Rich Gaspari retired several years ago, but still shares his knowledge of bodybuilding with fans today. In a recent Instagram post, Gaspari revealed his diet plan for gaining muscle and stressed that finding success in bodybuilding is largely determined by nutrition.
During the 1980s and 90s, Gaspari made a name for himself as a Men’s Open bodybuilder. Known for symmetry, conditioning, and striated glutes, his influence on the sport was undeniable. While competing actively, Gaspari tested himself against some of the best, like perennial contender Lee Labrada, eight-time Mr. Olympia Lee Haney, and six-time winner Dorian Yates.
Gaspari stirred controversy after comparing the backs of Yates and Hadi Choopan recently. The 2022 Mr. Olympia took issue with the juxtaposition. While Choopan fired back, Gaspari insisted that conditioning in today’s sport is far from what it was back when he competed. He’s since elaborated on this point, mentioning that today’s pros are using excessive amounts of drugs instead of utilizing quality training and diets.
Speaking in a recent video, Gaspari shared some common dietary measures for building muscle. He also described his “35% protein, 45% carbohydrates, and 20% fat” macronutrient plan.
Rich Gaspari: “You’re Not Going to Grow Muscle Until You Feed The Machine”
Gaspari spoke with a few bodybuilders and was taken aback by their diets. According to Rich, success in bodybuilding is 70-80% diet.
“I started talking to a couple of decent bodybuilders and they’re talking about their caloric intake. These guys are eating at 185, 195, 1900 calories. That’s eating like a bird. If you really want to gain muscle, you have to try to eat higher amounts of calories and do it slowly. I tell guys this, you’re not going to grow muscle until you feed the machine. Guys are always afraid of being fat, but you can speed up the metabolism. I always tell people, being successful in bodybuilding is 70, 80% diet. Think of it this way, if you’re building a house or you’re building, if you don’t have the cement, you can’t build the wall.
Same thing with nutrition. If you don’t have the right macronutrients to grow, you’re not going to grow. How do you do this, if you guys are on a low caloric intake because you want to stay lean… a guy who’s like 185 should be taking in – shit – like 3,000 calories to really start building muscle, 3,000 to 3,500 calories. But, you have to do it slowly. How do you do that. If you’re on 1,900 calories, what you need to do is do three days of 1,900 calories, and then do a day of 2,400 calories. Do that for two weeks, then increase your caloric intake to the 2,400 calories for three days, and then go up to 2,800 calories and do that for two weeks,” says Rich Gaspari.
Gaspari’s macronutrient plan incorporates a ‘35% protein, 40% carbohydrates, 20% fat’ ratio.
“With macros, you want to stay on a 35, 45, 20, 35% protein, 40% carbohydrates, 20% fat. What you’re going to be eating with your proteins is you’re going to stay with low fat proteins. Staying with lean ground meat, chicken, salmon, eggs, try to eat more egg whites of course but have a couple of egg yolks. Whey protein of course. For complex carbohydrates, I stick to gluten free carbohydrates, sweet potatoes, potatoes, yams, brown rice, oatmeal. That’s basically my carbohydrates. Some beans, some simple fruits,” Gaspari added.
He mentioned that the fiber in his diet comes from vegetables. Gaspari said eating this way consistently will help the body acclimate to ‘accepting’ higher amounts of calories.
“Then you want some fiber. At least a couple meals with vegetables, of course, using asparagus, broccoli, Colliflower, salads, so you have that fiber.”
“Stay away from refined carbohydrates — white flour, white bread, white sugar, those are the enemies. If you eat this way consistently slowly increasing your caloric intake, you’ll be able to eat more and more and acclimate your body to be able to accept those higher calories and use it for building muscles.”
Gaspari isn’t the only bodybuilder from the 80s critical of practices today. Recently, Lee Haney discussed the modern state of bodybuilding. Like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s viewpoint, Lee Haney argued the sport has become dangerous. He underlined that bodybuilders in his era reached a level of conditioning where they were ‘still able to walk away alive.’
At 59 years old, Gaspari is the picture of longevity and doesn’t mind sharing some of his anti-aging tips with fans. Looking ahead, he hopes athletes embrace better diets to reach their full potential as bodybuilders.