Tag: Food

The History of Calorie Counting

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Ah yes the much-maligned calorie. Whether you’ve ever tried to lose weight, put on mass or even just feel okay about eating junk food, chances are you’ve come across those pesky calorie numbers on food labels. You may be surprised to learn that despite the ubiquity of calorie counting in today’s society, this unit of measurement is a relatively recent phenomenon and the idea of counting calories for health purposes is even newer.

In today’s post we’re going to look at who invented the calorie, how calorie counting became popularised and finally, how calorie counting became the mainstay of bodybuilding diets 

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.

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
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Old School Weightloss Principles

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In bodybuilding no one idea is more popular than that of the bulking/cutting cycle. From aspiring teenagers to Mr. Olympias, the majority of muscle fanatics seem to have bought into the idea of spending months eating an excess of calories in the pursuit of muscle (the bulk), only to restrict calories to do away with unwanted fat while maintaining mass (the cut).

So how did people ‘cut’ before the introduction of steroids, excessive cardio routines and evils like low fat diets?

Well here’s our quick and easy guide

The Toxic History of Green Tea

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According to the Tea Association of the USA (yes, it exists), sales of Green Tea have grown by over 60% in the last decade. This is unsurprising given that Green Tea is nowadays credited for making you smarter, leaner and calmer. The real question is, who wouldn’t buy Green Tea?

But Green Tea’s popularity is relatively new phenomenon, as for the better part of the 19th century Green Tea wasn’t just undesirable, it was seen as toxic!

Training with Titans: George Hackenschmidt

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Picture the scene. It’s 1911 and famed Wrestler George Hackenschmidt has finally retired from the squared circle. Looking forward to a life of relaxation and leisure, the man from Estonia grants you the privilege of an interview. In his strength and wrestling career, Hackenschmidt has popularised the Bear Hug, the Hack Squat and even set a world record in the Bench Press. His athletic exploits have dazzled crowds around the world for years. So when you sit down with him to talk training, a nervousness enters your body. The ‘Russian Lion’ is known for taking no prisoners.

Q] You have your first question lined up. Nervously you look George in the eye and timidly ask how to become strong like him…

Puffing out his chest, Hackenschmidt bellows out

“It is only by exercising with heavy weights that any man can hope to develop really great strength.”

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?