02 July 2018

Fuck Buying Weight Gainers- Bulking Shakes Of The Golden Age

In the aftermath of my run of articles about brobdingnagian badasses from the era of surf rock (if listening to that dogshit was the key to a 500lb bench I'd stop doing the fucking lift altogether) I've received a steady stream of inquiries for more details on their diets, programs, and gainer shakes in particular.  Though I've covered some of the shakes here and here, it seemed worth digging a bit deeper into the subject, because if there is any bigger, Santa Claus-sized back of baby back bullshit than the commercial weight gain shake in the supplement industry, I have no idea what it is.  Commercial weight gainers are nothing more than overpriced whey mixed with sugar, and all that is going to get you is fat and bloated enough that you'll look like you're prepping to slap on some blackface and rock out with your cock (or lady cock) out in Medea's Family Gets Diabetes Again.  I realize that the foregoing sentence presumes you're white, but given the fact that Wayne Brady is far more thuggish than the couple of black dudes I know who read this site, they'd likely have to slap on a few coats of tanner and megadose Melanotan 2 for an entire summer while watching Boyz in the Hood on repeat to be black enough to receive a ghetto pass.  I'm not saying they're Carlton from Fresh Prince-style white, but they would have to be wearing iced fronts and holding a goblet of Purple Drank to even be street enough to make it into a Kid n' Play movie.

New Line damn near made Freddy vs Jason vs Kid n' Play, which would have been the greatest cinematic achievement in history.  

The demographics of my audience aside, my hatred of commercially-produced weight gain shakes and recent interest in 1950's and 60's strength training luminaries has produced an answer for those of you who want to pack on the mass without resorting to eating McDonald's and hot dogs all the live-long day- old school weight gain protein shake recipes.  These recipes will be off-putting at first to great many of you due to their insanely high calories and fat content, but there is a very thoughtful method to the weight gaining madness of Golden Age of bodybuilding and prehistoric era of powerlifting.

Contrary to the assertion of every douche who's ever pushed up on a girl while she's trying to lift, cum is not a good source of protein and thus would not qualify as a post-workout shake or a Rheo Blair-style "protein pudding."

The recipes of this era focus on a caloric balance between fat and protein, which protein powder pioneer Rheo H. Blair considered essential.  Blair was the first real phenom in the supplement industry, using himself and other test subjects for experimental trials training in his state-of-the-art facility and protein meal/shake.  Blair himself referred to it as protein pudding due to its thickness, and his own progress in the gym and testimonials from his trial subjects set the lifting world afire like a seaman's dick after shore leave in the Philippines. 

Don Howorth looking big as fuck at 51, with Vince Gironda.  

Hoffman and others followed right on Blair's heels with protein shakes of their own, but where Blair's drink was a surprisingly modern and tasty milk and egg blend, the rest of the proteins on the market were foul tasting, man titty bestowing soy.  Nevertheless, everyone in the lifting scene started chugging shakes and swore up and down by them.  Everyone from legendary weightlifter Paul Anderson to bodybuilding phenom Don Howorth to super saiyan bodybuilding trainer Vince Gironda to Bruce motherfucking Lee were downing shakes like Japanese weirdos eating the ass cheeks off of Dutch students, and all of them credited the shakes with helping them pack on mass and build strength.

"We would mix the powder with heavy thick cream, half & half, throw some ice cubes in it, mix it so it was like a pudding and eat, not drink it. It was delicious. We would eat this throughout the day eating perhaps 4-5 servings per day.  The idea was to keep our bodies filled with protein all day long."
"Once I started [supplementing like this], I blew up. Gained tremendous size without gaining bulk. My waist stayed the same. This freaked me out. I still had good definition"
- Larry Scott, who used four pounds of Rheo Blair's protein every eight days while training for his 1966 Mr. Olympia win (Wayne).

No matter which powder was being being used, the consensus was that protein shakes should be calorie dense as a fucking neutron star and made with either store-bought half and half or (preferably) a homemade mix of half cream and half milk.  As Rheo H. Blair said himself, 
"The preferred liquid for mixing the protein is half-and-half, and for a good reason. Nature seems to indicate that protein and fat should be taken in even balance. Milk with 3% protein is balanced with an equal amount of fat. Likewise eggs, meat, etc."
"By mixing the protein [powder] with half whole milk and half heavy cream, we restore some of the fat removed during processing, and we achieve a product more normally balanced as to proportions of protein and fat … One may use the protein in pure cream, with no milk at all! (Blair).
That's about how appetizing I find low fat bodybuilding diets.

I'll admit that when I read this when coming up I was beyond dubious, having been raised in the fat-phobic 1980's and 1990's and weaned on bodybuilding mags touting the tired-ass and ultimately counter-productive chicken breast/broccoli/rice diet that was all the rage in those days.  As such, i used a small amount of skim milk and left a lot of gains on the table.  in the years when i was keto I left even more gains on the table by failing to sacrifice a little in the way of carbs for gaining the anabolic benefit of half and half, so I continued fucking up.  Now that I'm older and wiser, I'm using half and half and 2% in my shakes and growing like never before.  I'm generally loathe to give this kind of personal anecdote because for some reason I think that it diminishes my academic credentials in ways that apparently hardcore porn and gore don't (it's logical if you're a borderline sociopath).  And if my personal experience is uncompelling, consider the following:

  • Lower fat diets are not nearly as anabolic as moderate to high fat diets because a reduction in dietary fat invariably leads to a decrease androstenedione, testosterone and free testosterone (Hämäläinen).
  • Increasing the dietary fat intake of athletes to 42% has a crazy effect on both your immune system and your exercise endurance.  You'll spend less time sick and a hell of a lot more time in the gym or pushing the sled, because it "improves endurance exercise performance at 60-80% of VO2max in cyclists, soldiers, and runners" (Venkatraman).
  • Diets with insufficient fat and protein fully fuck strength athletes and heavy weight trainers, because that kind of diet destroys your serum T and free testosterone (Sallinen).

Finally, Vince Gironda himself had this to add:
"A word to those who do not understand cholesterol:  Exercise is the very best fat emulsifier known, because man still reacts to stress (which is the primary cause of cholesterol overproduction) as he did when in a primitive state. Cholesterol calls for action (Fight or Flight). Cholesterol prepares you in case of injury (stops bleeding if you are cut, or protects a rupture of veins).  Also, a little known fact is that the body manufactures more cholesterol that you can possibly eat. The body reduces cholesterol output - or produces more - depending on how much of it you ingest.  Fats and oils are fat emulsifiers themselves (lepotropics).  So, who started the misconception that fats and oils cause unnatural cholesterol levels?  As a matter of fact, if you study this problem you will find it is a substance known as tri-glyceride that is the culprit" (Gironda).
Actor Bill Smith was also put on to Rheo Blair's insanely effective shakes and became the Arnold before there was Arnold.

As to consuming them, Blair was surprisingly adamant that his protein shakes be sipped or slowly eaten as pudding- never, ever chugged.  This is an anathema to me- I would no sooner sip a protein shake than I would a shot of tequila.  The entire idea seems weirdly perverse, yet guys in the 60's and 70's swore up and down that this method was the way to go.
"The way you get this protein mixture into the stomach is important. Mistakes at this point can spell disappointing results. The protein drink is never to be gulped. It is to be sipped slowly. Some persons should take at least 30 minutes to get the glassful swallowed. 
The same goes for milk, which ought always to be sipped slowly, taking fifteen minutes to sip a glassful. To make it easier, use a straw and pinch the end together. This puts milk into the stomach at the same rate a baby does, and that is the best way. 
Now, we don't suggest sitting and looking at the drink for thirty minutes! Sip it slowly while you keep busy at other things like getting ready in the morning, working, studying, working out, etc. 
You might do as Don Howorth does. First thing in the morning he would mix or pour the protein drink and start sipping. Then he'd shower and sip some more. After shaving, some more. After thirty minutes or so he's ready to sip the last and start the day's work. 
This slow sipping is important. Many people I meet do not have the ability to digest foods as efficiently or to metabolize them as readily as they should. Putting foods into the stomach slowly helps to handle them more efficiently" (Blair).
It likely won't come as a shock that of the 1973 Gold's Gym competitors, Arnold, Franco, Ken Waller, and Ric Drasin were all huge proponents of Rheo Blair's supplements and methods.

Having explained the whys and the wherefores of these badass bulking shakes, here are a couple of old school recipes you can use to pack on some mass and start moving some weight.

Blair's Creamy Delicious
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 cup lowfat milk
  • 3 scoops of protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs (drop in boiling water 30 seconds)

Blair's Light Creamy
  • 1 cup half and half (8 ounces)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 scoops of protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Blair's Yogurt Delight
  • 3 scoops of protein powder
  • 3 ounces half and half
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 12 ounces of 2% milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Blair's California Coconut Delight
  • 3 scoops of protein powder
  • 4 ounces of light cream
  • 12 ounces of 2% lowfat milk
  • 2 tablespoons coconut extract
  • 1 egg boiled for 30 seconds

Blair suggested that you "freeze these recipes in an ice cream freezer or divide into individual portions in cups and place in the freezer. Before eating thaw the ice cream slightly. You can also use different extracts like almond, black walnut and others. You can also try using fruit like strawberries, peaches, pineapple. For juices you may add some carrot juice" (Blair).  the key, however, was to consume them slowly, which I doubt many of us have ever tried.

Vince Gironda's Hormone Precursor Shake

Vince recommended having three of these a day, so you can rest assured no one was going hungry on his diet.  The first shake served as breakfast, then the other two were sipped on during lunch and in the evening.
  • 12oz half and half (milk consisting of light and heavy cream)
  • 12 raw eggs
  • 3 scoops of protein powder
  • 1 banana (for taste, can be omitted if strict low carb)

Bob Hoffman's Hi-Proteen Shake

Hoffman seems not to have given specific recommendations for his soy protein powder (Hi-Proteen), but he did make a list of "some of the foods that mix together well as a milk shake" (Hoffman 114).  His protein apparently tasted like pureed, burnt dog assholes (and his later release of fish protein powder was apparently even worse) no matter which of five flavors you used, so I would guess that this recipe was as much to mask the horrific taste of soy as it was to provide nutrition.  In any event, the US Olympic weightlifting team at the time served as his test subjects and as some of the biggest consumers of the stuff, and they were fucking beasts, so it must've had some positive effect.  Because he failed to provide any portion control, I'm just kind of winging it with the recipe- the ingredients are his, but I filled in the blanks on the amounts.  If anyone's got an actual full-blown recipe, hit me up.
  • 2 scoops protein powder
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 tbsp peanut or almond butter
  • 1/4 cup chocolate syrup
  • 1 banana 
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • (optional) quarter brick of chocolate ice cream

McCallum's Get Big Drink

While Bob Hoffman was the 20th Century's predecessor of the modern day giant-behind-the-keyboard who populates electronic dumpster fires like 4Chan, believing he was far more capable and impressive than he was and telling everyone stories that might s well have been printed in cowshit on used toilet paper, he had nothing but the highest praise for John McCallum's "Get Big Drink."  Hoffman included it in a hell of a lot of articles and recommended that all of his athletes at York use it, which is insanely high praise. 
  • 6-8 scoops of protein 
  • 2 quarts of whole milk 
  • 2 cups of dry skim milk 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 4 tablespoons peanut butter 
  • Half a brick (.875 quarts or 462 grams) of chocolate ice cream 
  • 1 small banana 
  • 4 tablespoons malted milk powder 
  • 6 tablespoons of corn syrup

So there you have it- all of the nutritional WMDs a growing boy or girl could need to smash through plateaus and pack on mass like you're Christian Bale after The Machinist.  If you decide to pass on these because you're afraid of getting fat, just know I'll be there to verbally bitch slap you when you come whining about how you're gonna reset to the bar because of butt wink and some other stupid bullshit and the internet supports your decision to remain weak but you want to send me form check videos anyway.  Don't involve me in that bullshit- just stop being a fucking pussy, eat up, and move weights.

Life's too short to be small, and it's far too short to be weak.  

To that end, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Chaos and Pain's badass whey blend Cannibal Kraken is now available in five sick-ass flavors (including shit like Pumpkinhead Latte and Honey Graham Reaper) and because I'd rather lose money than have to watch one more fucking form check video of some idiot squatting 135, I'm hooking you up with 25% off your entire order at checkout if you use the promo code Kraken25.  Snag some protein, bulk the fuck up, and smash weights.  

And if you're curious why our blend includes both concentrate and isolate, there's a damn good reason- whey isolate is lower in fat and carbohydrate and higher in protein than concentrate, which leads to a far cleaner nutrient profile and the impression that it's superior to concentrate, but whey concentrate is jammed with a variety of awesome things isolate lacks. For instance, whey concentrate contains much higher levels of IGF-1, TGF-1, and TGF-2, all of which aid aid in hypertrophy and strength, in addition to much more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), immunoglobulins, and lactoferrin, leading to faster body recomposition.

Catanzaro, John Paul.  The protein pioneer: lessons from a Golden-age guru.  Bodybuilding.com.  27 Aug 2013.  Web.  30 Jun 2018.  https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/the-protein-pioneer-lessons-from-a-golden-age-nutritional-guru.html

Gironda, Vince.  How to use and prepare protein for muscle size.  Reprinted from IronMan Magazine, 1976 Mar 35(3).  IronGuru.  Web.  2 Jul 2018.  http://www.ironguru.com/how-to-use-and-prepare-protein-for-muscle-size

Hall DT, Fair JD.  The pioneers of protein.  Iron Game History.  2004 May/Jun 8(3):23-33.

Hämäläinen E, Adlercreutz H, Puska P, Pietinen P.  Diet and serum sex hormones in healthy men.  J Steroid Biochem. 1984 Jan;20(1):459-64.

Hoffman, Bob.  Better Nutrition.  York: Strength and Health Publishing Co., 1953.

McCallum, J.  The high protein diet.  1997 Mar 4(4):86-90.
McCallum, John.  Keys To Progress.  Nevada City: IronMind, 1993.

Poliquin, Charles.  Weight gaining on a budget.  Max Muscle.  21 Aug 2008.  Web.  30 Jun 2018.  https://www.maxmuscle.com/article/2008/8/gaining-weight-on-a-budget.html

Rheo Blair Protein-How to mix the protein drink.  Iron Guru.  Web.  30 Jun 2018.  http://www.ironguru.com/rheo-blair-protein-how-to-mix-the-protein-drink

Rheo H Blair's Protein Recipes.  Iron Guru.  Web.
 30 Jun 2018.  http://www.ironguru.com/rheo-h-blairs-protein-recipes

Sallinen J, Pakarinen A, Ahtiainen J, Kraemer WJ, Volek JS, Häkkinen K.Relationship between diet and serum anabolic hormone responses to heavy-resistance exercise in men.  Int J Sports Med. 2004 Nov;25(8):627-33.

Venkatraman JT, Leddy J, Pendergast D.  Dietary fats and immune status in athletes: clinical implications.  Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000 Jul;32(7 Suppl):S389-95.

Wayne, Rick.  Muscle Wars: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of Competitive Bodybuilding.  New York: St. martin's Press, 1985.


  1. In before someone talks shit about me pimping my own supps- I rarely do it and I'm hooking you up, plus this site is free and I've been pumping out great shit for ten years. T-Nation would lose half of their inspiration if I stopped writing, for fuck's sake. Help me keep my goddamned lights on.

    1. Honey Graham Reaper tastes amazing. Shit made oatmeal appetizing.

    2. I didn't even know that was possible, haha .

    3. I don't blame Jamie for promoting his products, willing or not we are all stuck in this capitalist game and there is no way not to play it. But be aware. It fucking sucks in my opinion, I am up for the revolution, but meanwhile...

    4. Neither did I, Jamie. I gave it a shot one day for no particular reason and was impressed.

    5. Thanks guys- I am just leery of becoming T-Nation. I will be running promo codes on upcoming articles.

  2. Just skimmed through and it looks really interesting. Gironda was a smart man. I got a lot of time for him. Actually before reading this I just bought some digestive enzymes, not even arrived yet, got them in a sale. Gironda reckoned that its not what you eat, its what you digest. Older you get, as in most things, your stomach acid loses its edge. Digestive enzymes evens the score ( I hope).
    The steak (red meat) and eggs diet is great. Really filling.

    1. They work well on an empty stomach as an anti-inflammatory as well.

  3. Detail - there is no direct correlation between sugar consumption and diabetes AFAIK. The correlation is between overweight (or rather overfat?) and diabetes. Now there is a good argument that sugar contributes to overweight, but as illustrated by some very tfit people, eating a boatload of fast carbs and training hard can actually be a recipe for leanness. the carbs allow the training which allows the fat burning. Now this is probably only going to apply to the endurance crowd. In general, I accept sugar is a poor choice but not the direct precursor of diabetes, but maybe I could be wrong and am listening.

  4. LOL that motherfucker got scalped. Wonder what happened there....

  5. I would just like you to know that ive followed you since 2013 and just today I regurgitated some of your old article on old time lifters, their drinking habits, and how it doesnt make you into a weak sack of shit to this guy who was spouting studies saying that it doe's in this rather large FB group, and he just happened to be an admin and he banned me he got so butthurt that his "studies" got demolished by hundreds of examples of hard fuckers who lifted big while hammered. Hahaha thanks


    2. Lol. Nice. You could also point to just about any stone mason ever as well.

  6. This is some shake formula i found some time ago on YT.

    2 cups powdered milk
    1 cup oatmeal
    scoop of whey
    beta aline
    half cup of egg whites
    a cup of cottage cheese
    half banana and some fruit
    110carbs 90g protein

    1. Don Howarth's favorite protein shake:

      2 scoops of milk & egg protein powder
      100mg dianabol
      2 cups water

      Taken twice a day. Sometimes without the protein powder, or water

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Kevin Doge...Protein digests well with fat, not carbs.

    4. Howorth never went over 20mg a day as I recall.

    5. Forgot to mention it was a intra-workout.

    6. I also know some guy who drank a gallon of chocolate milk during his workouts... Though he was strong as shit and you could mash up 5 twinks to get to his size.

  7. How do you balance maintaining a lean state and being huge and strong?

    1. I think best alternate between periods of controlled bulking and cutting for the natty.

    2. I just slow bulked after getting crazy lean. On a keto diet it wasn't hard to do both.

    3. Carbs are the killers. I gotcha.

    4. Serious question. Any hair loss from keto?

    5. Nah- I didn't have to start shaving my head until my mid 30s and my dad was bald as shit at 18.

  8. What is the point of boiling the eggs for 30 seconds?

  9. For the few an the brave we'll always have the Saxon Trio diet...

    1. Those guys could eat, especially for such little men.

    2. Yeah, Why would anyone want you to make money? You should sell more anyone that has a problem will never become a customer. FUCKem!

  10. Isn't all that milk hard on the colon? How do you get around that?