and carrots)1 cup mushrooms, onions and zucchini (mixed)TOTALS: 770 calories, 60 g protein, 85 g carbs,18 g fat

STOPPANI SAYS:“Most bodybuilders fear butter, but when you train as hard as Dexter and have his extraordinary metabolism, it’s not a huge problem. Plus, the saturated fat in butter helps keep testosterone levels high. It also slows down otherwise fast-digesting carbs, such as white rice, which would spike insulin levels and cause the carbs to be stored as fat. However, moderation is key, so don’t go crazy!”

JACKSON SAYS:“My trainer and I look and listen to my body to dictate my diet. It’s not the other way around, like most bodybuilders. When I diet, they prepare it differently for me: low salt, no butter, low oil and low-sodium soy sauce.”

3:30 PMMIDDAY SHAKE1 packet Meso-Tech1 scoop Nitro-TechTOTALS: 410 calories,57 g protein, 35 g carbs, 5 g fat

JACKSON SAYS:“If it’s not broke, why fix it, right? The Meso-Tech and Nitro-Tech have worked. If they didn’t, I would have to change it up, but since it’s guaranteed, that ain’t gonna happen.”

STOPPANI SAYS:“Getting in a meal-replacement protein shake between meals is key to staying anabolic. This fast-digesting meal will get the aminos and carbs to your body in a hurry so that you can keep growing. And whipping up a shake is a convenient way to get the nutrients you need without having to make another meal.”

6:30 PMMEAL #3: DINNER10 oz USDA Choice ground steak (at Outback Steakhouse)1 serving garlic mashed potatoes, sliced mushrooms and Cabernet sauceTOTALS: 975 calories, 58 g protein, 33 g carbs, 65 g fat

JACKSON SAYS:“Why do I go out to eat so much? Because food is food. You say no sauce, you get no sauce. You say low sodium, you get low sodium. Steak is steak whether you cook it at home or get it at a restaurant."

STOPPANI SAYS:“Quality ground steak is a great bodybuilding meal. The saturated fat in steak helps maintain testosterone levels, as will the zinc content. And, of course, the protein will grow muscle. Most guys avoid mashed potatoes and go with a plain baked potato. But here the mashed is a better option. Yes, it has added fat from the butter, but that will actually slow down the otherwise fast-digesting white potatoes, which will keep insulin levels from spiking and, thus, keep carbs from being stored as fat.”

STOPPANI SAYS:“Dexter makes a great point! Yes, you can live a normal life and still be a bodybuilder — even one of the best pro bodybuilders who has ever competed! Once you gain an understanding about nutrition, you can eat out, as long as you give your server or chef specific instructions on how to prepare your food.”

10:30 PMMEAL #4: POSTDINNER MEAL8 egg whites, 2 egg yolks4 pieces turkey bacon (cooking spray used on the pan)TOTALS: 330 calories, 48 g protein, 0 carbs, 13 g fat

JACKSON SAYS:“A yolk helps complete the full protein chain of the egg. If you are eating all egg whites and no yolk, your body won’t recognize that it’s protein because it’s not a full chain.”

STOPPANI SAYS:“Research shows that those who eat egg yolks gain more muscle and strength than those who don’t. Yolks add important fats and cholesterol — the type that doesn’t raise bad cholesterol levels in the body.”

JACKSON SAYS:“The turkey bacon helps keep me honest on my diet. It’s lower in fat, full of flavor and gives me enough taste to stop me from eating other foods.”

STOPPANI SAYS:“Extra-lean turkey bacon is a great way to further boost the protein content of this meal. Four slices add nearly 12 extra grams of protein, about 3 g of fat and zero carbs. This late at night, you want to avoid carbs if possible.”

11:30 PMMEAL #5: LATENIGHT SNACK6 sugar-free, fat-free Popsicles20 almondsTOTALS: 180 calories, 6 g protein, 8 g carbs, 15 g fat

JACKSON SAYS:“I let my body tell me when it’s time to eat. It’s always in the two-and-a-half to threehour range. If I get hungry quicker than normal, I’ll eat. I don’t even need a clock. There’s no calorie cap I’m looking to keep myself in. I don’t count them.”

STOPPANI SAYS:“The monounsaturated fats and protein content in almonds make them a worthy snack. The fats will keep you satiated without consuming too many carbs — which can be a problem later in the day when they can be stored as bodyfat.”