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How to Build Mass like Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Arnold Schwarzenegger is a legend among men. The Austrian Oak is a legendary bodybuilder who has achieved incredible muscle growth and amazing success in virtually every key area throughout his career. In his book, "The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding," Arnold shares his top 5 diet tips to maximize muscle growth and build mass. The tips in this article, especially tip number five, will completely change how you think about building muscle and getting ripped.

Tip 1: Never Rush the Process to Build Mass


In the past couple of decades, bodybuilding has exploded in popularity. With this popularity comes the desire to find hacks and shortcuts to expedite the rate at which people reach their muscle-building goals.

One such technique is dirty bulking, where individuals eat everything they can get their hands on to create a calorie surplus and promote muscle hypertrophy. While dirty bulking may lead to slightly more muscle growth than a cleaner bulking diet, it comes with its drawbacks.

As Arnold explains, bulking up by getting fat just gives you extra weight to work off later and promotes bad habits that you'll eventually have to break. Dirty bulking might help you build slightly more muscle, but eventually, you'll put on too much weight and be forced to cut down. This cutting phase can last for weeks, during which you may lose the muscle you gained during your dirty bulk. Therefore, it's best to employ a small calorie surplus of 250 to 500 calories per day and keep your diet clean to build mass effectively.

Tip 2: Eat Small to Get Big


If building muscle is your goal, Arnold recommends eating three to five meals a day instead of practicing intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating. Eating more frequently helps control hunger during a cut and ensures your body has a steady stream of amino acids to repair and build muscle tissue.

Multiple studies have shown that consuming protein at regular intervals throughout the day stimulates muscle protein synthesis more effectively than consuming larger amounts of protein less frequently. Therefore, to maximize muscle growth, aim for high-protein meals at regular intervals. Now, when it comes to the adequate amount of protein, Arnold typically suggests aiming for 1g of protein per body weight. So, for example, if you’re a 200lb individual, aim to consume 200g of protein.

Tip 3: Avoid False Energy


Arnold advises bodybuilders to avoid relying on artificial stimulants for performance enhancement. While caffeine can provide short-term performance benefits, over-reliance on caffeine or pre-workout supplements can lead to negative impacts on overall health and sleep quality.

High doses of caffeine can disrupt sleep patterns and, in turn, hinder muscle growth and testosterone levels. While a moderate amount of caffeine, such as a couple of cups of coffee, is acceptable, relying on excessive amounts can have long-term consequences.

It's essential to address underlying issues such as lack of sleep, poor diet, and high-stress levels instead of relying on false energy to power through workouts.

Tip 4: Balance is Everything


Arnold emphasizes the importance of finding the right balance of macronutrients (fats, proteins, and carbohydrates) to optimize muscle growth. While high protein and low carbohydrate diets may have their benefits, they are not optimal for building muscle.

To gain muscle optimally, you need to consume a balanced diet that includes all three macronutrients in appropriate proportions. This recommendation aligns with modern-day bodybuilding science, which also supports the idea of finding the right balance of macronutrients for muscle growth.

Tip 5: Don't Get Dietary Tunnel Vision


To achieve an awe-inspiring physique, Arnold stresses the importance of a good, nutritious diet. While focusing on macronutrients and calorie intake is essential, it should not overshadow the significance of consuming a wide variety of nutrient-dense whole foods. Processed foods may provide the necessary macronutrients for muscle growth but often lack essential micronutrients like vitamins and minerals.

It's crucial to eat a diverse range of foods to ensure your body receives all the necessary micronutrients for optimal health and performance. Additionally, if needed, you can consider getting professional blood work done to identify any nutritional gaps and determine which supplements you should take.


Arnold Schwarzenegger's top 5 diet tips provide valuable insights into building mass like a bodybuilding legend. By avoiding shortcuts, eating small, avoiding false energy, finding the right balance, and focusing on a nutritious diet, you can maximize muscle growth and achieve your physique goals. Remember, building mass takes time and consistency, but with Arnold's tips, you can optimize your muscle-building journey.


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Leviticus Rich is the premiere productivity expert and coach located in the DMV area within Northern VA. Leviticus has helped thousands of people improve their time management, focus, and productivity by offering some of the best, science-backed, advice and techniques in the modern era. P.S. If you need help managing your productivity and destroying procrastination, click the link here to sign up for free productivity coaching. If you want more resources or guides on how to boost your finances, fitness, or lifestyle, click the link here.

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