Steve Reeves’ Competition Diet


For many Steve Reeves was the epitome of bodybuilding. Alongside John Grimek, he helped to define a mid-century Iron Game obsessed with beauty, strength and uncompromising health. Though undoubtedly blessed with fantastic genetics, Reeves was known for his work ethic and attention to detail when it came to his diet. Coming from the Steve Reeves Cookbook, a book that’s currently distracting me from my own PhD work, today’s post looks at Reeves’ Competition diet which saw him through the Mr. World, Mr. Universe and Mr. America.

Safe to say then we may learn a thing or two from it!

Typical Diet

Morning Meal, c. 8am

Before his workout, Reeves would consume his ‘Power Drink’ prepared in a blender. It consisted of

  • 14 ounces of freshly squeezed orange juice.
  • 1 tablespoon of Knox gelatin.
  • 1 tablespoon of honey.
  • 1 Banana.
  • 2-4 raw eggs
  • 2 tablespoons of Steve Reeves Muscle Maker High Protein Power (1/2 lb. of powered egg whites, 1/2 lb. of powdered whey isolates, 1/4 lb. of powdered soy isolates).

Alternative Morning Meal

Cut an apple into small cubs and grate a small carrot. Next add the following:

  • 1/4 cup of raw oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup of bran
  • 2 teaspoons of bee pollen
  • 1/4 cup of wheat germ
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of honey
  • 1 cup of milk (Steve preferred goat’s milk)


  • Cottage Cheese with a handful of nuts and raisins
  • Two pieces of fresh fruit (in season)


  • One Huge Salad
  • One Swordfish Steak/Tuna/Chicken or Lean Beef (Steve mostly ate steak)

Competition Diet While Travelling

After Reeves’ 1948 victory at the Mr. World contest, Steve’s plans to return to the United States were temporarily delayed owing to travel disruptions. With no interpreter and seeking to maintain his competition physique, Reeves set about eating as best he could. According to the Steve Reeves’ Cookbook, the soon to be action star would list the same local café each morning and order the same meal using the only French he had at the time – omelelette fromage aux champignons. That’s a cheese and mushroom omelette to you and me!

For lunch Reeves would go to a local fruit stand, point at a piece of fresh fruit and do the same for a hunk of cheese. Dinner was filet mignon and salads. While food quantities differed between his competition and bulking diets, Steve’s fundamentals remained the same, good quality foods taken throughout the day. No special meal timing, weird combinations or fancy names. Short, simple and duding by Reeves’ physique, successful.

As always… Happy lifting!

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