(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
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."