Do you find it extra difficult to gain muscle? Do you feel that you’ve done practically every kind of workout you can and tried so many supplements yet nothing seems to work? Perhaps it’s time to find another way – or you could just try to reshape your physique the old school way.
The Iron Guru Way
Nothing gets as old school and effective as the methods of infamous Vince Gironda. Also known as the Iron Guru, Gironda was the force behind bodybuilding greats such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Larry Scott.
Vince Gironda’s methods was quite unusual for bodybuilding methods at the time. Instead of focusing on workout regimens, he paid much attention to diet as well. According to Gironda, bodybuilding is 85% nutrition. Also, instead of developing a one-size-fits-all regimen, he experimented with various workout and diet regimens, and highlighted the importance of not letting genetics get in the way of the sculpted body you’re gunning for.
This is not to say that genetics does not matter. In fact, Vince Gironda’s techniques are all about finding what works for you – particularly your body type – and complementing that with the right diet, such as using tips like the famed hormone precursor recipe.
The Hormone Precursor Shake
You may not be familiar with the name but you may have heard about drinking raw eggs. It’s not a myth or some fad from long ago. The “raw egg shake” is one of the foundations of Gironda’s dietery guidelines for bodybuilding.
The Hormone Precursor Shake (original recipe):
- 12 raw eggs
- 1/3 cup milk-and-egg protein powder
- 12 ounces half-and-half
- 1 medium banana (can be skipped if you’re on a ketogenic diet plan for a zero-carb drink)
In this recipe, you get a huge amount of nutrients you need to build lean muscle effectively. You get loads of healthy proteins and fats that will be used as building blocks for muscle growth and production of hormones that support muscle development.
One great thing about this drink is that it is loaded with nutrients in liquid form, which is easy to consume and not as filling as other foods. People considered as hard gainers benefit the most from this recipe since they can consume this shake 1-3 times per day in-between meals to make sure they get enough nutrients to facilitate building mass mass.
Body composition and gaining mass
People gain muscle mass at different rates. Some gain mass quite easily, with very little effort. These are called endomorphs. Some are born with a naturally athletic build. These are called mesomorphs. Mesomorphs look toned even if they do not work out much.
However, some find themselves working so hard and dieting so diligently while seeing no apparent gains in muscle mass. These people are called hard gainers or ectomorphs.
Hard gainers are people who find it extra difficult to gain muscle mass, their metabolism always running slightly too high. It is recommended that ectomorphs skip cardio exercise (burns too many calories) and focus on resistance training and getting plenty of healthy fats in their diet (calorie dense and slow burning). Similarly hardgainers may use mass building supplements such as those found on this helpful site.
Drive anabolism with raw eggs
Anabolism is the process of growth in the body. In order for the muscle building process to proceed, you have to supply your body with the right raw materials – plenty of healthy proteins and fats.
Proteins contain amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle and all other tissues in the body. You can’t expect to build muscles if you do not supply the raw materials required.
The proteins in raw eggs deliver all the essential amino acids that are needed to drive anabolism. The best part is that these amino acids can easily be delivered to your body in liquid form, via the Hormone Precursor Shake. Nutrients, including amino acids, are quickly absorbed and put to use by the body in a liquid medium compared to when taken from solid food like steaks.
Eggs are not just excellent natural sources of quickly absorbed proteins. They are also a rich source of healthy fatty acids. One such fatty acid you can get from eggs is CLA.
Bodybuilding with Fats
You see, fats are an essential nutrient. They have important functions in the body. Fats form the outer membrane of cells, along with proteins. In fact, cell membranes are mostly fat molecules. If you want to build more muscle, you need to produce more cells. That means you need more fats that will help form the cell membranes of these new cells.
Fats are also needed in the production of certain steroid hormones that are required for growth. One steroid hormone you need to gain muscle mass and reshape your physique is testosterone.
Testosterone is a hormone that supports anabolism. People who have a hard time gaining and maintaining mass often have low levels of testosterone. You can help boost your testosterone levels by eating foods that are rich in healthy fats such as CLA.
Aside from consuming eggs every day, Gironda also promoted taking supplements. However, his supplements are very much unlike the supplements most of today’s bodybuilders are taking. Gironda’s view on supplements is in line with his all-natural approach. The only supplement he recommended is liver tablets.
These do not contain any artificial ingredients. They are basically ground-up liver made into tablets for easy consumtion. This is yet another excellent natural source of high quality protein and several other vital nutrients. In fact, liver is the most nutrient dense food on the planet, beating fruits and vegetables in every category except vitamin C.
Liver tablets are taken every day in-between meals. They are especially helpful when taken after workout sessions for recovery.
The main action of liver tablets is to promote a positive nitrogen balance and control catabolism. This process is the opposite of anabolism. Catabolism is the breakdown of tissues. After an intense workout, tissues can start to breakdown. This is necessary for the release of energy to fuel the body for recovery and to promote continued function of the different tissues. We want to minimize this by making sure the body have all the building blocks it needs to nutrition instead.
Other calorie-dense foods good for putting on mass
Aside from raw eggs and liver tablets, there are also several other natural foods that can help drive anabolism. One great example is dark chocolate. This favorite snack of many is a good source of the compound called epicatechin that can help you build more muscle.
Other calorie-dense, nutrient-dense foods that help you gain mass are:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Heavy Cream
- Coconut Milk
- Greek Yogurt
- Oat Meal
- White rice
- Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil
- Raw Milk
Aside from proper nutrition, there is another quite unique and controversial method that is said to help boost your hormones, periods of semen retention.
Have you ever heard of boxing great Dave Haye’s unusual pre-fight habit?
“Find a lion that hasn’t had some food for a while, and you’ve got one dangerous cat. I don’t ejaculate for six weeks before the fight. No sex, no masturbation, no nothing. It releases too much tension. It releases a lot of minerals and nutrients that your body needs, and it releases them cheaply. Releasing weakens the knees and your legs. Find a lion that hasn’t had some food for a while, and you’ve got a dangerous cat. So there won’t bet a drip from me. Even in my sleep — if there are girls all over me in my dream, I say to them, ‘I’ve got a fight next week, I can’t do anything. I can’t do it.’ That’s control. I’ve been doing that since I was fifteen and its part and parcel of my preparation now. That’s why I am who I am today — it’s down to all those little sacrifices. Find me another boxer who makes that sacrifice, and you’ll find another champion.”
No masturbation, no sex, no ejaculation. These activities release too much tension from the body. It also removes a lot of minerals and nutrients that the body can use. Ejaculation uses up too much energy that can otherwise be used for various bodily processes, including resistance training.
If you want to build more power, try to retain your semen for periods of 5-7 days at a time. This will also give you a slight boost in your testosterone levels, however this boost does not go beyond 7-10 days.
Our mass gaining capabilities are greatly affected by genetics. Some people simply do not have the constitution to have a sculpted body that can hold up to the amazing bodies of Greek athletes of the ancient times. However, you can beat genetics and still reshape your physique and have a body in the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the other bodybuilding greats. All it takes is the right diet and lifestyle choices.
Alex Eriksson is the founder of Anabolic Health, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing honest and research backed advice for optimal male hormonal health. Anabolic Health aspires to become a trusted resource where men can come and learn how to fix their hormonal problems naturally, without pharmaceuticals. Check out www.anabolichealth.com to learn more about Alex and his work. You can also find him on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.
Actually, liver was definitely not the only supplement Vince Gironda recommended. He advocated taking numerous supplements such as raw orchic and adrenal glandulars, kelp tablets, vitamin C, digestive enzymes, and amino acids, as well as a milk and egg protein powder supplement mixed with raw eggs and raw cream or half and half.
Absolutely you’re dead right. The Iron Guru used a host of other supplements, some of which are mentioned in our previous posts on his diet plans. Can’t forget his mass builder of ginger ale and half and half either! Kelp tablets seem to have been a big one for him as well as Blair’s supplements.
Do you know out of interest if he recommended Choline? I’m working on a post at the moment on forgotten supplements from yesteryear and I’ve a feeling he endorsed it..
Oops, late reply here. I did a cursory glance and I found that Vince listed Choline as a fat emulsifier.
Very cool. Thanks for digging through. God I would have killed to have met Vince and picked his brains. The man was so far ahead of his time…and even ours it seems!
Not that easy to pick his brain. I met him at his gym. I think you had to mean business; otherwise he wouldn’t give you the time of day. I agreed with the attitude though.
Really? You’re one of the lucky ones! I think that’s fair though. Far too many people are lax in the gym. Get in, train and get out has been the best advice I’ve ever received.