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Friday, 28 March 2008

The importance of beans

Beans have been a mainstay of the bodybuilding & strength movement for decades. During the days of Steve Reeves & the muscle beach crowd, Steve & a lot of the muscle men of the time stayed at a boarding house where the demi-vegetarian owner (who ate fish, but mainly vegetarian & allowed no meat in the house) introduced them to the wonders of beans & eating a wholefood diet.

So, you can look good eating beans, but what about strength. Now, Bob Hoffman has a thing or two to say about beans:

“... but the beans we have-elaborate foods such as broiled lobster, caviar, or quail on toast must take a secondary position when these beans are around. And the beans have played an important part in the success of our world’s strongest weight lifting team too...”

Hoffman, Bob. Better Nutrition-for strength & health seeker, Strength & Health Publishing Co. 1940, P. 60

A quick story about Steve Stanko pulling an American record of 345 pounds in the clean & jerk during his first year of competition:

Steve walked over to Bob & said “Bob, if I put 345 pounds overhead, do I get a dinner of some of those beans Gracie makes?” Naturally Bob agreed & so Steve went up & put overhead 17 ½ pounds above his own previous record for a new US record, so that day he got his dinner of beans!

Again from: Hoffman, Bob. Better Nutrition-for strength & health seeker, Strength & Health Publishing Co. 1940, P. 60

So as you can see the old-timers whether training for strength or physique used beans as part of their diet, so you should consider them as well.
As well as cooking with beans you might want to consider sprouting them as a great addition to a salad, they can also be used to make paté or spreads as well as the more traditional stews, soups, chilli or countless other dishes you can add beans to.
You if you want to be “Full of beans”, then get full of beans!


Scocasso! said...

Hey, I love these articles about the pre-roid bodybuilding days. Great stuff.

wu ming said...

i was stuck at 68kg for three years. and then i started eating a baked potato with baked beans every day, not to gain weight, because i didn't think that little protein would do it, but just because it was convenient fast food. now, to my immense surprise, i have gained 4 kg of muscle in three months! just with half a can of beans a day. i also don't lift very heavy weights or use a training diary anymore. and my workouts are so short that people make fun of me. 3-5 sets of a compound exercise. now all of that breaks all the bodybuilding rules i read about, but it works, at least for me.

Vegan Bodybuilding said...

A quick update I just stumbled across this study titled "Legumes the most important dietary predictor of
survival in older people of different ethnicities - yep bean intake predicts survival!

Rick said...

Bob Hoffman also said in "Strength and Health" back in the 1940s that he never knew a happy vegetarian and most kidded themselves because they were eating fish and chicken, thus were not true vegetarians.

Vegan Bodybuilding said...

Hi Rick,
ergo he knew no vegetarians, as all the people Bob Hoffman knew actually ate meat - they were miserable omnivores, not vegetarians :-)