In his prime bodybuilding years, Arnold knew that the most important macronutrient for growth was protein.
Arnold says.“There’s always a debate about how much protein the body actually needs, I always lived off the rule that for every pound of bodyweight, I needed one gram of protein.”
As a 250-pound mass monster, the challenge for Arnold was eating nearly 250 grams of protein daily and making sure that his body could use it all. “I felt like it worked best when I had five meals per day. Some people can work with three meals. For me, five meals were the answer because I never was a big eater. I always felt comfortable with a regular-sized steak. If you gave me a 10-ounce steak, even in my heyday, I was happy.”
n the morning, Arnold would often eat a few scrambled eggs, some bacon or sausage, and some tomatoes and onions. “I was fine with that,” he says. “The only thing is, two hours after that breakfast I was hungry.” To supplement his whole food meals and get the protein he needed for substantial growth, Arnold never went far without a protein shake.
“As I was sitting there at Santa Monica City College or doing construction, I would pull out of my bag a little plastic container full of milk and protein powder. That was the additional 30 grams of protein that I needed at that time.”
An hour after his protein shake, Arnold would be at the gym doing what he did best—lifting big weight. After the gym was a late lunch of steak and vegetables. Two hours after lunch, Arnold would have another protein shake. “So, two times per day, I would have protein drinks in order to get up to the 250 grams that I needed,” he says.
Aside from protein, Arnold also knew the value of supplementing his meals for the overall health of his body. “We have to recognize that we do not get all of the nutrients—the vitamins, the minerals, the protein—through regular meals,” says Arnold. “That’s why we have supplements. No matter how healthy we eat, we won’t get enough [essential nutrients] from regular meals.”