Tag: nutrition

John Balik, Total Muscularity: SuperStar Nutrition (Santa Monica, 1979)

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Describing himself as Arnold’s Seminar Nutritionist, Balik opened his short pamphlet on gaining muscle with the often forgotten law that ‘nothing beats persistence.’ Produced alongside a pamphlet on gaining muscle, which we’ll be discussing in a future post, Balik’s Total Muscularity represents a great insight into the training philosophy of 1970s Muscle Beach bodybuilding. Sparing myself the task of typing out his pamphlet word for word, which I suspect would infringe on some form of copyright law, I decided that a brief synopsis of the book would suffice. At the very least it would pander to our ever decreasing attention spans.

So in today’s post we’re going to look at Balik’s theories on individual body types, the type of diet he recommended and also what we can learn from it nearly forty years after its publication.

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Jay Jacobsen, ‘Carbohydrates Are Not The Devil! All Aboard The Carbohydrate-Glycemic Train’, Planet Muscle (March – April 2003)

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Carbohydrates… those omnipresent fruits, yams, grains and vegetables, are older than mankind. In recorded history, it appears that the Egyptian culture was the first to ‘mill’ their high-energy grain, removing fiber, as well as much of the nutrition. Bingo—mankind had its first refined carbohydrates.

Sugar was first introduced into Europe around 700 AD when Arabian armies brought sugar cane from Northern Africa. Sugar then slithered into Spain, Sicily, and the surrounding areas of the Mediterranean. Sugar was known as “white gold” and was a luxury only the extremely wealthy could afford. With the exploration of the New World, sugar trade became more profitable, and even Christopher Columbus brought sugar cane cuttings to the Americas.

By the time of the American Industrial Revolution, the sugar refining business blossomed. Around 1900, the first sugar-in-the-box product was introduced to the American consumer. Today, the average sugar consumption in America is a mind-blowing per capita consumption from all sources of 160 lbs. per year, 40 teaspoons per day.

The opinions regarding sugar, particularly among athletes and weight conscious individuals, have violently changed since 1900! Instead of white gold some even call sugar white death. For example, If you are a devout Dr. Atkins fan you probably think that eating carbs is analogous to driving drunk (maybe ketogenic stupor driving). But, are carbs the most horrific poison ever created – or are they more of a missing link to huge gains in energy, strength, and a diesel physique?

The History of Carbohydrate Loading

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As a teenager the advice I got when it came to diet and exercise was often problematic to say the least. We lifted too heavy, with terrible form and took far too little rest. This, we were told, would make us better rugby players or something to that effect. When it came to diet, we were told to ‘carb load’ before big games or tournaments to make sure we had that competitive edge. For those of you experienced in such matters, you can probably guess what happened when a team full of 18 year olds were told to load up on carbs. Yep… we had big bowls of pasta, copious amounts of sandwiches and even potato waffles just to be safe. 18 year old me wasn’t complaining but it seemed like an odd concept even at the time.

Fast forward to today and I’ve played around with every diet imaginable from fruit fasting to keto. One area that has always perplexed me though is ‘carbohydrate loading’ before a big event. Nowadays my friends who run marathons continue to swear by it while those in the lifting community advise low to moderate carbs around workout times. Nutrition will always be a contested arena and to that end, today’s post explores the birth of carbohydrate loading as a scientific concept in 1967 and examine its remarkable rise in popularity soon after.

Guest Post: History of the Mediterranean Diet

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The Mediterranean diet is a very healthy eating plan, which is primarily based on plant foods, olive oil, and lots of herbs instead of salt. Red meat is a no-no, and fish is a staple. Plus, red wine. Who could say no to that?

The idea behind this diet is limiting, but not eliminating fat consumption. It’s all about making smart choices and choosing monounsaturated over saturated fats. It’s a diet that many doctors recommend as a heart-healthy eatingplan. Research shows that it reduces the risk of heart disease, since it’s low in bad cholesterol.

But where did it all start?

Guest Post: A Short History of Nutrition in Bodybuilding

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If you’ve been in the fitness game for any amount of time, you know that optimizing your nutrition is half the job. Even more importantly if you’re a bodybuilder, your diet plan can make or break your physique no matter how much time you put in the gym, or how well you sleep. Eating whole foods coupled with quality supplements such as protein and amino acidsin general can present a winning combination that will help you build muscle and lose fat. But is it really that simple?

Guest Post: The History of Sports Nutrition

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We have come a long way in terms of boosting our workout performance by fine-tuning all the habits that surround that single one, and in particular, by refining our menus to suit our goals. Athletes have always done their absolute best to find that perfect ratio when it comes to food intake in order to maximize their potential in any given sport.

Knowing just how much of a major role diet plays in an athlete’s performance, science has done a tremendous job over the years giving us data on how to improve. Aside from fad diets meant to please the crowds, those focused on long-term health and fitness know that eating plays a vital role in the process – and that has always been the case.

The Secret of Rheo H. Blair’s Protein Powder

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Having discussed Bob Hoffman’s (failed) attempts to create a protein powder that was both tasty and efficient, the time seems right to examine Rheo H. Blair’s famous protein powder from the mid-twentieth century.

Iron game historians will long be aware that Blair’s protein powder was the go to supplement for bodybuilders, average trainees and even Hollywood stars of the 1960s and 1970s. It was one of the first protein supplements and was highly regarded by others in the industry including Vince Gironda.

Heck, so highly regarded was Blair’s protein that it was credited with adding pounds upon pounds of muscle in a short space of time. Some bodybuilders spent months eating nothing but the protein powder alongside some vitamin capsules.

So what exactly was in Blair’s protein and what made it so special?

Steve Reeves’ Competition Diet

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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!