Anyone who has spent quite some time practicing serious bodybuilding will likely have come across the name of “The Iron Guru,” Vince Gironda. Gironda was a premier trainer of bodybuilding greats such as Arnold Schwarzenegger. His methods were revolutionary and continue to be relevant up to this day. Most of his ideas were controversial but have in recent years been given more merit after being proven by medical research.
Gironda always said that bodybuilding is 85% nutrition, and this is very much true. Without the proper fuel, there is no way your muscles can grow. Let’s take a look at some of The Iron Guru’s secrets to building an epic physique.
The Hormone Precursor Shake
Some bodybuilders have probably heard of one of Gironda’s peculiar shake recipes that promises to help build mass faster. This one is called the Hormone Precursor Shake, and it’s a drink based on the power of raw eggs.
The Hormone Precursor Recipe (original):
- 12 ounces of half-and-half
- 12 raw eggs
- 1/3 cup of good quality milk-and-egg protein powder
- 1 medium-sized banana (this can be skipped if you are on a ketogenic diet for lean muscle building and/or weight loss, which will make this drink work better with low-carb diets)
This shake can be consumed 1-3 times per day between meals to help you stay in a positive nitrogen balance, which is the key to muscle growth. Hard gainers will benefit the most from this recipe. These people have a hard time gaining mass no matter what they eat or do. This recipe helps them to get a larger amount of calories, proteins, fats, minerals and vitamins in liquid form, which makes them easier to digest and consume.
The Anabolic Role of Raw Eggs
The eggs do most of the work in the above shake recipe. Eggs are filled with essential amino acids that the body can use for building muscle. They are also a first-rate source of protein and healthy cholesterol, which maximizes testosterone production. Cholesterol can be used by the body to produce more testosterone, which can further support lean muscle building. Raw eggs are also a rich natural source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), another helpful nutrient for building muscle, losing weight and balancing hormones.
Raw eggs are a superfood, and they have powerful anabolic actions in the body. At his peak, Gironda and his students would consume over 36 raw eggs per day to promote anabolism and growth.
The saturated fats and cholesterol in raw eggs are helpful for hormone production, and they do not raise the levels of cholesterol in the blood by a significant amount. In fact, the body use fats and cholesterol from foods directly to produce testosterone.
Supplementing with Liver Tablets
Another debatable topic surrounding Gironda was his aversion to supplements. He did not recommend the use of most supplements, since he believed they would bring you no closer to the Greek-god-like physiques, unlike what is suggested by some of the manufacturers.
That is, except for liver tablets.
Technically, liver tablets are not in the same league as some other commercially-available supplements. They are real food, made from liver that has been freeze-dried, ground up, and made into tablets. In essence, they are an all-natural whole food supplement packaged into a small capsule. The ultimate multivitamin.
So, what do liver tablets do?
They are an extremely nutrient-dense food. In fact, liver is the most nutrient dense food on the planet, beating even fruits in most classes except vitamin C content. Liver contains excellent concentrations of vitamin B12, vitamin A, copper, folic acid, iron, chromium, and zinc, to name a few. These vitamins and minerals are all supportive to building muscle and increasing exercise performance and recovery.
The Iron Guru and Squatting
Gironda’s unique methods go beyond nutrition. He had some unique training methods that went against common convention and are still very popular today. One of these is his take on squatting. His gym stands apart from the rest due to its very noticeable lack of squat racks.
For most bodybuilders, squatting is an integral part of training. The Iron Guru believed otherwise.
In traditional squatting, the focus is mostly on the muscles of the hips and the buttocks. This technique can work for those who need to develop these areas; however, the type of physique that most guys are after does not include huge butts and meaty hips. Also, the hips are spread by the common squat and this might hurt the back.
A better exercise is the “Sissy Squat.” This is better performed using Smith and/or Hack machines. These give better control over the movements compared to the free weight squat.
This routine requires balance. The feet are kept 13 inches from each other with the knees 17 inches apart. The routine is done while balancing on the toes. This is so much different from the traditional flat-footed squats.
The Sissy Squat stance keeps the thighs and the upper torso in alignment during the whole routine. This will reduce undue strain on the back and does not spread the hips, while the thighs still get enough muscle-strengthening, sculpting effect.
Eating the right foods and following the correct training routines will together help you create the best physique your body is capable of achieving. Vince Gironda’s techniques may seem like a total turnaround from prevailing bodybuilding ideas and methods, but his life’s work proves that his methods work. You can see this in the shape of the many amazing bodies he has produced, such as the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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