Recently I was gifted with yet another BIG box of old school magazines. Health & Strength, IronMan, Muscle Builder & Power.....
These magazines are gold and it's amazing how I find information from 40-60 years ago that are sometimes brought forward today as if someone invented them.
I honestly feel much of today's training is overly complex as is the nutrition. In turn, results are less even though information is more easily and readily available at the touch of a finger or via voice command.
Check these Videos, they are amazing!
The photos of Casey Viator, above, are from a 1971 magazine. I first saw these photos in 1989, when my parents bought me The High Intensity & SUPER High Intensity Books.
I would see these photos and be inspired to the point where I could barely fall asleep at night. I was already thinking about training the next day, I wanted to get to the gym and destroy the weights.
I wish I payed closer attention, seeing Viator was squatting 500+ lbs for 20+ reps.
I wish I learned these "old school" strength methods. In the late 80s and early 90s, it was a lot about appearance, largely because of Arnold and Sly dominating the Hollywood movie scene. Performance wasn't discussed much through training, it was mostly bodybuilding.
You had to get tough and figure things out on your own.
What's old is new!
Original Article from Strength & Health Magazine, Match 1968
Last summer a friend and I toured most of the States by car. My friend's name is Andy. He's not a lifter. Andy never lifts anything heavier than a knife and fork if he can help it. His hobby is eating.
We loaded up with Chinese food in Frisco and drove to L.A. It took us two days. Most people drive it in a day but Andy can't pass up a hamburger stand.
We stayed in Long Beach as the guests of some very nice people with a burning passion for roast beef sliced thick and baked potatoes smothered in sour cream. This is Andy's idea of a holiday. We went to Marineland one day, but Andy got hungry watching them feed the whale so we left and went downtown for pizza and beer.
We pointed the car east and ate our way through the central states. By the time we hit Mississippi I looked like King Farouk. Andy was never happier. He still thinks hush puppies and deep-fried catfish are a tourist attraction.
Andy becomes very philosophical and sympathetic towards his fellow man when he's well fed. We came out of a cafe in Alabama. There was an appliance store across the street with a sign in the window that read "Color Television."
Andy took the toothpick out of his mouth and looked suitably shocked. "Look at that," he said. "Even the TV's segregated."
We drove north through mountains of buttered yams and Kentucky fried chicken. We ran out of time in Indiana and headed home through the northern states. I'd gained 22 pounds and my belt was cutting me in half. Andy'd never had a better time in his life.
As soon as we got home I waddled into the gym and took a good look at myself in a full length mirror. The next day I started the definition diet. Three weeks later the flab was gone and I looked human again.
If you've been bulking up steadily, the chances are good that you've added some excess fat. Ninety-nine men out of a hundred accumulate a little lard during the building up process. It's a normal thing and nothing to worry about. The only problem is what to do about it.
As I explained last month, you can get rid of fat two ways. One, the old fashioned way, is to start a program of very high reps and follow a low calorie diet. You simply stave off the fat. The trouble with this method is that you also starve off a lot of muscle. It's not a satisfactory way to trim down.
The best way to trim down, the modern way, is to vary your training slightly and adopt very specialized eating habits. I call it the definition diet. It's a new concept in nutrition and we're going to talk more about it. Before we do, though, let's take a quick look at the route towards a championship physique.
It used to be thought that the best method of bodybuilding was simply to bulk up thirty pounds or so above what you hoped to eventually weigh in muscular condition, and then trim down once and for good. This concept proved faulty in two respects.
The first flaw was that some men simply couldn't bulk up that much without becoming pure fat men. The second flaw was that some of the men who did bulk up enough never succeeded in trimming down properly afterwards. They'd accumulated too much extra flab and they'd carried it too long. For a complex combination of physiological and psychological reasons they never did reach the appearance they wanted.
It's not known that the best way to build up is in a series of jumps. You don't just zoom up to your top body weight. Your increases should be in gradually ascending plateaus rather than in a straight climb.
Let's make that simpler.
If you want a herculean physique, you do it like this:
Keep increasing your body weight with bulk and power exercises until you start looking too soft and weight begins to accumulate on your waist and hips. At this point you should stop gaining weight for a while. Train back down ten pounds or so, or until you look hard again. You don't have to look like an anatomy chart, but get into fairly solid condition.
Now hold this reduced body weight for a month of two and work hard on your showy muscles, such as arms, pecs, deltoids and so on. After a couple of months you start bulking up again from your new base.
Never let your body accumulate too much fat. It's too hard and time consuming working it off again. Keep careful watch on your condition. As soon as your waist gets to the point where it's spoiling your appearance, work off the flab, sharpen your overall appearance, and then start bulking up again.
If you train this way, bulking up and then trimming down periodically, you'll make better progress in the long run and you'll end up with a much better physique. Your aim should be for a herculean body, not a fat one. Don't confuse muscle with blubber. You'll notice that even the big bodybuilders, like Park and Pearl, maintain some definition. Not as much, perhaps, as smaller men, but still enough to emphasize their muscular development.
Let's assume that you've bulked up to the point where your general appearance is smooth rather than defined, and your waist and hips are getting just a little too big for good proportions. If you've been training properly, most of you should be at this point by now.
What you're going to do is trim the extra weight off your waist and hips and cut your body weight until you look hard and solid all over. You won't reach a highly defined state, just looking solid is good enough at this point. You'll hold this solid look for about two months and then start bulking up again.
The key point to remember is that you don't want to lose weight all over. You certainly don't want to lose any muscle. All you want to do is trim your waist and hips. Any loss of fat off your arms and legs should be compensated for by increased muscle in those areas. The end result should be that your muscular measurements remain the same or increase slightly while your waist and hips reduce drastically.
If you do this properly, you can look for a revolutionary change in your appearance. You'll take on a polished, highly trained look. If you train hard and diet conscientiously your appearance will change practically from day to day. You'll improve more in two or three months than you would in two or three years of normal training. Do this several times and you'll own an outstanding physique.
Remember - this isn't the end of your bulking up. You'll start highly advanced bulk and power training again after you harden up. Each time you trim down to a solid condition you'll start up again from a greatly improved base. Each time you bulk up you'll be able to carry a lot more body weight without looking sloppy.
The hardening process, as I said earlier, will be accomplished by an altered training routine and the definition diet. We'll start with the diet.
The secret of the diet is this - eliminate carbohydrates. Not reduce them. Eliminate them. Eliminate them completely.
There are several diets around - the Air Force diet, the drinking man's diet, etc. - based on the idea of reducing your carbohydrate intake to 55 or 60 grams per day. I'm not talking about that. I mean eliminate carbohydrates completely while you're on the diet.
You don't cut calories. You don't even count them. You don't restrict the amount of food you eat. You simply don't eat any carbohydrates at all.
So much for what you don't eat. Let's talk now about what you do eat.
You can eat beef. All you want. Steaks, roasts, hamburger, boiled, fried, chipped, dried, corned, raw if you like it that way, short ribs, sweetbreads, tongue, tripe. Any kind of beef you like and as much as you want.
You can eat pork. Chops roast, sausage, ham, bacon, spareribs. Eat all you want.
You can eat poultry. Chicken, turkey, goose, pheasant, duck. Fry it, roast it, any way you like it.
You can eat most seafood. Salmon, fresh or canned. Catfish, codfish, flounder, halibut, haddock, pickerel, mackerel, tuna, herring, perch, shad, sturgeon. trout. Clams, lobster, crab, shrimp, mussels. Squid, if you can gag it down.
You can eat lamb if you want. Or veal if you like it. Butter, eggs, bulk cheese. Frog legs if they appeal to you. Caviar, if you can afford it.
You can eat rabbit, mutton, unsaturated oils, and black tea or coffee.
As you can see, the foods without carbohydrates, with the exception of the tea and coffee, are mostly protein and highly nutritious. They're also fairly high in calories. You'll stay well nourished on the definition diet. Your energy level will stay high and there'll be none of the discomforts that go with a straight low calorie diet.
Some people find the diet a bit monotonous after a while. That's something you'll just have to put up with. Actually, if you're imaginative enough, the diet can be quite varied and very satisfying.
Let me give you some sample menus:
Breakfast - Ham or bacon: All you want. Eggs: As many as you like, boiled, fried, poached, scrambled, it doesn't matter.
Lunch - Alaska black cod: Boiled. Pour melted butter over it and eat all you want. Black tea.
Supper - Steamed clams: Drink the nectar and eat as many as you like. Steak: The biggest one you can afford with a side order of spareribs. Bulk cheese. Black coffee.
Remember that condiments and sauces are classed here as carbohydrates.
Don't eat between meals. Eat enough at mealtime and you won't have to.
You don't have to eat the most expensive cuts of meat. The cheaper cuts re just as good. Play around with various combinations of food. You should be able to come up with enough interesting meals to keep boredom from setting in.
Take protein, vitamin-mineral, some form of wheat germ oil, and supplements. Get the best quality you can afford. You'll find enough variety in the supplements listed in this magazine to fill the bill quite nicely.
Don't fudge on the supplements. They're very important. Take the protein in the recommended amounts. Take the vitamin-mineral and the oil in three times the recommended amounts.
The carbohydrate free diet, like running, is a new wrinkle among weight trainees. It's now widely known yet. Don't waste any time getting on the bandwagon. Start the diet tomorrow and see the results for yourself.
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Live The Code 365,
Peter Bolsius says
Great article Zach. I have an old set of Strength & Health from the 40s and 50s. They are great. Long before the time of “chemical assistance”. The physiques are just different. Some of the best gains I ever made as a teenager and into my mid 20s (I’m now 55) were from the old John McCallum articles. Simple, brutal, working on the basics. Keep up the good work.
Zach Even - Esh says
Peter, how many young Strength Coaches have NO clue who John McCallum is!
They have never read those old magazines and books, which are GOLDEN!!!!