Eating 6000 calories a day might sound like a difficult task (it’s A LOT of calories to get in every day), but it doesn’t have to feel like a chore if you’re following a meal plan with the right combination of high-calorie foods.
If you’re a hard-gainer, and your goal is to increase muscle mass and gain weight, then the 6000-calorie meal plan below will be your roadmap to get there.
In this article, I will give you a complete (printable) 6000 calorie high protein, bodybuilding meal plan, as well as discuss:
- Who should (and SHOULD NOT) attempt to eat 6000 calories a day
- What foods to eat on a 6000-calorie bodybuilding diet
- What foods to avoid on a 6000-calorie bodybuilding diet
- How to customize the 6000-calorie meal plan to fit your individual needs
What Is the 6000 Calorie Bodybuilding Meal Plan?
The 6000-calorie bodybuilding meal plan below is a guide that consists of an assortment of different meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks to help you meet your bulking goal. The types of foods chosen in this meal plan have a proper balance of protein, carbs, and fats to ensure you are getting the proper ratio of different nutrients.
A plan that consists of eating 6000 calories a day will most certainly not be for everyone since this is considered a very high-calorie intake.
For this reason, it is safe to assume that this meal plan would be reserved for individuals who are extremely active and have a high-calorie requirement, and/or for individuals who are in a bulking/ weight gain phase.
However, not every person that is extremely active or looking to gain weight will require 6000 calories per day. It is important to note that this will come down to each individual’s Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).
Since males typically require more calories than females, this meal plan would generally be reserved for large male athletes who have a large amount of lean muscle mass already, and have an extremely rigorous training schedule (i.e. 3+ long training sessions, or twice a day training sessions).
It would not be recommended for the average male or female to consume 6000 calories per day, since it would likely result in a drastic amount of weight gain, including a lot of fat gains, which I’m assuming isn’t your goal.
Because the general daily calorie recommendation is 1500-2000 calories per day for women and 2000-2500 calories per day for men, it is easy to see how a 6000 calorie daily intake would result in weight gain for the average male or female.
If you are wondering whether or not eating 6000 calories a day is right for you, you should first determine your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), which can be done using an online calculator like this one here.
Once you have done this, you can then determine your calorie intake based on whether you wish to gain, maintain, or lose weight.
If you wish to lose weight, you can achieve this by decreasing your TDEE calories by 250-500. To gain weight, you would do the opposite by increasing your calories by the same amount. You can maintain your weight by keeping your calories the same as your TDEE.
- Related Article: Gaining Muscle Without Counting Calories: How To Do It
What Foods to Eat on a 6000 Calorie Bodybuilding Diet
If your goal is to maintain or build lean muscle mass, then protein is going to be an important part of your diet. While eating adequate amounts of protein is important for everyone, it is especially important for athletes who take part in high amounts of exercise.
A good amount of protein to consume is about 30% of your daily calories to help with muscle growth and recovery. When eating 6000 calories a day, this would amount to around 450 grams of protein per day.
Since 450 grams is a lot of protein to consume in one day, you are going to want to make sure that you have a wide variety of protein-rich food sources in your diet, including ones that do not provide much volume (since too much volume will make it difficult to consume all of your calories).
The best sources of protein to include on a 6000-calorie diet include:
- High protein meat, fish, and poultry products
- High protein dairy products (Greek yogurt and Cottage Cheese)
- Eggs and egg whites
- Protein Powder (low in volume and easy to consume)
- Protein bars
- Beans and Legumes (which are also a great source of carbohydrates)
When you are eating a 6000-calorie diet, you will likely not have to worry about your protein sources coming from lean sources all of the time since your carb and fat requirements will be very high as well.
- Related Article: 50-30-20 Macros: What Is It & How It Works?
Since carbohydrates are the body’s preferred energy source and also play a role in muscle repair, they often make up the majority percentage of a person’s diet. A standard recommendation is to consume around 40% of your calories from carb-dense foods.
If you are eating 6000 calories a day, this means that you would need to consume roughly 600 grams of carbs a day. You will want to ensure you are filling your diet with a variety of carbohydrates.
While it is usually recommended to stick to carb sources that are high in fiber and volume, this would be very difficult to do if you are trying to consume 600 grams of carbs in one day. Therefore, you will likely need to include more simple forms of carbohydrates that do not provide a lot of volume or fiber.
Choosing carbs that are high in fiber will help to maintain stable blood sugar levels and healthy digestion.
Good examples of slow-digesting carbs are:
On the other hand, you should also include fast-digesting carbs with less volume and fiber if you are trying to eat 600 grams in one day. These types of carbs can provide you with quick energy while taking much less time to digest.
Good sources of fast-digesting carbs that come from whole food sources include:
- Fruit (will still contain some fiber, but is faster digesting)
- Maple Syrup
- Rice cakes
- Fruit juice (such as orange and apple juice)
Since dietary fat is crucial for body functions such as maintaining cell membranes, hormone health, protecting organs, and the absorption of certain vitamins, we must get enough fat from the food that we eat. When you are eating 6000 calories in a day, this should not be an issue at all.
The recommended amount of fat to consume in a day is about 20-35% of your daily calories. In this article, I will stick to the recommended amount of 30% of calories coming from fat per day.
If you are eating 6000 calories per day, this would mean that you will need to consume around 200 grams of fat per day.
When you are eating this high amount of fat, you must be paying attention to the quality of fat that you are consuming. You want to make sure that the majority of your fat intake is coming from unsaturated fats. While you can eat foods high in saturated fat in moderation, you want to try to stay away from trans fats entirely.
Good sources of foods high in unsaturated fats are:
- Nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, chia seeds)
- Nut and seed butter (almond butter, peanut butter, tahini)
- Avocado and avocado oil
- Olives and olive oil
- Certain fish (salmon, mackerel, cod, tuna)
Good sources of foods high in saturated fats (to consume in moderation) are:
- Red meat
- Dairy products
- Coconut and coconut oil
Foods that are generally high in trans fats and should be avoided entirely include processed frozen and fried foods, microwave popcorn, commercial baked goods like muffins and cakes, and margarine.
- Related Article: How To Increase Your Protein Intake Without Fat
What Foods to Avoid on a 6000 Calorie Bodybuilding Diet
When you are eating a 6000-calorie bodybuilding diet, there are going to be certain foods that you should avoid consuming too much of.
You want to make sure that you are not getting too many calories from processed foods that are void of essential nutrients. If you are eating all of your calories from processed fast foods, you will easily hit your calorie target, but at the expense of fueling your body with nutrients that your body needs for optimal health.
On the other hand, you also want to be careful that you are not consuming too many high fiber/ high volume foods, since this will make it extremely difficult to reach your 6000-calorie goal. If you try to eat too many foods that are low in calories but high in volume, you will more than likely not be able to eat 6000 calories in one day.
- Related Article: Lean Bulk Macros: How To Calculate
6000 Calorie Bodybuilding Meal Plan
This meal plan consists of 6 meals, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, 2 snacks, and 1 post-workout shake.
There are 2 options for each meal to allow for variety and to ensure you are getting an assortment of different nutrients.
Daily Meal Plan
The daily total of this meal plan is:
- Calories- 6040 calories
- Protein- 450 grams
- Carbohydrates- 565 grams
- Fat- 220 grams
|MEAL||NUTRITION||OPTION 1||OPTION 2|
|Breakfast||Calories - 1190|
Protein - 100 grams
Carbs - 85 grams
Fat - 50 grams
|Bacon, Eggs and Toast|
- 4 eggs and 2 cups of egg whites scrambled
- 4 pieces of pork bacon
- 4 pieces of toast
- 4 Tbsp Strawberry jam
|Protein Oats |
- 1 cup of quick oats
- 1.5 cup egg whites cooked in (to make oats fluffy)
- 1.5 scoops protein powder
- 1 sliced banana
- 3 Tbsp peanut butter
|Snacks||Calories - 805|
Protein - 75 grams
Carbs - 70 grams
Fat - 25 grams
|Greek Yogurt Granola Bowl|
- 1 cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
- 1/2 scoop protein powder
- 1 cup Progranola
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 0.5 oz almonds
|Hard boiled eggs on Toast w/ Roast beef + Fruit |
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 4 oz roast beef deli meat
- 3 pieces whole wheat toast
- 1 banana
|Lunch||Calories - 1110|
Protein - 80 grams
Carbs - 85 grams
Fat - 50 grams
|Spaghetti and Meat sauce|
- 6 oz ground beef
- 2 cups cooked spaghetti noodles
- 1/2 cup marinara sauce
- 2 oz parmesan cheese
|Chicken thigh and Rice Bowl |
- 7 oz chicken thighs (roasted, skin on)
- 3/4 cup basmati rice
- 1 cup roasted chickpeas
- 1/2 cup corn kernels
- 1/2 cup romaine lettuce
-1 Tbsp salsa
-4 Tbsp full fat sour cream
-2 oz cheddar cheese
|Snacks||Calories - 1030|
Protein - 70 grams
Carbs - 120 grams
Fat - 30 grams
- 2 cups Kashi Go Lean Cereal
- 1.5 cups 2% milk
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1 cup raspberries
- 0.5 oz almonds
|High Calorie Tropical Smoothie |
- 2 scoops protein powder
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1 cup mango
- 1.5 cups skim milk
- 3 Tbsp peanut butter
|Dinner||Calories - 1060|
Protein - 75 grams
Carbs - 55 grams
Fat - 60 grams
|Steak and Mashed Potatoes|
- 7 oz sirloin steak
- 6 oz white potato, mashed
- 2 slices garlic toast
- 2 tbsp butter (in mashed potato)
- 1/2 cup 2% milk (in mashed potato)
- 2 Tbsp sour cream (in mashed potato)
- 10 asparagus spears
- 2 oz feta cheese (baked on asparagus)
|Homemade Bison Hamburger Helper |
- 6 oz ground bison
- 2 cups cooked macaroni noodles
- 5 oz cheddar cheese
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 cup 2% milk
|Calories - 845|
Protein - 50 grams
Carbs - 150 grams
Fat - 5 grams
|Gainer Shake (chocolate)|
- 1 scoop Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass (chocolate flavour
- 1 scoop protein powder (chocolate)
- 2 cups skim milk
|Gainer Shake (vanilla) |
- 1 scoop Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass (vanilla flavour)
- 1 scoop protein powder (vanilla)
- 2 cups skim milk
How To Customize the 6000 Calorie Meal Plan
To customize your 6000-calorie meal plan further, you can manipulate your pre and post-workout macros to optimize your workouts. You can also customize your meals by choosing different condiments and spices to cook with, along with switching out certain foods for ones that are comparable in calories and macros.
Pre and Post-Workout Meals
When you are planning your pre and post-workout meals, it is best to aim for foods that are high in carbohydrates, while eating moderate amounts of protein and low amounts of fat.
It is best to avoid high-fat foods before and after a workout, since fat takes the longest to digest, and can slow down the digestion and absorption of carbs and fat.
- Related Article: Calories On Rest Days: 7 Rules To Follow
Switching up Condiments and Spices
One of the easiest ways to change up the flavor of your meal is to utilize different condiments, sauces, and spices when you are cooking your meal.
While hitting your calories and macros is an important part of reaching your bulking goal, enjoying the flavor of your food is arguably equally as important, since it will likely determine how adherent and consistent you are at following your meal plan.
Varying Your Food Options with Sources Equal in Calories and Macros
To allow for both nutrient and flavor variety in your diet, you can switch out certain foods on your meal plan for ones that are equal in calories and macros.
A great way to switch out different foods in your diet for one’s equivalent in calories and macros, I recommend using an online calorie counting app such as Macro Factor. This app has a massive database of calorie and macro counts for almost any food that you could think of, making it extremely easy to switch foods out in your diet.
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About The Author
Colby Roy is a holistic health and nutrition coach. She is certified through Precision Nutrition and has a passion for all things nutrition and healing the body. More specifically, Colby likes to work with clients who want to optimize their gut health and energy levels.