Pros and Cons of Soylent for Bodybuilding (Review)

When it comes to getting in shape, pretty much everyone can agree that nutrition is at least half the battle.

"You can't out-train a bad diet," they say.

And they're totally right.

Lately, I've been trying to lean down for the summer, and that means keeping a close eye on my calories and macros (macronutrients like protein, fat, and carbs). But honestly, it can be really difficult to track when you're busy whipping up delicious meals. Who's to say exactly what you're getting with a chicken breast, a sloppy scoop of rice, a handful of random veggies, and maybe a little something sweet from the pantry after dinner?

That's what drove me to finally give Soylent a try.

(Also: Check out my review of Soylent Coffiest)

 

What is Soylent?

Simply put, Soylent is a liquid meal replacement in a bottle.

For a couple of bucks per bottle, you allegedly get a perfectly nutritionally-balanced meal; everything your body needs to thrive.

Specifically, a bottle of Soylent's flagship product, aptly named Drink, offers 400 calories, 20 grams of protein, 37 grams of carbs, 2 grams saturated fat, and a whole host of vitamins and minerals.

There's no wiggle room here. That's exactly what you're getting every time, and unlike a lot of prepackaged goods, Soylent offers a lot of nutritional value in exchange for overall flavor.

But we'll get to that.

 

My experience drinking Soylent while bodybuilding and weightlifting.

A lot of people drink Soylent for the convenience. Don't have time for lunch? Grab a Soylent instead!

But for me, like I said, I was mostly interested in something with a known quantity of nutrients that would give me lots of energy to make gains in the gym while lifting weights.

For the past few months, I've started most days with a relatively low calorie protein bar (200-250 calories). And while delicious, and a good source of protein, I often found that by the time I got around to going to the gym at lunch time, I was feeling pretty hungry and drained.

I wanted something with a little more oomph to help me keep up the intensity while weightlifting and bodybuilding.

I tried my first bottle this week.

The best way to describe the flavor is... neutral? There's not much to it. Soylent is a thick-ish, gritty concoction with a wheaty flavor and a subtle, subtle sweetness. Think of oatmeal with nothing in it but a small dash of sugar. It's certainly not good, but it's not really bad either.

My first bottle didn't exactly go down easy. I sipped it slowly over the course of about an hour, and I'd be lying if I said my stomach was thrilled about it. But I've read that many people have this reaction their first time drinking Soylent, and as your body becomes accustomed to it, it becomes easier to drink.

About two hours after finishing my Soylent Drink , I headed to the gym for some weightlifting

I'm happy to report that my energy level was high and I felt like I was able to attack some new PRs. I wasn't exactly full, but something about Soylent kept me nice and satiated for a little longer than I would have been otherwise.

My second time drinking Soylent was MUCH more enjoyable. It went down incredibly easy, and I daresay I actually enjoyed the subtle hint of sweetness. Clearly, Soylent is an acquired taste.

I plan on drinking a Soylent in the morning on training days for a couple of weeks, and will update this post with any new findings!

 

What other people are saying about Soylent and bodybuilding and/or weightlifting.

My small sample size aside, I'm not the only person out there wondering what effect Soylent has on bodybuilders and weightlifters.

Reddit user CompulsionUF spent 2 months lifting while getting about 75% of his calories from Soylent, and reported huge gains in the gym. He credited it to lots of energy from the nutritionally-balanced Soylent in addition to being able to keep his overall macros in check easily:

He writes:

How I feel: Great. When I was lifting using a regular diet in December, I felt tired and beat up. Also, fat. The weights felt heavy. So heavy that I just came into the gym, did my big lifts, then went home exhausted. Even with pre-workout.
These days the only pre-workout I have is a cup of coffee while I wake up, then a glass of Soylent just before I head out the door to the gym. Now, I come in, throw the weight around (even though it's heavier than anything I've lifted before) then still have energy to do assistance work.

Other users around the web report similar benefits including:

  • Improved energy for weightlifting
  • Precision in calorie and macro tracking
  • Convenience

The most notable drawbacks reported around the web by bodybuilders and weightlifters were the taste and overall enjoyment of drinking Soylent. I can relate to that, but ultimately it seems like a small price to pay.

 

Where to buy Soylent.

Hope this helps!


 

Thumbnail image by JohnnyBGoode11 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons