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Eat To Grow: Mass-Packing Diet

Quality food and nutritious calories will pack on pounds of raw muscle

‘I want to get huge muscles,’ Charley said. ‘So how I can I train for them?’

‘You’re already training for them,’ I said. ‘You do lots of leg and back work, you train hard, you use heavy weights, and you work out regularly. Your training program is fine. Just keep adding weight to your exercises.’

‘But I’m not gaining fast enough,’ he protested.

‘Jeez, how fast do you want to gain?’ I asked. ‘You’re getting there. About the only thing you can do is examine your diet for deficiencies that are holding you back.’

‘Aw, my diet’s okay,’ he said.

‘What did you have for lunch?’ I asked.

‘A meatball sandwich,’ he answered.


‘A glass of water,’ he added with a smile. ‘A cool glass of water.’

‘Charley, that kind of eating is no good for anyone, let alone a weightlifter.’

‘But I had a big breakfast.’

‘What did you have?’ I asked.

‘A bowl of cereal and a glass of milk,’ he said proudly.

‘That’s real nice, Charley,’ I said. ‘My grandmother is pushing 78, and she eats a better breakfast than that.’

‘So what do you suggest?’

‘Eggs, whole milk, lean meats, thick soups, cheese, fish, poultry, whole-wheat bread, fresh vege’

‘Hold it, man!’ he shouted. ‘If I eat like that, I’ll have to get a part-time job just to feed myself.’

‘Nonsense,’ I said. ‘Just stop wasting money on junk food. Good food is cheaper.’ ‘How much better will I gain?’ he asked.

‘I can’t guarantee you anything,’ I said, ‘but if you eat like you’re supposed to, you could expect to pack on 20 to 40 pounds of muscle in six or seven months.’

He almost leaped into the air.

‘Wow!’ he yelled. ‘You mean all I have to do is eat a little more and I’ll gain 40 pounds?’

‘You’ll have to eat a heck of a lot more,’ I said.

‘I will. Just give me the diet.’

Here’s the menu I gave Charley:

1 glass fruit juice
2 large glasses whole milk (protein supplement added)
4 eggs, any style
2 slices whole-wheat bread with butter
6 strips bacon
1 serving fresh fruit

2 thick sandwiches (tuna, meat, cheese or peanut butter)
2 large glasses whole milk (protein supplement added)
1 serving macaroni salad
1 vitamin-and-mineral tablet
2 teaspoons wheat germ oil

1 huge bowl thick vegetable soup
1 large serving steak, chicken, fish or other meat dish
1 large fresh vegetable salad
2 large glasses whole milk (protein supplement added)
2 slices whole-wheat bread, buttered
Fresh fruit
1 liver-iron-vitamin B12 tablet

Late-evening snack
1 dish crackers with peanut butter
1 large glass whole milk (protein supplement added)

I want to add a warning at this point. Don’t attempt anything like that diet unless you’ve been working out for about eight months or so and unless you’re training very, very hard. With a program of heavy weight training’especially heavy leg and back work’that diet will transform you. Without the workouts you’ll turn into a blimp inside two months. If you’re not training all that hard, modify the basic plan so you get a good, balanced diet but not the tremendous amount of food listed. In other words, don’t eat like Hercules unless you’re training like Hercules.

After three weeks on the diet, Charley gained nine pounds. If you train very hard, you might do even better.

‘Bradley J. Steiner, Iron Man, January 1970

Editor’s note: Those concerned about saturated fat intake may want to eliminate certain foods from the diet, such as bacon. You could also substitute lowfat milk for whole milk. In addition, you may want to divide the breakfast and lunch into two meals each so you get food every three hours’six meals instead of four.

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