Can You Build Muscle on Frank Zane’s Diet?

I’ve been reading articles of interviews with Frank Zane where he says he eats low carb and less calories than many others who lift. He says people tend to eat more than they need to. I’d be interested in people’s views on this. Can you grow like this?

Uhh Frank Zane did…?


That describes how he was currently eating at the time of the interview and 67 years old.

@SkyzykS - at 67 he was still pretty muscular

If this diet works for Zane it doesn’t mean it will work for you. I think that every athlete should stick to his own diet depending on age/weight/bodytype/training scheme etc.

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Disclaimer - No judgement here, just my thoughts.

IMO, when guys who are on the juice talk about diet, take it with a grain of salt. This is not to discount their discipline or knowledge on the subject, but chemical assistance is a game changer for the diet. I’ve had many conversations with friends who are assisted about how they know they can eat foods and get away with it (pizza, donuts, etc), or go low carb and eat like a bird when cutting, etc. I used to train with a guy who was my height, (5’4") and 170lbs of straight muscle, must have been 7-8% BF year round, talking about how he would eat a dozen donuts in the evenings before bed to fuel the next morning’s training session. Even for natty’s, some guys just have freaky fast metabolism and can get away with it, others can’t and may have genetic predisposition to high blood sugar, and need to go low carbs.

Assistance aside, everyone’s genetics are different, as well as how they respond to diet. For example, one guy I used to compete with would go on Keto the last 8 weeks of his prep, and it really dialed him in to peeled, freaky levels of conditioning and he responded well to it. I did Keto leading into my first contest, and will never do it again. I felt terrible, and after a short burst of fat loss, it stalled. Eventually I discovered, through trial and error, I lost more fat and came in way more dialed in having more carbs throughout most of my prep, and lowering slightly 4 weeks out. So, truly, everyone is different, and ultimately you’ll need to maintain consistency in whichever nutrition method you’re trying out to see how you respond over time.


Thanks. That was helpful

Rob makes a great point (as usual!). My only real observation is that Zane’s diet strategy isn’t that far removed from Vince Gironda’s, and he appeared to prescribe a form of cyclical carb dieting for most of the training population. Carb cycling isn’t that revolutionary and, I would go out and say, actually works (it certainly has for me in the past). Zane’s diet was very modest in comparison with a huge chunk of the bodybuilding population and, as far as the latest research around protein consumption, is not far off the mark.