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ancient romans

How to gain muscles like ancient Romans?

If you are determined to get into shape and bulk up, you might want to look up at ancient Romans health tips. The fighters, especially gladiators were trained to deliver devastating blows in the arena.

Hence it was very important to maintain a tough fitness routine for people who made money by showing off their fighting skills and being fit. In this blog, we will delve at the lives of ancient Romans to gain valuable insights and inspiration from their strategies for reaching our fitness goals.

Eating Like a Gladiator: A Nutritional Powerhouse for Muscle Growth

A diet rich in protein was crucial for Roman gladiators as it played a vital role in promoting muscle development and aiding in muscle recovery. The main constituents of their diet primarily revolved around high-protein sources, which are discussed below:


Barleys held a significant place in the gladiators' daily food intake, being an affordable and easily accessible source of carbohydrates. Its consumption supplied enduring energy to withstand rigorous training and lethal battles.


Beans were highly esteemed by gladiators due to their abundance in protein and fiber. These legumes provided essential amino acids vital for muscle growth and repair, supporting physical development and recovery.

Fresh Meat:

The gladiators' diet comprised of fresh meats like chicken, fish, and occasionally pork. These lean protein sources not only aided in muscle maintenance but also furnished essential nutrients for overall well-being and peak performance.


Various vegetables, including leafy greens, onions, and garlic, were included in the gladiators' diet to provide essential vitamins and minerals. These plant-based foods helped boost their immune systems and overall well-being.


Consuming milk and cheese was a common practice among gladiators to fulfill their calcium and protein requirements. These dairy products played a vital role in strengthening their bones and muscles, contributing to their physical prowess in the arena.

How to train like gladiators to build your muscle mass?

Gladiators heavily incorporated calisthenics or bodyweight exercises into their training regimen, as these workouts solely rely on a person's own body weight. They commonly practiced exercises like push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, jumping jacks, pull-ups, squats, dips, planks, and more, and could modify them to increase resistance for a challenging workout. Three main categories are as followed:

Vigorous exercises involve strength training without high speed, including weightlifting, resistance bands, gardening, climbing, and bodyweight exercises.

Speed exercises focus on training for quickness and agility, such as sprint running, boxing, drill exercises, and uphill sprints. It's important to start gradually, with shorter reps and proper recovery, before increasing intensity and difficulty.

Power exercises involve a combination of both speed and strength.

Bottom line:

While we may not be engaged in gladiatorial combat, the diet of Roman gladiators holds valuable lessons for us. Some key takeaways include focusing on high-protein foods like chicken, fish, beans, and legumes to aid muscle growth and repair.

Additionally, incorporating a variety of colorful vegetables ensures a diverse intake of essential vitamins and minerals. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water supports overall health, and maintaining a balanced diet with a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats fuels the body and sustains energy levels.

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