I Ate Like Nick Jonas for a Week to Build Muscle

For the past few years, I’ve been wanting to build muscle, but I haven’t known where to start. I decided to take some cues from Nick Jonas.

Nick Jonas.

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I’ve been working out and focusing on my diet on and off for about three years now, with the goal of building muscle and toning my body. Every time I start a new meal plan or fitness routine, I quickly lose interest and have to start all over again a few months later. 

Recently, I found Nick Jonas’ muscle-building diet in Men’s Journal and was surprised by how simple it appeared to be. I decided to give it a go for a week. 

Jonas’ diet is specifically designed for his body, so I had to make a few adjustments.

Nick Jonas in a USA shirt with hands on his hips

Nick Jonas.

NBC/Getty Images


For starters, Jonas took a blood test to learn how his body reacts to certain foods. Red meats, certain vegetables, and dairy products bothered him, according to his nutritionist, Nicole Visnic. 

Since I didn’t have the resources to get the same test, I examined Jonas’ diet to cut out foods that have historically bothered my own stomach. For example, the diet includes a lot of cheese, but I decided to leave it out of most of my meals. 

It’s also important to note that Jonas has type-1 diabetes, so some aspects of the diet are chosen to keep his blood sugar regulated and to maintain his carbs for working out.

Additionally, Men’s Journal explains a muscle-building diet is not a “one-size-fits-all” deal, so I was prepared to listen to my body and tweak the plan throughout the week, while honoring Jonas’ general approach to meals.

Next, I purchased the ingredients from Jonas’ meal plan.

Groceries laid out on a table, including tomatoes, eggs, bread, sweet potatoes

The items I bought for the week.

Frank Olito/Insider


In Men’s Journal, Jonas’ nutritionist laid out three sample meals each for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from the singer’s diet. I scoured the list and went shopping. 

I bought eggs, broccoli, spinach, chicken breast, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, turkey bacon, and avocados, among other items. 

In all, I spent over $100 on the groceries, which is more than I usually spend on food per week. Although it was outside of my budget, I hoped the health benefits would make the price worth it.

I was shocked by the size of the breakfast options.

Toast and turkey bacon on a plate; a plate of eggs and a bowl of oatmeal

Two breakfast plates during the week.

Frank Olito/Insider


Usually, I’m not a big breakfast person. I typically like to have a banana late morning, so when I saw the portion size for breakfast, I was overwhelmed. 

On the first morning, I cooked egg whites with spinach and mushrooms and served them with a side of oatmeal. Although it was delicious, I couldn’t finish it all because there was just so much.

The following morning, I had four strips of turkey bacon and two pieces of toast with almond butter. Four strips of bacon were way too much for me in the morning, and I could only get through the first two. 

Although the meals were delicious and hearty, by the end of the week I was cutting back and just having a bowl of oatmeal.

Some of the lunch items were more work than I expected but still delicious and filling.

An open face turkey sandwich with cheese, tomatoes, and spinach

The turkey sandwich.

Frank Olito/Insider


Since my breakfasts were so large, I found myself eating lunch later and later.

When I did finally get hungry for lunch, my go-to was Jonas’ sandwich, which includes sliced turkey, spinach, tomato, mustard, and cheese. I went with Swiss cheese because it has a low lactose count and whole-wheat bread to keep it as healthy as possible. This meal was simple and delicious. 

I also tried the fish tacos that Jonas eats for lunch but found it took too much time to prep. On his tacos, he likes sliced cod, but I went with shrimp instead. The singer’s tacos also had lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese. I decided to forgo the cheese, but the meal was still flavorful.

The dinners were a bit plain for me, but they were still doable.

Chicken and broccoli on a plate; salmon, rice, and broccoli on a plate

Two of my dinners during the week.

Frank Olito/Insider


According to Jonas’ meal plan, there are four proteins to choose from: a buffalo burger, chicken, ground turkey, and salmon. 

My favorite was the chicken with a side of broccoli. He usually adds beans to this meal, but I hate beans, so I kept them out. I also tried the salmon with quinoa, but I found the dish lacked some flavor. I later replaced the quinoa with a side of rice and broccoli. 

Overall, I felt like the dinners were nutritious but lacked excitement. I found this was the meal I dreaded most during the week because none of the options particularly excited me.

The muscle-building diet does allow for a simple snack in the afternoon, which I loved.

a plate of carrots, a bowl of almonds, and a container of hummus placed on a table

My snacks during the week.

Frank Olito/Insider


After eating a filling breakfast and a great lunch, I almost was never hungry for an afternoon snack. But there were a couple of days during the week where I was looking for something to munch on. Jonas snacks on baby carrots and almonds. 

I also added hummus to dip the carrots in. 

I tried to do his workout routine, but it was the most difficult part of the week.

Looking down at a yoga mat with two dumbbells

Attempting a workout.

Frank Olito/Insider


I quickly realized to really get Jonas’ body, I couldn’t just copy his diet — I also had to give his workout routine a go. 

According to Men’s Journal, he uses a lot of gym equipment, like a Prowler sled and a VertiMax. In 2014, Jonas told GQ that he works out three times a day when getting in shape for a role and then brings that number down to three to four times a week when he isn’t.

Since I don’t have a gym membership and I only have a few dumbbells at home, I kept my workouts comparatively simple. I focused on squats and dumbbell curl variations and worked out three times during the week for 30 to 45 minutes.

I followed a few other muscle-building workouts on YouTube during the week and found myself winded and sweating by the end. I’ve always hated working out, so this was a real struggle for me.

However, I did notice the healthy meals I was eating during the week were keeping me energized during my workouts. 

Jonas also drinks a smoothie after each of his workouts.

A blueberry smoothie in a glass mug.

The smoothie.

Frank Olito/Insider


According to the Men’s Journal article, Jonas drinks a very simple smoothie: a cup of berries, two cups of almond milk, and some protein powder. I was worried this smoothie was so simple that it would lack flavor. 

I was surprised to find that I was wrong. Since I didn’t add peanut butter, honey, or the other ingredients like I usually do, this one really let the taste of berries shine. 

Overall, I found Jonas’ diet to be much easier than I expected.

Nick Jonas taking a sip from a mug; Frank taking a sip of purple smoothie

Nick Jonas and me drinking.

NBC/Getty Images & Frank Olito/Insider


Building muscle and starting a new diet always seem like very daunting tasks. You feel like you have to cut out your favorite foods, introduce new vegetables, and work exercise into your daily routine. None of it is particularly easy. 

But I found Jonas’s diet to be completely doable. Although some of the servings were quite large and other recipes were a bit bland, I didn’t feel hungry during the week nor did I have any major cravings. I consistently felt full and satisfied. Plus, there were no crazy ingredients that were hard to find, and it was possible to make small changes to fit my own meal preferences.

Of course, I didn’t see any results over the week, but I could see myself sticking to this simple diet in the future. If only I could get a better handle on the workout side of things, then perhaps I could get the muscles I’ve been hoping for. 

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