Old School Secrets for Muscle Development and Healthy Fat Loss: Muscle Milk


It is no surprise that the great old school classic era physiques of the past like Steve Reeves, John Grimek, Charles A. Smith, Paul Anderson and many more advocated drinking milk (cow and goat) to build muscle without gaining fat. Milk contains each macronutrient within a great balance to each other, which they benefited profoundly from the intake of healthy sugars, saturated fats, and especially the protein that helped build their physiques.

“Milk is one of the most important and cheapest sources we have available for high biological value proteins.” Dr Tom Brewer, Metabolic Toxaemia of Late Pregnancy

I too have seen great success in using milk to build muscle and gain weight without adding fat to my frame. Raymond Peat, PhD talks about milks anti stress effects from casein, protective saturated fat content and the abundance of calcium that makes milk one of the best reducing food there is.

“One of the reasons a lot of people give, if they have overcome the idea that milk forms mucous, or is a risk for diseases and so on; one of their arguments is that it makes them fat. But, all the research on animals, and as far as it goes, human research, shows that milk is probably the best reducing foods there is. The mechanisms for that are now known. Not only the anti-stress effects of casein, and a good balance of saturated fats and so on, but the calcium alone is very important metabolic regulator, that it happens to inhibit the fat-forming enzymes fatty acid synthase, and incidentally that’s a characteristic enzyme that goes wild in cancer. But calcium and milk inhibit that fatty acid synthase, reducing the formation of fats and at the same time it activates the uncoupling proteins in the mitochondria, which are associated with increased longevity. Because they, by increasing the metabolic rate, the uncoupling proteins burn calories faster but they protect against free-radical oxidation.” Raymond Peat, PhD, EastWest Healing Interview Milk, Calcium, Hormones

In between filming, Steve Reeves would drink a cup of milk and eat fruit. This is a great way to stay satiated and full of nutrients, that of which provides digestible proteins, fats and sugars. Which also is a great way for the body sculptor to keep a constant supply of nutrients to the body, mind, and of course the muscles to help develop muscle mass.

“On the subject of nutrition, Reeves was, in the main, very much in time with modern beliefs on the value of a well-balanced diet complete with a wide variety of wholesome ingredients and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Perhaps he had an advantage here, for his mother was a nutritionist who provided her son with a sound education in this field. Steve also believed in the power of a daily protein drink, consisting of fresh orange juice, Knox gelatin, 2 to 4 raw eggs, a banana, honey, and some protein powder. He made his own powder consisting of egg-white powder, skimmed milk powder and soy protein powder, and also believed in the power of a special energy drink that he used to take during his workouts, which consisted of lemon juice with honey. Figs were another favorite and it also seems that he liked to eat steak with salad. Reports that he was almost a vegetarian are untrue, although he certainly ate a large quantity of fresh vegetables and fruits. He also liked goat’s milk and would often drink two quarts of it on a daily basis.” Alan Radley, “Grimek, Reeves, Park and the American Muscular Ideal” (2001)

As I mentioned previously, drinking milk between meals is a great way to provide the body with a constant supply of nutrients, especially when building more muscle is desired. Charles A. Smith provides a little more context as to how he and other bodybuilders from the past employed this strategy.

“We definitely do advise the underweight trainee to drink milk if he wishes to gain weight. We know some doctors claim that milk is only a food for children but we do not believe they have any actual facts to substantiate this claim. On the other hand, there are thousands of cases to prove the value of milk as a healthy drink and a curative food. It is our opinion that milk is one of the finest foods in existence.

We have known of many bodybuilders who tried to gain weight without the use of milk to no avail, but after they added two or more quarts to their daily diet immediately began to gain. One quart does not seem to be enough for satisfactory gains and you seldom notice any great gains from this amount, but two to three quarts make can make an amazing difference. There are some who have even used four or more quarts per day. As a general rule, over three quarts causes you to lose your appetite to such an extent that you cannot do justice to your regular meals. Nearly all the leading bodybuilders of our acquaintance drink milk in large quantities and swear by it. It can be taken either at meals or between meals. We always preferred to take it between meals as it seemed to give us more benefit. However, the trainee should determine for himself which is best. To take it with meals seems to fill the stomach so that no other food is desired and this, of course, is not good. If you take it between meals (not too close to meals) this condition should not exist. Those who do not like regular milk should make a milk-based drink of some kind that they particularly like. We have heard of many weird concoctions being mixed up with all types of healthy ingredients.

If you have been afraid to use milk, we feel you have been neglecting an important part of your training to gain solid weight.” Charles A. Smith, Milk and Weight Gain (1949)

Steve Reeves Drinking Milk
Image: Steve Reeves Drinking Milk between Filming
Milk makes Men Artwork
Image: Milk makes Men Vintage Artwork
Milk Nourishing Foods Advertisement
Image: Milk Advertisement Illustration

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