Thursday, February 19, 2009

Reg Park's Diet for a Classic Physique!

(Photo Above: Steve Reeves on the left, Reg Park on the right)

In the Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (the 1940s and 50s), the approach to diet was much simpler than today. The CPB Champs simply ate a high protein diet consisting of what they considered to be "nutritious, wholesome foods." So basically the diet was meat (all kinds), dairy (whether cow-based or goat-based), eggs, fruits, vegetables (in salads or cooked), nuts, and a bit of whole-grain cereals & bread (starchy foods were used sparingly).

The quantity of food varied depending on the individual. For example, Steve Reeves (see previous post - click on label "Classic Physique Diet") seems to have eaten a smaller quantity of food than Reg Park, even though they were of similar height and weight. But that makes sense since everyone's metabolism and activity levels are a bit different. The bottom line is that the CPB champs, through trial and error, figured out the quantity of food that was necessary to achieve their goals (of either gaining mass or increasing definition).

Here is some info on Reg Park's diet:

A Sample Daily Menu:

Breakfast: A glass of fresh orange juiceFruit: paw-paw (papaya) & banana,
Cooked Oatmeal (large soup plate full) with full cream/whole milk & fresh cream
A plate of bacon, eggs, tomato and toast
A couple of cups of tea

Lunch: Large bowl of soup (tomato, pea, minestrone etc.) with rye bread
Cooked vegetables
Beef steak
A couple of cups of tea with some chocolate
Also wine or milk stout(like Guiness)

Supper: Same as lunch.

(Reg would consume Milk stout/Guiness as an aid when he needed to gain weight)

In an interview with Reg by Osmo Kiiha, Reg was asked about his diet:"What type of diet did you follow?

Reg: I liked to eat like a king, but only food that was good for me. I ate prodigious amounts of food during the day, but adhered to a very balanced diet with everything in proper proportions. My favorite food is steak, which I sometimes eat twice a day. I also like salads, orange juice and wine. I have a wine cellar in my home. I also have used protein supplements and take vitamin and mineral tablets.

In an article in "Iron Man Magazine, Earle Liedeman wrote the following about Reg Park: "Reg Park of England wins a good second to Mac Batchelor with his speed. Once, when dining with Reg, he gargled three large plates of vegetable soup, then gulped chucks from his extra large and thick steak without his teeth sinking into the meat once, apparently, next stuffed many side dishes of vegetables into his ever open mouth and these include an extra large pair of baked potatoes, a huge bowl of salad, three glasses of milk and the last, the piece de resistance, a big dish of ice cream with cake. And all this, mind you, in about ten minutes. Gee! I've seen hungry bloodhounds gobble down food, but Reg Park wins a can of fried grasshoppers as second place for amount, and first place for speed."

So there you have it, another glimpse into the Golden Age nutrition of the CPB Champs! What can you learn from this for your classic physique building endeavors?

1) Eat a balanced, high protein diet of meats (all kinds), eggs, dairy (either cow-based or goat-based), vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grain breads and cereals (use sparingly).
(2) Use a 3 meal a day plan with/or without snacks in-between - depending on your goal of either gaining mass (with snacks)or losing weight (without snacks).
(3) Protein and vitamin supplements can be helpful.
(4) Adjust the quantity of food to achieve your goals (you may need to eat more for gaining mass or less if trying to lose body fat) - everyone is different, so follow the classic Greek advise to "know thyself."
(5) Remember that proper diet is as important as proper training and proper rest (but all three must be done together in order to achieve your goals).
(6) Avoid all junk (processed food, refined sugar, candies, cakes, pastries, soft drinks, etc) that does not contribute valuable nutrients to "building up the body."



Ibrahim said...

Yeah that´s nice.
This is what i want to see.
Nice "forgotten" diet plans of CPB´s.
I think you know Bradley J. Steiner.
I want to post a workout which he recommended:
# Warm-up - 1 x 20

# Squat - 5 x 5

# Bench press - 5 x 5

# Stiff-leg dead lift - 5 x 5

# Bent-over rowing - 5 x 5

# Press behind neck - 5 x 5

# Leg raises 1 x 25

I wish i that i had a email than i would send you the whole article .

Thanks for your effort!!!

- CPB - said...

Hi Ibrahim,

Thanks for the comment!

The 5x5 routine you gave is similar to Reg Park's 5x5 routines and also to Joe Weider's "Bulk Principle" of using high volume sets with low reps as an advanced "mass gaining" technique.

All the best,


Anonymous said...

hi just like to say firstly great site ;-)
now excuse my ignorance but what happens if you're eating the wrong kinds of carbs? e.g white bread, white rice etc..
will you still make gains?
I would love to know because no matter how hard i try i just can't force the brown rice or bread down my neck.


- CPB - said...

Hi Anonymous,

Well...bread and rice weren't really a big part of the basic, high-protein diet of the pre-roid, Golden Age. So a piece of a white-type of bread and some white rice occassionally isn't going to kill you or stop you from making gains.

However, there are some things to consider. From a health standpoint, whole grain bread and rice is better for three basic reasons: (1) they contain more fiber - which you need,(2) they contain more vitamins in their natural form, and (3) they contain less chemicals, artificial flavors, preservatives, etc (especially if you eat organic bread) - which are generally not that great for you.

Regarding carbs and fiber, when you eat a whole grain bread, for example, the accompanying nutritional info may say that a slice contains 15 grams of carbs. A similarly-sized piece of white bread might also contain 15 grams of carbs. However, if you look closer, you find that for the whole grain bread, 4 of those grams of carbs are in the form of fiber. Now, your body needs fiber to keep healthy. However, your body doesn't digest fiber, so you can subtract the amount of undigestable fiber from the carb total to get the net carbs. In this case the net carb for the slice of whole grain bread would be 15 - 7 = 8 grams (of net carbs). The piece of white bread (because it is processed) would contain no fiber at all. So your body would get the full 15 grams of carbs.

For those who are reducing or working for classic definition, carb intake can be an important consideration. So this is another aspect to consider when comparing whole grain bread with white, processed bread. There are other reasons why whole grains are better than white or processed foods, but perhaps others can comment on them.

There are all kinds of whole grain breads which taste great! So don't give up! You ought to be able find one that you like.

All the best,

CPB (Anthony)

Anonymous said...

great picture of Reeves and Parks, but should illustrate that looking at this picture that Reeves mi-section wasn't 29 inches as he claimed, maybe 32 inches - just compare his with Reg's waist not alot of difference- they still looked great BUT not a 29inch waist!!??

- CPB - said...

Hi Anonymous,

Remember that Steve said that 29 inches was his all time "best" measurement (I don't know if I mentioned this before). So I don't think we should take it that he maintained that measurement all the time.

In any case, whether 29 or 32, at 6ft 1 in., it looked great in any case! And he had an incredible V-taper!

The bottom line is "look." If you look great, the actual numbers or measurement aren't really that important - no one will chase you around with a tape measure in any case!

Measurements are more important for us in the beginning to give us some targets and teach us about classic symmetry.

All the best,

CPB (Anthony)

Johnny G said...

looks to me, 3 square meal a day - none of this 6 or 7 times a day eating - keep it simple was the Golden Rule