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There was a Golden Era of bodybuilding. The guys had big, symmetrical bodies with small waists (the coveted V Taper, not the “gorilla guts” we see today).
Have you ever wondered how they got that way? What did they eat to get so cut and get those tiny waists?
Well, it’s actually the kind of cutting diet that I’ve been preaching for years!
First, here’s former bodybuilder Ric Drasin, training partner of Arnold Schwarzenegger, explaining exactly how they ate. I’ll give you more details below the video…
He describes it as a high fat, high protein, low carb diet. He says, they ate a lot of:
- Cheese Omelette (with cottage cheese)
- Burger patty and scrambled eggs
- Whey Protein
- Chicken breast or tuna with cottage cheese
- Tuna salad
And they ate none, or very little:
This more or less echos my own cutting strategy (see here for details).Click here to see how 70's bodybuilders ate to get ripped Click To Tweet
Now, we do need a carb-up period. Back in the day it seems that they basically had a junk food day on Sunday.
While this will work to re-fill depleted glycogen levels in our muscles and give our metabolism a kick in the butt, it can and will also add some fat back on.
I recommend a more controlled carb-up of lower fat, high-carb, moderate protein meals 1 day per week (and within a specific caloric target).
It is actually possible to calculate the amount of glycogen we store in our body, and so I include an exact mathematical formula inside Total Six Pack Abs that will tell you – to the gram – how many grams of carbohydrate to eat over a 24-hr period to fully replenish glyocogen levels but crucially….NOT spill over into excess i.e. fat storage.
Now, it seems like these guys in the 70’s were going fully ketogenic – or as close to zero carbs as possible.
We have learned since then that full keto is not necessary for optimal fat loss. What I mean is that a reasonably low-carb diet will allow you to reap the benefits of accelerated fat loss, but going any lower in carbs will provide no additional benefit . See my article, “Do I Need To Go Keto” for more on this.
Keeping carbs on the low side keeps insulin levels low (insulin is the storage hormone). While insulin is not your enemy when on a gain cycle, it can prevent fat oxidation levels from being optimal when cutting. “Fat oxidation” is just a fancy way of saying “burning fat for energy“.
Think of it like “opening the gates” to your stored fat as wide as possible. You can let much more out to be used/burned for energy.
NOTE: I made a list of the top 20 foods to eat to get ripped. You’ll find it extremely helpful in your quest to get shredded. If you would like access to the full list for free, just type in your email below.
You won’t have to go to your email to click a confirm link; the info you need will appear immediately after you enter your email. Enjoy…
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There has been great work on this by Professor Tim Noakes MD and film maker Donal O’Neill in his film “Run on Fat“. The great thing is that you can visually watch an athlete in the movie become “fat adapted” as he changes his diet. Then, as the weeks progress, you can see his fat oxidation levels increasing over time – it’s really cool to see!
Here’s a preview of that. If you’ve any questions or need help, ask me below.
 Ketogenic low-carbohydrate diets have no metabolic advantage over nonketogenic low-carbohydrate diets. Carol S Johnston, Sherrie L Tjonn, Pamela D Swan, Andrea White, Heather Hutchins, and Barry Sears.
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Right on! I heard about this years ago and it’s the only way I cut. My carb cravings die off after a few days anyway.
Is there a reason why the app is not working? It’s been down for me and my buddy for a few days now. Thanks
The beautiful, classic bodybuilders, with the v-taper are definitely my favorite physiques. It is incredible to me that bodybuilding has become such that it isn’t even esthetically pleasing anymore. Bring back the classic physiques!
Thanks for sharing, Mark!
@Luis. Yes I see the error on the app. This has happened before and it simply started working again. However, I am recommending that for tracking THT workouts, users get the bodyspace app. It’s free and available for Android and iPhone. The THT workouts are on there and easy to track. Here are instructions…
@Myra. Exactly. It simply doesn’t look good. Or even natural. I think things will change in the future. Too many people don’t like today’s look.
Check this out from Arnie !
@Scott. Yes I blogged about Arnie’s comments on that issue here: https://musclehack.com/arnold-schwarzenegger-doesnt-like-how-modern-bodybuilders-look/
I totally agree with him!
Did they also use low carb to pack on mass?