Bodybuilding has grown tremendously as a sport over the past 30+ years with tons of new research, supplements and training styles emerging. Every day it seems like a new training program or diet plan seems to be released before disappearing into obscurity. Having said that, if you want to truly get an idea how to eat like a champion look no further than Arnold Schwarzenegger. You can’t argue with the guy’s success – he’s won one Olympia title after another and probably would have kept going had he not retired.

What’s interesting about Arnold’s diet is that it isn’t much different from what a lot of guys today are eating. That just goes to show that although the bodybuilding industry has exploded over the last few decades the principles that worked then are still valid now.  Check out some of Arnold’s favorite diet choices below.

Protein Intake

Arnold was a big meat eater. He would consume a variety of sources (including red meat) and tended to opt for animal sources when possible. He used to recommend that average people should eat at least 0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. Note that is way higher than what most government nutrition guides recommend, however more people are starting to wake up to the benefits of consuming higher protein. It fills you up, boosts your metabolism and provides your body with important nutrients. For bodybuilders he would recommend 1 gram per pound of bodyweight daily. That is pretty much what most bodybuilders today recommend, so not much has changed here.
Free Diet Plan
- Bulking/ Cutting Guidelines
- Supplements

Meal Frequency

Given the level of calories Arnold was consuming on a daily basis it was no surprise that he ate many meals every day and recommended others do the same. What many don’t know is that he would eat whole food sources as much as possible. He knew that foods that came from nature were far more nutritious than something developed in a lab. With the rising popularity of natural/organic foods clearly he was onto something. It’s quite common for bodybuilders to recommend eating whole foods rather than getting everything in supplement form.

Dietary Fat

Arnold did not hesitate from eating fats from sources like red meats and nuts. He knew that the nutrients they provided were vital for boosting testosterone production, metabolism and muscle growth. They are also much higher in calories than protein or carbohydrates making it easier to achieve a calorie surplus when on a bulk. While the bodybuilding community definitely went through an anti-fat phase, it seems like more people are waking up to the importance of healthy dietary fat.

Testosterone Levels

One thing that was very interesting about Arnold was that he was open about the fact that he used steroids. In fact, he said that everyone competing at that level was taking steroids and that it was impossible to compete for the Olympia without them. Most bodybuilders today won’t come forward and actually admit this as they don’t want to lose their supplement deals. As a result, you have a generation of bodybuilders who think they will get to be the size of Phil Heath while staying Natty.
We aren’t saying this to discourage you, only to recognize the importance that hormone levels play in building muscle. While we don’t recommend taking steroids given that they are illegal, dangerous and come with some nasty side effects, there are other options. Testosterone boosters will give you a similar effect as steroids without all the hassle. They use natural ingredients that are scientifically proven to boost testosterone production naturally. As a result, you get permanent, sustainable results without any side effects. 

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