COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Wolfgang Schober of Austria has been involved in bodybuilding for 43 years.
He says, at 56 years old, what used to be weeks of preparation for competition, now takes months. Part of that regimen is diet and Schober says he begins to eliminate most of the variety in his diet the closer he gets to a competition.
“It reduces itself, for me, to chicken and rice for the last two and a half months,” Schober said.
Thousands of other bodybuilders descending on Columbus this weekend for the Arnold Sports Festival have similar dietary requirements.
Inside the kitchen at the Hyatt Regency hotel, executive chef Reece Hay has his teams working around the clock.
Hay says they’ll serve in four days what they’d typically serve in about a month. He says the bodybuilders focus on chicken, rice, vegetables and eggs. Hay says breakfast is amazing, especially the demand for large omelettes.
“We have an 11-inch pan that we do about 18 eggs in,” Hay says. “That’s the biggest we can do and we’ll have people who will come through and eat two or three of them.”
A few hours later, he says, those same people are back for more. “They’ll come back for lunch and have 12 chicken breasts and a bowl of rice.”
Hay says they expect to go through 4,500 pounds of chicken, 2,000 six ounce flat-iron steaks, 600 pounds of bacon and 80 cases of liquid eggs.
The body bodybuilders are not interested in pizza or paninis. So the hotel comes up with new menus for the weekend and special items for the buffets.
“We write a menu specifically for them that’s low sodium, lots of protein, no starch and mostly vegetables,” he said.