The bodybuilding diet plan of the 70s

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bodybuilding diet plan

What Would The Champions Eat In The 70s?

The bodybuilding diet plan of the champions such as Arnold, Sergio Oliva, Mike Mentzer and others was superb. That is why they could walk around 365 days a year without a bloated belly.

Back in the 70s, bodybuilding was less confusing. The process was pretty straightforward- focused muscle building workouts, whole-foods-based bodybuilding diet plan, and rest. This three-step model produced great champions such as the Austrian Oak Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mike Mentzer, the ‘Myth’ Sergio Oliva and more. Of course, these guys used muscle building supplements. But they used the supplements to ‘supplement’ their nutrition.

Read: When to take muscle building supplements and Which are the best bodybuilding supplements

Unlike most guys today, the old school bodybuilders used high volume training for mass as well.

Without a doubt, the bodybuilders of the 70s were more hard working and focused (no disrespect to modern lifters). They focused on core bodybuilding workout programs.  Nevertheless, let us talk about typical bodybuilder diet in the 1970s.

You Are What You Eat

A quick glance at a person can tell you if the person is eating right or not. In the 1970s, TV shows like ‘The Biggest Loser’ did not exist because obesity was not much a problem at that time. Today’s hectic lifestyles and growth of fast food chains have contributed to the obesity epidemic.

bodybuilding diet plan

High Protein And Low Carb

The bodybuilding diet plan  in the 70s was based on the principle of high protein and low carb. During those times, supplements were in their nascent stage. Liver pills and soy protein pretty much defined supplements. Bodybuilders would also add milk powder to milk to get more protein.

Hence, most bodybuilders relied on real foods. Here is the typical diet of the 1970s bodybuilding arena:

Meal TimeFoods
BreakfastBeef patty, eggs, cottage cheese and vitamins
LunchChicken/Fish/Beef patty, salad OR Tuna with salad
Mid afternoon snack Tuna/Chicken Breasts/Protein drink
DinnerSteak/Chicken, Salad, Cottage Cheese, Veggies
BedtimeCheese omelet

As you can see the protein came from meat, fish, eggs, and cottage cheese.  Fats also came from the eggs and cheese. Larry Scott and Don Howarth used Rheo supplements too. The bodybuiders would use the fats as energy in the gym. That is why cardio was less popular during those days. On Sundays, bodybuilders would be off the bodybuilding diet plan. They would gorge on cheesecakes, spaghetti, pizzas and other foods.

Fad diets such as the Atkin’s diet appeared in the 1970s. Some people fell prey to such diets, and compromised their core bodybuilding diet for Atkin’s diet. The biggest problem with such a diet is that though it can help you get lean and muscular in short time, it can make you bloated when you resume carb intake.


Weight training programs that emphasize on working the core muscles coupled with the right bodybuilding diet plan and plenty of the rest is the best way to build muscle. Muscle growth would not happen if you do not eat the right foods. There is no such thing as ‘shortcuts’ to gain muscle fast. Eat real foods. Use only the important supplements. Work hard and work smart in the gym. You do not build muscles in the gym; you grow muscles off the gym.

ImageCredit: Muscle&Fitness

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