The Protein Dilemma (Part 1 of 3) – Vince Gironda to Gene Mozēe (1995)

We present another FOUNDATIONS OF IRON exclusive feature, to be posted in three parts over the next couple of weeks. Now available here in electronic format for online reading for the very first time, this article describes some insights on protein made by the “Iron Guru” Vince Gironda in his later years, and transcribed by Gene Mozēe, who was a participant in the iron game as well as a prolific fitness writer and photographer for decades. Mozēe’s articles could be found in Muscle Builder, Iron Man, and other magazines. Gene Mozēe passed away on July 4, 2017, at eighty-two years of age. This article was obtained in the form of a rare manuscript, which must have been originally sourced at some point from the late Mr. Mozēe’s papers. This article shows how Vince Gironda’s views on fitness nutrition evolved over the years, as it reflects a more cautious approach to protein consumption than the high intake which was promoted in some of Gironda’s earlier writings.


Gene Mozēe (right) with Don Howorth in the 1960s.

Click to enlarge (will open in new window/tab)

Manuscript excerpt:


by Vince Gironda

as told to Gene Mozēe

Vince demystifies one of the bodybuilder’s most perplexing conundrums–how much protein do you need for optimum muscle growth? His conclusions are based on the latest scientific information and his own observations during more than five decades as a bodybuilding instructor and personal trainer of more Mr. America and Mr. Universe winners–and famous Hollywood movie stars–than anyone else in the world.

Vince Gironda has gone more deeply into the study of bodybuilding nutrition than anyone on this planet. He has possibly the most extensive library on nutrition that can be found anywhere. For the past 50 years he has operated his own gym, teaching only the purest principles of physical culture and art and science of bodybuilding. His disciples are legion, including Larry Scott, Sergio Oliva, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Freddie Ortiz, Don Howorth, Ray Routledge, Dave Dupre, Steve Davis, Charlie Fautz and hundreds of other bodybuilding champions, athletes and movie stars. Many of his ideas were considered radical when he first expressed them, but were later adopted and embraced by bodybuilders all over the world. When it comes to nutrition, he has always been ten years ahead of everyone else in the bodybuilding game.

In his own words, Vince explains just how much protein is needed to build muscle size. His comments are extremely valuable and should be read by everyone who uses progressive resistance exercise, whether you wish to build maximum size, lose fat, compete in athletics, or just desire to be physically fit and enjoy optimum good health.

Vince Gironda:

Nutrition for bodybuilders is a very specialized form of eating that could spell disaster to the average, sedentary individual. In short, bodybuilder’s nutrition is overstimulation! I have always advocated rest periods or getting off supplements for a brief rest period in order to detoxify.

Excessive supplementation over a prolonged period of time overworks and overloads the endocrine system, causing toxemia. At this juncture, a rest or regenerating period is indicated. I have personally suffered from this reaction more times than I care to admit. It’s like whipping a tired horse. No matter how much you whip the animal as he continues to grow more tired, he can only do one thing…slow down!

The best result with supplementation I have found is three days on supplements and three days off. The reason for this is that it takes three days to saturate the tissues and three days to detoxify, except in the case of the liver, which takes five days to detoxify (this means no protein for five days!).

On a maximum protein diet, the body becomes saturated with protein and so muscle growth does not occur. At this point the body needs to utilize its stored protein. I have experimented with total protein withdrawal diets (alkaline foods only) and have suffered no loss of strength until well into the third week. At this stage, I realize that all of my stored protein has been used up, and my system is now alkaline and detoxified and I can resume eating protein again.

Meat is a highly stimulating food. It has a warming effect on the body and its metabolism-stimulating effect persists for hours. However, stimulation is not good nutrition nor does it produce good health. Stimulation can lead to degenerative disease (kidney and liver trouble). When this occurs, it is necessary to stop eating protein for several years in order to use up the accumulated, excess stored proteins.

Hopefully you can now see my point. Over-stimulation is debilitating. This means loss of strength and energy because the body is working very hard just to eliminate the excesses you are consuming.

[to be continued soon, right here at FOUNDATIONS OF IRON]

5 thoughts on “The Protein Dilemma (Part 1 of 3) – Vince Gironda to Gene Mozēe (1995)

  1. JB617 August 8, 2019 / 10:18 am

    Interesting read, thanks for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JB617 August 8, 2019 / 11:06 am

      Its funny, I missed this one when it came out and read part 2 first. Both were very interesting to read. Can’t wait to read part 3!

      Liked by 1 person

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