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Ask the Scientist

Dr. Jeff Golini Ph.D

Jeff Golini is the owner of All American Pharmaceuticals and EFX Sports. He is a former competitive bodybuilder based in Venice Beach, but he’s also been in the supplement industry as a formulator, patent creator and manufacturer since the 80s. He has a PhD, and lives in Montana where he owns and runs a supplement factory. Jeff’s most famous for coming up with the idea of adding acid buffering ingredients to creatine monohydrate to help ease the damage the stomach acids have on the creatine you consume. This novel idea has created a massive following of buffered creatine users all over the world! FacebookInstagram, YouTube  

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How Golden Age Bodybuilders Fueled with Food

The nutrition habits of Arnold and other famed Old-School bodybuilders

Many things have changed since I was a competitive bodybuilder training at Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach, California, back in the mid-to-late ‘80s. The sciences of training, supplementation, and even anabolics have come a long, long way.

However, the basic principles of dieting remain the same today. We all need carbs, proteins, and fats. If you want to lose weight, and more specifically body fat, you must burn more calories than you take in.

I’ve seen and tried many dieting methods over the years. Some of these diets became hugely popular, while others faded away as fast as they appeared. Regardless, I believe the basic dieting principles we followed back in the day were much healthier overall than what some athletes are doing now.

To me, all these new fad diets, unhealthy “health” foods, and grey-area supplements and drugs aren’t why Joe Weider created modern bodybuilding so many years ago. Back then, it was just as much about being healthy and fit as it was about looking good with solid muscle.

Most bodybuilders in the ’70s and ’80s not only had great shape and symmetry but also looked healthy … because they were! You’d rarely see an out-of-shape bodybuilder at any time of the year.

In the ‘70s, most bodybuilders followed a high-protein, lower carbohydrate, and moderate-fat diet. Yet, they ate pretty much whatever they wanted in the “off-season” to bulk up, only to later cut down at contest time.

You’d see prominent bodybuilders such as Arnold Schwarzenegger eating hamburger meat, steak, fish, eggs, cottage cheese, and whole raw milk on a contest diet. Carbs came from the dairy products along with a few potatoes and fruit.

Around that same time, Vince “The Iron Guru” Gironda introduced what he called the Maximum Definition Diet. This plan consisted of eating only steak and eggs for three to four days straight. Then, on the fourth or fifth day, one would consume a high-carbohydrate meal to restore glycogen stores. The following day, this cycle started all over again. Arnold and Franco used something very similar. However, they also added dairy products, such as raw milk, cheese, and cottage cheese.

As we progressed into the ‘80s, bodybuilders started following the same basic diet year-round; there wasn’t an “off-season” anymore. We tried to stay about 20 pounds away from our contest weight at all times. This way, if someone asked you to make an appearance or guest pose, you could be ready in as little as three to four weeks.

Here’s the diet protocol that always worked best for me: high protein, high carbs, and low fat. Between contests, I’d eat more carbs, but my protein always stayed the same, around 2 grams per pound of body weight. I’d typically eat fish, turkey, and chicken daily, and beef maybe once per week. We used to all meet for “Burger Night” at the Good Earth Restaurant.

One of the biggest “secret weapons” we used in that era was the addition of liver pill supplements. Believe it or not, I downed 100 of them daily! At contest time, I’d avoid red meat because of the higher fat content. I eliminated all fat, except what was found in my protein sources. At that time, we didn’t have protein powders, so it all came from solid foods. As a contest got closer, I’d only eat a white, low-fat fish, such as cod. Carbohydrates came from rice, potatoes, yams, sourdough bread, fruits, and veggies. This higher carb diet allowed us to continue training heavy, gain more muscle, and still have enough energy for cardio. Moreover, I always showed up shredded with maximum size and definition. We never complained about being on a contest diet. Why? Because we knew showtime was coming in 16 weeks. That would be our time to show the world what we’d been working so hard to build and sculpt. If you’d like to know more about my dieting methods, just send an email to Drj@allamph.com, and I will email you a free copy of my book, Dr. Jeff’s Contest Diet Secrets.
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