YouTube Athlete Will Tennyson Trained And Ate Like An Old-School Bodybuilder For A Day - Men's Health Magazine Australia

YouTube Athlete Will Tennyson Trained And Ate Like An Old-School Bodybuilder For A Day

Nowhere in fitness will you find more myths and hard-and-fast rules than old-school bodybuilding.
Instagram/willtenny

If Arnold Schwarzenegger made bodybuilding cool, he also managed to dispel a number of myths surrounding the sport. Back in the day, the OG stars of bodybuilding lived by a set of hard-and-fast rules, governing everything from the way they exercised to their diet routines. From the belief that you should train until failure on every single set to eating protein constantly throughout the day, bodybuilders of years past were a different beast to the bodybuilders today. Looking to see just how demanding such a lifestyle was, YouTube star Will Tennyson spent a day living like a typical bodybuilder, following all of their gaining rules and the myths that go along with it. 

If there was anyone that could handle such a challenge, it’s Tennyson. If you haven’t heard of the YouTube star, know that this is a man who has recreated all kinds of famous fitness routines on his channel, from Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps’ infamous 12,000-calorie diet, to the training programs used by superhero actors like Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot. But his most recent challenge certainly posed obstacles for Tennyson and was a lot harder than anticipated. 

To start the day, Tennyson digs into a breakfast of eggs and oatmeal with peanut butter and protein powder. The huge quantity reflects the bodybuilding myth that you have to eat to get big, something Tennyson addresses from the get-go. “Don’t look at your scale weight,” he sys. “The most important thing is your gym progress: if you’re making progress in the gym every week, you’re feeding your body enough fuel.” He adds that you also don’t need to supplement your meal with expensive BCAAs, as they can be found in the actual foods that you’re eating. 

“Remember, supplements are the icing on the cake,” says Tennyson. “As long as you’re eating right and training right, that’s all you need.”

Tennyson then heads to the gym, but not before eating another staple bodybuilding meal of chicken breast, broccoli and rice. This is another popular “rule”, which saw bodybuilders consume protein constantly throughout the day. “Although it is optimal to build muscle with four to five protein servings per day, you’re not going to lose muscle if you don’t eat every two or three hours,” he explains. “You can have two big meals a day, you can have one big meal a day, as long as you’re getting your protein for the day.”

Tennyson mixes up exercises for his leg day workout, following a bodybuilding rule which suggests you have to confuse your muscles in order to help them grow. But as Tennyson admits, it doesn’t make for a particularly sustainable approach. “Pick a few movements that you like, master them, get better at them, get stronger at them, that’s how you get progressive overload. Don’t come to the gym and just wing it,” he says. 

And as for that rule that you should train until failure on every single set of every exercise? Yeah, Tennyson ain’t buying it. “Do the most amount of volume you can recover from to grow,” he says. “Don’t think that more is always better, it’s about finding that right balance for you.”

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

More From

Inside Tez Steinberg’s epic 126-day rowing journey across the Pacific Ocean

Inside Tez Steinberg’s epic 126-day rowing journey across the Pacific Ocean

After 126 days at sea and with more than 8,000 kilometres of water behind him, Tez Steinberg arrived in Australia from Hawaii last month, after setting off in late 2023 to raise awareness for ocean conservation and accelerate ocean plastic solutions. Steinberg’s journey was one of immense physical endurance, but as he tells Men’s Health, he wouldn’t trade the mental payoff for anything