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    Home > PreContest > Diets > The History of Bodybuilding Diets

    Bodybuilding has been around for quite sometime now...and man has it come a long way! There have been many diets over time the great ones have used to achieve maximum results and peak there bodies for competition. Over the years, bodybuilders have gotten bigger and stronger, trained harder and dieted stricter...what has changed? Let's find out.

    Bodybuilding Diets Popularized Over the Years
    In America at the turn of the 19th century, a considerable shift in diet was experienced due to the increase in a technology new at the time: processed foods. Those who promoted health and strength advised moderation in all things and eating less processed foods, going back to more unprocessed, natural foods. At this time, more people were moving from farms and into cities. The health problems from lack of enough exercise and improper diet were just beginning to be realized. The "strongmen" of the time made their living based on the amount of weight they could lift and the stunts they could perform, not on the quality and beauty of their physiques. This is unlike today's competitions, where the more symetrically, well-developed, ripped and striated the physique is all over, the better. The resulting beer-drinking, pot-bellied European strongmen of this era were beefy and round. Physical culturalists of the time were searching for a body that more closely resembled symetry and beauty, much like the ancient Greek statues.

    It is not the horse that draws the cart, but the oats.
    -Russian Proverb
    In the mid-'70s, Bill Pearl observed some pretty awesome protein consumption. Some bodybuilders he knew consumed 32 eggs a day, 15 minute steaks, 3 or 4 heaping platters of chicken, mounds of cottage cheese, and a quart of ice cream. Pearl's advice: "I don't beleive extremes like this are necessary (or healthy). You don't need a radical diet just because you are lifting weights. Eating a sensible, well-balanced diet and paying some attention to the latest developments in nutritional supplementation are the keys to good health and nutritional soundness, whatever your activities."

    Over the many years of bodybuilding, and contests there has been two main types of pre-contest dieting. The low carbohydrate diet, which consists of reducing or eliminating most carbohydrate foods from your diet and replacing them with high amounts of protein. This idea became very popular in the 1950ís and 1960ís, and the low-carb diet was almost the diet for all bodybuilders including the three time Mr. Olympia winner Frank Zane. The Low Carb diet has again become popular for more than just bodybuilders thanks to Dr. Atkins. Many bodybuilders perform some sort of carb-depletion to get ripped before a contest to achieve the massive muscularity and extremely low body fat necessary to win.

    The other popular diet for bodybuilders was the low-fat/low-calorie diet, which began to get popular in the 1970ís. This diet consists of cutting your calorie intake while limiting your fat consumption. This type of dieting has also been popular with the Mr. Olympia contestants, such as Lee Haney, record-setting Mr. Olympia winner. He keeps his calories at a low all year of about 4,000 or less per day, then gradually reduces those calories as well while preparing for contests.

    Many favorite supplements added to the diets of bodybuilders help to maximize results in the least amount of time, evening the odds against competitors. Some of the most popular include: creatine, low carb protein powders, thermogenics, prohormones, and tanning supplies.

    Much more info coming soon!

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