Similarly to many other competitive bodybuilders, when I competed in bodybuilding contests in the late 60s and early 70s, I experimented with various diets and food combinations. My goals including several factors. These included a diet that would allow me to maintain the most lean mass or muscle while dieting. I was aware that a major problem with some diets is that while they may promote body fat losses, they also can promote a significant loss of muscle mass. Indeed, the loss of muscle mass that ensues with many diets causes a drop in the resting metabolic rate that practically ensures a regain of the lost weight and fat. Since I was aware that calories do count, my first dieting approach involved a lower calorie intake. This involved a lowering of mostly fat calories, since fat was the most dense source of calories at 9 per gram, in comparison to the 4 per gram for both carbohydrates and protein. This simple lowering of total caloric intake, however, proved to be a dismal failure for me. The problem was that I was voraciously hungry on the diet, and this led to eating binges that blew the diet and prevented any significant body fat loss. I then modified the diet so that it featured a moderate protein intake, but was low in fat and higher in carbohydrates. I reasoned that since carbohydrates were the preferred energy source for the body, this type of diet would allow me to train harder and hopefully help to retain more muscle.
But the high carb, low fat diet proved to have the same problems as the lower calorie diet; that is, it was a question of compliance. I simply couldn't stay on the diet because of often extreme hunger. At this point, I thought that perhaps either protein or increased fat intake might be the key to staying on a diet because either nutrient would assuage the drastic hunger pangs I felt on the diet that I had already tried and failed on. Although at the time I wasn't aware of the satiety effects of both protein and fat, I felt that somehow consuming sufficient amounts of these macronutrients would allow me to stay on a diet until I reached my goal of lower body fat levels with maximal muscle retention.
But my search for the ideal diet finally ended when I began training with a guy who had trained under the guidance of the famed bodybuilding trainer, Vince Gironda. Vince was a former competitor himself, and operated a small gym in Studio City, California that was the hub of successful bodybuilders in the early to late 1960s. Among those who trained at Vince's gym were Larry Scott, who won the first two Mr.Olympia contests in 1965 and 1966 (I attended the latter contest), and . . .