Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
March 5, 2024

Interview with the "Muscle Cook" Dave Ruel
Bodybuilder, Nutrionist & Cook

By Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - November 2010

Interview with Nutrionist, Cook and Bodybuilder Dave Ruel

CRITICAL BENCH: Dave tell Critical Bench readers about yourself.

My name is Dave Ruel, but most people know me as the "Muscle Cook". I'm from eastern Canada.

I am the author of the Anabolic Cooking Cookbook, a competitive bodybuilder, a professional Fitness Coach and Nutritionist.

As you may have noticed, I have 3 passions in life: Bodybuilding, Nutrition, and Cooking! 3 passions that complement each other really well don't you think?

Over the past years I have helped a lot of people getting incredible results. I have been helping bodybuilders get shredded for bodybuilding shows, fitness models get ready for photoshoots and regular fitness enthusiasts transform their physiques!

CRITICAL BENCH: How did you get the name "The Muscle Cook"?

I earned my nickname of "The Muscle Cook" by creating and developing Recipes and Meal Plans specific to bodybuilding and fitness that are healthy, tasty and far from your ordinary meal plans.

CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about your ebook!

Anabolic Cooking is a Cookbook and Complete Nutrition Guide For Bodybuilding and Fitness. This book is jam packed with more than 200 recipes that are all easy to do, full of flavours, and will promote muscle building and fat loss. I also share in this book all my top nutrition and meal planning strategies, which makes it a must-have for anybody serious about their goals.

Anabolic Cooking with Dave Ruel

CRITICAL BENCH: What makes your ebook unique?

I have spent the past 4 years developing this book, creating and testing those recipes in my own kitchen...

Now, I have to be honest, not all of them made the cut, but about 200 of them did... All the recipes you will find in this book respond to 3 specific criteria: they are all easy to do, full of flavours, and will promote muscle building and fat loss. In fact, all my recipes are so easy to do, even a 10 year old could cook a super tasty meal! That means you have no excuses!

I also practice what I preach, which is why I won bodybuilding championships, did photoshoots and I am not afraid to show it, unlike many other authors or so called "gurus" who talk about building muscle and getting ripped but are completely out of shape and just looking to make an easy buck with rehashed hype.

CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us about these websites of yours:

Best muscle building recipes www.AnabolicCooking.com

My website where you can buy my cookbook. On the site, I present and explain the cookbook, its components and bust common myths about bodybuilding and fitness nutrition.


My blog - This is where I share a lot of info with my readers about nutrition, cooking, meal planning, supplements but also workouts and personal stuff. I'm very active on my blog, go check it out!


This is my coaching website. People who are serious about getting results can go there to get a personalized meal plan, supplementation plan and training program. Previously, this type of highly personalized, comprehensive one-on-one personal training experience was only available to my private clients where I live, in New-Brunswick, Canada.

But now, with the availability online… It doesn't matter if you live on the other side of the planet I can get you where you want to be!

CRITICAL BENCH: When it comes to dieting, what are the biggest mistakes people make?

I believe that the majority of people are mislead and misinformed when it comes to nutrition and cooking. People are convinced that bodybuilding and fitness nutrition must be plain, boring and taste terrible. I think that's the biggest mistake of it all!

CRITICAL BENCH: Give us 5 diet tips for looks and health.

1. Protein with every meal

You need to include protein in all meals to achieve fast weight loss.

Eating protein at every meal enhances the thermic effect, which helps to speed up your metabolic rate. So you burn more energy to digest the food. If you eat more protein, your body will need more energy to digest the food. It will also help preserving your hard earned muscles during the fat loss process.

2. Vary your nutrient sources

Bodybuilders often have the nasty habit of eating the same thing day after day after day because they feel like they know what they're getting, or because it's convenient. Not only is eating this way a drag, but you are actually setting yourself up for some kind of deficiency. Tuna, tuna, tuna, chicken, chicken, chicken to get your daily grams of protein. But a gram is not a gram! Neither chicken nor fish has the amino acid balance to be considered perfect proteins. In fact chicken (which is considered a complete protein source) is low in some essential amino acids, namely some of the branched-chain amino acids that are so important in building and maintaining muscle mass. The same concept goes for Carbohydrate and Fat sources…

3. Don't skip breakfast!

You've heard it a million times but it's an important point. When you wake up in the morning, your body is in a catabolic state. In other words, your body is literally eating your muscle protein for fuel. To halt this process you need to eat.

Getting carbs into your bloodstream fast is as important as protein for stopping the catabolic onslaught when you wake in the morning. Therefore eating first thing after waking up is a must when it comes to build muscle.

Interview with Nutrionist, Cook and Bodybuilder Dave Ruel

4. Eat your veggies

Every meal you have should also include vegetables. This accelerates fat loss and provides the body with minerals and vitamins. Phyto-chemicals present in these vegetables promote proper functioning of the body.

Vegetables also promote body recovery in between training sessions. Intensive training produces free radicals inside the body and consuming vegetables helps fight these because of the antioxidants. Thus muscles damaged will heal faster when you have vegetables. Also, a high protein diet raises acidity in the blood and needs to be neutralized by fruits and vegetables.

5. Eat clean and healthy

Without nutritious food in the right quantities, even the most intense workout session is worthless. That's as simple as that.

And, even though we all know this, preparing and eating meals is almost always the most overlooked and neglected area of our lives. We always go for the easy option by spending tons of money in pre-made meals, take-out food and meal replacement drinks. And this is why most people fail at building muscle or lose fat...

CRITICAL BENCH: You have a great job and get to travel. In 2010 I see you have been to places like Cuba, France, Ireland and Vegas. Tell us a little bit about each place because not everyone gets to experience such opportunities in their lifetime:

I am blessed for that. Traveling has always been a passion for me, and I'm really happy that my job allows me to travel often. Cuba is a great country, and because I'm from Canada I can go vacation there, hope the laws will change so US citizens can go visit this country. People are really nice there, and it's a very safe place. I try to go vacation there as often as possible, last time was in April with my fellow muscle building coach Lee Hayward and our better halves.

Las Vegas is great for entertainment! I went there for a few fitness meetings and to attend the Mr. Olympia competition. Vegas is always a great time!

I don't travel overseas very often, however I lived in France for 3 years in the early 2000's and still have many good friends there. Culture is very different from ours here in North America, that's why I love exploring what the old continent has to offer.

CRITICAL BENCH: What makes Dave happy?

  • My better half

  • Helping people reach their goals

  • A good heavy workout

  • A great meal

  • Meeting new people

  • Friends

  • BBQ's

CRITICAL BENCH: Where can we read about your future events? What are your future goals?

Interview with Dave Ruel Well, right now I'm focusing on helping others reaching their goals through my websites and blog, I have to say that fills up most of my schedule!

I am currently working on 2 new projects: Metabolic Cooking, a fat loss specific cookbook and nutrition guide, and Anabolic BBQ that will feature lots of killer BBQ recipes for bodybuilding and fitness.

I'm not planning a come back to the stage in 2011, but I can't say that it won't happen. Time will tell I guess. But you WILL see me back on a bodybuilding stage again, that's for sure :

Oh and in January, I'm going to visit big Mike Westerdal in Florida! Great way to start the New Year!

CRITICAL BENCH: I see you compete, tell us about that! What is the competition world of bodybuilding like for you and what are your tips for other bodybuilders for when they go on stage?

I love competing, the easiest way to answer this question is to tell you how I became a bodybuilder:

You know, I wasn't born with good genetics… I had to work hard in order to achieve my dream physique… I've been training for more than a decade now and during that time, I made lots of stupid mistakes while experimenting…

In 2006, I experimented a big bulk, I brought my weight to 262 lbs, with lots of body fat… at that point I realized that I had gone way too extreme and that I would need to work very hard to get back in shape.

This is when I decided to compete in my first bodybuilding competition at the 2006 New Brunswick Provincial Championships that would take place in November. After 24 weeks of dieting, I stepped on stage with a bodyweight of 197 lbs. It took me 6 months to drop those extra 65 lbs of fat! You have no idea how hard it was…

I got 3rd in the Light-Heavyweight division, and I was very proud of my accomplishment. I never would have thought that I would become a bodybuilder, especially after getting out of shape like I did. However, even though I was proud, I wanted to get better and go back the next year…

After training very hard and eating very clean for a year, I stepped on stage a second time at the 2007 New Brunswick Championships. I weighed in at solid 211 lbs, 14 lbs heavier than the previous year, with even better conditioning.

I got second in the Heavyweight division.

But, to my surprise, I also was rewarded with the Most Improved Bodybuilder Award!

For the first time in my life, I really felt like my hard work was rewarded!

One week later, I made the trip to compete at the Heavyweights Classic in St-John's, Newfoundland.

There, I won the Heavyweights title in a very competitive class, my first ever win, and lost the overall to my good friend Lee Hayward, who was at that time, and still is, one of my role models!

I just couldn't believe it, I was a bodybuilding champion!

While not all of us aspire to being a competitive bodybuilder, I think this story demonstrates what you can do when you put your mind to something. You have to be totally dedicated to your goal, and once that happens, it will become a reality.

It wasn't until I dedicated myself 100% that I achieved my goals. I stopped making excuses, and I worked hard towards my dream of becoming a bodybuilder. If you want to change your body, and I assume you do, or you wouldn't be reading this, you have to show the same kind of commitment. It's time to stop making excuses, and live your dream!

CRITICAL BENCH: How does your diet change while you're competing and during the off season?

Surprisingly not a lot... I just add a little more carbs to my "off-season diet" but that's about it. I just allow myself a bit more freedom with my food choices. I don't follow a strict plan off season, since I've been doing this for so long now, I know what my body needs to grow and to stay in shape.

Interview with Dave Ruel

CRITICAL BENCH: What are your favorite aspects of bodybuilding and living healthy?

I like that it's a way of life. It is a complete and complex mix of many things. Bodybuilding is an endless learning process! You cannot know everything about it!

I also love the fact that you need to be very consistent, dedicated and organized in your life in general if you want to make progress in bodybuilding. It always keeps me on top of my things.

CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us a little bit about your training routine and your training philosophy!

What works, in my opinion, is to vary your split, intensity, number of reps and weight load very often. For example, I do basic powerlifting for 6-8 weeks, then I get back to a bodybuilding style heavy training for another 6-8 weeks and then switch to a more high intensity, high rep routine. I love to try different styles of training, and since I know many of the industries top trainers, I often get to test drive their new programs before they make it available to the public, that's a cool aspect of my job I got to say!

CRITICAL BENCH: Do you have any quotes or words of inspiration that you would like to tell the world?

I recently wrote a really good motivational blog post on my blog not long ago entitled "Living with a pupose - Why are you training?" - Go check it out:

"Living with a pupose - Why are you training?"

CRITICAL BENCH: So far in your bodybuilding journey, give us a FAVORITE MOMENT, FUNNY MOMENT, and a moment that changed you!

  • Favorite moment: when I won my class at the 2007 Heavyweights Classic, what a feeling!

  • Funny moment: When I bulked up to 262 lbs thinking I was huge and muscular, when in reality I was just very fat! LOL... I learned.

  • Moment that changed me: when I met Steve, my friend and nutritionist who still helps me design my contest diets. He introduced me to a new way of eating or dieting that literally changed my body and my entire life.

CRITICAL BENCH: How do you see the future of bodybuilding and the iron industry? Do you see it going more in a freaky direction or a healthy direction? Do you foresee a bright future?

I don't know about pro bodybuilding, it seems like it gets freakier and freakier... and I don't think that's going to change.

Interview with Dave Ruel What I'd like to see is a IFBB Classic Physique Division, ruled by weight to height ratio. My bodybuilding hero is Bob Paris who is known for his superb shape and aesthetics. This is the body I am aiming for and will always want to promote the classic physique type.

What I see also is that fitness and modeling seems to be taking a bigger place in the industry now. Federation like the WBFF have brought a more glamour side to the sport with Fitness Model and Bikini categories. And it looks like the IFBB is taking the same direction.

CRITICAL BENCH: What was your childhood like and how did you get started in bodybuilding?

I had a great childhood. I always was a physically active. Growing up, I was always involved in competitive sports such as hockey, basketball and volleyball. I did try to pick up weights a few times, but at that time I couldn't find the motivation to be dedicated to weightlifting for more than a few weeks at a time.

In my late teens, I started training more seriously in the gym because I realized I was slowly getting out of shape and I had to do something about it. So I started, began to like it, fell in love with it, and the rest is history!

CRITICAL BENCH: Any fitness words to the world?

Just always remember this simple equation:


CRITICAL BENCH: Dave, it has been great interviewing you. In closing anything you would like to add or anyone who you would like to thank?

I am thankful to be surrounded by great people, family and friends. They all know who they are! Thanks you guys!

I'd also like to thank all my fans, customers, and readers that I am helping everyday through my books and websites. We all have our own stories and I'm glad I can influence some of them. I consider myself very lucky to be able to help people who have the same interests I have. Thanks for all the interaction, support, and loyalty... means the world to me!


FREE Download: The Muscle Cook's Top 10 Most "Anabolicious" Recipes

Anabolic Cooking with Dave Ruel


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