History of The HOLLYWOOD Low-Carb Diet

The low-carb diet is widely used in both the world of fitness industry and the world of film industry.Kim Kardashian, LeBron James and Megan Fox (1), they eat a lot of protein, fats and low carbohydrates.

In my country Germany, there are Magazines like “Spiegel” and “Zeit” debating the effectiveness of this type of diet, publishing and evaluating studies, but no one seems to be interested in the history of low-carb diets.

So how is it that the low-carb diet is so widespread in Hollywood? For this purpose we will take a short journey through time!

Even 70 years ago, movie stars tried out different diets and looked for advice on health and fitness.

Fitness guru of the Hollywood stars

Vince Gironda (ca. 1950)

Vince Gironda built his gym near Universal Studio in 1950 [2], and thus came into contact with the legends of today.

Mr. Gironda was one of the first fitness gurus of the rich and beautiful. There were other experts in his time, but none was as famous and well-known as Vince Gironda.

He published courses and books which attracted the interest of the universities of osteopathy and often a large order was placed. (3)

Doctors all over the world would contact Vince and report on using his methods. (3)

Even action movie stars like Schwarzenegger and Clint Eastwood visited Vince, trained in his gym and were critically examined by Vince.

What is it like to train in his gym? (2)

“Training at Vince’s Gym is very like a guru controlled meditation class in exercise. You think he’s not paying attention. But don’t fool yourself, he’s on every move. If you’re true follower he will lead you you to victory or die trying. But if you’re a undisciplined smuck out to waste his time he’ll rip you like a piece of paper leaving you only useful at a ticker tape parade.” – Denie Walter from the magazine ‘Muscle Mag Illustration’ (1975 August)

Clint Eastwood

The 30s of the film industry was characterized by the genre ‘Western’ and received a commercial boom. The popularity lasted until the 50s! (4)

Clint Easwood was the proverbial father of this genre and one of the most famous. He was neither too thin nor too muscular.His body stature resembled more that of a hard working man than that of a “nine-to-fiver”.

How did Eastwood create this natural ‘LOOK’?

The secret of his healthy and powerful appearance was weightlifting and nutrition!

Vince Gironda: “Clint was here when he was attending acting school and lived up the street. We used to have some great workouts together before he became famous. At that time he was unemployed and his wife was working as a model” (5)

Even Clint Eastwood had difficulties gaining a foothold in the film industry. Poor pay and unemployment plagued the still unknown actor.

He received a weekly fee of $75 from Universal Studio to study at an acting school. At some point, this contract was also terminated [5], but he still regularly visited the Gironda’s powerhouse to gain motivation.

Even the most famous German-speaking actor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited Vince Gironda and asked for his advice!

But how did the meeting come about?

After Arnold Schwarzenegger had won the bodybuilding competition “Mr. Universe” in England, he received an invitation to a competition in Florida, advertised and organized by the American entrepreneur Joe Weider. [6]

Arnold accepted the invitation, and would fly to America. Later he’d compete against bodybuilders Frank Zane and Don Peters.

Frank Zane was known for his intelligence and because of his profession as a chemistry teacher, he was nicknamed ‘The Chemist’. Arnold knew it was not going to be an easy game!

As mentioned before, Vince Gironda is known for his nutritional supplements, diets, unique training methods and his direct, open minded nature!

Vince Gironda is also known for his intelligence (IQ 150) [7] and he was one of the first to try to explain the relation between supplements and muscle building based on science.

After arriving to the USA, Schwarzenegger made his way straight to Vince Gironda in the hope of receiving constructive criticism of his body.

Arriving at the famous, notorious Gironda’s Gym, Arnold introduced himself to him. Vince evaluated his form with the words

“Arnold, you’re a fat piece of shit!” [7]

Arnold took his honest and direct answer as an insult and left the Gironda’s estate without further ado.

The competition

A little later Arnold was on stage, posing in Florida and the audience applauded non-stop. The award ceremony followed:

“The title Mr. Universe goes to…..FRANK ZANE” The audience was visibly disappointed and booed the jury. [8]

Arnold returned to the Gironda’s gym, and sought out the conversation with Vince:
“I see what you mean.” [7]


Peter Lupus from “Mission impossible” trained with bodybuilding legend Larry Scott in Gironda’s Gym.

Full of zeal, he took over the training plan of Larry Scott, the award-winning winner of the bodybuilding competition MR OLYMPIA (1965).

However, the actor made no progress at all, on the contrary he lost muscle.

Vince Gironda taught him: “You cannot use the same training plan as Larry Scott! You have to adapt your plan to your needs. !!!!”

“My favorite exercises are usually specialized movements for particular bodyparts. I train at Vince Gironda’s Gym in Studio City, which is the real Mecca for the top bodybuilders, and they and Vince are a great bunch of guys. We were particularly glad to see Don Howorth take the Mr. America title this year…he really deserved it.”. – Peter Lubus [19]

John Saxon

John Saxon is known for his role in “The Man with the Claw of Death”. Among other things he fought on the side with Bruce Lee! Saxon also trained in the legendary Gym of Gironda’s.


Vince Gironda wrote: “OJ Simpson was my student. I taught him how to clean and jerk the weight for ‘The Superstars’. Although O.J. is such a fantastic athlete, he only had a couple of lessons from me. He never gets a chance to practise, but the man is so marvellously co-ordinated that all you have to do is give him a true blueprint and in his head he can perform it!”

Arnold Schwarzenegger is also a big fan and wrote in his german autobiography TOTAL RECALL: “Oj Simpsons was at the peak of his athletic career, the best running back in the National Football League.”

James Drury

He became known for his leading role in the successful western series “The People of Shiloh Ranch”. Before his breakthrough he trained with Vince Gironda.

He went through the ‘crash diet’ and in addition he followed the Gironda’s training instructions, later he landed his success in the TV series ‘The Virginian’. [5]

Roddy Piper (Movie: They live)

Many know him from the film ‘They Live’. Besides his acting career he was a wrestling star and well known in the TV SHOWS. In 2007 he was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Eastwood, Schwarzenegger and Roddy Piper..they were all influenced by Vinca Gironda. The list is endless, this guy has worked on more movie stars than a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.

To name a few more, here is a list: William Holden, George Hamilton, James Garner, Lou Ferrigno, Erik Estrada, Clint Eastwood, Tommy Chong, Cher, Johnny Carson, Keith and David Carradine, Joe Campanella, Maud Adams, Brian Keith, Michael Landon, Sean Penn, Roddy Piper, Burt Reynolds, David Lee Roth, Richard Roundtree, Kurt Russell, John Schneider, Arnold Schwarzenegger, O. J. Simpson, Randy Quaid, Clint Walker, Carl Weathers, Denzell Washington, Marty Feldman and Dudley Moore [7].


There are many stories and myths about who invented the low-carb diet. And even today, books are published about it, which allegedly reinvent the wheel.

William Banting

The principle of the low-carb diet became known by William Banting (1797 -1878) through his book “Letter on Corpulence”. The diet gained renewed popularity through the doctor Robert Aktins, who published studies on it. [9]

Vince Gironda did pioneer work and is for me the father of low carb and the HOLLYWOOD diet! He trained and gave advice to the stars long before they were successful and famous.

He explained the low-carb diet to movie stars and developed his famous concept of “Create an illusion”.


Note: The information contained in this article is for the reader’s use only as a guide to improving strength and muscle tone. Nothing herein should be relied upon as medical advice.  Not all exercises and diets in this article are suitable for everyone, and the reader should consult his or her physician before attempting to perform the types of training and practices recommended here.


Vince became famous in Hollywood for his ‘COSMETICS PROGRAM’, which creates an illusion of a powerful body. Within 10 days he transforms the skinny, slim actor into a powerful guy.

According to Vince, the actors don’t want to be wide, they want to be “slim” . They want the body of a ‘steelworker’.

Vince found out that if you choose a wide grip in the ‘Dips’ exercise, you look wider without gaining weight.

Execution of the dips [11]

The execution is also crucial for the illusion: choose a wide grip, take a deep breath and go as deep down as possible. Now push yourself up, but don’t extend fully. Vince recommends pushing up about 12 inches (30cm).

However, if you still want to use the full range of motion, use a slightly tighter grip, Vince Gironda preached.

To give the actor strong arms, he works on the lateral aspect of the shoulders and triceps. He uses the exercise “Bent Over Tricep Pulley Extension” with the rope. Especially for the cosmetic effect, Vince Gironda completely avoids the exercise “Squat”. [10]

Roman Chair Squat by Gironda

He is against squats because they widen the hips. But he recommends as subvention: Sissy Squat, Roman Chair Squat and Leg Extension, which also create an illusion! [10]

One-armed or one-legged exercises are worthless. He said that he tried to shape the left latissimus in accordance with the right one by training with a 175-pound (79KG) dumbbell for 9 months and doing 20 repetitions, but he got no results.

The same principle applies to abdominal muscle training: the hips become unnecessarily wider. If you are preparing for a photo shooting, Vince recommends a diet instead.


Vince developed an alternative to the sit-ups: AB EXERCISE: CRUNCH EXERCISE (See Youtube)


First place of the best protein sources are eggs. Gironda recommends eating eggs every 3 hours, he justifies this by saying: “The bloodstream keeps the proteins for 3 hours.

We should eat like babies. Parents feed their babies every 3 hours because they get hungry when the blood sugar drops”.

Bodybuilders of the 60s would even go one step further. They would train in his gym for an hour, go to town for a short time to consume something high in protein, and return to finish their training [11].

Milk takes second place, but Gironda warns against carbohydrates.

Vince: “ONLY a handful of men like the award-winning “Mr. Olympia” LARRY SCOTT, can consume vast amounts of milk without getting fat. But most of us become fat” [10].

Do the carbohydrates make me fat? 

No, Vince Gironda told that it depends on the usage. The key is knowing how to use the carbohydrates at the right time!

Vince Gironda: “In my opinion, carbohydrates are necessary, eat carbohydrate-rich foods every third or fifth day! it will replenish your liver’s glycogen stores! 10] In his book he recommends rice. [12] 

However, the combination of carbohydrates and sugar is not suitable, they make you fat.

Vince’s next best protein source would be raw beef. In addition, Vince told Gironda in his seminar in America about his weight loss and protein consumption:

“I lost 10 pounds in weight. I worked out every day, but don’t get heavier because I just don’t eat enough. I ate only a100 grams of protein a day”

And for anyone who is not active in sports, 45 grams of protein a day is fine. [13] 


In a column a fan named Steve Orwell asked about THE “High Fat Diet” and what he should take into account to build muscle and Vince Gironda then formulated the following plan for him.

Gironda outlined the following diet for a fan 35 years ago

Vince Gironda: “Do not eat salad or vegetables. No chicken and fish. Eat beef. Don’t eat tuna, nuts and protein whey with milk”.

A slightly older fan (over 40) has muscle building problems and Vince wrote: “20 eggs a day plus cream (10-18% fat). Every 3-4 hours a cup of this recipe (236ml = 8 oz. glasses). This will keep your nitrogen balance positive and the male hormones up.”


Vince published an article in an American muscle magazine called “Create an illusion”. He cited studies,

“Tests of various hospitals showed that the egg diet has a healing effect and contributed significantly to the healing process.

Many patients with skin burns of 30-60% showed amazing results when given an egg diet.

In addition, Vince shared his personal experience: “I trained and got the best results in my life with butter, eggs and beef”.

When did Gironda use the egg diet? [10]

He wrote that in preparation for the Mr. Universe competition he used this type of diet; “I lived on a base of fat and later I had the courage to make the diet public and that was the birth of my egg diet”.

PLUS: “Three quarters lb. of steak and 3-4 eggs supply 103 grams of 1st class protein fast, and is easy to digest. I personally achieved the best shape of my career on this diet. I used this diet for nine months, taking no supplements and with no adverse effects.”

Detoxification diet of film stars [10]

Each of his protégés goes through his detox diet for the first 3 – 5 days.
It contains 15 different vegetables and green salad with vinegar and herb dressing.

Vince Gironda developed this diet for the movie stars and found it to be the best way to lose weight. This protein-free diet is only suitable for a few days.

Vince Gironda loved supplements! [10]

In the relevant fitness magazines of the 60’s and 70’s, Vince Gironda emphasizes in his articles the intake of vitamins and co.

Minerals are necessary and the basic substance of hormones, Gironda wrote. [10]

In fact, Vince was right and in relevant websites, you will find the following: “Without magnesium we would not be able to produce the hormones necessary to regulate our metabolism, and the sex hormones. [16]

Very often he praises the liver pills. According to Gironda, liver pills literally melt away the fat pads and your blood sugar level remains high. [10]

He also made the experience with the Mr. America ‘Don Howarth’ that the liver pills in combination with vitamins B and iron, results in a better pump during training. [10]

During his diet, Vince tries to avoid vitamin B because it stores too much water in his tissues.

Wheat germ oil was also one of his favorites and vitamin E was only used in combination with wheat germ oil, otherwise the supplement was ‘worthless’.

“Adrenal” are good blood builders, but Gironda advises caution, they are very potent.

Gironda: “I think you should not take adrenaline twice weekly”.

Vitamin C has a urinary stimulating effect. For definition, you can lose a lot of water with it. Vince recommends daily doses from 500 to 1500mg.

According to Gironda, zinc is a must have and he recommends it in combination with the supplement PABA.

He also claims bull testicles are one of the oldest rejuvenation methods.

The old standard for burning fat is kelp. Vince recommends 30 tablets daily, these stimulate the thyroid (=hormone production).

In his gym, Vince told Gironda that his protégés eat 10-30 eggs a day and they still have low cholesterol levels.


Maximum pump during any workout doesn’t really build muscle, pump is a sign of circulation and maintenance of the pump, but you won’t grow because of all the work.

Maximum Pump should not be followed more than once a week.
Your muscle needs 72 hours to rebuild the tissue.

Vince Gironda’s formula [18] 

1. bodybuilding is 80% nutrition (note: Vince was the first bodybuilder to establish this 80% rule)

2. many men train incorrectly, because training correctly is more strenuous

3.isolate each muscle completely

4. bodybuilders eat way too much protein

5. train fast and short for maximum success

6. kelp supplements increase the definition

7. the conventional exercise ‘squat’ does not really build up the thighs

8. sit-ups and leg raises do not make your abdominal muscles more visible

9. Abdominal training delays progress

10. change your training routine every 3rd training session

Translated from my german article with https://www.deepl.com/en/translator


2. Muscle Mag Illust. August 1975
3. MMI v2 issue 3
4. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_(Genre)
5. MMI v2 issue 2, Page 2
6. Franco Columbo’s Book ‘Coming on Strong’
7. 1993 Vince Gironda Interview – T.C. Luoma
8. Muscular Development, Vol 6, No 1, Page 6, January 1969
9. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Banting
10. Muscle Mag May 82, Page 3
11. MM May 83
12. https://physicalculturestudy.com/2015/05/26/vince-girondas-definition-diet
13. Old Article , Title: Steak and Eggs Diet, Magazine ?
14. MMI May 1979 Q AND A
15. Old Article , Title: Create an illusion, Magazine ?
16. https://www.healthandscience.eu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1729:magnesium-ist-gut-fuer-ihren-hormonhaushalt&catid=20&Itemid=316&lang=de
17.MMI sept 1974
18. Old Article , Title: Vince Gironda – The Man, The Master, Magazine ??

Thumbnail Picture from Vince Gironda’s Archive, edited by me

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