Category: Nutrition

1970s Muscle Building Advice

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The greatest problem that faces the young bodybuilding enthusiast is that of gaining weight. It’s usually this reason for taking up weight­ training in the first place. However, after the inevitable gain of a few pounds body-weight almost immediately the weight-training course has been embarked on, one finds further progress very slow. Each pound towards his ideal body weight is gained with an ever increasing span of time. Once I couldn’t gain more than two or per­haps three pounds a year — training three times a week. Eventually my bodyweight gains became stagnant and no amount of training would alter it.

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Tony Sansone’s Weight Gain Diet

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Born at the turn of the twentieth-century, Tony Sansone is perhaps one of the most famous physical culturists never to turn his hand to bodybuilding. Nevertheless his influence on bodybuilders and those seeking to get in shape was remarkable. Training under both Bernarr McFadden and Charles Atlas, Sansone developed one of the most sought after physiques in 1930s America.

He modelled, quite provocatively at times, wrote extensively on good nutrition and ran a series of gyms, which included a regular training spot for the legendary Steve Reeves. Shunning excessive bulk for definition and aesthetics, Sansone possessed a body that many men today would envy. Indeed, the renowned physical culture historian David Gentle once commented

If Sansone had been born in Greek antiquity, he would have been immortalized as a god.

With this in mind, today’s post looks at Sansone’s simple and effective way to build muscle mass while maintaining a relative level of leanness.

Vince Gironda Weight-Gain Diet

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The following extract comes from Vince Gironda’s 1984 Book: Unleashing the Wild Physique (available here). This book cannot be recommended highly enough, from VInce’s no nonsense take on steroids to his innovative training techniques. Today’s post comes from Vince’s advice on weight gain.

The real secret to gaining weight is food. The more you eat, the more you’ll gain. While eating three nutritionally balanced meals a day is good, it is even more beneficial to eat or more meals per day. Eat smaller meals – but more often – every three hours. If you can’t find the time to eat six meals a day, try eating three main meals with snacks between meals and before going to bed.

The cardinal rules of weight gaining are:

  • Never overeat at any one particular meal (this causes bloating and gas and may actually cause a weight loss)
  • And never allow yourself to get hungry

Revisiting the Anabolic Diet

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What if I told you about a diet that not only mimicked the effects of steroids but also allowed you to gorge on meats, eggs and cheese for days at a time before indulging in pizza and pancakes on the weekend? A diet that would help you get leaner, stronger and more muscular. A diet that seemingly had it all?

This isn’t the stuff of fairytale but some of ways that Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale’s Anabolic Diet has been advertised since it’s inception in the early 90s. A cyclical diet, Di Pasquale’s high fat approach came at a time when the majority of Bodybuilders, along with the American public, were stuck in a low-fat mindset.

Whilst the majority of gym goers nowadays are unaware of DiPasquale’s work, the Anabolic Diet was one of the seminal eating programmes of its time.

So in today’s post we’ll look at the history of the diet itself, what the diet entailed and just why it was so revolutionary.

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Protein Way of Life by Rheo H. Blair

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Open any muscle mag from the mid-20th century and chances are you’ll find a reference to Rheo H. Blair, and his famous instant protein. Blair’s protein was used by the top bodybuilders of the 1950s ranging from Gironda to Arnie. He was a firm believer in the importance of top quality protein and often got amazing results from his clients.

Today we look at Blair’s 1950s pamphlet entitled the ‘Protein Way of Life.’ There’s some important tidbits to be taken from it.

How to mix the protein drink

Chad Nicholls, ‘The Contest Guru’, Muscular Development, December, 45:12 (2008), 426-432.

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Once again reaching into my mail- bag, I found of couple of interesting questions that may sound like the same old cookie-cutter questions, but my answers put a new twist on two staple parts of bodybuilding — nutrition and off-season weight gain — and my take on the best type of off-season dieting and how to employ it to anyone’s arsenal.

Before the Carnivore Diet? Rheo H. Blair’s Meat and Water Diet (1960s)

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The Carnivore Diet – the practice of solely consuming meat products – has grown exponentially in the past few years. As someone who has experimented with a range of diets, everything from all fruit to raw meat, it’s remarkable to see an all meat diet gain traction for the lifting community and the general populace. While Vilhjamur Stefannsson popularised the Inuit’s meat dominated diet in the early 1900s, an all meat diet for athletes or lifters appears to be a new development.

So being the type of individual that I am, I decided to go through the annals of bodybuilding and see if anyone had dabbled with a carnivore-esque diet in the past. Echoing the wonderful ‘nothing new under the sun series‘ produced by Chaos and Pain (definitely not safe for work!), we have a precedent for the current carnivore diet in the form of Vince Gironda and Rheo H. Blair’s ‘meat and water’ diet, a short term weight loss diet used by bodybuilders prior to a competition.

With that in mind today’s post examines the reasons behind Blair’s experiment, the bodybuilders he used it on and what lessons, if any, his meat and water diet holds for present day lifters.

Eat like a Sandow!

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How many times do you eat a day? Do you eat carbs after 3pm? Post-workout protein shake?

Such are the questions faced by the modern day strength enthusiast. Are we overthinking the way we eat? In a world faced with a growing obesity epidemic and continuous production of low quality foods the answer may appear no. If we dig deeper however we may begin to question why we stick to rigid diet tips by people supposedly in the know. Where should we turn for diet advice? The muscle mags are one place, yet one often has to traverse through forty pages of advertisements before stumbling upon anything remotely sane.

What about the strongmen of yore? What about Eugen Sandow? How did he eat and why?

Guest Post: The History and Significance of Meal Replacements in Fitness and Beyond

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Everyone enjoys a delicious mouthful of food, but not everyone has the time to fully appreciate it. We are talking, of course, about bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts, and people who follow strict diet plans in general. Not only that, but being able to cook food on a daily basis has become wishful thinking nowadays, as the fast-paced way of life makes it difficult to find the time to enjoy a hearty home-cooked meal.

You might think that this is a modern trend, but the reality is that people have been searching for a way to make nutrition more efficient for centuries. Concretely, there has always been a need and a desire to reduce the time it takes to prep a wholesome mealwithout skipping on the nutritious goodness. From unsavory high-energy fruit-and-meat blends all the way to today’s “healthy” meal replacements, the history of these foods and products is long and quite interesting. Let’s take a look at how it began, and where it has led us so far.

Peary Rader, ‘The Six Meal A Day Plan’, The Rader Master BodyBuilder and Weight Gaining System (1946)

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If it is convenient, it is often found a great help to eat 4 to 6 meals per day, tho this is not necessary.

Many men have found that the addition of a light lunch at about 10 o’clock, another at about 3:30 p.m. and another just before bed time has been the secret of very fast gains. None of their meals would be as large as usual, but much more frequent. This gives the internal organs a better chance to function efficiently compared to the system of overloading them three time a day as is generally done. So whenever circumstances will permit it, we recommend the 5 to 6 meal a day plan for weight gainers. Many doctors use this system for sick people or people with digestive disorders and you should realize that it is a healthful plan.