July 5, 2022

Fitness Buffs Notice Supply Shortages, Small Portions at Chipotle

Weightlifters, sometimes called “gym bros,” told Insider they are seeing supply shortages at Chipotle. Lifters…

  • Weightlifters, sometimes called “gym bros,” told Insider they are seeing supply shortages at Chipotle.
  • Lifters said Chipotle has built a reputation in the fitness industry as a go-to post-workout meal.
  • Fitness enthusiasts said Chipotle’s clean ingredients and customizable bowls can help build muscle.

Supply chain issues plaguing chains like Chipotle may have gained an unlikely enemy: weight lifting enthusiasts, commonly known as “gym bros.” 

Chipotle has built a reputation among weightlifters as a go-to post-workout meal. For instance, fitness influencer Devin Cunningham went viral in 2016 after he said eating Chipotle every day for a year helped him get fit.

But now, due to the ongoing supply chain crisis — a symptom of COVID-19 related slowdowns and an increase in online shopping — many restaurant chains have scaled back operation hours and faced supply shortages.

Customers have reported that Chipotle locations are frequently missing ingredients and doling out “tiny burritos.” Chipotle said on an October 21 earnings call that food costs went up by 30.3% due to supply chain disruptions.

Fitness coach and personal trainer Patrick Wilson is among the disappointed Chipotle customers. Wilson told Insider he’s recently noticed shortages in fajitas and lettuce. 

Wilson, who has been active in the fitness community for three and a half years and has been training for over a decade, said he used to get Chipotle after every workout in high school. He said because Chipotle allows for customization, along with clean ingredients, fitness enthusiasts can craft a bowl to either lose fat or increase calories. 

“With Chipotle, you can make it more like fun meal, like you could get a burrito with sour cream and cheese and it’s going to be higher calorie, but it’s also going to taste fantastic,” Wilson said.

TikTok comedian Justin Lupo has poked fun at the “gym bro” obsession with Chipotle in a video that has received 9.7 million views and 1.7 million likes.

“For the meat I’ll have double chicken, you know what I mean, for the gains,” Lupo said in the comedy sketch, referring to building muscle.

Fitness and medical experts told Insider’s Rachel Hosie nutrition is key to building muscle. Generally, experts say putting on muscle requires eating in a caloric surplus and getting the right amount of protein for an individual’s body.

The ingredients in Chipotle’s products can help fitness buffs reach both those goals. Foods high in protein like beans, tofu, and meat are all staples in a Chipotle bowl. Plus, the company’s nutrition calculator on its website breaks down every ingredient used, alongside its calories and fats.

Stefan Desroches, who has been weight training since 2016, said he would go to Chipotle twice a week when he first got serious about lifting, and has weightlifting friends who’d go up to five times a week.

Vinai Reddy, another weightlifting enthusiast, said Chipotle had a reputation among his high school friends as a key post-workout meal. 

Both Desroches and Reddy said they have noticed Chipotle locations running out of key ingredients like lettuce, meat, and rice. Desroches said he noticed locations near him in Long Island are giving out smaller portion sizes, and some locations are closing over an hour before usual. 

“I definitely think [Chipotle] is amongst the biggest industry in terms of post-workout meals for a lot of gym-goers,” Desroches said. “They don’t have too many additives, maybe a little bit of oil in the chicken, but nothing too out of whack that’s gonna make you really gain weight.”

Though weightlifters said Chipotle’s supply chain maladies might cause some disruption in gains, other fast casual restaurants like Pita Way, Cabo Fresh, and Green Cactus can offer clean foods high in protein.

Even opting for grilled chicken sandwiches and salads at fast food restaurants can allow lifters to meet their nutritional needs in a pinch, Wilson said. 

“There’s always options that you can get that are like relatively quick, convenient, lower calorie, high protein,” Wilson said. “It just might not be quite as tasty as Chipotle is — or was when they had all their stuff.”

Chipotle was not available for comment on this story.