Much has been written and said about the training methods of Larry Scott – Vince’s pride student and favorite “son”.
Along with Vince, Larry helped develop the training programs such as the 6×6 and 8×8 and in the laboratory that was Vince’s Gym, Larry and Vince would even think up new varieties of exercises that Vince would later teach his students. Many of these principles and exercises as brilliant as they were, were designed specifically for advanced trainees.
It would be a false statement to say Larry’s success was purely because of Vince’s training alone. Another legend in his corner was of course Rheo H Blair, who was his nutritionist.
In this regard, much is not known about the way Larry Scott ate, or what he would recommend as a diet to the starting bodybuilder. Bodybuilding, as Vince Gironda said, is 80% Nutrition!
Larry Scott was a big believer in this.
Fortunately, I have recently acquired a collection of magazines and literature from Canadian Golden Era bodybuilder Wayne Shimane that had some real gems in it. For example, a series of signed letters from Larry Scott when he was working as a personal coach after retiring from competitive bodybuilding.
Within these letters is a plethora of information I will start presenting in this series of blogs on Larry Scott and his tips for beginners. In particular, Larry laid out the most important nutritional tips for a beginner, as well as a training program and diet.
In this blog, I will share what Larry considers to be the most nutritional important tips for the beginner bodybuilder.
Larry’s Nutritional Advice for Beginners
The first thing Larry points out is that diet is extremely important to the beginner.
Here are the basic nutritional tips that Larry gives to the beginners:
- Watch the quality of carbohydrates that are eaten
- Stay away from all refined and processed foods
- Concentrate on foods high in protein and quality fats. This will enrich the diet and allow quality muscle to be packed on
Frequency of Eating
Instead of eating 3 large meals in one day, it is preferable to eat 6 smaller meals a day.
In doing so, less burden is placed on the digestive system, and because the meals are smaller, they can be digested more thoroughly and faster, allowing one to absorb more of the food that is ingested.
High Quality Protein Sources
High-quality protein foods, chiefly meat, cheese, eggs, and dairy products are recommended by Larry Scott for the beginner to maximize his muscle gains.
Foods to Avoid
Larry recommends beginners avoid all refined foods, such as bread, cakes, pastries, pancakes, tacos, and sugary foods.
In fact, according to Larry’s letter, he asks the student to minimize carbohydrate intake as much as possible, and focus more on foods that are high in protein and fat, which is again why Larry recommends sticking to eating meat, cheese, eggs, and dairy products.
I think these recommendations need a little elaboration.
Although I agree with Larry that one’s diet should have a high enough amount of protein and fat, carbohydrates are also important. I believe that because Larry was a student of both Rheo H Blair and Vince Gironda, his nutritional knowledge was heavily influenced by their high protein and high-fat approach, especially Rheo H Blair’s approach.
Rheo H Blair did not advocate carbohydrate intake for the bodybuilder, but Vince Gironda did, especially for the beginner as is obvious in his Maintenance Diet for the Bodybuilder. I have said it many times, but Vince Gironda understood the role of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in muscle building.
Although he was famous for his egg diet and his steak and eggs diet, he did not banish carbohydrates.
In his own words, carbohydrates are important for the beginner trying to gain weight. So although Larry is correct in controlling one’s carbohydrate intake and increasing one’s protein and fat intake to balance out one’s diet, beginners should not eradicate carbohydrates.
Eat Natural Sourced Products
Larry also recommends that the beginner source his food, if at all possible, from natural sources, as natural foods are high in nutrient value and can be better utilized by the body, whilst refined foods are devitalized and will not help in building quality muscle tissue.
I definitely agree with Larry here.
Natural foods will always be superior in nutritional value, and when possible, most of one’s diet should be as whole and natural as possible.
Milk and Egg Protein Supplements
Larry recommends that a high-quality Milk and Egg Protein product should be consumed, such as that sold by NSP Nutrition, whilst soy protein should be avoided.
In Larry’s opinion, Milk and Egg protein “will make a big difference in your gains. You can’t put much muscle tissue on soy protein”.
I just want to comment here on Larry’s statements. Yes, I agree with Larry here on the fact that a quality Milk and Egg Protein does help pack on size, mainly because it stimulates the increase in anabolic hormones such as IGF-1 and insulin (1).
At the time that Larry wrote these letters back in the late 70s, vegetable proteins were pretty inferior. However, I do know that they are much more balanced today and the quality has improved.
That said, from the current scientific literature, it does seem that the amino acid profiles of animal-sourced proteins are still superior and require less processing than that of vegetable proteins (2).
Scientists still argue that for those who prefer plant-based proteins, adding BCAAs and even leucine to your plant protein source would improve its essential amino acid profile and give a better muscle hypertrophy response.
How to take Milk and Egg Protein
Larry’s recommendation on how beginners should take Milk and Egg Protein is as follows:
“Try to take a cup or two of the powder per day. Mix each cup with about 14 ounces of half and half. Try to take that throughout the day rather than loading your system up in one shot”.
Vitamins and Minerals
Larry also recommends that a beginner should increase supplement intake, especially when on a high protein high-fat diet.
According to Larry, high protein high-fat diets tend to reduce the intake of certain vitamins and minerals, hence why supplementation is recommended.
One particular supplement that should be taken is Vitamin C, especially as the beginner begins to increase the volume and frequency of his training program. It has been shown in some studies that Vitamin C can reduce muscle soreness and help speed up the recovery process after a strength training workout (3, 4). Larry recommends the intake of at least 1000 milligrams daily to reduce lactic acid buildup.
Larry also recommends the intake of 500 international units of Vitamin E daily, to enhance recuperative power and endurance (3).
It is well established by modern science that Vitamin E helps in the recovery of physical activity.
Also recommended by Larry is a good Vitamin B complex for cellular synthesis (5), and an overall good multivitamin and mineral complex. Larry states that since one tends to eat fewer fruits and vegetables on a high protein high-fat diet, they will therefore need a vitamin-mineral supplement to replace that which you’ve lost.
Milk, Eggs, and Liver
At the time of this letter, Blair’s protein was still the number one protein of choice and was rather expensive to the average gym-goer.
For this reason, Larry Scott recommended that beginners who could not afford protein powder, that they should start drinking more milk. This is what the Silver Era bodybuilders did during a time when supplements did not exist. Larry recommended the intake of a minimum of 2 quarts of Milk, or almost 2 liters per day, and up to a gallon of milk a day, or up to 4 liters!
In Larry’s words, Milk is an excellent source of muscle building food. I agree, it worked for the Silver Era bodybuilders, so it should work for us.
Larry also recommended the increased intake of eggs. In Larry’s words again:
“Try to get your intake up to where you’re eating six, eight, sometimes a dozen eggs a day. They are one of the most complete foods that you will find. They are low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fat. They are an excellent food”.
At the time, Blair’s protein also presented other difficulties such as digestibility, due to its high lactose content. The same was for whole milk, as lactose-free milk did not exist back in the day. Therefore along with eggs, Larry recommended the intake of desiccated liver as another protein source.
So that was Larry’s nutritional advice to the beginner. I do hope you have this first blog on Larry’s letters.
As mentioned, these letters sent from Wayne not just covered nutritional advice, but also training programs and different diets designed by Larry Scott for the beginner bodybuilder, so I will cover these in later blogs.
For those interested in acquiring scans of these letters, I will be uploading them to the new Vince’s Gym group for you to read.
Vince’s Gym is a new online gym that allows you to train under the tutelage of Vince Gironda.
Vince’s Gym is online now and if you click HERE, you will have access to the training programs, diets, and exclusive content such as books written by Vince Gironda and demonstrations of all the exercises he taught.
I will also be personally uploading rare content up to the Vince’s Gym vault, such as these letters from Larry Scott, so go hit the Vince’s Gym link, join up and be part of the greatest gym that ever existed!
- Differential effects of casein versus whey on fasting plasma levels of insulin, IGF-1 and IGF-1/IGFBP-3: results from a randomized 7-day supplementation study in prepubertal boys | European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (nature.com)
- The Skeletal Muscle Anabolic Response to Plant- versus Animal-Based Protein Consumption – PubMed (nih.gov)
- The Effect of Vitamin C and E Supplementation on Muscle Damage and Oxidative Stress in Female Athletes: A Clinical Trial (nih.gov)
- Effect of high dose vitamin C supplementation on muscle soreness, damage, function, and oxidative stress to eccentric exercise – PubMed (nih.gov)
- B-vitamins and exercise: does exercise alter requirements? – PubMed (nih.gov)