4 Essential Rules of the Old-School Bodybuilding Diet

Looking at old photos of bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Platz, and Dorian Yates makes anyone wonder what they did to put on such an abnormal amount of mass during their prime. Most know that it takes 1 if not 2 excruciating workouts a day at the gym but is that really the golden ticket?

When asked, many old-school bodybuilders of that day would point you toward their diet. Some techniques and food include the “Seefood” Diet, eggs, milk, and protein powder. These became essential eating rules that they followed each and everyday in order to grow their muscles.

“Seefood” Diet

Bodybuilders all have different approaches to bulking up. One old-school technique was the “eat everything in sight” strategy otherwise known as the “seefood diet”. Bodybuilders could gain weight by eating whatever they wanted, as long as it gave them the calories to fuel their intense bodybuilding workouts.

These old-school bodybuilders consumed large amounts of carbs, fats, and most importantly protein to put on mass. They wasted no time counting calories, macronutrients, or vitamins and minerals. They would eat until they were satisfied. Meals would include steak, chicken, beef, fish, and other proteins that had a high amino acid profile, and when they got tired of them, began eating carbs and fats.

The "seefood" diet, not to be confused with a seafood diet, is a technique to put on mass quickly used by old-school bodybuilders
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In addition to the “seefood” diet, old-school bodybuilders consumed large amounts of eggs each day. In fact, old-school bodybuilders would eat up to a dozen eggs a day. They believed that bodybuilders should feel free to go ahead and consume as many eggs as they want. Not only do eggs have a beneficial macro profile, but they also contain micros such as good cholesterol, vitamin D, and omega-3s. Some even believe that with all this in conjunction, egg yolks may even increase testosterone.

Eggs are so versatile and easy to make. Throw them in a pan to scramble, fry, or sunny-side them up. Boil them in water for an on-the-go snack. Some even go as far as eating them raw but through science, we have found that much of the amino acids will not be processed by the body properly. Raw is an efficient but cost ineffective way to get your protein and may even come with some with a slight risk of salmonella from store-bought eggs.

Eggs are versatile in how they are prepared and are an invaluable tool for bodybuilders
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Bodybuilders of that time would also drink large amounts of milk each day. They believed that milk was a great way to hit all the macros at once without worrying about getting fat. Their workouts included hours of compound movements which demanded every ounce of nutrient ingested during mealtime. Milk was a go-to beverage as it is one of the cheaper items in the grocery store and quenched their thirst.

Milk can also be versatile in that you can buy it in whole, 2%, 1%, or skim. For those looking to gain weight, whole milk is best because it offers the most calories. Bodybuilders who want to trim down will opt for skim milk because it is fat-free, high in protein, and has the carbs to fuel an intense workout.

Grab a carton of whole milk if you are on the go or just need a small snack to hold you over until dinner. With technologies to remove all the fat, anyone can enjoy a cold glass. It will give you everything your body needs to keep growing and leave you feeling satiated.

Milk is a healthy snack to keep your body building muscle
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Protein Powder

Old-school bodybuilders recommend those wanting to put on mass take a large amount of protein powder. Protein powder was and still is a fantastic way to get a huge dose of protein right after a workout to feed those crying muscles. Many bodybuilders today recommend protein powders to supplement a clean diet to make sure the muscles can properly recover for the next excruciating workout.

When choosing a protein powder that is right for you, look out for artificial sweeteners and other ingredients that standout. You may want to consider unsweetened powders. A good rule of thumb is the less ingredients the better.

It is also beneficial to choose a powder that uses whey protein isolate. It is a complete and will give your body everything it needs to repair.

There are many ways to begin supplementing protein powder. Those looking to cut weight can add it to skim milk or water. Bulkers can add it to greek yogurt or whole milk. A little-known breakfast option is something called “proats”. Add a scoop of protein to some watery cooked oats, stir, and now you have a delicious low-fat breakfast!

Bottom Line

Old-school bodybuilders knew what they were talking about as their diets were and likely still are the most effective way to put on mass. A diet of high protein, fats, and carbs allowed old-school bodybuilders to have immense energy during their workouts and therefore push their muscles beyond their limits which allowed them to gain the muscle they desired. No matter what old-school bodybuilders ate they all had one thing in common: they ate a lot! Their meals contained many calories and it was not uncommon for these bodybuilders’ diets to be over 10,000 calories per day. Take some lessons from their techniques and apply them to your own regimen!

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