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Simple & Effective Nutrition Tips from Physical Culture, Silver & Golden Era Bodybuilding

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I’ve been going through my old magazines from the 50s and 60s and really love seeing the nutrition basics. And a few weeks ago, someone sent me my original paper back of The Way to Live, which I recreated into The Russian Lion Power Course. So now, I am going through and rereading some of George Hackenschmidt’s nutrition, training and lifestyle tips.

Everything was so simple and yet so effective when we look at the nutrition and training tips dating back to the Physical Culture era (early 1900s) and then the Silver and Golden Era of Bodybuilding dating from the 50s through the 70s.

The training was always basic back then and that is because these men had no other choice. It was barbells, dumbbells and calisthenics. Machines were not readily available until the late 60s and early 70s and even then, it was heavy machines and heavy cables.

There were “stretch cables” or “chest expanders” as they sometimes called them, which I have at The Underground Strength Gym. These are tough and strong cables. If you can find an old pair, use them for building your upper body.

Nutrition was simple whether it was mass gaining / bulking or getting lean.

I read a Reg Park article and I believe it was from 1956….

For leaning out and definition, Reg Park recommended starting with a 2 day fast.

On the fast, you can have 2 cups of black coffee or “weak tea” every day. The “weak tea” means no honey, no milk. Just tea.

Well, here we are in 2021 and the experts tell you about fasting. This is something that has been around since before Reg Park’s bodybuilding career so we’re easily talking 100 years old, and certainly older if we track back to our ancestors.

The bodybuilders and strength athletes from MANY decades ago had it figured out. Of course, food was much more wholesome back then as well. What do I mean? The soil was not destroyed from chemicals and toxins through the air.

I can imagine that drinking whole milk in the 50s and 60s would trump drinking raw milk from your own farm today. The nutrition of many lifters from the 50s through the late 60s was mostly eggs, beef, milk, plenty of vegetables and fruits.

Here is how Chuck Sipes would eat. Chuck was one of the strongest bodybuilders ever, and his time was before the steroid era became the norm. Many will argue he was on steroids but I know these are the haters who have an excuse for everything including why they are weak.

Meal #1

4 eggs with cheese

Whole wheat stone ground bread and honey

Wholegrain cereal, milk and fruit

Meal #2

Fresh fruit and almonds

Meal #3

Fruit juice

Large salad with sunflower seeds and 2 large whole wheat peanut butter sandwiches, two glasses of milk

Meal #4

Nuts and fruit or bulk drink

This “Bulk Drink” included the following:

2 cups of milk

Protein powder

2 spoons Blackstrap molasses

1 spoon honey

1 spoon Ovaltine

1 banana

1 scoop natural ice cream

Meal #5

Steak or fish with salad and brown rice

Some whole wheat bread and butter

Tea with honey

Desert: natural ice cream

Before Bed at Night Snack:

A glass of fresh juice and sunflower seeds

Many of the naysayers will demand that Chuck, Reg Park and the others greats HAD to be on steroids. I recall the same accusations as a teenager. I gained muscle in high school, went from 120 lbs as a freshman to 175 my senior year and everyone demanded I admit to steroid use. I essentially gained 1 lb a month through high school by lifting weights almost daily and eating 5 meals a day plus protein shakes.

We’re in a world of complainers, cry babies and blame artists who want to avoid the work.

You can get big and strong naturally. Most refuse to do the work in and out of the gym with consistency. A weak mind will never help build a strong body. Period. End of story.

What the men did in the 50s and 60s for training and nutrition was basic and consistent. Many of the men from the silver and golden era would say that too many carbohydrates would “balloon” them up.

The older you get, this is very true. For a teenager or collegiate athlete, you need carbs.

Vince Gironda would have his bodybuilders and movie stars follow his “steak and eggs” diet. This was similar to the original “Keto Diet” of today.

The mass building shakes from the silver and golden era always encouraged a few raw eggs thrown into your shake. As a kid, I did this and never got sick. I don’t recommend anyone do this now, but hey, to each their own. I believe teenagers of today can use these homemade protein shakes, especially the udersized kids.

Here is what I would make myself as a teenager for my protein shakes:

  • 12 oz milk
  • 1 spoon peanut butter
  • 2-3 scoops protein powder
  • 1 banana
  • 1 spoon honey
  • 4 oz dried oats
  • sometimes ice cream

If I wasn’t wrestling in high school, I likely would have been 185-190 by the time I graduated. I graduated at age 17 1/2. By the age 18 I built up to 195 lbs.

As an adult, most of us are NOT bulking unless you are naturally skinny.

I am getting very excited about training in my 40s and borrowing the training methods from the greats like Reg Park, George Hackenschmidt and Chuck Sipes.

If you want me to put on a mini online workshop and dig into the lessons I’ve learned from the physical culture and old school greats, Men like George “The Russian Lion” Hackenschmidt, Reg Park, Vince Gironda, etc.

==> Click HERE so I can add you to a special email list to notify you when this mini workshop will happen.

Even if you’re not in your 40s, I will be sharing the training methods on how I ‚Äčshould have trained in my earlier years to help you avoid the common overuse injuries.

Get on the newsletter and we will make this mini workshop happen.

Until the next time……

Live The Code 365,

Zach

FREE Training Courses HERE

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