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Frank Zane Three Time Mr. Olympia Diet and Training
The one person in history who can be referred to as the “perfect bodybuilder” as far as symmetry and aesthetics are concerned is Frank Zane. Zane happens to be one of the most celebrated bodybuilders of all time and the winner of a series of prestigious titles including that of Mr. Olympia.
Zane’s Physique was absolutely flawless and flowed with incredible symmetry. In his prime, he used to possess the look of a chiseled stone sculpture, precisely cut, well defined, and razor sharp. Men used to admire (and at times envy) his physique, while women drooled over him.
Frank began lifting weights when he was 14, he lived in a tough neighborhood where fighting was common and felt building some muscle would not hurt, after that, he continued to train and never stopped.
Zane was just18 years of age when he entered his first bodybuilding competition in Allentown Pennsylvania where he placed 5th. It must be noted here that things that allowed Zane to have such amazing physique were smart planning and his ability to stick to the plans. Frank was able to gain his incredible physique by training with light weights and high reps.
Frank Zane Diet
Zane has always said that without a perfect diet, his muscles could have never reached the optimal stage. He used to consume a gram of protein for every pound of his body weight. The carbohydrate content of his daily diet was a third greater than the quantity of protein consumed by him per day. In addition, as much as 25% of his total calorie intake came from fat (this included equal shares of mono-unsaturated, unsaturated, and saturated fat). Zane used to consume 10-15 calories for each pound of his body weight.
Zane’s goal was scraping his fat reserves while having sufficient energy for training hard. With a body weight of 180 lbs and height of 5 ft 9 inches, he had to consume 240 g of carb and 180 g of protein. So, considering that 25% of his daily calorie intake came from fat, it can be said that he used to consume 2240 calories per day (around 13 calories for every pound of his body weight).
Sources of protein in Zane’s diet included protein drinks, yeast drinks, fish, eggs, and meat. He got his carbs from potatoes, avocados, vegetables etc; he never consumed white, refined carbs and also stayed away from honey. His diet also included supplements containing calcium, magnesium, multi-vitamins, and amino acids.
Frank Zane Training
Zane trained with the goal of developing each of his body parts equally. He began by checking out his photos; this helped him to understand how much he would need to work on various body parts for having a symmetrically sculpted physique. This was followed by thorough planning and training.
He began with a split training routine. He used to work on his upper body and legs on alternate days. Being a young boy of 18 years, Zane had the energy and stamina to train six days a week.
During his initial days, he used to complete three or four sets of ten repetitions of every exercise. However, he changed his plan when a trainer in his gym advised him to increase weight with every set and allow the number of repetitions to decrease depending on his strength. So, instead of doing ten repetitions in all sets, he began with 12 and then reduced the number by two with each of the following sets. Some of the exercises he performed included dead-lifts, curls, bench press, squats, rowing, press behind neck etc. He performed all his exercises with barbells.
The above training schedule allowed Zane bulk up to more than 200 lbs from 180 lbs. However, that was not what he was looking for. So, he put in additional effort to trim down to 194 lbs. This was the time when he relocated to Florida and started training in an absolutely different manner.
He trained for three years in Florida, during which he managed to win sought-after titles like Mr. Universe and Mr. America (he even managed to beat the legend, Arnold Schwarzenegger). During this phase, he used to weigh between 180 and 185 lbs. From Florida, he relocated to Southern California, where he trained with Arnold and won several other titles including Mr. Olympia and Mr. World. During most part of his bodybuilding career, his body weight remained between 180 and 190 lbs.
He used to work out six days a week and stuck to a split training routine. However, unlike his initial days, he used to split the training into his front body and back body. The front body training included exercises involving forearms/biceps, quadriceps, abs, chest, and front deltoids. The back body training, on the other hand, included exercises involving rear and side deltoids, back, calves, abs, hamstrings, and triceps.
Frank Zane Steroid Use
Frank Zane like most other celebrated bodybuilders of his time used injectable amino acids for achieving his bodybuilding goals. Injecting amino acids directly into one’s bloodstream allows the body to utilize the proteins fully and experience rapid muscle gains.
Zane also consumed supplements of various kinds. However, the resources were very limited during his time. People had to rely on crude substances such as brewer’s yeast, bone marrow, desiccated liver, etc. Individuals who were a bit more progressive used to rely on soy protein, egg protein powder, and Blair milk.
Other than taking amino acid injections and consuming supplements, Zane also followed an effective and (short) steroid cycle. However, it must be noted that for Zane, the steroids were never the main thing. He used to have them just as a finishing touch prior to competing. Here’s the eight-week cycle we can guess he followed:
• He used to take a 100 mg Primobolan ampoule every day for eight consecutive weeks
• For the first two weeks, he used to take D-bol kick start every day
• From week two to week six, he used to have 25 mg Winstrol every day
• From week four to week eight, he used to take 25 mcg of Synthroid every day
• He took amino acid serum injections every day for eight consecutive weeks
Zane managed to reach the top of the bodybuilding arena primarily due to his dedication. Steroids definitely played a vital role in his career, but the roles of intense training and disciplined lifestyle were even bigger.
We can learn a lot from Frank Zane, the golden era of bodybuilding proved to be one of the best. That was when bodybuilders knew how to sculpt their body with hard training, diet, and discipline. Unlike today where its steroids first and training last. Frank Zane is still one of the most respected bodybuilders from his era and he continues to actively promote bodybuilding and health through his website offering training DVD's, seminars, books, and supplements.