Eugen Sandow Diet – How The Father of Bodybuilding Eats

Nowadays after your workout, you may get a text from your friend, “HEY! Remember that protein shake within 10 minutes of your workout that’s the most important thing!”. But is any of that true? How did the father of bodybuilding obtain his incredible physique? Let’s take a look at the Eugen Sandow diet.

The Eugen Sandow Diet must be powerful, just look at his physique!
The Eugen Sandow Diet must be powerful, just look at his physique!

Brief Overview of Eugen Sandow

You may have clicked this article thinking: who? And why is the Eugen Sandow diet even important?

Eugen Sandow is considered the father of bodybuilding.

This is namely because nobody in history up to that point had ever achieved such an incredible physique.

I know many of us lifters overthink bodybuilding time-to-time, about small things in our routine or diet.

But at the heart of it, bodybuilding is just a sport about making your body looking incredible. Incredibly low body fat, high muscle, veins in the right places, good proportions, etc.

His Incredible Physique Shocked The World

Nowadays, many would consider Eugen Sandow’s physique as relatively bad compared to modern bodybuilders.

I mean, if you compared him next to Arnold, Eugen Sandow looks “DYEL”.

Eugen Sandow compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger. The eugen sandow diet is what obtained him part of his incredible physique.
Eugen Sandow compared to Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Eugen Sandow diet is what obtained him part of his incredible physique.

Look at that incredible comparison above. He looks small, in fact, I would even argue I have a better physique than Eugen Sandow. But, I am on Arnold’s Blueprint to Mass.

But back then, before “bodybuilding” was a big thing, Eugen Sandow revolutionized the world. They saw his body and thought he was a Greek God.

He’s considered the father of bodybuilding because for many reasons. First, he gained huge support for the sport, making it really famous.

But secondly, he was one of the first serious “bodybuilders” who focused on building the muscle fibers and looking shredded.

So Why Should I Care About the Eugen Sandow Diet?

I mean seriously Tommy, why should I care about the Eugen Sandow diet if this guy is so small?

But that’s where you’re misguided in thinking. These days, many bodybuilders either have a direct cheat sheet of how to put on mass, or use gear like steroids.

Eugen Sandow didn’t have this cheat sheet we have today. He didn’t have MyFitnessPal telling him he needs to eat +500 calories every day for a year and do these specific compound lifts.

Truth is, he really had to figure a lot of it out on his own!

Why The Eugen Sandow Diet is My Favorite

Everybody these days worries about useless things in regards to their diet:

  • “Oh no, I ate a few too many carbs! My gains are gone.”
  • “No, oh no!!! I ate 143 grams of protein and not 144 grams. There goes my muscle growth”.
  • “I can’t dare indulge in a small bite of ice cream. I will lose all my muscle overnight.”
  • “This traffic on my way home is depleting ALL of my gains since I can’t get my “30-minute window shake”.

In fact, I had to refuse to join my local weight lifting team because of it. They said I was required to bring a protein shake every day because they believed in that 15-minute post-workout window nonsense.

They thought if the students didn’t eat anything within 10-15 minutes of the workout all of their hard work would be lost!

How about putting them on a realistic diet? One they can actually adhere too?

Eugen Sandow Kept It Very Simple and Obtained Incredible Results.

I am myself no believer in a special diet…the old nonsense on this subject, about raw eggs and underdone meat, seems to be passing away, and more rational views now prevail.”

Eugen Sandow

Eugen Sandow didn’t do any crazy things to get his physique.

He didn’t wake up and down 45 raw eggs as you may see in the movie Rocky.

Eugen Sandow definitely didn’t have a protein shake within 4 minutes of his workout.

He just ate normally. Sure, probably at a small caloric surplus to gain that muscle.

But he obtained a really great physique. The Eugen Sandow diet simply works.

There are tons of people in America that would do anything to have a body like his. And no, they don’t need to be taking creatine or protein supplements every day.

So, what’s this Eugen Sandow Diet hype?

Well, Eugen Sandow had a normal weight training routine. He actually looked to bodybuilding as a sport like any other.

And he said that bodybuilding is just like swimming, you have to learn the proper technique or you’re going to drown (fail).

The Eugen Sandow Cold Bath Theory

One of the strangest things in my mind that Eugen Sandow is known for is his cold bath theory.

Basically this is something I think is super weird, but you may like.

Sandow told his followers to take cold baths, but not to dry off after. He said you need to grow up and be able to deal with the wet clothes.

He said he believed people complained of aches because part of their body would be warm, and the other part not. While there’s not entirely a lot of science behind that claim, can’t hurt you to try it!

He hated Tea and Coffee, and advised for water only.

It’s very rare to meet someone that hates either tea or coffee. Especially in today’s society.

He always told his followers that look, water is made by nature to quench your thirst.

So why avoid it? It can’t really be improved upon.

This isn’t actually a bad idea. While I personally reach for C4 pre-workout because the caffeine helps my drowsiness due to medications I’m on, I think most are fine with just water.

There are no downsides and your body + kidneys LOVE water. The Eugen Sandow incorporates a lot of natural things into your life, so there’s nothing bad about this diet.

Meals at Regular

Ever hear those people on YouTube start shouting at you about not eating after 8 pm or crazy things like that?

Well, Eugen Sandow got his incredible body with none of that. He just ate meals at regular times we do. Whenever he felt hungry he just ate!

Personally, I am a huge believer in eating a lot of protein before you go to sleep. It makes sense to me because you’re going to be sleeping for the next 7-9 hours and won’t be eating.

But, all those diets saying like “only eat 2 hours a day” don’t produce better results than just eating meals at regular. As Eugen Sandow said, “I take time to chew my food”. You should too!

Plus, he had great overall health. He wasn’t really ill. In fact, how he died is strangely honorable. He got an aneurysm after straining himself so hard because he tried to lift his own car out of a ditch.

Photo by Dima Valkov from Pexels, a juicy burger. Eat whatever you want according to the Eugen Sandow Diet. There's no point in burning out!
Photo by Dima Valkov from Pexels, a juicy burger. Eat whatever you want according to the Eugen Sandow Diet. There’s no point in burning out!

He Wrote More in Strength and How to Obtain It

I like writing, a lot! So did Eugen Sandow. In fact, he didn’t hide anything.

If you were ever wondering what the secret Eugen Sandow diet is, he wrote it all in paper. He wrote the book Strength and How to Obtain It detailing everything he did.

If you want a more simplistic approach to bodybuilding, I highly recommend it.

The truth is, many people just overcomplicate everything. “You’re eating too many carbs, too little, not enough time between meals, too much…” and it just ruins it.

Even if some of those things mattered, it would matter very little. I mean seriously, it would produce like one extra pound of lean muscle mass after 10 years.

Is that one pound of muscle after a decade worth it after doing some crazy diet? No. And it’s super unrealistic.

People burn out in modern day bodybuilding all the time because people constantly criticize EVERY LITTLE DIET thing.

Just do the Eugen Sandow diet, just eat meals at regular and chill out! You don’t need a special diet.

Dumb Bells and the Eugen Sandow Diet

The Eugen Sandow diet is greatly aided by a great workout program, like Arnold’s Blueprint to Mass.

But, I will say this now. If you aren’t using dumb bells or a barbell in your workout regiment, you won’t grow a great physique.

At this point in time, it’s very clear that simple bodyweight workouts can only bring you to a certain limit.

For example, Convict Conditioning is my favorite bodyweight program. Sure, it provides great results and can get you shredded fast, but if you want to really be “huge”, you must add more resistance.

The truth is you can obtain an incredible physique without weight. But, there’s a limit that only a barbell/dumbbell can fix.

This is mainly because as Eugen Sandow said, those weights can work out more of the muscle and not put a strain on others. Helping you target specific muscle groups.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels, lifting dumb bells.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels, lifting dumb bells.

The Big Takeaway

The big takeaway here is that you just need to follow the Eugen Sandow Diet. Let’s recap that:

  • Eat meals at regular. Don’t do weird constricting diets, have fun with it.
  • Avoid burn out, it will eliminate your progress if it makes you quit.
  • Eat what you like eating! You don’t need to eliminate every single carb/fat from your diet.
  • Use things like dumb bells to help grow your body.

It’s that simple, and he had a physique that convinced people to make this into a sport. Now we have bodybuilders like me, that are super addicted to the gym. (is that a bad thing though?)

There’s the Eugen Sandow diet. Stick to it, and have fun with bodybuilding. Eating is fun!

7 thoughts on “Eugen Sandow Diet – How The Father of Bodybuilding Eats”

    • Hello again,

      I appreciate your comments on my website, they mean a lot! I read your post, great stuff. All of those exercises are critical in Arnold’s Blueprint to Mass, I recommend trying that program, as it is the best hands down.

      Those exercises are all recommended by me, and the post is well written.

      Good job Mr.Abhishek.

  1. Probably worth noting that “eating whatever you want” in the context of his era still meant healthy and unprocessed foods, as that is all people really had then. It didn’t mean going down to your local burger joint 5 times a week and using the excuse that you’re bulking.

    • Hey Sean,

      Thanks for taking the time to write in.

      I do agree with you. Bulking back then meant eating healthy and unprocessed foods- but I’d argue it’s still like that today somewhat. Most bodybuilders eat fairly healthy foods when bulking, and having a few trips to your local Taco Bell or something isn’t a bad idea here or there.

      Regardless, I think a lot of people struggle with the idea of ‘eating whatever you want’- in the context of: not eating enough! Many people who enter the bodybuilding world today struggle with getting enough calories into their body everyday and that’s what holding them back. Euguen Sandow is one of the first to implement this idea of, “eat everything in sight, and let’s grow”.

      Thank you for your comment. I think it will help other readers understand that bulking isn’t about just being unhealthy and a ‘slob’- for lack of better terms- it’s about focusing on that caloric surplus.


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