Bradley J. Steiner’s 1988 Hardgainer Diet


Discussed previously on this website, Bradley Steiner was once the go to man for hardgainers seeking to gain weight and muscle mass. Focused on both exercise and correct nutrition, Steiner’s advice in the 1980s is as timely now as it was back then. For all those muscle fanatics struggling to expand their chest size, the below advice will no doubt be of interest.

Correct Foundations

Perhaps unsurprisingly given his no-nonsense approach to training, Steiner, stressed the importance of eating quality, natural foods under the adage that you ‘Cannot fool mother nature’. Luckily however he also provided a more basic template for people. First he classified the following as foods the hardgainer must ‘live on’

1) Lean Meats/Organ Meats etc.
2) Fresh raw vegetables
3) Milk – in large quantities for slim teenagers and modest quantities (2 pints a day) for men
4) Eggs
5) Cheese, nuts, beans and peas
6) Fats and Starches such as rice, potatoes, spaghetti etc.

Put into a daily meal plan, Steiner recommended the following. Remember this was for hardgainers!


* 3 eggs prepared any style
* 2 slices whole wheat bread and butter
* 4 strips bacon
* 1 large glass of milk
* 1 large serving of fresh fruit

Mid-Morning Snack:

* 1 glass milk
* 1 slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter


* 1/2-1 pound of chopped meat hamburger
* 1 tossed vegetable salad
* 1 baked potato
* 1 apple or pear + beverage of your choice

Evening Meal:

* 1 large steak or large fresh-cooked fish or chicken
* 1 rice, spaghetti or potato dish
* 2 slices of whole wheat bread with butter
* 1 tossed vegetable salad
* 1 glass of milk
* Fresh fruit or fruit pie desert
* Tea or Coffee if desired

Late Snack:

* One nice piece of fruit (apple, banana, pear) etc.

For our modern friends seeking a little more convenience in their diet plans, the addition of protein powders, creatine and maybe a pre-workout nitric oxide supplement would aid the pursuit of muscle.

If nothing else, Bradley’s advice is a welcome reminder to eat big and consciously when seeking to gain muscle.

As always, happy lifting!


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