This is an article by Dorian Yates.

I am an advanced bodybuilder with 10 years of hardcore lifting to my credit, and I currently train on a four-day split. My plan is to pack on size and quality, but I'm not sure how to structure my diet to complement my training.

My younger brother is just getting started, and he needs a diet plan too. What do you recommend?

Rick Wright

London, England

The one way you can ever hope to add size and quality is with a nutritional program that is pragmatic and realistic. There's no use training balls-to-the-wall unless you are aware of how to set your training table with the correct foods and in the precise proportions to achieve all of your goals.

I'm going to focus on the needs of both the beginner and the more advanced bodybuilder: Your brother is right there with you, since you still don't have the nutritional side of the equation figured out after all the years of pumping iron.

When I first experimented with split-routine training in 1983, I weighed a mere 180 pounds. Two years later, when I entered my first novice contest, I was up to 210 pounds and packing some serious mass. My training program and diet stayed exactly the same during those two crucial years of my development. In my typical daily menu (see "The Beginner's Diet Meal Plan"), I divided my calories (an average of 3,500 in 1983-84 and 4,000 in '85) into a ratio of 30% protein, 55% carbs and 15% fat.

Protein is at the core of the muscle-building process. You need to consume 1 1/4 grams (g) of protein per pound of bodyweight per day if you expect to make any progress. Carbs, of course, are fuel to stoke your engine for heavy-duty training sessions. Fat is a necessary evil, as the body requires just enough to keep the physiological system ticking along.

A good rule of thumb is to strive for gaining one to two pounds of muscle per month. I put on heaps of mass at a benchmark of 3,500 calories daily. Don't get carried away with eating too many calories too soon.

You describe yourself as an "advanced" bodybuilder, so let's examine the gray area between beginner/intermediate status and advanced.

After I won my first novice contest, in 1985, I decided to train for the '86 British Championships, which were slated for October of that year. I kept my training routine the same as it had been in the 1983-85 period, but I made the following modifications in my diet to get bigger, harder and denser.

The significant change was increasing daily calories from 4,000 to 5,000. This substantial increase propelled my bodyweight to an offseason peak of 255 pounds, the heaviest I'd ever been up to that point in my career.

I won the heavyweight division at the British Championships, but I failed to garner the overall because I'd gotten too gung ho over pushing my bodyweight up so high and then trying to streamline down to 214 pounds -- only four pounds more than my 1985 competition weight.

In the wake of the '86 British Championships, I followed the lead of Rich Gaspari (Mr. O runner-up from 1986-88) and started being very strict about weighing and measuring everything I ate in order to obtain a better spread of correct nutrients. Cheat meals became a thing of the past.

I then devised an offseason meal program (see "A Typical Daily Offseason Menu") to add bodyweight gradually and intelligently. The one thing I've changed since then is to replace fruits (simple carbs) with potatoes and green vegetables (complex carbs) for a more efficient source of energy to sustain hardcore workouts.

Remember that your best intentions in the gym will fall short if you don't apply proper nutritional principles to your "advanced" training sessions.


Breakfast 5 eggs, scrambled
2 slices whole-wheat toast
bowl of oatmeal (with skim
multivitamin/multimineral pack

Midmorning meal milk/egg protein shake
(mixed with skim milk)
1 banana

Lunch 6 oz chicken breast or tuna
1 baked potato
2 cups assorted vegetables

Midafternoon meal milk/egg protein shake
(mixed with skim milk)
1 orange

Evening meal 8 oz steak
1 baked potato or 8 oz rice
2 cups assorted vegetables

Supper bowl of oatmeal (with skim
4 egg whites, 1 yolk

(approximately 5,000 calories)

Breakfast 6 egg whites, 2 yolks
5 oz oats
2 oz raisins
3 slices whole-wheat toast
1 orange
multivitamin/multimineral pack
5 peptide-bond amino-acid

Midmorning meal 1 pint skim milk blended with
2 scoops milk/egg protein
1 orange

Lunch 7 oz tuna
3 1/2 oz pasta
2 oranges
carb drink
5 peptide-bond amino-acid

Posttraining meal 1 pint skim milk blended with
2 scoops milk/egg protein
3 bananas
2 protein bars

Evening meal 8 oz chicken or steak
10 oz baked potato
7 oz mixed vegetables
4 oz pineapple
5 peptide-bond amino-acid

Supper 5 egg whites, 1 yolk
1 slice whole-wheat toast
1 or raisins
5 peptide-bond amino-acid