Saturday, January 19, 2019

More Questions & Answers, Part Two - John McCallum

First Published in This Issue (June 1970) 

There are two questions which are frequently asked and which relate directly to each other. Both questions are important and the answers to them are vital to your bodybuilding success. The first of the two questions is:

Q: Just how important is nutrition? Strength & Health keeps stressing the necessity of an adequate diet, yet I've heard of good bodies being developed on an average diet. Is nutrition as vital as it's made out to be? 

A: Yes. Nutrition is every bit as vital as it's made out to be, and then some. In actual fact, your chances of bodybuilding success without a proper nutrition program are just about nil.

There are three logical replies to these stories we hear of good bodies being developed on an average diet. The first and most obvious reply, of course, is to ask if the diet was really all that average. Some men like to create the impression they're not really trying too hard. They like you to think they'd be even more tremendous if they really tried. 

I have a friend who developed an absolutely herculean body with weights and then went into professional wrestling. He claims he pays no attention to his diet at all. He eats, he says, the same as everyone else. What he doesn't mention, though, is that his supper consists of a chunk of rare steak, two inches thick and about a foot square. He also goes through four quarts of milk and a dozen eggs per day. His diet, whatever else it may be, is definitely not average. 

The second reply is simply that some men are easy gainers. They grow muscle on practically anything. If your gains come easy enough, then perhaps you can ignore sound nutrition. If your gains don't come easy, though, and for most of us they don't, then sound nutrition is essential.

The third reply, and it's odd that no one thinks of it, is that the fellow who grows a good body on an average diet would probably be a lot better on a proper diet. That's a difficult point to prove, of course, but all the indications are that it's correct. We continually hear stories of muscle men who don't train hard, or who don't eat properly, or who smoke four packs of cigarettes a day. These stories, even if they're true, don't prove a thing. Weight training is a tremendous stimulus to the body. It's far and away the best method of building muscle. Weights will accomplish miracles even if they're not too well applied. The muscle men in question may look good, but they'd look infinitely better if they quit fooling around and paid attention to the rules.

Nutrition is of the utmost importance. Some authorities even go so far as to claim it's more important than the exercise. In any event, it's vital to your success. Find out more about proper bodybuilding nutrition, apply it, and reap the benefits.

Q: I do my best to eat an adequate supply of proteins, minerals, vitamins, etc. My financial position, however, isn't exactly the greatest, and I am also extremely pressed for time. Is there any food I can take that is convenient and economical that will increase my nutrition level? 

A: Yes, there definitely is. My Uncle Harry has a concoction he calls "souped up soup." It's convenient, economical, easy to make, easy to take, and contains enough food elements to make all the difference in your progress.

I was over at my Uncle Harry's apartment a few days ago. He was standing in front of the stove with a big white apron wrapped around him and stirring vigorously at some sauce that was simmering in a pot. 

"Well, well," I said. "The galloping gourmet. This is quite an honor."

He waved a hand modestly. "Just a little hollandaise for the asparagus tips." 

He had on a York Barbell Club T-shirt that strained at the seams every time he moved. 

"Tremendous," I said. "What are you having with it?" 

"Nothing special," he said. "Any old thing to keep body and soul together." 

"Like what?" 

He coughed. "Beef tenderloin flamed in brandy." 

"Uncle Harry," I said. "You really let it all hang out for those teeny-boppers, don't you?" 

"Not really," he said. "You gotta eat." 

"You put a lot of faith in nutrition, don't you?" 

"Absolutely," he said. It's the greatest." 

"Do you really think it helps your progress?"

"No doubt about it," he said. "Creamed vichyssoise [cold leek and potato soup], candles, a little Beau Sejour, perhaps a . . ."

"Just a minute," I said. "That's not the kind of progress I'm talking about. I mean bodybuilding progress." 

"Oh, that," he said. "Sure, it's essential for that, too." 

"How 'bout an unrelated book recommendation?" said My Name is Nobody.

"Shut up and get outta my house!" threatened Uncle Harry. And away the man went.

"You know, Uncle Harry," I said. "I just read an article by Bill Starr. He says that a lifter should reduce his sexual activity at times."

"Wonderful idea," Uncle Harry said. "For Bill Starr." He took two wine goblets out of the cupboard and opened the fridge door. "Almost forgot to chill the glasses," he said.

"Listen, Uncle Harry," I said. "I was going to write something on nutrition for Strength & Health. Do you mind if I tell about your soup?"

"My souped-up soup?" he said.

"Yeah,"your souped up soup," I said.

"Not a bit," he said. "Be my guest." He took a full bottle of light rum out of a drawer and twisted it at the top. "Mona likes daiquiris," he said.

"You don't drink that stuff, do you?" I asked him.

"Heavens, no," he said. "It affects the liver." He leered at me. "And the prowess."

One of the most practical, economical, and convenient methods of supplementing your diet is by adding soup to your meals. Not soup out of a can, and not the usual watery, home-made slop, but soup with a difference - souped-up soup. Properly made soup, in sufficient quantity, can be a big help in your bulking program. You can add pounds of good solid weight if you know the secrets.

The first secret of soup is to use good stock in making it. Soup stock, in case you don't know, is a liquid or jelly that you use instead of water to make homemade soup.

Souped-up soup stock is economical because it's made almost entirely with leftovers. From now on, don't throw any food away. Save all the vegetable parings and trimmings and bits and pieces that normally go into the garbage can. There's enough nutrition to turn a hat rack into a Hercules in the food that gets thrown out of the average house. Save it all. Get a plastic bag and put all the vegetable scraps into it and keep it in the fridge. Every time the bag gets full - make soup.

The next item for the stock is bones and meat scraps. You can even use scraps off the plate. It may seem somewhat unaesthetic, but it's perfectly all right. The bones and scraps will be boiled for several hours so they'll be as sterile as a surgeon's scalpel. Save all the bones and scraps and keep them in the freezer compartment of the fridge.   

Just using scraps which are normally thrown out can make a big difference at no cost to your nutrition program. If you really want to soup up your diet, however, you'll have to go a step or two further.

If you want to take in a really big load of vitamins and minerals, you'll have to figure on having soup at least once a day. Incidentally, you eat it with your meals, not instead of them. It's unlikely you'll accumulate that many scraps, so the next thing to do is buy bones from the butcher. Actually, they cost next to nothing anyway.

The amount of nutrition you'll get from the bones and scraps is in direct proportion to the amount of surface area exposed to the water. The thing to do, therefore, is to chop the bones and scraps as finely as possible. Get a cleaver or a hatchet and hack everything up into tiny pieces.

Put about two quarts of water into as large a pot as you can find and dump in the finely chopped bones, scraps, and vegetable parings. You should have enough bones and scraps to fill the pot to at least the level of the water.

Next add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar and a spoonful of salt. The salt and vinegar are essential to draw the calcium out of the bones and the elements out of the vegetables. The vinegar will boil away, so there won't be any smell of it when the stock is ready.

Now put a lid on the pot and boil it slowly for about four hours. At the end of that time all the nourishment that used to be in the bones and scraps will be in the water.

Next, you pour the whole works through a fine strainer or a piece of cheesecloth. The bones and scraps which will be strained out can now be thrown away because there's nothing left in them. Save the clear liquid. That's the soup stock, and it's just about the richest pot of water from a nutritional standpoint that you're ever likely to come across. We don't have the space to go into all the details, and you're probably not that interested anyway, but you can take it as a fact that the stock you've prepared is absolutely saturated with all the minerals and vitamins in an easily assimilated form. If you just drank the water as it now stands you'd probably triple your normal vitamin-mineral intake.

The next thing to do is to use the stock for making soup. Put the stock in a clean pot and chop in some onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, garlic if you like it, turnips, or any other vegetable that appeals to you. Add salt, pepper, and a little bay leaf, thyme, basil, or whatever you prefer.

Simmer the vegetables until they start to soften, and then add about three pounds of chicken wings, short ribs, stewing beef, or any kind of meat you happen to like. Continue simmering the whole thing until the meat is tender.

Next, take about two cups of water and dissolve as much skim milk powder into it as will go into solution. Stir this into the soup. Let it simmer for another five minutes and then drop in a pound of ground meat. The meat will cook almost instantly.

If you want to supplement the soup even further, you can mix up some Hi-Proteen with water and add it to the soup. It ups the cost a bit but it's well worth it.

We're running out of space again. Don't forget that the soup is an addition to your normal diet. Keep taking all the supplements and your regular meals. Make the soup an extra, and you're practically guaranteed some nice weight gains.

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