Bradley J. Steiner, ‘Diet And Rest’, Powerlifting (1972)

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Aside from your mental state, which is entirely within your capacity to control, there are two other items that you can fully regulate most of the time as well: your diet and the amount of rest you obtain. Both are as essential in building strength and size as is exercise.

Strength is built on solid foods. Meat, fish, poultry and eggs. Milk and cheese. Thick hearty soups. Whole grain bread. Fruits and vegetables. All sorts of nuts, beans, peas. That’s good eating. That’swhat you need to build strong, solid, healthy muscles! Two nice-sized meals a day are usually enough for most mature people who train. Many people can easily do with three big meals a day, plus one or two healthy snacks if they train hard and try to couple it with a full-time job and family responsibilities.

Supplements are overrated in importance, though they are valuable when taken correctly and in moderation. Correctly means as a SUPPLEMENT, not as a replacement for good, balanced meals and not as a substitute for fresh, real foods. Some people seem determined to overdo supplements, and this is just a silly waste of money. If you take a good vitamin/mineral along with a few carefully chosen other supplements based on your individual needs, that’s generally plenty. If there is any serious deficiency in your body’s nutritional balance you need a doctor, not more supplements. Awell-balanced diet provides plenty of the nutrients you need. Judiciously-taken supplements roundout the picture. Don’t get crazy with this.

Protein supplements are about as unnecessary as they are popular! My apologies to the manufacturers of these powders, but really, aside from convenience when time is tight, they serve little need. Protein is quite easy to obtain in such delicious foods as ground meats, peanut butter, milk, eggs and various nuts and beans. There is always a far greater chance the bodybuilder will be lacking in vitamin/mineral intake than in protein intake. It is relatively easy for a healthy man to ingest 150-200 grams of high-quality protein each day in his meals alone.

Meals should always be balanced. Try to eat, in the course of a day, meat, poultry or fish, various raw vegetables, fresh fruits and some whole grains. Drink plenty of water and have a rice, potato or whole wheat pasta dish with a meal. You need starches and fats, regardless of what you may haveread elsewhere. You’ll just not get as powerful as you could without them.

Overeating should of course be avoided, but it is best done by eliminating the “garbage” from yourdiet, instead of reducing portions of good, wholesome foods at mealtime. This is common sense, and you must decide what really means more to you – a bag of potato chips, or a strong and healthy body.

The long-term effect of careful eating will repay you handsomely. You will find that your training is always maximally productive, and that you can recuperate speedily from tough workouts. All very, very important.

Sleep is important, of course. Sleep and rest, if neglected, lead to general feelings of discontent, irritable behavior patterns and physical depletion. People vary as to how long they can go without adequate rest before they show marked signs of deterioration, but I cannot see why anyone would care to see what his own particular limit was! Just do everything possible to rest adequately and well,following a hard day’s work. Get to bed in time to sleep enough. Don’t keep hours that drain you!This is all common sense, but as my experience has taught me, common sense is not all that common.

It is wise, after a hard workout and a shower, to relax and either sit or lie down for twenty minutes orhalf and hour. Read, meditate, think, or have a nice leisurely conversation with anyone who’ll sit and talk to you – but try if at all possible, to give your just-worked body a little help in recuperating fromthe day’s training.

Rest is as much mental as it is physical, by the way, and all sorts of arguments and aggravation should be avoided. If you have noisy neighbors and you find it difficult to sleep or relax or do things aroundthe house because they won’t quiet down, invest a dollar and get ear plugs. Peace and quiet –tranquility – leads to inner and outer strength, and permits your body to maintain a peaceful equilibrium conducive to growth, maintenance and tissue repair.

All told, those are the factors contributory to success in effective power-bodybuilding. Rememberwhat they are, and learn to apply them. Once you’ve done that, you’re set to move on. So read onand let’s see what your actual training exercises must be like . . .

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