As long as I can remember, I have been something of a diet elitist.
Looking back, it seems as though I wasn’t happy unless I was calculating my macros, weighing my food, timing my meals . . . I even spent most of my life with my watch or iPhone set to go off every three hours so I wouldn’t be late for a scheduled meal.
So you can imagine my bourgeois disdain when I first encountered a diet that could quite accurately be described as “eating a bunch of beef and a bunch of eggs twice a day, whenever you feel like it”.
I first heard about this diet when Atkins / Ketonic diets became popular “again”. I say “again”, because the modern high-fat / low-carb diet that was popularized by Mr. Atkins is really a rehash of a diet promoted by 50’s bodybuilder / 70’s bodybuilding guru Vincent Gironda.
Considering how ripped and muscular he was in a time of no (or at least “limited”) use of anabolic steroids, plus the fact that he was a mentor for most of the 70’s era bodybuilders, such as and including Arnold Schwarzenegger, I think we can agree that he knew his shit.
Still, regardless of his accomplishments, the idea of just eating as much as you want, whenever you want of “steak & eggs” seemed a little too primitive, even caveman for my arrogant dietary tastes . . .
Then something happened . . . I GOT FAT!
I got way ripped for my 40th birthday using the Anaerobixx diet and workout program and was EXTREMELY pleased with the results, but, if you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse, so I needed a new goal to work on — This time I decided I would increase my strength and muscle mass while remaining lean.
I replaced the plyometric intervals that got me so lean with strength-building bodyweight movements, but, since I didn’t adjust my 3500-calorie diet, my mass-building phase started to look more like Cartman’s transformation in the “Beefcake” episode of South Park than something you might read about in an advertisement for bodybuilding supplements.
Adding to my decision to try a less-rigid diet regimen was the time factor. I started this diet after I got a somewhat serious girlfriend and started studying for my Real Estate license while running multiple online businesses and moonlighting as a business advisor / copywriter.
Needless to say, in a situation like this, the simpler my eating habits, the better . . .
Enter the Vince Gironda “steak & eggs” diet plan
The diet basically consists of two high-fat, high-protein, ZERO carbohydrate meals per day with a high-carb meal every fourth or fifth day to replenish or “re-carb” the body.
Six days of two high-fat and high-protein meals per day with the seventh day being a cheat “day” to carb-up instead of just a cheat “meal”.
I chose the later, as popularized by 70’s bodybuilder and pro-wrestler Ric Drasin and Victor Pride of BoldAndDetermined.com. This variation fits better into my workout plan (Monday-Friday with weekends off) and with my personal life (I usually just see my girlfriend on weekends, so we have an entire day to relax and eat whatever we want).
Although you don’t need to count calories for this diet, I’m way too OCD for that, so here are the macronutrients that I ended up going with:
As you can see, that adds up to about 10 calories / pound of bodyweight (I currently weigh 182-185 lbs) and almost 1g protein / pound (after The Anaerobixx Program, before this mass-building phase, I weighed under 175 lbs)
In addition to those meals, I drink coffee with half & half (NO sugar or fancy sweetened creamers) and at least one gallon of water a day.
My first 30 days on the Vince Gironda Steak and Eggs Diet
To put it simply, I am, despite my initial reservations, pleased, enthusiastic and more than a little amazed with the results I’ve seen while on this diet.
Here is a summary of my experience so far, in no particular order:
I’m getting bigger and stronger! – You can say what you want about how carbs are necessary to build muscle, but I know as a fact that I have increased the size of my upper arms for the first time in a long time since I started this diet. My right arm was stuck at 15 inches and my left was a little less — after just two weeks on this diet my right arm went up to 15 1/2 and my left arm finally broke the 15-inch barrier!
Not only that, but I’m getting stronger in all of the movements I’m working on and even the ones I’m not. Last Friday, for instance, I tried doing dragon flags at the end of my workout, just for fun and nailed several very solid reps. I then went on to try a human flag and, although it wasn’t the best example I’ve ever seen, I did a whole lot better than I thought I would!
My muscles are pumped ALL THE TIME! – I don’t understand how other people, even proponents of this diet can claim that you lose your ability to get or maintain a “pump” or full feeling in your muscles while on this diet. One of the first things that I noticed during the very first week while on this diet is that my muscles constantly felt fuller and pumped-up.
Some people would probably say that this is due to the fact that I’m eating so much red meat, a major source of creatine and that the pumps are the result of creatine pulling water into my muscles, but don’t forget that I was previously eating 200 grams of red meat once a day, too. I was also supplementing with powdered creatine, which I have stopped doing since starting this diet.
I am NEVER hungry! – I used to wake up in the morning and HAVE to eat. I used to NEED my pre-workout smoothie before I could even think about going to the gym. I used to gulp down my post-workout shake right in the gym locker room before I even went out to my car and, when I got home, I immediately went to the kitchen and started preparing my post-workout meal.
NOT ANY MORE! These days, I wake up early and go right to the gym. Not because I want to do fasted cardio, I’m just not hungry. I leave the gym when I’m done (no sugar craving for a post-workout shake!) and I don’t even eat right away when I get home, instead I shower and start my computer. Not because I’m trying intermittent fasting or The Warrior Diet, I’m just not hungry, so I eat whenever I feel like it.
No more antisocial meal plans! – I could never eat out with friends or family before because I could never find a restaurant that would serve exactly 200g of grilled chicken breast and 20g of almonds. These days its easy to find a diner that will serve 2-3 plain hamburger patties on a plate and five scrambled or fried eggs.
Green tee may be hard to find, but coffee with half & half sure isn’t!
Same thing with eating on the road — There’s a 24-hour diner in every town and on every highway just waiting to accommodate my new diet.
No meal timing! – I no longer have to set an alarm to remind me of my scheduled feedings. I also don’t have to explain to anyone why “I can leave at 11:00 or 13:00, but I need to eat at exactly 12:00″.
These days I just eat at some point in the morning and again in the afternoon or evening.
This diet is cheap as hell! – I used to have to go shopping several times a week to buy distilled water, green tea, fresh kale, bananas, almond milk, nonfat plain greek yogurt, chicken breasts, ground beef, liquid egg whites and almonds. As though that wasn’t expensive enough, I also spent money on whey protein, casein protein, creatine, glutamine and dextrose.
These days I just need some distilled water, a few pounds of ground beef and a couple of cartons of eggs. If I want coffee I get some half & half.
And, the most important reason why I like this diet — CHEAT DAYS ROCK!
Let me be honest here — I like to eat. My girlfriend not only likes to eat, she likes to cook, too!
Cheat meals used to be a couple of pancakes with syrup and butter once a week for Sunday brunch and cheat “days” were profane, sacrilegious events that one didn’t discuss openly.
On this diet, you “need” to re-carb for an entire day, once per week and of course the fastest way to get carbs into your body is through simple sugar!
That means, if my girlfriend doesn’t have to work on Friday, I do my medicine ball ab supersets, burpee intervals and Stepmill training early in the morning in the gym and then we drive together to a workout park for the rest of my bodyweight training.
After I’m done with my street workout and my girlfriend is done sunbathing, we drive to the next Dunkin Donuts to get a dozen — at least 4 of which don’t survive the first mile. Coffee, of course with lots of sugar and creamer to go with the donuts.
Lunch is usually pasta, dinner is something she made — lately its been German, such as Bratwurst or Schnitzel with Bratkartoffeln and dessert is some sort of pie or cake.
After all that food (and all those carbs!) I’m feeling a little “lethargic” and the next day I’m ready to get back on schedule with my eating.
How long should you stay on this diet?
Well, this isn’t really a “diet”, but an actual eating plan, not something that you have to cycle on and off of.
The old-school bodybuilders and, of course, Vince Gironda himself ate like this for years on end and I don’t see any reason at this time that I should change my eating habits, either.
Will I stay on the steak & eggs diet forever? Probably not.
As much as I appreciate the simplicity and ease of this way of eating, it’s actually a little too simple for me. I can imagine that I will at some point become bored with this diet because it’s too simple, just like I was tired of the complicated diet that I was constantly preparing food for.
That’s it for today, until next time, go out there and be awesome!
PS: Since I first posted this article, I have been experimenting with new meals to make it more enjoyable. Check out this playlist on my YouTube channel for complete recipes and make sure you subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you don’t miss any of my future blog videos.