As a competitive body builder, Jonathan Griffiths brings a unique perspective to the carnivore diet. He engages in a sport that has very specific dietary challenges, and at 27 years old, his eating regimen calls for a whopping 5 meals a day. While his approach is very different compared to that of his carbohydrate-rich competitors, he says he’s been able to apply the carnivore diet to fit his athletic goals—all while reaping other health benefits as well.
Hailing from the southwest of England, Jonathan grew up on what he describes as a “bland” diet; similar to that of the Standard American Diet of white bread, ice cream and chicken nuggets. After getting into fitness as a teenager, he ran the gauntlet of various diets—high-carb, low-fat, keto—but after trying each of them for several months, found they didn’t work and left him feeling worse off than before.
As he began pursuing the disciplined sport of bodybuilding, he came across the carnivore way of eating—and in trying it—Jonathan has experienced benefits way beyond that of his initial goal of merely building muscle.
On all of the other diets Jonathan tried, he says he could never quite shake an “immense feeling of dread and impending doom.” On the carnivore diet, however, that feeling of depression lifted, as well as many of the symptoms he experiences while being on the autistic spectrum—giving him the ability to “roll with the punches” and remain calm and focused when facing stressful situations. He was also able to pinpoint a back problem that had been plaguing him for years but had subsequently gone undiagnosed, and was able to wean off of certain pain medications prescribed to manage the condition.
Eggs are a huge part of his diet, as well as dairy to help with the intake of calories needed to bulk up. When asked what the major difference was between his performance when on a typical “body builder diet” of chicken, rice and vegetables compared to the carnivore diet, he says “It’s like you can dig deeper within your body fat, it’s almost like you can put more effort out and get results faster. I noticed when I was using a low-fat approach before, your testosterone tanks—you feel trash! Your skin gets dry and your brain doesn’t work, you can’t think, your cognition is awful, your memory is bad—everything goes to pot basically. Using a higher fat approach, I noticed I can sustain my workouts for a lot longer.”
Jonathan is quick to point out that bodybuilding isn’t the healthiest of sports. He says some of the common side effects are an increase in blood pressure due to sheer muscle mass, as well as the tendency of many of the athletes to take unnecessary risks. For bodybuilders interested in reaping the benefits of a carnivore diet, however, Jonathan encourages them to give it a try. His performance hasn’t suffered by deviating from the norm. In fact, it’s improved his life significantly.