Recently there was a post about doing a huel only diet, and the OP was interested in (I suppose) whether huel would provide sufficient nutrition for a bodybuilding diet. Now, I am not a bodybuilder, however, I have had a rather strict training routine for the past 11 months almost, and have been on huel (not only on huel though - I’ll get to that in a second) for around a year now. Here are the results (69kg before vs 73kg after):
Before I’ll get to my diet and everything, I would like to note that I am not a professional coach, athlete, dietarian, or anything of that sort, so please don’t just take anything I say at face value. I can assert that I have presented all the information here to the best of my information, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t be wrong about some of my claims.
I have followed 3 different diet plans so far. My initial goal was to get to 81kg and because I didn’t know how long can I sustain a high caloric surplus diet I wanted to have it done asap.
So for the first 3 months, I have been consuming 4700kcal daily, with 3700kcal being my maintenance level which meant that ideally, I would gain 1kg per week. I wasn’t following it super strictly, mainly because eating that much during a day was not easy in the beginning and if I skipped one meal then I wouldn’t be able to eat enough later to compensate. The breakdown of my daily food goes as follows:
- 2000kcal huel
- ~90g protein shake (~300kcal)
- ~70g linseed oil (~600kcal)
- bcaa + dextrose + fructose drink (2:1 dextrose to fructose ratio ~300kcal)
- 3 flapjacks (~1500kcal)
- multivitamin and creatine supplements
After 3 months of this I was at 77kg. At that time exam revision started for me and I started having some anxiety issues, which resulted in me eating very little. In the next 2 months I trained very little (later in the post I will explain more what my training plan was) and lost 5kg which. After that, I resumed almost the same diet (but with one less flapjack so ~4200kcal daily) and continued it throughout summer. This time there was a bit of variance in my daily intake and I would allow myself to eat some fruit or junk food occasionally but that’s pretty much it. My goal has also been changing and currently, my target weight is 74kg. The diet I am currently following involves cycling weight gain and weight loss periods in order to lose fat mass (and subsequently gain lean mass) while maintaining the same weight. The diet is, again, very similar to the one described above, however, I am experimenting with a few things, including caffeine, so there’s nothing set, but the huel and protein intakes stay the same.
Some comments about that diet:
It’s insanely high in protein, by any standards really. However, there have been studies that suggest benefits from protein overload ( youtube link. The values I am intaking are still higher than what these studies suggested, however, contrary to maybe some popular opinions, high protein intake does not cause kidney or bone problems, as stated by the WHO here (pages 223-231). Well, at least that there is no proof of a correlation between the two. The bcaa + fructose + dextrose mix I described is my intra workout drink. In my first training routine, a single workout would take 90-120 mins and so supplying carbs during it helped improve my performance during the session (paper on carbohydrates for recovery - it’s not the one I used to introduce that drink to my diet, but I couldn’t find it, and this one is relatively on topic if someone wants to read more about that). The influence of bcaas is questionable but in my opinion, it has been positive so I’m going to continue supplementing them. As for linseed oil - it’s rich in omega-3s, otherwise, I suppose olive oil would work just fine.
As for my training, similarly, I had followed 3 different routines in that order:
Now please ignore the weight for the first two programs as they have not been updated properly. I have programmed these myself and the training was always catered towards my (at the point of making the program) fitness goals. The first one was general strength + explosiveness (for volleyball). The second one was a continuation of the first, but because there wasn’t a good place to train volleyball during summer, I picked up bouldering. Also, that training (second picture) is not very accurate because I have modified it later to include front lever progression and pull-ups and reduced the amount of leg work because in addition to that training I would run 3.5 km two times a day, five times a week. Finally, the last picture is my current training plan. I train every day, twice a day (green is morning, brown is evening) and just rotate that training. I stopped running temporarily due to suffering from shin splints but I plan on resuming it as soon as I recover. My current goal is to qualify for the British powerlifting university competition for which I need to reach a total of 435kg from squat, bench, and deadlift.
The results of all of this are presented above. In addition, I had a blood test done recently, and the results were ok. The only two things out of order were: serum foliate (expected: 3.1-19.9 ng/ml, measured: >23ng/ml) and serum urea (expected 2.5-7.8 mmol/L, measured: 8 mmol/L). Both of them were satisfactory though, and no further action was taken. Personally I feel fine, I am not bloated by huel, don’t have gasses (even though I had a little for the first 2 months), I tolerate normal food just fine on the few occasions that I do eat it, no sleep disorders. The only thing is that I started having some skin issues recently but I don’t know if they are related to huel in any way, especially since I used to have similar issues in the past before I started hueling.
And I think that concludes it. Sorry for the formatting, but currently I am very busy, and there was already a lot that I included here, and I just don’t have time to write everything down, but I hope some people will find this helpful and I’ll try answering any questions