I’m sick of fad diets. I want to eat old-school like Arnold in Pumping Iron. To do that, what should my meals look like?
—Ryan G., Spokane, WA

What you’re eating now has room for improvement—it’s deficient in fruits and vegetables, and lower in protein than what Arnold would have eaten. In your new diet, the meals are designed to positively impact performance. We’ve also more than tripled your protein intake to give your body the material it needs to build new muscle tissue. Even back then, Arnold knew the importance of nutrient timing, utilizing a post-workout shake to improve the anabolic recovery process; you’re going to do the same. By increasing your protein and supplementing correctly, you’ll be able to introduce a new twist on a tried-and-true eating plan—and pack on slabs of lean mass.

Old diet

Breakfast

  • 1 bowl cereal
  • 2 slices toast
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 1 cup (8 oz) orange juice
  • 2 strips bacon
  • Coffee, plain, black

Lunch

  • 6-inch sub on white bread, with 4 oz sliced turkey, 2 oz cheese, 2 tbsp mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato
  • 1 small bag potato chips
  • Water 

Snack

  • 1 high-carb sports bar
  • Water

— Workout between snack and dinner —

Dinner

  • 1 small grilled chicken breast, no skin
  • 2 cups rice
  • 1 small dinner salad
  • Water

Snack

  • 1 cup ice cream

The “Arnold” diet

Breakfast

  • 3 scrambled eggs
  • 1 cup cooked oatmeal
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup low-fat milk

Snack

  • Handful mixed nuts
  • 1 apple or banana

Lunch

  • 2 slices whole-wheat bread
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, no skin (for sandwich)
  • 1 apple
  • 1 cup low-fat milk

Snack

  • 3 slices cheese
  • 1 banana
  • Water

— Workout between snack and next meal —

Post-workout drink

  • 25g milk protein
  • 25g egg protein
  • 8–12 oz low-fat milk blend together and drink after workout

Dinner

  • 8 oz lean-cut grilled beef
  • 1 large baked potato
  • 1 large salad with mixed greens and vegetables
  • 1 tbsp salad dressing
  • 1 cup mixed cooked vegetables
  • Water

Snack

  • 1 cup low-fat milk

2,750 Calories
256g Protein
271g Carbs
90g Fat