Whole Milk - The bad rap, aiding muscle growth, the anabolic atomic bomb.
Powerlifter Bill Kazmaier (above) deep in the hole with 900-pounds: whole milk & squats – the eternal growth combination
Whole milk was the first nutritional supplement, the cornerstone of modern nutritional supplementation. The purposeful combining of heavy and consistent progressive resistance training with supplemental whole milk consumption (to create muscle and size gains) was nothing short of revolutionary: the first time a foodstuff had been used to amplify progressive resistance results. It was profound, results from the workout were better if the athlete consumed certain nutrients immediately after a hardcore weightlifting session.
In the 1930s, men like John Grimek, Steve Stanko and John Davis discovered that whole milk not only aided muscle gain, milk drinking also accelerated workout recovery. The quicker a man can recover from a result-producing weightlifting session, the sooner he can engage in another result-producing lifting session. Calories accelerated recovery. The more the excess calories were biased towards protein the better the muscle-to-fat ratio.
Milk had portability, it was instantly consumable and available everywhere. In the 1950s, milk drinking really took off as men like Marvin Eder and Reg Park built incredible muscle size and incredible power supplementing with constant whole milk consumption. These men were always seen walking around with glass pint bottles of milk.
In the 30s, 40s and 50s, there were no chain grocery stores. Everyone ate organic, everyone ate locally sourced, seasonally appropriate proteins and produce. Milk was obtained from the local dairy, often delivered daily. The quality of the foods and the quality of the milk was excellent.
Supplementing with milk became widespread in the serious weightlifting/bodybuilding community. Milk’s widespread usage was attributable to the widespread results the weightlifting/bodybuilding community were obtaining. In the 1940s the use of whole milk as a supplement for muscle and strength became standard operating procedure. Bodybuilders like Clancy Ross and Jack Dellinger and strongmen like Doug Hepburn and Norbert Schemansky championed milk as a critical element in their successful quest to grow bigger and stronger.
In the 1950s, Iron pioneers like Reg Park, Bill Pearl and Marvin Eder took strength, physique and milk drinking to the next level. Eder was never without a pint in hand from dawn to dusk. Amongst lifters, the greatest milk advocate in history was Paul Anderson. This strength titan used whole milk as his primary method for pushing his bodyweight upward, sumo-wrestler style, to a maximum 365-pounds at a height of 5-10.
Bob Hoffman watched Anderson consume 14-pints of milk over a 14-hour period on a lifting trip to Moscow. In the 1960s, all bodybuilders and all lifters supplemented with whole milk. No one was freaked out about milk’s saturated fat or lactose sugar. There were no nutrient breakdown labels. Most importantly this was a nutritional supplement that could be purchased locally and cheaply. The quality was excellent.
Milk lost its luster in the 1980s with the widespread demonization of saturated fat as an artery-clogging, heart-stopping substance not fit for human consumption. The meteoric rise of the nutritional supplement industry also dampened the enthusiasm for milk. The use of milk seemed passé.
Milk was out in the go-go 80s. In were parachute pants, big hair and colorful supplements that made outrageous claims for horrible products. One famous, top selling mass-building product was 50% sugar. No wonder it tasted so good and sold so well.
Early supplement makers were famous for loading up on sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and toxic chemical sweeteners to disguise the putrid taste of the pathetic raw ingredients. These manmade supplements were horrific, fraudulent, and factually detrimental.
Meanwhile milk was lambasted as the choice of the low-IQ loser crowd, only Luddites and hillbillies would choose organic milk over Ram Charger Turbo Double X – now with creatine nitrous oxide! Visa and Mastercard accepted…
Back in the Miami Vice days, it was far better and far sexier to spend $39 each month (back when $39 was $100 in modern money) at the mall health food store (remember them?) on a tub of protein powder (anemic soy) a bottle of yohimbe bark, a refill of Mega Mass 4000 - and don’t forget the Horny Goat Weed pills. In those good old days, incredible promises were made that we desperately, or naïvely, wanted to believe.
The successful Jihad against saturated fat started in the late 1970s and killed our savior, whole milk. The cries from fat-phobic zealots were for the out-right ban of whole milk. Nanny-state clerks and regulators blamed whole milk for clogged arteries, heart attacks and every arterial malady known to man. “Whole milk consumption kills people.” Ironically, the cure they suggested was far worse than the malady. The fat-phobic antidotes were industrial concoctions that spiked insulin through the roof and were labeled Lite, Low-fat, Far-Free, Healthy, Heart friendly, etc.
In the milk world, the worst insulin-spiker of them all is fat-free milk, closely followed by 1% and 2% milk. Fat-free milk is milk-flavored sugar water that isolates all of milk’s worst faults and condenses and consolidates all that is wrong with milk. Fat dampens insulin spikes: stripping the fat out of milk leaves all the insulin-spiking sugar with none of dampening the fat.
The ultimate milk is raw milk, unpasteurized milk. This exotic milk is power-packed: every quart of raw milk contains 500 calories, 240 calories derived from the highest quality saturated fat, 30 grams of protein, 32 grams of fat (at nine calories per gram,) 47 grams of carbohydrate and 40 grams of sugar.
Raw milk gets a bad rap. It is banned most places: if humans drink raw milk after it goes sour, they can get botulism. Funded by agri-business, raw milk was legislated out of existence in most locales. I live in an area where it is, thankfully, plentiful, and obtainable. Raw milk’s nutritional statistics speak for themselves….
I mix in a serving and a half of Parrillo chocolate H-Protein powder or Parrillo orange crème flavored 50-50 Plus with a cup of raw milk. This creates a power-packed, liquified concoction, that, if taken at the right time (immediately after a hardcore training session) amplifies results and accelerates recovery. When nutrients are ingested immediately after a serious training session, the elevated metabolism digests and distributes nutrients three times as fast as normal. Here are the stats for my cup of raw milk/Parrillo protein powder post-workout replenishment shake…
One cup of raw milk mixed with 1.5 servings of Parrillo Hi-Protein Powder: Calories - 390, Protein - 58 grams, Carbs - 20, Fat - 8 grams and Sugar - 12.
I drink this thick, luscious, delicious concoction immediately after a body-shattering weightlifting session. It tastes incredible. I mix mine into a thick mixture, just shy of pudding. At nearly 400 calories and packing 60 grams of protein, this is truly a meal in a glass. The deliciousness is beyond description.
I savor this drink, swooning at its deliciousness with every sip. I use a spoon to scrape the final super-thick powder pockets, which I savor like BBQ burnt ends. After crushing myself training, after sucking down a 400-calorie post-workout replenishment shake, I crawl under heavy blankets on my futon and immediately sink into a catatonic stupor. My powernap lasts 45-minutes. After training and the shake, I effortlessly fall into a deep, dreamless state bordering on hibernation. In my unconsciousness, there is no thinking or dreaming, only this feeling of glowing like a nuclear isotope.
My power nap completes this classical growth equation: engage in a hardcore progressive resistance workout, douse the traumatized muscle with the quality nutrients needed to replenish and grow. These nutrients need be ingested immediately after a muscle-blasting session. Train the muscle, feed the muscle, and rest the muscle. Do so and grow and strengthen that muscle. If you have access to raw, whole milk give serious consideration to including this powerhouse substance in your menu of foodstuffs. Used right, Milk is everything.
About the Author
As an athlete Marty Gallagher is a national and world champion in Olympic lifting and powerlifting. He was a world champion team coach in 1991 and coached Black's Gym to five national team titles. He's also coached some of the strongest men on the planet including Kirk Karwoski when he completed his world record 1,003 lb. squat. Today he teaches the US Secret Service and Tier 1 Spec Ops on how to maximize their strength in minimal time. As a writer since 1978 he’s written for Powerlifting USA, Milo, Flex Magazine, Muscle & Fitness, Prime Fitness, Washington Post, Dragon Door and now IRON COMPANY. He’s also the author of multiple books including Purposeful Primitive, Strong Medicine, Ed Coan’s book “Coan, The Man, the Myth, the Method" and numerous others. Read the Marty Gallagher biography here.