09 August 2011

Can't Gain Weight? Guess What- You're Doing It Wrong #1

There is nothing new under the sun, without question, and nowhere is that adage more often reaffirmed than the typical physical culture message board.  Therein, you'll find endless pleas for help with programming, in spite of the fact that the program contained therein appears to have been pulled from the previous 43,000 entries with EXACTLY the same fucking insipid details.  Additionally, you will find scads of vehemently defended accounts of one man's futile attempts to gain weight, followed by assertions that the only way they'd be able to gain weight is through use of dreaded, illegal, immoral, and possibly deadly anabolic substances.  These posts are as frequent as they are hackneyed, and match the veracity of an obese woman's claims that "she barely eats."  Just as the fatties have convincing evidence supporting the idea that they are wildly under-reporting their food intake ("the median energy intake for obese men and overweight and obese women [in all studies] was below that required even for minimal sedentary activity"(Jones)), I'm convinced that  these hapless 135 lb assholes spinning their wheels in the gym are either the victims of a massive conspiracy by the US government to infect our nation's youth with tapeworms or they're lying motherfuckers.  Given that their overweight counterparts are lying through their bloated, fat-encrusted, and probably unwashed teeth, I'm going to go with the latter.
This blog suffers from a paucity of Ava Cowan pics, and I intend to rectify that situation, no matter how little she has to do with the subject at hand.

I've already covered my methods for bulking without becoming terrifically fat, which can be found here, here, and here, but I think it's high time we investigated the diets of strength athletes who have gotten right the fuck after it in terms of bulking throughout history.  With the exception of Dave Tate, who outlines JM Blakely's take on bulking (which seems representative of the powerlifting community as a whole), the following lifters all competed in the pre-steroid era, to forestall whining out of the spindly fuckers who are forever contending that weight gain can only be made by those who use gear.  Thus, without further ado, I give you:
Arthur Saxon

Vital Statistics
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 200 lbs.
Chest: 49"
Biceps: 17 1/8"
Forearm: 14 3/4"
Thigh: 24"
Calf: 16 3/4"
Bent Press: 371 lbs.
Two Hands Anyhow: 448 lbs.
Clean and Press: 342 lbs.

Of all of the guys on whom I've blogged, Saxon has got to be my favorite.  A consummate maniac, this guy lifted big, lived bigger, and ate even bigger than that.  Given the fact that the guy topped out at 200 lbs, you'd expect the following to be a giant bag of bullshit and historical revisionism.  It is, however, straight from the proverbial mouth of a friend of Saxon's teammate.  The following are direct quotes about what the Saxon Trio (Arthur was the most famous and distinguished lifter in a competitive team) ate.
  • "For breakfast they ate 24 eggs and 3 pounds of smoked bacon; porridge with cream, honey, marmalade and tea with plenty of sugar. At three o'clock they had dinner: ten pounds of meat was consumed with vegetables (but not much potatoes); sweet fruits, raw or cooked, sweet cakes, salads, sweet puddings, cocoa and whipped cream and very sweet tea. Supper, after the show, they had cold meat, smoked fish, much butter, cheese and beer. Following this they had a chat and at one o'clock went to bed."
  • "The Saxons did have a "health drink" which I presume they concocted themselves. The ingredients were dark lager beer (or Dublin stout) mixed with Holland gin, the yolk of an egg and plenty of sugar. "It is a very good but strong drink" was the Saxon opinion, "but, if you are not used to it you will get dizzy very quickly." It seems to me that one would have to be a very strong man in the first place, in order to drink it." 
  • "Later, in England, as performers, Hermann and Kurt were partial to sweet foods and sugar. They tried very hard to gain weight but in spite of sweets and a terrific appetite, sometimes consuming one pound of butter between them, they failed to gain weight; sometimes only a few pounds which they could not hold. Arthur, the oldest, did not care for sweets and butter; even as a child he did not care for butter. Instead of butter he would use the lard from pork."
  • "Their three o'clock dinner consisted mostly of roasted or fried meat, beef, pork or veal, not much potatoes, plenty of salads with oil just as in their childhood. Sometimes they had vegetables, but always lean meat. Every day they had pudding-yorkshire, rice, sago, etc., but very sweet. Then there was always raw or cooked fruits and nothing to drink. Sometimes, on one day during the week, they roasted poultry, goose, chicken, or turkey."
  • "One day during the week they had fried or boiled fish, plenty of butter and toast but no potatoes. At six o'clock they had "tea"-this was mostly raw minced meat with raw onions, German bread and plenty of butter; sometimes sweet cakes and coffee were substituted."
  • "Their late supper included herrings (when they could get them) and eaten in the same manner they had become accustomed to in childhood. The herrings were sometimes used in salad form; they made their own mayonnaise with raw whipped eggs and oil. There never was any whisky or brandy at home. Even as children they did not care for milk and as men they developed no taste for it. At "tea" time they very often had whipped cream. They did not care for boiled eggs, instead, they went big for poached eggs with plenty of butter."(Gadreau)
That, my friends, is fucking eating.  Saxon was never fat on this diet, which would tend to lead one to believe that the more you lift (the Saxon Trio spent 4-6 hours a day training with near limit poundages) the more you need to eat.  Additionally, I'll go out on a limb and suggest that at least part of the reason for the Saxons' legendary strength was their heavy utilization of foods heavy in saturated fats, which are positively correlated with endogenous testosterone levels (Volek)

Louis Cyr

Vital Statistics
Height: 5'8.5
Weight: 320
Neck - 20"/50.8cm
Biceps - 20"/51.5cm
Forearms - 16.3"/41.4cm
Chest (normal) - 55.2"/140.2cm
Waist - 47.4"/120.4cm
Thighs - 28.5"/72.4cm
Calves - 19.3"/49cm
Ready and waiting, ladies.

As you'd expect out of a guy with a waist damn near as big around as his chest, Cyr was a gluttonous motherfucker.  Piggish as he was, however, he was one of the strongest human beings to ever walk the Earth.  Cyr's lifts are the stuff of legend- Cyr one-arm jerk pressed 273.5 lbs with a thick-handled dumbbell, "resisted the pull of four draught horses, two each side, pulling away at his clenched hands, regardless of grooms cracking their whips to encourage the horses to pull harder and strain their haunches", and did a back lift with 4,000+ pounds.(Gentle)

His appetite was even more legendary than his lifts, however, as I think even the freakish Japanese eating champs would have trouble eating like Cyr.  According to George Jowett, "He could eat more than four ordinary men at one sitting, and took a keen delight watching the amazement creep over the waiter's face when he turned in his order at the hotel.  Six pounds of meat at one meal was nothing for him.  He could devour that for breakfast.... Many a gourmand has gone away wiser in head and lighter in pocket after a meat-and-potato contest with the giant Louis."(111)  "One time [Louis and Barre] had an eating match to be decided by which could devour a twenty-two pound suckling pig the quickest, and they say that Louis was done when Horace was little more than halfway through."(134)  It's that kind of eating that fuels a big body, rather than the ridiculous bodybuilder-style chicken and rice fests that comprise the best of the scrawny-lifters' bleating about their inability to gain weight.
Doug Hepburn
Vital Statistics
Height: 5'8
Weight: 300
Hepburn's diet relied on two cornerstones: milk and eggs.  This is fairly unsurprising given that he was a Hoffman product, and Bob Hoffman was one of the progenitors of milk and egg protein supplements.  What was surprising, however, was the amount of food Hepburn ate- as a young lifter, at every meal, he ate 18 eggs, a bunch of bananas, and a half gallon of milk. This amounts to a total of 540 grams of protein, which increased as his bodyweight increased.  (Katterle)  Later in life, he continued to eat in such a manner as to make the dead fat guy from Se7en look like he was a light snacker, and would eat 6-8 eggs with every meal, a "normal portion of meat", and wash it all down with a shitload of milk 4-5 times a day.  Additionally, Hepburn consumed massive quantities of protein supplements and vitamins, and "consumed as much as three imperial quarts during a two-hour workout."(Kiiha)  Thus, he was drinking well over a gallon of milk a day, in addition to a couple of dozen eggs as a supplement to his regular food intake.

Think you eat a lot?  Doug Hepburn would think you were a lying sack of shit, if he wasn't so dead.  
Hermann Goerner
Vital Statistics
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 264-293
Neck: 20"
Expanded Chest: 52.5"
Biceps: 18.75"
Forearms: 17"
Waist: 38"
Thighs: 27"

Another one of my all-time favorites, Goerner was pretty much a gigantic version of Arthur Saxon, with the addition of war hero status, elephant-wrestling, and a Hitler mustache.  I blogged about him here, and consider him to be one of the single coolest people to have ever lived.  Like the rest of these guys, Goerner ate protein first, most, and with a motherfucking vengeance.  In stark contrast to Hepburn, Goerner eschewed milk products for meat, which he ate in any form he could find it.  According to his best friend, who followed him around like a stenographer would follow a particularly self-absorbed potentate, "Goerner is firmly convinced that a mixed diet is the best for a strong man, with emphasis laid on eating good meals with the accent on meat!  He particularly partial to pork and beef and also wurst- German sausagemeat.  Vegetables also, together with potatoes, but not overdoing the latter.  He is very fond of nuts- particularly walnuts- and all fruits: apples especially, which he thinks every strongman should eat, as well as oranges and other citrus fruits.  Cheese and eggs also figure into his diet, but he does not care for rich pastries nor does he drink milk in any quantity."(Mueller 108-9)  Utilizing that paleo-esque diet, Goerner hit an all time bodyweight high of 293, and remained fairly lean while doing so.  The key to his weight gain was quantity, as he would spend a couple of hours in the bar attached to his gym eating sausage and drinking beer after every workout.
Clearly, Goerner lived the fucking life.

In the next installment of this series, we'll cover a couple other examples and take a look at the constant theme running through the workouts of these beasts.  Additionally, I'll continue to mock the ever-loving shit out of people you probably know, deride their clearly inferior intellects, and possibly piss on their grandfathers' graves.

     Anderson, Paul. Diet and Nutrition.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2008/06/nutrition-paul-anderson.html
     Gaudreau, Leo.  THE SAXON TRIO: What they ate & how they trained.  From Muscle Power Magazine, courtesy of Joe Weider.  http://www.bobwhelan.com/history/saxontrio.html
     Gentle, David.  Louis Cyr: Strongest Man Who Ever Lived.  http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/Competition/Cyr/cyr-biog.htm
      Jones, Glenn.  Obesity and misreported food intake.  Harmonizing Health and Economics.  2009.  http://ihea2009.abstractbook.org/presentation/340/
     Jowett, George.  The Strongest Man That Ever Lived.  Philadelphia: Milo Publishing Company, 1927.  http://www.sandowplus.co.uk/Competition/Cyr/The%20Strongest%20Man%20That%20Ever%20Lived/album/index.html
     Katterle, Sean. Doug Hepburn's Raw Strength. http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2009/02/doug-hepburns-raw-strength-sean.html
     Kiiha, Osmo.  Doug Ivan Hepburn.  http://www.bobwhelan.com/history/hepburn.html
     Mueller, Edgar.  Goerner the Mighty. Leeds, 1951.
     Volek JS, Kraemer WJ, Bush JA, Incledon T, Boetes M. Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol 1997;82:49-54.


  1. those tits look real. tell the ladies what those chicks eat.

  2. Given that they're models, I'm betting their diet consists of cocaine.

  3. According to a celebrity gossip mag, Lucy Pinder lost weight by cutting out drinking. She's the one on the right who's in half my blogs.

    I'm still, however, resting on my original answer.

  4. I like coked up women.
    They're usually down to make split second decisions that deal with sexual deviance.

  5. Since starting training with bodyweight as a skinny BJJ kid, I've put on about 35 pounds. I've noticed that I can stay in one place for a while as far as bodyweight in times of duress, but I only make jumps when I can eat as much as possible and have enough time to train a lot.

  6. Eat big lift big, repeat ad nauseam correct? Best diet advice ever, you should market it and make millions...

  7. good shit, point dumb motherfuckers to this article.

  8. Pinder's on the left, not the right. She's from my town, hopefully one day I'll bump into her down a dark alley-way.

  9. You are correct, and that would be the single greatest chance encounter of all time.

  10. What about cocaine and lots of food? That would be one motherf*cker of a diet plan!

  11. I believe that's called the "Official WWE Diet." Google "Chris Benoit" for more information.

  12. WWE diet isn't complete without massive amounts of painkillers.

  13. Speaking of which, I could use some painkillers right now.

  14. I want to go on an LSD diet.
    Look for me on Broad Street in Philadelphia reenacting all of The Ultimate Warrior's pre-match rants.
    I'll be next to the Black Israelites.

  15. Somebody please follow the JM Blakely diet and please keep a log. Blood work a must.

  16. This article was good, but so far Hepburn and Cyr comprise half your examples and the poof-cats that ask for new programs will almost all be skinny cunts with shoulders narrower than Cyr's head who are still somehow afraid of getting fat.

  17. I wish I could find some information on Konstantinov's diet. I'm sure he eats huge amounts, as he claims to be "naturally skinny" and to fight for every pound. It would be interesting to know what someone who is "naturally skinny" has to eat to become Zangief from Street Fighter.
    (side note, yet another every workout squatter)

  18. I'm on the hipster diet. I eat anything with fake glasses, skinny jeans and bullshit attitude.

    It was great for a while; sprinting them down and tackling them from their fixies makes for a fun, active day with the kids.

    Then again, those cunts have the macro brakdown of a snickers bar and are easy to overeat on...

    So yeah, I got fat and need more of real diet now.

  19. Did someone say hipsters?