A New York native, Dave Palumbo grew up playing soccer and competing as a runner, but he eventually turned his attention to body building, placing sixth as a 22-year-old in his first ever body-building competition. Palumbo’s dedication to nutrition and training carried him to numerous top-10 finishes, including a second-place finish in the Super Heavyweight class at the 2003 National Physique Committee USA championships. Palumbo credits his diet with much of his success.
The Dave Palumbo Diet relies on high protein, moderate fat and low carbohydrates. Palumbo recommends eating 1 to 1.5 g of protein per pound of body weight each day, with fat capped at 0.5 g per day. Palumbo believes in not eating any direct sources of carbohydrates, save for one “cheat” meal each week to carb load and replenish glycogen reserves.
By drastically limiting carbs, the Dave Palumbo Diet deprives the body of glucose and forces it to burn fat for energy. This process, known as ketosis, spares muscle, which usually gets broken down during weight loss. The sudden flood of carbs following the cheat meal sends glucose surging into the muscles as glycogen, resulting in swelled muscles and noticeable growth.
Palumbo recommends getting protein from chicken, fish, lean red meat, whole eggs and why protein shakes. For fat, Palumbo focuses on healthy monounsaturated fats and sources of the essential fatty acids -- omega-6 and omega-3. His preferred fat sources include salmon, swordfish, mackerel, walnuts, almonds and extra virgin olive oil. He also recommends eating the nuts with only lean proteins, while fattier proteins, like salmon and beef, can accompany a green leafy salad topped with olive oil. Natural peanut butter, made from only peanuts and salt, can serve as an excellent source for both protein and healthy fat.
The Dave Palumbo Diet requires six meals each day. A sample meal plan would start with five whole eggs for the first meal followed by a whey protein shake and 1.5 tbsp of natural peanut butter for the second meal. The third meal could consist of an 8-oz. serving of chicken with 1/2 cup of walnuts or almonds. Meal four would be another whey protein shake and 1.5 tbsp of peanut butter. Dinner, or meal five, would feature a fatty protein like salmon, swordfish or red meat paired with a green salad. The day ends with a sixth meal of a whey protein shake and peanut butter.
The diet’s weekly “cheat” meal should be eaten on the same day and at the same time each week. This is the only meal where you can eat direct sources of carbohydrates. A typical cheat meal would supply 400 g of carbs or more, and the carbs can come from bagels, breads, pastas, donuts or any other source you want. The only restriction is that you have to keep the fats low because eating high carbs with fat results in more fat storage.