Tom Platz Diet and Workout Plan

The Tom Platz diet plan is a classic example of how bodybuilders ate during the golden era. Steak, whole eggs, cottage cheese, and milk were staples when it came to building muscle.

Bodybuilders today get most of their protein from whey, chicken breast, and egg whites. But during the golden era, Tom Platz and others ate more steak and whole eggs.

Some people argue that the old school bodybuilding diet was far superior. At the end of the day, it really comes down to personal preference. But I think we can all agree that these bodybuilding legends were able to build impressive physiques.

Who is Tom Platz?

Tom Platz is an American retired professional bodybuilder, author, and fitness icon. He competed during the 1970s and 1980s – which is believed to be the golden era of bodybuilding.

Unlike today’s modern bodybuilders, the golden era was all about muscular symmetry and showcasing the v-taper. Today, modern bodybuilders are focused on building mass and their physiques are too bulky.


Height‎5′ 8″ (172.5 cm)
Weight225 – 235 lbs (102.1 – 106.6 kg)
Year of Birth1955

Tom Platz Diet Plan

Tom Platz stuck to what other bodybuilders ate during the golden era. For example, he skipped egg whites and opted for whole eggs instead.

Here’s what a sample day of eating may have looked like for him:

  • Breakfast: 6 whole eggs, bacon, fruit, and 1 cup oatmeal
  • Lunch: 4 hamburger patties, large salad, and a baked potato
  • Snack: 6 whole eggs, bowl of cottage cheese, nuts, and fruit
  • Dinner: Steak, 4 pieces of whole grain toast, large glass of milk and vegetables

Most of their daily protein came from meat – rather than synthetic whey protein. Golden era bodybuilders like Tom Platz were not afraid to eat fat – like most people are today.

Off Season Diet

Tom Platz was much more relaxed when it came to his off-season diet. He would frequently eat burgers and ice cream to gain weight.

  • Breakfast: 2 pieces whole grain toast with butter and jelly, glass of milk, glass of orange juice, cup of coffee, and supplements
  • Lunch: 6 whole eggs, 1 hamburger patty, 2 pieces whole grain bread, large salad, and juice
  • Snack: Cheese and crackers, milk, and juice
  • Dinner: 1 pound steak, large salad with cottage cheese, nuts, bread with butter, baked potato, and milk
  • Snack: Ice cream, or bag of nuts

Tom had an interesting approach to muscle growth during the off-season. He believed that the mental aspect was just as important as the diet. If you don’t think big, you will never get big.

Chest Workout

One of the areas Tom was known for was his side chest pose. He was able to build such a large chest shelf from heavy movements, breathing exercises, and dumbbell pullovers.

  • 1st exercise: Barbell bench press 4 x 6-12
  • 2nd exercise: Weighted dip 4 x 10
  • 3rd exercise: Incline dumbbell press 4 x 6-12
  • 4th exercise: Dumbbell chest fly 4 x 10
  • 5th exercise: Pec deck machine 4 x 10

Tom believed that training as heavy as possible was key to building muscle. He also emphasized the importance of form when lifting heavy.

Back Workout

A wide back is key to a classic era bodybuilding physique. Tom Platz new that a thick back and wide lat spread would only enhance the v-taper.

  • 1st exercise: Barbell deadlift 4 x 6-12
  • 2nd exercise: Bodyweight chin up 4 x to failure
  • 3rd exercise: T-bar row 4 x 8-12
  • 4th exercise: Seated cable row 4 x 10
  • 5th exercise: Dumbbell pullover 4 x 10

Heavy movements like the barbell deadlift was his foundational back exercise. From there, Tom toned other muscles in the back and used partial reps to finish his workouts.

Shoulder Workout

Instead of training all of the shoulder muscles together, Tom Platz would split them up. He would train rear deltoid muscles seperatly from the front and side deltoids.

This meant that on shoulder days, Tom would train twice a day. He would continue the theme of using heavy compound movements, paired with isolation exercises.

Rear deltoids (morning workout)

  • 1st exercise: Upright barbell row 6 x 8-12
  • 2nd exercise: Bent over rear dumbbell fly 5 x 8-12
  • 3rd exercise: Reverse pec deck machine 5 x 8-12

Front/side deltoids (evening workout)

  • 1st exercise: Overhead barbell press 5 x 6-12
  • 2nd exercise: Behind the neck press 4 x 8-12
  • 3rd exercise: Dumbbell lateral raise 5 x 10-12
  • 4th exercise: Single arm cable lateral raise 5 x 10-12

Leg Workout

If you Google the quadfather, there will be many references to Tom Platz and his legs. During his prime, his massive legs put many other golden era bodybuilders to shame.

  • 1st exercise: Barbell squat 6 x 4-12
  • 2nd exercise: Leg extension 4 x 8-12
  • 3rd exercise: Lying leg curl 4 x 8-12
  • 4th exercise: Hack squat 4 x 6-12
  • 5th exercise: Standing calf raise 5 x 20

Some will say genetics played a role in Tom’s leg development, but no one can question his level of intensity when it came to leg day. Try this leg workout for size and strength.

Arm Workout

Tom said that his arms were always one area he wanted to improve. His arms were not small by any means, but his massive legs tended to overpower them.

  • 1st exercise: Standing barbell curl 4 x 8-12
  • 2nd exercise: Seated dumbbell curl 4 x 10-12
  • 3rd exercise: Preacher curl 4 x 8-12
  • 4th exercise: Bodyweight dip 4 x 8
  • 5th exercise: Cable triceps pushdown 4 x 10-12
  • 6th exercise: Single arm triceps dumbbell extension 4 x 10-12

Tom would normally train arms twice a week. Once on his leg day and another training session later in the week. The above exercises are just one example of Tom’s arm routine.


You can’t talk about the golden era of bodybuilding without mentioning Tom Platz. This is when bodybuilding was in its prime, because most of the physiques back then were well-proportioned.

There’s no perfect diet, but it’s interesting to see how time ate during his competing days. If you want to take your nutrition old school, try eating more animal protein, fats, and less carbs.

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