Old School Bodybuilding Nutrition and Low Carb
Old School Bodybuilding Nutrition and Low Carb , 08-14-2011 02:47 AM


Advanced Low-Carber


Been recently reading a lot of the Weston A. Price foundation articles. I came across one by Randy Roach who incidentally has written 3 HUGE volumes on the history of bodybuilding with nutrition being one of the major themes. One thing he notes is that in the old days, bodybuilders ate things like whole raw milk and whole eggs (raw mostly) and steak. Then, as we all know the 70s came along and low fat kicked into high gear. He also notes the changes in bodybuilding that (not for the better) that came as a result of that.

While I was reading this (not the books, but his article which is an kind of like a preview into the book, although not quite), I remembered reading my former state governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding in which the recommended diets had whole milk and whole eggs recommended. So I decided to reread the book and see the diets old Arnie recommended compared to current bodybuilding trends.

Interesting enough there seems to be conflicting information in the book. The book downplays saturated fat, but if you look at the muscle gain menu plan, it is loaded (relatively speaking) with saturated fat and IMO as someone who has at one point trained for a contest (got injured squatting 500 lbs) pretty low carb compared to what most "healthy" people eat nowadays.

Taken from pages 738-739

Level I
Breakfast
2 eggs
1/4 lb meat, fish or fowl
8 ounces whole milk
1 slice whole grain toast w/butter

Lunch
1/4 lb meat, fish, fowl, or cheese
1 or 2 slices whole grain-bread
8 ounces whole milk or fresh juice

Dinner
1/2 lb meat, fish or fowl
Baked potato w/butter or sour cream
Large raw salad
8 ounces whole milk

Level II
Breakfast
3 eggs
1/4 lb meat, fish, fowl, or cheese
8 ounces whole milk
1 or 2 slices whole grain toast w/butter

Lunch
1/2 lb meat, fish, fowl, or cheese (or any combination)
2 slices whole-grain bread w/butter or mayonaise
8 ounces whole milk
1 piece fresh fruit

Dinner
1/2 lb meat, fish, fowl, or cheese (or any combination)
baked or boiled white or sweet potato
Large raw salad

Level III

Breakfast
4 eggs
8 ounces whole milk
1 or 2 slices whole-grain bread w/butter
1 piece fresh fruit

You may substitute hot oatmeal, bran cereal, or other cooked cereal for the fruit and bread, but sweeten only w/fructose. Use half-and-half or cream if higher caloric intake is desired

Lunch
1/2 lb meat, fish, fowl, or cheese
1 or 2 slices whole-grain bread w/butter or mayonnaise
8 to 16 ounces whole milk
1 piece fresh fruit (w/cottage cheese if desired)

Dinner
1/2 to 1 lb meat, fish, fowl, or cheese (or any combination)
Baked or stemmed potato, or baked or boiled beans
Lightly steamed fresh vegetable
Large raw salad
1 piece fresh fruit
8 ounces whole milk

Now clearly this is more carbohydrate intake than anyone on here will or should do. But I thought it was interesting that only in the section on muscle building did Arnold pretty much say let it fly for meats and cheeses and to only cut the fat for a contest. He also says for a contest, he would cut carbs to drop fat. He noted that he would try to avoid ketosis, but he did cut carbs.

He further notes that he thought egg whites were basically a waste of time and said to use the whole egg. Actually in the "Losing Fat" section, he specifically notes that "egg whites are lower in calories, but whole eggs have more protein and are much more nutritious" (745). Also, while the book notes to use "lean protein" it does note that "the following protein sources tend to be higher in fat, but are a good nutritious source of amino acids" (page 745). Which are:

Beef. He does advise on cuts w/a higher protein to fat ratio over a higher fat to protein ratio, but even his example is high according to conventional wisdom as the number given is 24g protein to 13g fat.
Pork. Lean cuts only; avoid pork foods like sausage and bacon.
Lamb. Lamb chops are higher in fat than pork chops.
Whole Milk (and other dairy products like butter, cream and sour cream)

It seems like these are given free license in the building muscle section, since these foods are only recommended and limited in the "Losing Fat" section. In a way, this gives validity to Randy's claims that bodybuilders that were plenty ripped naturally in the old days ate higher fat meats and natural fats in the form of whole milk, butter and cream.

If we look lower, we see the following "recommended carb sources"
taken from page 745:

Vegetables (greens vegetables especially -broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts, peas, etc.; whenevr possible, eat vegetables either raw or lightly steamed)
Beans (not out of a can, too high in sugar). Rest omitted
Salads. Go easy on the dressing
Fruits (fresh, not canned)
Whole wheat or rye bread
Baked potatoes. A medium potato contains only about 100 calories; pass up the butter or sour cream.
Rice (not white processed rice or Minute Rice)

Again, the more fattening carb sources are listed on the bottom. If you actually look at other lists in this book, the best form of a given food is always listed first and then in descending order from best to worst. So even Arnold in a way agrees that grains and potatoes are the worst kind of carbs for a person trying to lose fat.

My point in listing this was not to show that we are all wasting our time because if we want muscle we should be eating according to Arnold's recommendations which include what for many of LCers especially here a high amount of carbs. Rather, I thought that from a conventional wisdom point of view it seems that the muscle gain section was very high in fat. Look at the breakfast for level I. Meat, eggs, whole milk, only 1 piece of toast w/gasp BUTTER! Even though there is a section of this book that condemns saturated fat, this breakfast seems loaded w/saturated fat. Yet, the author himself was for many years the epitome of what a body should look like (although some would prefer less muscular). Moreover, it seems that it isn't even recommended to start loading up the carbs until the next levels when the maximum amount of carbs come in the form of 2-4 pieces of bread and a baked potato, plus a large salad.

Interesting to note that Bill Dobbins helped write this book and it was revised from an earlier edition. Something tells me that Dobbins was the one that insert the sections condemning saturated fat. I doubt Arnold did, if so, why would his meals have so much of it? The only time he specifically recommends cutting out excess fat from oils is when a person needs to cut overall calorie intake, yet keep protein intake high.

Based on the evidence above, it seems to me that a low carb diet featuring lots of saturated fats would be a great way to pump our low-carb bodies up and that the only time more carbs would be recommended is when we would need an increase in calories and to match the similar ratios from previous calorie levels.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?
Again, I am NOT saying eat like this or get more carbs. All I'm saying is that it seems that even the old champions didn't gain muscle eating skinless chicken breasts or egg whites. They ate their whole foods in full fatty form.
RE: Old School Bodybuilding Nutrition and Low Carb , 08-17-2011 08:53 PM


Advanced Low-Carber


Here we go, from Arnold's "Education of a Bodybuilder" on page 157:

If you are soft and flabby and need to lose weight, obviously you will have to do more of the abdominal exercises and follow a low-carbohydrate
reduced-calorie diet.



Ignore the ab thing as that was an exercise myth that has been long disproved. Ab exercise is important, but has almost no bearing on whether a person trims down in the midsection or not. Body fat is the issue.

Note: Arnold does NOT advocate ketosis, EVER! He feels that glucose is necessary for weight workouts. I know some people feel different about calories, but I tend to side on calories do matter theory. Not that they are the end all be all, but they do matter to a certain degree IMO.