In 1968 I entered my first competition in Verona and won the national title of Mr. Italy. More than 40 others had entered the contest, so I took advantage of having so many bodybuilders conveniently gathered to ask questions about the foods they ate. I did the same thing in Brussels two months later when I won the title of Mr. Europe. A great deal of the information I gathered was similar, but 1 had the gut feeling that something highly important was still to be learned. An opportunity to find out what it was arose six months later when I entered the Mr. Universe competition in London
Right from the start, it was obvious that the most outstanding bodybuilders were American Only they had real depth and clarity of muscle, in addition to the symmetry Europeans mainly trained for in the 1960s I wondered what made the big difference. After all, lifting weights is the same whether the weights are lifted in Europe or in the United States. We all have the same force of gravity to contend with. The secret of the Americans' superior physique seemed to lie in a specialized diet, enabling them to achieve a defined look, today's primary concern of winning bodybuilders
At the time of the competition in London I spoke no English, but fortunately an Italian friend who did was available.
"Find out what the Americans are eating," I told him.
When my friend returned he shrugged his shoulders and reported, "They all have different diets."
As I began questioning him about specific foods included in their diets, a similarity I was sure existed immediately became obvious. Every American bodybuilder, without exception, was eating food high in protein, very low in fat, and moderate in carbohydrates. This discovery was the turning point in my search for the right nutritional program.
Here I would like to stress the fact that the average diet of people in Western countries is high in fat and carbohydrates but low in protein. Almost the exact opposite was true of the American bodybuilders I first met in London. Could this difference be one of the key factors in attaining that finished look given only by emphasis on definition?
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