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Cover Man Mike O’Hearn—on the Set and in the Gym

100 POUNDS OF MUSCLE How One Man Packed It On (And How You Can Do It Too)

Mike O’Hearn (a.k.a. “Titan”) and Noy Alexander


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September 2008



62 TRAIN, EAT, GROW 107 Exercise variation and order for serious new size gains.

84 GLADIATOR Lonnie Teper interviews Mike O’Hearn, drug-free bodybuilder, powerlifter and strongman and American Gladiator. Titan wants to rough you up.

108 TO SLEEP, PERCHANCE TO GROW Jerry Brainum checks out the research Zs. Snooze or you lose muscle.

120 A BODYBUILDER IS BORN 38 Ron Harris explains the Lee Haney adage: stimulate, don’t annihilate. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing—even if it’s intensity in the gym.


130 NO-CHEAT CHEST CHISELING Cory Crow talks with pro bodybuilder Derik Farnsworth about sculpting perfect pecs—no throwing, heaving or jerking allowed.


142 HOW I GAINED 100 POUNDS OF MUSCLE David Young quizzes legendary bodybuilder Rich Gaspari on how he packed his frame with mounds of raw muscle (and how you can do it too).


168 ANABOLIC pH, PART 2 Our European research correspondent Michael Gündill provides basic solutions for how to be less acidic to spur more growth.

188 7 STEPS TO STEADY PROGRESS From the archives, Matt Danielsson lays out a plan to keep your muscle mass moving forward.

206 2008 FITTEST COUPLE Dena Anne Weiner and Rado Pagac grabbed the title at the L.A. FitExpo. Here’s how they did it (with plenty of great pics too).

218 HEAVY DUTY John Little unearths an intriguing interview with Mike Mentzer from 1995.

264 HARDBODY Ava Cowen unveils her muscle and hotness for our cameras. This BodySpace favorite is smokin’!

282 ONLY THE STRONG SHALL SURVIVE Coach Bill Starr outlines how to go from being a beginning weight trainer to an intermediate with a burst of new size and strength gains.

Michael O’Hearn and Noy Alexander appear on this month’s cover. Hair and makeup Yvonne Ouellette. Inset photo Ava Cowen, Hair and makeup Alexandra Almand. Photos by Michael Neveux.


R GLADIATUOT WORKO Cover Man Mike O’Hearn—on the Set and in the Gym

100 POUNDS OF MUSCLE How One Man Packed It On (And How You Can Do It Too)


Grow With Pro Derik Farnsworth


• Hardbody Ava Cowen • Fittest Couple • 7 Steps to Rock-Hard Results

Vol. 67, No. 9

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Mike O’Hearn (a.k.a. “Titan”) and Noy Alexander



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26 TRAIN TO GAIN Victorious delts, fear of change and Joe Horrigan on lower-back pain.

42 SMART TRAINING Charles Poliquin outlines the patient-lifter/stepladder combo strength system.

50 EAT TO GROW CoQ10, cheap protein and a new thermogenic king on the fat-burning scene.

70 NATURALLY HUGE John Hansen has answers for a trainee who’s lost fat but needs muscle.

76 SHREDDED MUSCLE Dave Goodin on contests, drug tests and bodybuilding success.

80 CRITICAL MASS Steve Holman discusses efficient 3D back attacks. Plus, barbells vs. dumbbells.

228 NEWS & VIEWS Lonnie Teper’s world-of-bodybuilding coverage—plus his four big Rising Stars.


NEWS & VIEWS L.T.’s world of bodybuilding

242 MUSCLE “IN” SITES Eric Broser’s cool Web site finds, a review of Phil Heath’s new DVD and Broser’s Power/Rep Range/Shock hamstring-hammering routines.

248 BODYBUILDING PHARMACOLOGY Jerry Brainum looks into the Internet pro-hormone-and-steroid trade.



252 PUMP & CIRCUMSTANCE Ruth Silverman covers the ladies’ side of the sport—with photo fortitude.

292 MIND/BODY CONNECTION Bomber Blast, The Secret, BodySpace Physique of the Month and health and aging research.

304 READERS WRITE Iron-bug venom, gorgeous Georges and exploding muscle size.


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COVERAGE Get the latest, greatest results, photos, video and blogs from the biggest events.

CLIPS LIBRARY >PDF >BEHIND>HOT THE-SCENES Feel your heart Read and/or VIDEOS See and hear interviews with the stars of the muscle world.

race when you view these studio sessions with fit, gorgeous gals.

download some of our most popular features. Build your muscle-building collection.

It’s our middle-aged-muscle issue, which includes a guy who’s in his 70s but looks like he’s in his 40s—Brad Harris. He’s a movie god in Italy and the devloper of the Ab-OrigiOnals, but Brad’s real claim to fame is being hard and muscular all year at 75. Gene Mozée tracks him down, and you won’t believe the photos. Plus, we’ll have related info on getting a growth hormone surge in the gym, DHEA—Should you be on it?—and avoiding middle-aged-muscle pitfalls. Look for the October issue on newsstands the first week of September.

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Publisher’s Letter by John Balik

Unexpected Pleasures Lonnie Teper’s NPC Junior California Bodybuilding and Figure Championships is grassroots bodybuilding at its best. It’s the kind of contest where the audience appreciates every competitor and is as much a part of the event as the contestants. The Junior Cal and Joe Wheatley’s Muscle Beach events are, as Peter McGough of Weider Publications said to me at the beach, “what real bodybuilding is all about.” The events are “happy,” and the contestants are intense, but the competitors and the audience are sharing a love affair with bodybuilding and what it can do for everyone. The competitors are there to share the results of their labor, and it’s fun for all involved. Because it’s supported by the superstars of our sport, the contest is also very special. I sat next to IFBB pro Silvio Samuel, and he was an enthusiastic fan of everyone onstage. When Lonnie asked him to come onstage and hit a few shots, he was joined by giant IFBB pro Quincy Taylor for some impromptu posing. The audience went wild. Remember, the two pros were in the audience not as guest posers but as fans and supporters of friends and contestants—only in Southern California. As I entered the theater lobby, I stopped to talk with Jay Cutler and I was reminded what a class act he is. While I respect Jay as the current Mr. Olympia, what I admire most is how he wears the crown. While we spoke, many fans came by to say hello, get an autograph or just stare. Jay gave each of them his complete attention—take a picture, sure. Jay’s megawatt smile flashed over and over. His character is front and center; he genuinely cares for his fans, and they can feel it. Later that night Jay was the guest poser, and he gave the fans more than they expected. This wasn’t a “hit a few poses and walk off” personal appearance; this was jumping off the stage after posing and going into the audience and up and down the aisles posing and taking pictures with anyone who wanted one. It was bedlam, and it went on for 10 minutes till he bounded back to the stage and Lonnie handed him the microphone. What followed was a short speech that really underlined Jay’s character. He, of course, thanked the fans for their support, but he then went on to talk about the contestants and about his own experience as a beginning bodybuilder and the courage it takes to, as he said, “stand onstage in your underwear.” He asked for a special round of applause for all of the contestants. I believe Jay comes back year after year to Lonnie’s contest not only out of friendship but also because it’s a touchstone to his own start in bodybuilding. Lonnie thanked me for coming to his event, but I really need to thank him for the pleasure of the experience. How about this celebrity support for an event—eight-time Ms. Olympia Lenda Murray, Flex Wheeler, Cathy LeFrancois, two-time Figure Olympia winner Jenny Lynn and IFBB fitness star Tanji Johnson. The Junior Cal wasn’t just a bodybuilding contest; it was a reaffirmation of why bodybuilding has been an important part of my life for 50-plus years. (For more on the NPC Junior Cal, see News & Views, which begins on page 228.)

Founders 1936-1986: Peary & Mabel Rader Publisher/Editorial Director: John Balik Associate Publisher: Warren Wanderer Design Director: Michael Neveux Editor in Chief: Stephen Holman Art Director: T. S. Bratcher Senior Editor: Ruth Silverman Editor at Large: Lonnie Teper Articles Editors: L.A. Perry, Caryne Brown Assistant Art Director: Brett R. Miller Designer: Fernando Carmona IRON MAN Staff: Mary Gasca, Vuthy Keo, Mervin Petralba Contributing Authors: Jerry Brainum, Eric Broser, David Chapman, Teagan Clive, Lorenzo Cornacchia, Daniel Curtis, Dave Draper, Michael Gündill, Rosemary Hallum, Ph.D., John Hansen, Ron Harris, Ori Hofmekler, Rod Labbe, Skip La Cour, Jack LaLanne, Butch Lebowitz, John Little, Stuart McRobert, Gene Mozée, Charles Poliquin, Larry Scott, Jim Shiebler, Roger Schwab, Pete Siegel, C.S. Sloan, Bill Starr, Bradley Steiner, Eric Sternlicht, Ph.D., Randall Strossen, Ph.D., Richard Winett, Ph.D., and David Young Contributing Artists: Steve Cepello, Larry Eklund, Ron Dunn, Jake Jones Contributing Photographers: Jim Amentler, Ron Avidan, Roland Balik, Reg Bradford, Jimmy Caruso, Bill Dobbins, Jerry Fredrick, Irvin Gelb, Isaac Hinds, Dave Liberman, J.M. Manion, Merv, Gene Mozée, Mitsuru Okabe, Rob Sims, Ian Sitren, Leo Stern

Director of Marketing: Helen Yu, 1-800-570-IRON, ext. 1 Accounting: Dolores Waterman Subscriptions Manager: Sonia Melendez, 1-800-570-IRON, ext. 2 E-mail: Advertising Director: Warren Wanderer 1-800-570-IRON, ext. 1 (518) 743-1696; FAX: (518) 743-1697 Advertising Coordinator: Jonathan Lawson, (805) 385-3500, ext. 320 Newsstand Consultant: Angelo Gandino, (516) 796-9848 We reserve the right to reject any advertising at our discretion without explanation. All manuscripts, art or other submissions must be accompanied by a selfaddressed, stamped envelope. Send submissions to IRON MAN, 1701 Ives Avenue, Oxnard, CA 93033. We are not responsible for unsolicited material. Writers and photographers should send for our Guidelines outlining specifications for submissions. IRON MAN is an open forum. We also reserve the right to edit any letter or manuscript as we see fit, and photos submitted have an implied waiver of copyright. Please consult a physician before beginning any diet or exercise program. Use the information published in IRON MAN at your own risk.

IRON MAN Internet Addresses:

Erratum: In the feature “Transformation Sensation” (August ’08) Team BSN athlete Anthony Presciano said, “I’m actually now working with Hany Rambod, who now works with all of our athletes here at BSN.” BSN has released a statement saying that Hany Rambod is no longer affiliated with BSN or working with any BSN athletes. BSN would like to take this opportunity to extend its best wishes to Hany and wish him all the best in his future endeavors. IM

Web Site: John Balik, Publisher: Steve Holman, Editor in Chief: Ruth Silverman, Senior Editor: T.S. Bratcher, Art Director: Helen Yu, Director of Marketing: Jonathan Lawson, Ad Coordinator: Sonia Melendez, Subscriptions:

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Victorious Delts You can never be too rich, too good looking or too wide. If you have a thick waist, that’s all the more reason to build your side delts. The wider your delts, the smaller your waist will look. We can’t all be Dexter Jackson, but we can improve our V-taper with direct side-delt work and intense stretching to help widen the entire shoulder-girdle structure. Victor Martinez, the ’07 Arnold Classic champ and the future Mr. Olympia (in my opinion), has one of the best shoulders-to-waist ratios in pro bodybuilding today. Victor is second only to perhaps Dennis Wolf (who, I think, is actually a comic book illustration and not a real person). Victor used a unique twist for his lateral raises, something I’ve tried and really like. He takes his usual lateral raise weight (don’t go to heavy) and gets 10 to 12 reps. Next he grabs a much heavier pair of dumbbells and reps out in the bottom of the stroke, moving the dumbbells only a few inches up and down. He keeps his elbows almost locked and arms 95 percent straight—no bouncing or heaving. That forces the medial-delt heads to do all of the work. Vic calls that midpoints. While the heavy load prevents much range of motion, it puts all the stress right on the cap of the shoulder where it ties into the arms. Go for 10 to 12 partial reps—no explosive movement despite the heavy weight. Here’s an example of the poundages I use on these:

stroke for a count of 10 on each rep. I get about five. Notice that end-of-set partials are very similar to X Reps, except that instead of doing the partials with the same weight, you increase it. This is a great thrasher for the side delts; you need presses, shrugs and rear-delt work too, of course. If you really want to add some width, though, give these heavy sets of partials a try. They sure worked for Victor, and I’m sure they will give your side delts some new growth. —Will Litz Editor’s note: For more on X Reps, visit www

The bottom of a lateral raise is a critical fiberactivation point. Try emphasizing it with heavy partials, or X Reps.

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No Chinups? No Excuses!


Pretty much every back-training article you read tells you straight up that chinups are essential for anybody who wants a wider wingspan. Curiously, very few of the top amateurs and pros do that supposedly mandatory movement. I’ve asked many of them why, and the typical answer is fear of injury. Once a man reaches a certain size and weight, generally in the vicinity of 250 pounds or so, the risk of ripping the shoulder joints apart is too great to justify doing chinups. Most simply do lat pulldowns instead. One big man who calls that bull***t is IFBB pro Will “World” Harris, who happens to own one of the best backs in the game today. “There’s no substitute for chins,” he declares. “Pulldowns don’t work the back the same way at all; I don’t care what anybody says. Pulling your own bodyweight up gives a different feel that can’t be duplicated by pulling resistance down toward your body.” Big Will, who’s been as heavy as 330 pounds in the off-season, has been doing his chins faithfully since he was 10 years old. Since he never gives his age and at times claims to be a vampire, that could mean he’s been doing chins anywhere from 30 to 300 years. For big men who hesitate to chin, Will has the answer: “If you’re 275 pounds and jump right up and start chinning your bodyweight, your shoulders could be in danger. That’s why I always start with the assisted chinning machine. Will Harris. Just about every gym has one. These let you warm up with just a portion of your bodyweight so you can prepare your muscles and connective tissues to pull your entire mass safely.” I know guys a whole lot lighter than 275 who stopped chinning years ago. Does that happen to include you, and if so, is it because you’re trying to play it safe and keep your shoulder joints healthy? If that’s the case, now you know it’s okay to go back under the chinup bar and reap the benefits—just warm up first. —Ron Harris

Change is a frightening thing. Think of the times in your life when you were most apprehensive. I can guarantee you that they involved new schools, new jobs, new relationships, moving to a new place or, more accurately, leaving what was comfortable and familiar. Many times it’s simply easier to stay rooted in something you know well, even if change could be beneficial. That’s why people remain in jobs they don’t like—the fear of being unemployed is too great. Others stay in bad marriages. You may be thinking, “Ha! That’s not me. I’d never stay with something that I wasn’t happy with, wasting my time.” Oh, really? When it comes to working out, fear of the unfamiliar keeps a whole lot of us bodybuilders mired in the same type of training for months or years, even when results ceased long ago. For every trainee who gives a program like X Reps, DC Training or P/RR/S a try, there are a hundred more who think about it but never actually try it out. To do so would mean abandoning the familiar and branching out into totally uncharted territory. You might think that if you weren’t making progress anyway, the prospect of trying something new would be exciting. For the most part, however, human beings just aren’t built that way. Every month you read about new training ideas and programs, and I’m sure that you consider trying at least a couple. But do you? Why not? Surely you don’t think that a slight alteration in your workout could shrink you to the size of a famine victim overnight. Nine times out of 10, any significant change to your training after an extended period on the same routine is going to lead to new gains. Experiment when the urge strikes you. Something you’ve been avoiding could hold the key to improving your physique, if you just give it a chance. —Ron Harris

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Soft and Flat vs. Full and Ripped ence that training very intensely is extremely difficult. I’ve been training heavy and fast for so long now that when someone trains with me, he usually gets winded before we finish, or he makes a beeline for the regurgitation area—and that usually occurs within 15 minutes. Use poundages with which you can pump out smooth, fluid reps. Train without stopping—don’t rest so you can get another rep; just go until you can do no more. When you can’t manage any more full reps, continue pumping out X-Rep partials. You can even do short-stroke, or X-Rep-only, sets. On some bodyparts I do mostly short, contraction strokes. That creates the greatest amount of intensity. Your flatness on contest day comes also from cutting back too much on carbs and good fats. I can remember training, eating a lot of good, clean food and winning contests. I never changed my diet or training. I just walked onstage, big, full and separated because I was always in shape and growing. Try to eat clean all the time so you don’t have to feel that you’re dieting for a show—and all that entails. The key is heavy, fast, intense training coupled with a full, clean, rejuvenating diet. If you’re a competitive bodybuilder and are approaching 50, why would you want to put on 20 pounds only to take it off again six months later? For a natural bodybuilder, bulking up during the winter and then dieting down for a show forces you to do just that—diet down your muscles as you try to get rid of fat. Try to stay just a week or two away from show condition all year long. If you take this advice and really stick to your guns, within six to 12 months you’ll be amazed at the change in your body. I can’t guarantee you a win, only you can do that. You had the gun. Now you have the right ammunition to blast away. —Paul Burke Neveux \ Model: Dave Goodin

Q: I’m a 47-year-old natural bodybuilder with many competitions under my belt. I have yet to win one because everyone tells me that I come in flat each time. They say I look better two weeks after the contest. What could I be doing wrong? Some guys say it’s diet, and others say I’m overtraining. My protein comes from fish, lean meats and egg whites. I eat what I think is enough carbs—mostly from vegetables, rice and fruits—and I usually limit my fats from about 12 weeks out. I train six days a week and for all but those last few weeks before a show I can train really heavy. A: Competing in a bodybuilding contest teaches you more about your body than you could learn from any textbook or seminar. Having said that, I believe that you’re making three major mistakes. First, you are overtraining. There’s no question in my mind about that. Just consider what you’re putting your body through while you’re taking in fewer calories. I can remember making that same mistake myself a few times early in my bodybuilding days. Think about it this way: You’re asking your body to choose between repairing microtears in the muscles and cleansing the muscles of lactic acid and repairing the autonomic nervous system and keeping the multitude of bacteria and viruses in check by repairing the immune system (a lot of that is done while you sleep). I can tell you which the body will do: the latter. Muscles must be repaired, but they’re not a life-or-death issue. Make two changes in your training: Work out no more than three times every seven days. Rest your body at least one full day before training again. You’ll know if you’re training too much and not resting enough merely by the way you feel when you train and how you look in the mirror each day. Over time, as your body recovers on all fronts, you’ll find that you’ll be much fuller, thicker and well-defined come contest day. You should also limit the time that it takes you to train. The only way to do that (without cutting back on sets) is to train more intensely. You should be able to increase either poundage or reps regularly. I train for no more than 40 minutes. If you train as hard and heavy as possible, there’s no way that you could do more than that. Compress your workout time by picking up the pace so that eventually you don’t stop at all when going from set to set. You should never have to decrease poundages; try to increase reps and weights at each workout. If you can’t, go home and wait until you feel as though you can. There’s no sense in training for the sake of training. You may need to train even less. I can tell you from experi-

Editor’s note: Paul Burke has a master’s degree in integrated studies from Cambridge College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He’s been a champion bodybuilder and arm wrestler, and he’s considered a leader in the field of over40 fitness training. To contact him, write to You can purchase his book, Burke’s Law—a New Fitness Paradigm for the Mature Male, from Home Gym Warehouse. Call (800) 4470008, or visit His “Burke’s Law” training DVD is also now available.

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Train to Gain / HARDGAINER

The Brothers Grimm Last month I discussed some of the improved exercise techniques that have brought Stelios and Yiannis the best gains of their lives. Here’s more on the squat, which Stelios has used to great advantage:

Barbell Squats You should be able to squat without elevating your heels any more than the thin heels on your shoes. Use a stance that’s at least hip width, with each foot angled out at least 20 degrees. Experiment with heel width and degree of flare to find the most comfortable position. Hold the barbell securely, as close to your shoulders as is comfortable. Never drape your hands over the barbell plates. You must lean forward to some degree but never to the point where you risk toppling forward; you don’t want to overload your lower back. During the ascent, your shoulders should move up faster than your hips, so that the degree of forward lean decreases as you rise. If the weight holds your shoulders down and your hips rise faster than your shoulders, you’ll lean forward more, greatly increase the load on your lower back (and the risk of injuring it) and even risk falling forward. If you have the right stance, degree of foot flare and adductor flexibility, you should be able to keep your knees tracking over your feet and keep them from buckling inward on the ascent. Squat as deeply as you can while maintaining a slightly hollow lower back; never squat with a rounded back. Don’t perform your squat reps continuously. Perform one, pause at the top for one, two or three deep breaths, then perform the next rep. Don’t rush. Always squat inside a four-post power rack with pins and saddles correctly and securely in place. Or use a half rack, sturdy and stable squat stands along with spotter racks or bars, or a squat rack unit that combines stands and safety bars. Should you fail on a squat, you must be able to descend to the bottom position and safely set the bar down on supports. Ideally, you should have spotters standing by in addition to the safety setup.

Parallel-Grip Deadlifts Yiannis, who has longer limbs and a shorter torso than his brother, uses this movement instead of squats. A trap bar used to be the primary tool for the parallel-grip deadlift, but I prefer the hexagonal bar because it provides more space inside. Here are some tips that have helped Yiannis get the most out of these: Soft shoes that get deformed during parallel-grip deadlifts can cause problems. Wear sturdy shoes so you have a firm base. Use a hip-width heel spacing, with your toes turned out about 20 degrees on each side. Fine-tune that to suit you. Your knees must be in the same plane as your feet. If your feet are too wide, your knees will travel inward to make room for

A bodybuilding odyssey, part 9

your hands and forearms during the lower part of each rep. Place your feet inside the bar so that the center of the ends of the bar runs through the bony prominence in the center of the outside of each of your ankles as you stand with your knees straight. This foot positioning won’t suit everyone. Try it with a light weight and see. Then move your feet back an inch, and see how that works. Try an inch forward of the original position too. If you’re positioned too far to the rear, you’ll probably be bent forward too much and the bar may swing as you lift it off the floor. If you’re positioned too far to the front, the bar will probably also swing as you lift it off the floor. The bar shouldn’t swing. Once you know the foot position that works best for you, use a reference point so that you can adopt it every time. Keep both hands centered and the bar parallel to the floor. At the bottom position, your knees should be bent, your head up and your bodyweight mostly on your heels. You do the lift with the thighs and back together. Focus on trying to push your feet into the floor while maintaining the correct torso set, with your shoulders pulled back and your chest out. During the ascent, your shoulders should move faster than your hips so that the degree of forward lean decreases as you rise. Remain vertical at the top of the lift. Don’t lean back. Keep your shoulder blades retracted, your lower back hollowed slightly and your shoulders, hips and ankles lined up. Pause for a second, then descend. Start by bending your knees and leaning your torso forward. Sit down and back, and push your hips to the rear. Always maintain a slightly hollowed lower back and keep your shoulder blades retracted. When your hands are at knee height, they should also be in line with your knees. If your hands get behind that line, you risk being too upright. Your hands may, however, be a little forward of that line. Don’t perform the parallel-grip deadlift in an exaggeratedly upright manner. A natural spread of work between the thighs and back produces a balanced division of the stress. Once the weight becomes demanding, use lifter’s chalk on your hands to improve your grip on the bar, and use a bar with deep knurling. Use collars on the bar to keep the plates in position. Don’t bounce the weights. Gently set the weights on the floor or platform. If you can’t complete a rep in correct technique, dump the weight. End the set before you get hurt. Until next month, train smart, and fully satisfy all the components of recuperation. Stuart McRobert Editor’s note: Stuart McRobert’s first byline in IRON MAN appeared in 1981. He’s the author of the new 638-page opus on bodybuilding Build Muscle, Lose Fat, Look Great, available from Home Gym Warehouse, (800) 447-0008, or at

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Leg presses rival leg extensions and leg curls in lowerbody-exercise popularity. The leg press machine has gone through many changes. One of the earliest versions was vertical and plate-loaded. You’d lie on your back and place your feet on the carriage directly over your body. You’d straighten your knees in order to turn the safety posts away so that the plate-loaded carriage could be lowered. Instructions were usually to lower until your knees came down to your armpits. Popular multistation machines with selectorized-weight stacks featured a seated leg press machine. The seat could be adjusted forward or back for trainees of various heights. There were two sets of foot pedals: one high to emphasize the glutes more and a lower set to hit the quads, hams and glutes. There wasn’t a carriage traveling along a path; rather the pedals pivoted around a large hingelike mechanism. These machines weren’t terribly comfortable. Finally, the leg press machines of today evolved. The trainee is usually seated low, near the floor. The angle of the carriage path varies by manufacturer from 45 degrees to 60 degrees. Once again, the machines are plate-loaded, and they’re very popular for several reasons. One is that they let trainees handle a tremendous amount of weight, often around 1,000 pounds for the strongest. Trainees who either don’t want to perform squats or can’t perform squats because of lower-back pain substitute the leg press (although it’s not a perfect substitute). Some trainees are surprised when the exercise strains their lower back. Sometimes it’s caused by tight hip muscles, which keep them from bringing their knees close to their armpits, as they’ve been instructed to do. That instruction began with the original vertical leg press, described above, but gym myths fade very slowly. If you have tight hip muscles and ligaments and let the carriage go deeper and deeper, your pelvis will tilt and the lowest part of your lower back will lift away from the backrest on the seat. That will create a tremendous load of many hundreds of pounds. Then, when you push the weighted carriage back up to complete the rep, the lowest part of your lower back will become an additional fulcrum or link in the process, subjecting it to a force it wasn’t designed to withstand. The force can sprain the facet joints that guide the movement of your spine, which can be quite painful. If you have tight hip muscles and ligaments, the tilted position of the leg press can also stress the back wall of the disks of your lower back. That can produce a disk protrusion, more commonly known as a herniation. Disk protrusions can cause various levels of pain from mild to severe. Once the injury occurs, you must take a break from exercises that can load or shear your lower back until the inflammation subsides. You can do several things to prevent that kind of injury. Tight hip muscles include the glutes, adductors, hip abductors and rotators. The posterior joint capsule—the ligaments in the back of the hip joint—can also be tight. You can stretch all of those structures with simple stretches—and exercises too. If you lie on your back and pull one knee to your chest

Neveux \ Model: Omar Deckard

Leg Presses and Lower-Back Pain

for 20 seconds or so, alternating legs several times, followed by pulling your knee toward the opposite shoulder, your hip will loosen a bit. (Note: Your knee should be bent during these stretches.) Light leg presses that permit your knees to come down just before the point your lower back lifts off the back rest will also stretch the hip. Eventually the hip will stretch and loosen. A lungelike stretch onto a short wall or a staircase can also help the stretch. If you’re doing leg presses now and you’ve had a few twinges of lower-back pain, try lowering the carriage only to the point where your lower back moves. You will find that your knees are not near your armpits. That’s okay. The muscles are still working. The hip will eventually stretch enough to bring your knees lower, but you may never reach armpit depth. By avoiding a lower-back injury, you’ll be able to keep training. Train smart first, then train hard. “No pain, no gain” is another gym myth. —Joseph M. Horrigan Editor’s note: Visit for reprints of Horrigan’s past Sportsmedicine columns that have appeared in IRON MAN. You can order the books, Strength, Conditioning and Injury Prevention for Hockey by Joseph Horrigan, D.C., and E.J. “Doc” Kreis, D.A., and the 7-Minute Rotator Cuff Solution by Horrigan and Jerry Robinson from Home Gym Warehouse, (800) 447-0008 or at

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Train to Gain / GYM LIFE

The Late Show

Neveux \ Model: Abbas Khatami

What time of day do you train? If you’re like most bodybuilders, you hit the gym either early in the morning before work or during the evening rush hour after clocking out. But have you ever considered late-night training? Some pros, like Mr. Olympia runner-up Victor Martinez and big Quincy Taylor, have been hitting the weights late at night for years. Could after-hours training be for you? Maybe—just answer the following questions to find out. Do crowds drive you insane? Some people love to work out in a crowded gym. They feed off the noise, the atmosphere and the energy of all those other people. Maybe they even like the attention that a packed gym floor brings with it. For many others, though, a crowded gym is supremely frustrating. You often have to wait for a bench you want, a machine, a power rack (where some knucklehead is doing curls while you wait to squat!) or a certain pair of dumbbells. And if you want to do supersets or giant sets, dream on—it ain’t gonna happen. The distractions of so many others moving around and clanking free weights make it hard to concentrate. If that’s how you feel, late nights, when you pretty much have the gym to yourself, could be just what you need. Do you hate being interrupted while you train? There are those who use the gym as a social outlet and don’t mind spending as much time talking and joking as they do actually training. They tend to hang around the gym an awfully long time as a result, but that’s fine with them. They’re in no hurry. Others go to the gym to improve their physique. They don’t want to flirt, talk about “American Idol” or Tila Tequila or give the same fat guy advice on how to eat to lose that gut for the 20th time. They may enjoy training, but they view it seriously, much like a job that they intend to do to the best of their ability. They also want to get in, get that job done, and get out. Being surrounded by many others who don’t see working out quite the same

Could it be your best time to train?

way can be annoying and draining. If that’s your reaction, getting to the gym hours after the casual crowd departs might be a vast improvement in efficiency. Do you have more energy at night? The average person has more energy in the morning and early afternoon and grows more tired as the day turns to night. Then there are the night owls, the guys and gals who come alive when the sun goes down and are bursting with energy while others are winding down. If you’re like that, it’s quite possible that working out at night would translate into more energy, more intensity and more strength. In short, better results from training. Are you able to sleep late? If you have to wake up at 5 a.m. to get ready for work or to get the kids to school, normal training hours make sense. But if you work a later shift or are among the many thousands who are self-employed and essentially set your own hours, you could train between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. and then sleep as late as you need to. Just think, you could start enjoying a whole new nightlife—in the gym. —Ron Harris

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by Charles Poliquin

Strength Coach Mishaps Q: What would you say were the top-two mistakes you ever made as a strength coach? A: You’re a moron only if you make the same mistake twice—so the saying goes. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, which has made me successful. As legendary hockey player Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” 1) Believing the instability model for too long. During the mid-’90s there was a theory going around that working on an unstable surface would make your prime movers stronger. That’s somewhat true. Yes, weak stabilizers can inhibit prime movers to a certain point. For four to six weeks a year novice athletes should do some unstable work. That’s it. A speed skater wears skates. What a news flash! Want his times to go down? Work on his lower-back strength. Believe me, I’ve trained enough world-record

Neveux \ Models: Don Fry and Ken Yasuda

holders in that sport to know that one. 2) Waiting too long to hire support staff. I’ve had a very successful career, but I’m sure it would have been a lot easier on my adrenals if I’d hired support staff earlier. Always hire someone to do all the chores that need to be done and that you hate doing. If those chores are done by someone who earns less than you, it enables you to earn more money by doing what you love and gives you more free time.

Q: I’m moving up a weight class in jujitsu and want to be as strong as possible at that new weight. What sorts of sets and reps would you recommend?

A: This system is a blend of the late Canadian strongman Doug Hepburn’s ideas and Hungarian and Romanian weightlifting methodology. It could be called the patientlifter/stepladder combo strength system. Part 1: Heavy singles work. After a good warmup you recruit the highest-threshold motor units. Start with a weight you can do five singles with, and then go up to where you can do eight singles. After you’ve done your singles work, you need to go back down to a weight where you can do five sets Building up to of three. At that intensity a number of step up to five sets of five consecutive repetitions. singles is a For success with this successful strength-building system strengthyou need to keep in mind the following points : building system. • You have to do the singles with 95 percent effort; it’s the volume of high intensity and not just intensity that dictates the training effect.

Neveux \ Model: Jonathan Lawson


Smart Training

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• Do the singles at a very controlled tempo for the eccentric lowering—five seconds. Do the concentric range as explosively as possible. Concentrate on accelerating the bar until the concentric range is completed. • On the eighth single, if you feel particularly good, do not miss the opportunity to go for more weight.

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Smart Training tempo Set 1: 240 x 3 Set 2: 240 x 3 Set 3: 240 x 3 Set 4: 240 x 3 Set 5: 240 x 3 Note: Tom was conservative at his first workout, which was quite wise. Workout 2 Part 1: heavy singles at a 5/0/ X/0 tempo Set 1: 305 x 1 Set 2: 305 x 1 Set 3: 305 x 1 Set 4: 305 x 1 Set 5: 305 x 1 Set 6: 305 x 1 Set 7: 305 x 1 Set 8: 305 x 1 Note: He reached the goal of doing eight singles. At that point, I like the athlete to aim for doing eight singles with a heavier load.

High-threshold hypertrophy work is sets of three to five reps done at a 3/2/1/0 tempo.

Part 2: High-threshold hypertrophy work done at a 3/2/1/0 tempo. Work with about 72 to 78 percent of your best single. Lower for a count of three seconds for the eccentric range, pause for a count of two seconds in the most disadvantageous position (in this case off the chest), and lift for a count of one. As you tire, the concentric-range tempo will exceed one second, but that shouldn’t be a concern. The function of the pause at the disadvantageous angle is to increase intramuscular tension and total time under tension for the set. Once you’ve excited the nervous system with the singles done in part 1, you can do hypertrophy work in higherthreshold motor units. I’ve found that people learn best from a combination of theory and practical examples, so let’s look at a sample progression using that training system. The trainee, whose name was Tom, had a previous best incline press of 320 pounds. His workout progression looked like this: Workout 1 Part 1: heavy singles at a 5/0/X/0 tempo Set 1: 305 x 1 Set 2: 305 x 1 Set 3: 305 x 1 Set 4: 305 x 1 Set 5: 305 x 1

Part 2: high-threshold hypertrophy work at a 3/2/1/0 tempo Set 1: 240 x 5 Set 2: 240 x 5 Set 3: 240 x 5 Set 4: 240 x 4 Set 5: 240 x 3 Note: Obviously, the first workout was very easy, hence the marked improvement in training volume at this one. Workout 3 Part 1: heavy singles at a 5/0/X/0 tempo Set 1: 310 x 1 Set 2: 310 x 1 Set 3: 310 x 1 Set 4: 310 x 1 Set 5: 310 x 1 Set 6: 310 x 1 Set 7: 310 x 1 Set 8: 310 x 1 Note: Tom reached the goal of doing eight singles. At that point, I had him aim for doing eight singles with a heavier load. Part 2: high-threshold hypertrophy work at a 3/2/1/0 tempo Set 1: 240 x 5 Set 2: 240 x 5 Set 3: 240 x 5 Set 4: 240 x 5 Set 5: 240 x 5

Part 2: high-threshold hypertrophy work at a 3/2/1/0

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Smart Charles Training Poliquin’s Note: He completed all five sets. I suggested he increase the weight, so at the next workout he got back down to five sets of three. Workout 4 Part 1: heavy singles at a 5/0/X/0 tempo. Set 1: 315 x 1 Set 2: 315 x 1 Set 3: 315 x 1 Set 4: 315 x 1 Set 5: 315 x 1 Set 6: 315 x 1 Note: Tom was shot from workout 3, and he managed only six singles. We kept the singles weight the same for the next workout. Keep in mind that if we had tested his onerep maximum, it already would have gone up. Part 2: high-threshold hypertrophy work at a 3/2/1/0 tempo Set 1: 250 x 5 Set 2: 250 x 4 Set 3: 250 x 3 Set 4: 250 x 3 Set 5: 250 x 3 Note: Pretty good volume work, considering what happened with the singles. Workout 5 Part 1: heavy singles at a 5/0/X/0 tempo Set 1: 315 x 1 Set 2: 315 x 1 Set 3: 315 x 1 Set 4: 315 x 1 Set 5: 315 x 1 Set 6: 315 x 1 Set 7: 315 x 1 Set 8: 325 x 1 Note: This time he got all eight singles, so he was ready for another weight increase. He felt so good that he couldn’t resist doing 325 on his last single. Because of that, I recommended that he use 322.5 at the next workout. For that weight I use either small Ivanko collars, each weighing 1.25 pounds, or small, 1.25-pound plates. Part 2: high threshold hypertrophy work at a 3/2/1/0 tempo Set 1: 250 x 5 Set 2: 250 x 4 Set 3: 250 x 4 Set 4: 250 x 5 Set 5: 250 x 4 Note: Again, pretty good volume work. Workout 6 Part 1: heavy singles at 5/0/X/0 tempo Set 1: 322.5 x 1 Set 2: 322.5 x 1 Set 3: 322.5 x 1

Set 4: 322.5 x 1 Set 5: 322.5 x 1 Set 6: 322.5 x 1 Set 7: 322.5 x 1 Set 8: 322.5 x 1 Note: Because Tom got all eight singles, he was ready for another weight increase. Tom reported that the work was very tough to handle, and so he planned to go up only five pounds at his next workout. Part 2: high-threshold hypertrophy work at a 3/2/1/0 tempo Set 1: 250 x 5 Set 2: 250 x 5 Set 3: 250 x 5 Set 4: 250 x 5 Set 5: 250 x 5 Note: Now Tom was ready for another workload increase. Workout 7 Part 1: heavy singles at a 5/0/X/0 tempo Set 1: 327.5 x 1 Set 2: 327.5 x 1 Set 3: 327.5 x 1 Set 4: 327.5 x 1 Set 5: 327.5 x 1 Note: Completing only five singles at this weight, Tom felt exhausted. He had maxed out this training system. I suggested he move to a new program. Part 2: high-threshold hypertrophy work at 3/2/1/0 tempo Set 1: 260 x 3 Set 2: 260 x 3 Note: He could only two sets of three and felt drained. Time to go home. Workout 6 was too demanding. The aftermath. After five days’ rest for that bodypart, Tom tested his max on the incline press. He successfully did 347.5 pounds, which was 27.5 above his previous best. My advice was for him to stay away from direct incline barbell press work for 12 weeks. I told him to take a week in which he would train only twice for 16 total sets of six to eight reps covering his whole body. After that week of active rest, I advised him to do three hypertrophy cycles. Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most successful strength coaches, having coached Olympic medalists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit Also, see his ad on page 259. IM

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\ JULY 2006 181

Nutrition With a Get-Big Mission SUPPLEMENT SCIENCE

Latest Research: CoQ10 Coenzyme Q10 is a vitaminlike compound made in the body, especially the liver, from the amino acid tyrosine. Various other nutrients are also required to generate coQ10. As with many other substances, the synthesis of coQ10 declines with age. It plays a pivotal role in the electron transfer process that occurs in mitochondria

and results in the production of ATP, the immediate cellular energy source. CoQ10 is also a potent antioxidant and works with other antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E. In fact, it can regenerate oxidized vitamin E by donating an electron. That’s one example of the synergy of nutrients in the body and illustrates why taking

Coenzyme Q10 is critical in the production of ATP, which powers muscle contraction.

single nutrients doesn’t work. Various studies show that coQ10 may have considerable health benefits. Several studies indicate that congestive heart failure patients are low on coQ10, which can contribute to the loss of cardiac function. Giving them coQ10 may improve heart function and quality of life. Other studies show that it may help prevent Parkinson’s disease, which involves a selective loss, possibly related to long-term oxidation, of dopamineproducing neurons in the substantia nigra area of the brain. The process can be blocked by taking larger doses of coQ10. Not all studies have found that coQ10 helps, probably because it’s not easily absorbed. CoQ10 is fatsoluble, meaning that it must be taken with high-fat food. Even under the best circumstances, however, about 60 percent of any dose is rapidly eliminated. Once absorbed, it attaches to various lipid carriers, such as low- and high-density lipoprotein. Some studies show that coQ10 may prevent the premature oxidation of LDL, which is associated with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. It’s present in some foods—such as meat and fish—but in very small amounts. You’d have to eat one pound of sardines, two pounds of beef or 2 1/2 pounds of peanuts to get 30 milligrams of coQ10. (Indeed, coQ10 was discovered in beef mitoNeveux \ Model: Skip La Cour


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chondria in 1957.) One current controversy about coQ10 involves statin drugs, which are prescribed to treat cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as high cholesterol. Statins inhibit a liver enzyme that synthesizes cholesterol from precursors, such as dietary saturated fat. With a lower production of cholesterol in the liver, more LDL cell receptors open up, which lowers plasma cholesterol. The same biochemical pathway that produces cholesterol in the liver also produces coQ10. Taking statin drugs can lower coQ10 levels by as much as 40 percent. Some speculate that the lower level of coQ10 leads to some of the side effects linked to statin drugs, such as muscle pain. For athletes the research on coQ10 has been mixed. Since it is vital for the synthesis of ATP, coQ10’s ergogenic value should be obvious. But not all studies have shown benefits. In one study, taking coQ10 before training produced, paradoxically, prooxidant effects, perhaps because of the higher oxygen intake typical of exercise. Lack of adequate absorption may be the culprit in many studies. It takes several weeks for coQ10 to build up in the blood, and many studies were too short to prove much. One interesting study, however, found that taking coQ10 orally prevented the conversion of fast-twitch to slowtwitch muscle fibers in older people. That conversion is thought to be a primary cause of age-related muscle weakness and frailty. Several newer forms of the supplement have been designed to improve uptake into the body. One is fast-melt capsules of ubiquinol, the elemental form of coQ10. Another form is highly emulsified, converting the nutrient into tiny particles that are absorbed three times more readily than the common forms. Adding piperine, a compound in black pepper, also appears to boost uptake. The newer forms may finally enable coQ10 to prove its worth. In fact, a trio of exercise-related studies have

already demonstrate its benefits. The first study examined both acute and longer-term effects of taking coQ10 supplements. The subjects were 22 aerobically trained and 19 untrained men and women who were randomly assigned to either a coQ10 or a placebo group. They took a 200-milligram dose and underwent various anaerobic capacity tests. In the next phase the subjects took 100 milligrams of coQ10 daily for 14 days. They had higher plasma coQ10 after two weeks and also after the single dosage. Indices of oxidation decreased in those taking coQ10, while the amount of it in muscle increased. Those subjects also increased their time to exhaustion after two weeks. The authors think that’s because of more efficient ATP production and improved antioxidant activity. In another study 17 subjects received either 100 or 300 milligrams of coQ10 for eight days, while other subjects received a placebo. Tests done on a stationary bike showed that those getting the coQ10 were less fatigued than those in the placebo group. One notable aspect was that benefits occurred only in those taking the 300-milligram dose. Taking 100 milligrams did nothing. The third study examined the effects of coQ10 on muscle damage indicators. The activity was kendo, a traditional Japanese sport that features dueling with bamboo swords. A typical match lasts for five minutes, and the winner is the first to score two out of three points. Points are scored by inflicting blows on the head, torso, forearm or throat. Kendo practice results in higher oxidative and cellular damage. Some of the athletes received 300 milligrams of coQ10 for 20 days, while others got a placebo. Both groups engaged in kendo for 5 1/2 hours a day for six days a week (yikes!). Those who got the

supplement had lower markers of muscle damage. Based on these studies, several facts emerge. First, it’s best to use a form of coQ10 that is more easily absorbed, and several forms on the market are supposed to have that property. The best results are likely to occur with long-term use, as it takes a few weeks to build up in the tissues. —Jerry Brainum

References Cooke, M., et al. (2008). Effects of acute and 14-day coenzyme Q10 supplementation on exercise performance in both trained and untrained individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 5:8. Mizuno, K., et al. (2008). Antifatigue effects of coenzyme Q10 during physical fatigue. Nutrition. 24:293-209. \ SEPTEMBER 2008 51

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LIFT BIG TO GET BIG Build Incredible Pressing Power and Bulletproof Shoulders Unfortunately, shoulder injury is one of the major reasons trainees have to sacrifice gains on many of the most important strength- and mass-building exercises— from bench presses to chins to pulldowns. You’ll be amazed at how much better your shoulders feel and how much more weight you can hoist once you start training your rotator cuff muscles regularly and properly with the powerful info in The 7Minute Rotator Cuff Solution. You’ll learn: •How the rotator cuff muscles work. •Specific rotator cuff exercises. •The best and safest stretching exercises. •Exercises you should avoid. •Specific training programs. •Rehab routines for sportsspecific injuries. •Bodybuilder’s injuryprevention routine. •Detailed biomechanics to pathology.

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Food Facts That can affect your workouts, weight and wellness

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Red wine contains polyphenol compounds that boost the antioxidant ability of vitamin E in broccoli. That’s a good excuse to have a glass of wine with any meal that includes the healthful green vegetable.


Cheap Protein but Good for the Joints Collagen hydrolysate helps those with osteoarthritis, but what does it do for activity-related joint pain in athletes who have no evidence of joint disease? During a 24-week study, subjects were randomly assigned to two groups: a group receiving 25 milliliters of a liquid formulation that contained 10 grams of collagen hydrolysate and a group receiving a placebo, which consisted of 25 milliliters of liquid that contained xanthan. It was the first clinical trial of 24 weeks’ duration to demonstrate improvement of joint pain in athletes who were treated with collagen hydrolysate. So don’t knock collagen. Just as proteins like whey and casein are great for skeletal muscles, collagen hydrolysate may be great for the joints. Healthy joints, healthy muscles. —Jose Antonio, Ph.D. Clark, K.L., et al. (2008). 24-Week study on the use of collagen hydrolysate as a dietary supplement in athletes with activity-related joint pain. Curr Med Res Opin. In press.

Steaks that are marinated in an herb mixture of rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano in olive oil for one hour prior to grilling have an 85 percent reduction in compounds linked to various cancers compared to steaks that are not marinated. Garlic can help raise testosterone. Animal studies suggest that garlic combined with a high-protein intake can increase that anabolic hormone. Try garlic supplements instead of sabotaging your fresh breath. Glutamine, a conditionally essential amino acid, appears to do more than bolster the immune system. It can also increase levels of L-leucine—considered the most anabolic essential amino acid— in muscle fibers. Boron appears to have an effect on joint health. According to the World Health Organization, people living in areas with high levels of boron in the soil had a much lower incidence of arthritis than people living in areas with low boron levels. —Becky Holman

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KNOWLEDGE IS POWER The Best of Bodybuilding in the 20th Century Here in one definitive, information-packed volume, you have the best that IRON MAN has to offer. The articles and photos reprinted in IRON MAN’s Ultimate Bodybuilding Encyclopedia are of enormous and enduring value to beginners and experts alike. A tour de force of bodybuilding information with stunning photos of unrivaled quality, this massive volume covers every aspect of bodybuilding with authority and depth. Included is complete information on: •Getting started •Bodybuilding physiology •Shoulder training •Chest training •Back training •Arm training •Abdominal training •Leg training •Training for mass •Training for power •Mental aspects of training •Bodybuilding nutrition With IRON MAN’s Ultimate Bodybuilding Encyclopedia, you will learn Arnold Schwarzenegger’s insights on developing shoulder and back muscles, along with many other champions’ routines. This massive volume contains 440 pages and over 350 photographs.

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L-carnitine’s benefits are broad

While L-carnitine is sometimes referred to as a vitamin, it’s really a compound biosynthesized from the amino acids lysine and methionine. You may have read about L-carnitine’s ability to increase the transport of fatty acids from fat cells into working cells’ mitochondria. That makes it a good fat-to-muscle supplement, but it has other powerful bodybuilding benefits as well. Studies show that carnitine may enhance muscular-force production, a key to stimulating muscle growth. Researchers found that it improved the contractile force in the latissimus dorsi of dogs by 34 percent and overall force production by 31 percent. There’s more: A new study shows that after 21 days of carnitine supplementation—one gram in the morning and one gram at noon—the numbers of androgen receptors in muscle were increased. Androgen receptors interact with testosterone, which can result in more muscle growth— something anabolic steroids do! (J Steroid Biochem Mol Bio.

93(1):35-42; 2005) Research on a newer form of L-carnitine, glycine propionyl-L-carnitine, showed it has nitric-oxide-boosting abilities. Only three grams of it significantly increased nitric oxide in the bloodstream of weight-training men, which translates into bigger muscular pumps and better nutrient delivery. (NO has also been shown to help burn fat via enhanced blood flow.) Are you beginning to see the benefits of L-carnitine supplementation? Carnitine has also been used successfully to increase brain activity and treat male sexual dysfunction. (It’s present in sperm as well as brain and muscle tissue.) Try taking one gram of L-carnitine in the morning and at noon and three grams of glycine propionyl-L-carnitine as a vasodilator before you train. —Becky Holman Neveux

Brains and Brawn



Probiotics and Protein

Fish vs. Flax

London scientists suggest that good bacteria, or probiotics, found in yogurt can boost fat loss. Mice treated with probiotics more effectively blocked the absorption of fat. More good news for bodybuilders looking to get bigger and leaner: A new brand, Siggi’s Icelandic Style Skyr Strained Non-Fat Yogurt, provides a whopping 17 grams of protein per six-ounce container, which is about three times the amount in standard commercial brands. —Becky Holman www.X-treme

With all of the hoopla about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, you’re no doubt trying your best to get some every day. You may be taking fish oil capsules or perhaps flax or hemp seed. Is there a difference? Yes, the omega-3s found in fish consist of long chains, which are better absorbed and used by the body than the shorter-chain type found in flax and hemp seed and even walnuts. From recent studies it appears that the long-chain omega-3s are better at blood-vessel dilation and lowering triglycerides, which can help prevent cardiovascular disease. —Becky Holman

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Thermogenic King Would you believe me if I told you that there’s a weight-loss pill that beats the thermogenic crap out of the much-vaunted caffeine-and-ephedrine combination? Well, that’s what I discovered at the fifth annual International Society of Sports Nutrition Conference and Expo in the beautiful Red Rock Hotel in Las Vegas. In a 2008 study performed at the College of New Jersey, scientists were astounded to learn that a potent new fat-burning matrix named Meltdown was more effective than ephedrine. Whoa, Nellie. Can that be true? Well, here are the details of this landmark study. Ten subjects underwent two testing sessions administered in a randomized and double-blind fashion. The test volunteers got either three capsules of Meltdown or three capsules of a placebo. The subjects then rested in a semirecumbent position for three hours. Imagine how tough it is to sit still while the ingredients of such a thermogenic cocktail course

A new legal supplement that’s better than ephedrine? through your veins! Statistical analysis revealed a significant difference in energy expenditure during the entire three-hour study; also, there was a greater use of stored fat as energy. According to the investigators, “results indicate a significant increase in energy expenditure in young, healthy individuals following an acute ingestion of a weight-loss supplement.” Compare that to the caffeine and ephedra numbers. In the classic study by Astrup, et al., the numbers are as follows: Over a three-hour period the increase in calories burned was 11, 13 and 23 for 20 milligrams of ephedrine, 200 milligrams of caffeine and 10 milligrams of ephedrine plus 200 milligrams of caffeine, respectively. On the other hand, Meltdown showed a 50-calorie increase. That’s more than 60 percent better than ephedrine plus caffeine. Keep in mind that the thermic effect was measured only over three hours. Imagine if the researchers had measured an even longer time period. We know how potent ephedrine plus caffeine was as a weight-loss agent. The thermogenic blend in Meltdown might represent the next generation of high-energy thermogenics. —Jose Antonio, Ph.D. Editor’s note: You can listen to Dr. Jose Antonio and Carla Sanchez on their radio show Performance Nutrition, which is Web- and podcast at www.performance Dr. Antonio is the CEO of the International Society of Sports Nutrition—www.TheISSN. org. His other Web sites include, www., www.Performance and www


Astrup, A., et al. (1991). Thermogenic synergism between ephedrine and caffeine in healthy volunteers: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Metabolism. 40(3):323-329.

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Egg-citing News While many self-styled experts continue to decry eating eggs, research shows that eggs are not only one of the best protein sources but also among the most beneficial from a health standpoint. One recent study found that eating a lowcarb diet boosted high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol—but only in those whose diet included eggs. Interestingly, it was the higher cholesterol content of the eggs that was thought to be the active factor in elevating HDL. Those who ate a low-carb diet without eggs showed no rise in HDL. The same researchers recently published a follow-up study. The object was to observe the effects of eggs and a low-carb diet on markers of inflammation. The subjects were 28 men, 15 of whom ate three eggs daily and 13 who ate no eggs. Results: Those who ate the eggs had a 21 percent increase in levels of adiponectin, a substance released by fat cells. Adiponectin is a polypeptide, or protein-based, hormone containing a string of 244 amino acids. It provides potent anti-inflammatory effects and is often low in those with higher bodyfat levels. Adiponectin favors the loss of excess fat and is positively associated with increased insulin sensitivity. Those in the egg group also showed lower levels of C-reactive protein, a general marker of inflammation. The authors suggest that the effect may have been due to the high lutein content in eggs. Lutein is an antioxidant most often associated with eye health, but it also exerts overall antioxidant activity. An important point here is that the protective factors are situated only in the yolks, and those who eat only egg whites—like bodybuilders—are making a huge mistake. Another recent study featured 3,000 adult women and found that those with the highest intake of choline—an average of 455 milligrams daily, mostly from eggs—showed a 24 percent decreased risk of breast cancer. That followed a 2003 study from Harvard, which found that women who ate more eggs, vegetable fat and fiber during adolescence had a lower risk of developing breast cancer as adults. Eating one egg a day led to an 18 percent reduced risk of breast cancer in the women. Another recent study found that eating soy foods also offered breast cancer protection, but again, only if they were eaten during adolescence. A Chinese study published in 2005 found that women who reported eating at least six eggs per week showed a 44 percent lower risk of breast cancer than women who ate two or fewer eggs weekly. Studies show that only 10 percent of Americans get the recommended amount of choline (550 milligrams a day for men; 425 for women). One egg supplies 125.5 grams of choline—only in the yolk. Besides helping to prevent breast cancer, choline also helps to prevent birth defects, such as spina bifida; improves memory because it is a precursor of acetylcholine, a major brain neurotransmitter involved in memory and learning;

and helps reduce cardiovascular disease by acting as a methyl donor to lower elevated blood homocysteine, a toxic by-product of the metabolism of the amino acid methionine. In years past, choline was touted as a fat burner. In fact, choline is not directly involved in the oxidation, or burning, of fats. It is, however, required by the liver to synthesize lipoproteins, which transport fats in the blood. One sign of a choline deficiency is an increase of fat in the liver, considered an early sign of liver failure. One recent study, however, suggests that taking excess choline could present problems. It examined the effects of choline and its metabolite, betaine, in 7,074 men and women in two age groups (47 to 49 and 71 to 74). The study found that higher amounts of choline in the blood were associated with a greater prevalence of symptoms related to the metabolic syndrome—higher serum triglycerides, glucose, percent bodyfat and waist circumference. On the other hand, higher blood choline was also related to higher HDL and lower total cholesterol. The effect was thought to be linked to a disruption of an enzyme that’s involved in choline metabolism. A confusing aspect of the study was the finding that betaine, which is produced from choline, provided nothing but benefical effects. That’s likely related to the fact that betaine acts as a methyl donor to reduce elevated homocysteine. —Jerry Brainum

References Ratliff, J.C., et al. (2008). Eggs modulate the inflammatory response to carbohydrate-restricted diets in overweight men. Nutr Metabol. 5:6. Xu, X., et al. (2008). Choline metabolism and risk of breast cancer in a population-based study. FASEB. 22(6):2045-52. Konstantinova, S.V., et al. (2008). Divergent associations of plasma choline and betaine with components of metabolic syndrome in middle age and elderly men and women. J Nutr. 138:914-20.

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To Kick-Start Immediate Muscle Growth After You Train Breakthrough research in exercise metabolism now reveals this fact: What you consume (or don’t consume) immediately after training plays a critical role in determining your success or failure! That time period is known as the “anabolic window” of growth. The biggest mistake many bodybuilders make is eating a meal of chicken breasts, baked potato or rice and vegetables after a workout. This is an approach doomed to fail because by the time this meal digests, the anabolic window has slammed shut. The best way to produce this potent anabolic effect is simply by drinking an amino acidand-carbohydrate supplement within 15 minutes after training! RecoverX™ offers the ideal combination and provides the perfect blend of nutrients for postworkout anabolic acceleration. RecoverX™ contains 40 grams of the quickest-acting bio-available protein from hydrolyzed whey—extremely fast protein for immediate delivery—whey protein concentrate, glutamine peptides, arginine and 60 grams of carbohydrate to give you the necessary insulin spike.

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Train, Eat,


Muscle-Training Program 107 From the


Training & Research Center by Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson Photography by Michael Neveux

Week 1 Monday: Chest, lats, triceps, abs


ast month we discussed our experiment with our version of fascia stretching—that is, supersetting a contracted-position exercise with a stretch-position move. A good example is pushdowns followed by overhead extensions for triceps. You get a big pump from the pushdowns’ continuous tension and occlusion; then you stretch the heck out of the pumped triceps with overhead extensions. That should have a loosening effect on the fascia, the sheath that encases the muscle. It’s believed that the fascia’s rigidity constricts muscle growth, and the supersets are designed to make it more pliable while still getting the anabolic triggers from contracted- and stretch-position exercises. Here are a couple of variations we like to incorporate into our fascia-expansion supersets—that is, a contracted-position exercise followed by a stretch-position exercise: 1) Use a drop set on the contracted-position exercise. That can amplify the pump. The more engorgement you get, the more you’ll stretch the fascia on the second exercise. Great for slacker bodyparts.

Model: Jonathan Lawson

2) Use rest/pause on the stretch-position exercise. Because the target muscle is somewhat fatigued when you move to the stretch-position exercise, it may crap out early, a victim of premature exhaustion. Simply rest for 15 seconds, then continue repping out. That way you’ll get a bit more force production and overload along with fascia expansion. 3) Use the X-only technique on the stretch-position exercise. You want to stretch the muscle in its pumped state, so why do full-range reps here? Lower to the stretch position and pulse for 12 to 15 X Reps. You’ll feel it, believe us! We’ve made some exercise changes from last month’s program, and we want to discuss the reasoning behind them. First, as usual, let’s review our current split, which hasn’t changed:

Tuesday: Quads, hamstrings, calves, lower back Wednesday: Delts, midback, biceps, forearms Thursday: Off Friday: Chest, deadlifts, triceps, abs Weekend: Off (with cardio)

Week 2 Monday: Delts, midback, biceps, forearms Tuesday: Quads, hamstrings, calves, lower back Wednesday: Chest, lats, triceps, abs Thursday: Off Friday: Delts, deadlifts, biceps, forearms Weekend: Off (with cardio)

Week 3 Repeat Week 1 \ SEPTEMBER 2008 63

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It’s a big blast of workout information, motivation and muscle-building science in your e-mail box every week—and it’s all free! Tons of practical training tips, analysis and size tactics are jam-packed into this e-zine from the IRON MAN Training & Research Center, where there’s more than 50 years of training experience to get you growing fast! Here are a few of the latest editions’ titles (online now):

Train, Eat,


We work legs only once a week; however, we substitute regular deadlifts for the back routine on Friday. That gives us residual leg work at the end of the week as well as a heavy back blast. We follow deads with one or two sets of a direct back exercise—pulldowns if it’s lat day; machine rows if it’s midback day.

Okay, on to the new exercises in our program. Incline flyes (X only). To finish upper chest we were doing a drop set on high-low cable flyes. We were getting a good pump, but we felt the stretch portion of the movement was lacking. So we kept the drop

set but tacked on a set of incline flyes done in X-only style—that is, moving to the stretch position and pulsing with partials, combining variations 1 and 3 above. It’s giving us excellent upper-pec stretch, which should provide fascia expansion. Plus, the elongation overload at the insertion near the breast-

IRON MAN Training & Research Center Muscle-Training Program 107 Workout 1: Chest, Lats, Triceps, Abs Smith-machine incline presses (X Reps; rest/pause) Superset High-low cable flyes (drop; X Reps) Incline flyes (X only) Superset Wide-grip dips (X Reps) Barbell or dumbbell bench presses Tri-set Low cable flyes (X Reps) Pushups Dumbbell flyes Wide-grip pulldowns (X Reps; rest/pause) Undergrip pulldowns Superset Stiff-arm pulldowns Rope rows Machine or dumbbell pullovers Lying extensions Superset Decline extensions Decline close-grip bench presses Superset Pushdowns Overhead dumbbell extensions (rest/pause) One-arm reverse-grip pushdowns (drop) Cable pushouts (rest/pause) Superset Incline kneeups Flat-bench leg raises Tri-set Ab Bench crunches Twisting crunches End-of-bench kneeups

2 x 9-12 1 x 10(6) 1 x 12-15 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10

2 x 12-15 1 x 12(7) 1 x 10-15 1 x 9-12 1 x 15-20 1 x 10-15

Workout 3: Delts, Midback, Biceps, Forearms 1 x 8-10 1 x max 1 x 8-10 2 x 9-12 1 x 9-12 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 1 x 9-12 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 1 x 10-12 1 x 8-10 1 x 10(6) 1 x 9-12 1 x 12-15 1 x 8-10 1 x 10-12 1 x 10-15 1 x 9-12

Workout 2: Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Lower Back Leg extensions (warmup) Squats Hack squats (rest/pause) Superset Leg extensions (drop; X Reps) Sissy squats Feet-forward Smith-machine squats Leg curls (X Reps) Leg curls (drop; X Reps) Stiff-legged deadlifts Knee-extension leg-press

calf raises (X Reps) One-leg calf raises (drop; X Reps) Superset Hack-machine calf raises (X Reps) Machine donkey calf raises (rest/pause) Seated calf raises (X Reps) Hyperextensions or Nautilus lower-back machine (X Reps)

1 x 12-15 1 x 10-15 1 x 9-12 2 x 10(6) 2 x 9-12 1 x 9-12 1 x 9-12 1 x 10(6) 1 x 9-12

Dumbbell upright rows (X Reps; rest/pause) 2 x 9-12 Forward-lean lateral raises (drop; X Reps) 2 x 10(6) Superset Leaning laterals (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 One-arm cable laterals (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Smith-machine behind-the-neck presses (second set stage style) 2 x 9-12 Bent-over laterals (drop; X Reps) 2 x 10(6) Superset Dumbbell shrugs (DXO or stage style) 1 x 9-12 Cable upright rows (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Machine rows (X Reps) 1 x 9-12 Chest-supported dumbbell rows (X Reps) 1 x 9-12 Superset Behind-the-neck pulldowns (X Reps) 1 x 9-12 Bent-arm bent-over laterals (X Reps) 1 x 9-12 Preacher curls 1 x 9-12 Cable curls (DXO; rest/pause) 1 x 7-9 Concentration curls (drop to stage set) 1 x 9(6) Superset Dumbbell spider curls (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Incline curls (rest/pause) 1 x 8-10 Dumbbell reverse wrist curls (X Reps) 1 x 12-20 Dumbbell wrist curls (X Reps) 1 x 12-20 Rockers (rest/pause) 1 x 12-20 Superset Cable reverse curls (X Reps) 1 x 9-12 Incline hammer curls 1 x 8-10

Friday Workout Deadlifts (substitute for back exercises)

1 x 9-12

Note: Where X-Reps are designated, usually only one set or phase of a drop set is performed with X Reps or an X-Rep hybrid technique from the e-book Beyond XRep Muscle Building Building.. See the X-Blog at for more workout details.

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Train, Eat,


bone is giving us new detail down the middle of our pecs. Rope rows. Our fascia-expansion superset for lats was stiff-arm pulldowns followed by dumbbell pullovers. Because we weren’t quite getting the lat pump we were after, we inserted rope rows between the two exercises. We use a rope attachment on a low pulley, grab an end of the rope in each hand, bend at the waist just shy of 90 degrees and pull the ends of the rope to the sides of our waists, contracting our lats. The key here is to not let your arms fully extend on the downward stroke; if you do, you lose lat tension. We do

one round of stiff-arm pulldowns, rope rows and dumbbell pullovers, adding X Reps where appropriate— and when pain thresholds allow. One-arm reverse-grip pushdowns (drop set). Steve has been having difficulty getting his triceps’ long heads to respond and develop more sweep. We decided to focus on the long heads with one-arm reverse-grip pushdowns—and do a drop set to really blast them. We don’t do a superset, but we follow the contracted-position drop set with cable pushouts, a stretch-position exercise, in rest/pause fashion, 15 seconds for the pause.

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We’ve found that one work set of free-bar squats followed by a rest/ pause set of machine squats is an efficient quad-blasting midrangeexercise sequence.

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Neveux \ Model: Todd Smith

Mass on the move.

Train, Eat,

Hack squats (rest/pause). Our lower backs tend to give us trouble as we lose bodyfat. That affects our squatting form, not to mention our getting out of bed in the morning. We decided to lighten the load on our free-bar squats so we could get 10 perfect reps, adding a rep at each workout and increasing the weight when we reach 15. Plus, instead of doing a second set of free-bar squats, we now move to the hack machine, which is much kinder to our lower backs. We do a set to exhaustion, around 10 reps, rest for 15 seconds, then crank out as many as possible, usually five or so. Our quads are responding nicely to the change, and our lower backs are feeling better. Bent-over laterals. We both have problems with delt roundness, which is compounded by narrow

clavicles. One thing we’ve learned is that bigger reardelt heads make the entire deltoid look wider and rounder. More meat on the backside tends to push out the medial head. For that reason we added a second set of bent-over laterals. We were doing one drop set; now we do the drop set, rest for two minutes, then do another straight set with our thumbs pointing down for a slightly different fiber-recruitment pattern. Chest-supported dumbbell rows. We were doing two sets of machine rows. We’d grown stale on those, so we decided to substitute chest-supported

Model: Todd Smith


Behind-the-neck exercises can be dangerous, but there are ways to safely work them into your program if your rotator cuffs are in good shape.

IRON MAN Training & Research Center Home-Gym Program 107 Workout 1: Chest, Lats, Triceps, Abs Incline presses (X Reps; rest/pause) 2 x 9-12 Incline flyes (drop to X only) 1 x 10(12) Superset Bench presses or wide-grip dips (X Reps) 2 x 9-12 Flyes or decline flyes (X Reps; rest/pause) 2 x 8-10 Chins (X Reps; rest/pause) 1 x 9-12 Undergrip chins (X Reps) 1 x 9-12 Superset Undergrip rows 2 x 9-12 Dumbbell pullovers 2 x 8-10 Lying extensions (rest/pause) 2 x 9-12 Superset Kickbacks 1 x 8-10 Overhead extensions (rest/pause) 1 x 8-10 Giant set Incline kneeups 1 x 15-20 Flat-bench leg raises 1 x 10-12 Ab Bench or full-range crunches 1 x 10-12 End-of-bench kneeups 1 x 9-12

Workout 2: Quads, Hamstrings, Calves, Lower Back Leg extensions (warmup) 1 x 12-15 Squats (second set DXO with narrow stance) 2 x 9-12 Superset Leg extensions (drop; X Reps) 1 x 10(6) Sissy squats 1 x 9-12 Walking lunges 1 x 10-15 Leg curls (drop; X Reps) 1 x 10(6) Stiff-legged deadlifts 1 x 9-12 Knee-extension donkey calf raises (X Reps) 2 x 12-15

One-leg calf raises (drop; X Reps) Donkey calf raises (X Reps; rest/pause) Seated calf raises (X Reps) Hyperextensions (X Reps)

1 x 12(8) 2 x 10-15 1 x 12-20 1 x 10-15

Workout 3: Delts, Midback, Biceps, Forearms Dumbbell upright rows (X Reps; rest/pause) 2 x 9-12 Forward-lean laterals (drop; X Reps) 2 x 10(6) Incline one-arm laterals (X Reps) 1 x 9-12 Barbell or dumbbell presses (X Reps) 2 x 9-12 Bent-over laterals (drop; X Reps) 2 x 10(6) Superset Dumbbell shrugs (DXO) 1 x 9-12 Upright rows 1 x 8-10 Bent-over dumbbell rows (rest/pause) 2 x 9-12 Bent-arm bent-over laterals (drop; X Reps) 1 x 10(6) One-arm dumbbell rows 1 x 9-12 Dumbbell curls (rest/pause) 2 x 9-12 Concentration curls (drop to stage set) 1 x 9(6) Incline curls (rest/pause) 1 x 9-12 Dumbbell reverse wrist curls 1 x 12-20 Dumbbell wrist curls 1 x 12-20 Rockers (rest/pause) 1 x 12-20 Incline hammer curls (drop) 1 x 9(6)

Friday Workout Deadlifts (substitute for back exercises)

1 x 9-12

Note: If you don’t have a leg extension machine, do oldstyle hacks, nonlock style. Use partner resistance, towel around the ankles, if you don’t have a leg-curl machine.

68 SEPTEMBER 2008 \

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dumbbell rows for the second set. Wow! We’d forgotten what a great exercise it is. You get midback stretch at the bottom and a hard contraction at the top as you move the dumbbells up and apart. You also get muscle synergy from the biceps and lats. We add end-of-set X Reps or a Static X for a killer growth burn. Concentration curls (drop to stage set). We were doing a simple drop set on concentration curls to enhance the pump before we moved to our fascia-expansion superset for biceps. We do dumbbell spider curls—contracted—performed on the vertical side of a preacher bench, and incline curls—stretch. To make concentration curls even more pump-inducing, we decided to do the second phase of the drop in stage style. That means doing the top two-thirds of the stroke to exhaustion, for max occlusion, then moving to the bottom third of the stroke and finishing with as many partial reps there as possible. You’ll

need to psych up for these—the hurt is horrendous! On the first exercise of the fasciaexpansion superset we switched from dumbbell spider curls to barbell spider curls. There’s just something better about having your hands in a fixed position, locked on a barbell, that makes the exercise more effective—for us, at least. One last comment concerning behind-the-neck movements. We’ve had some e-mail reprimanding us for using so-called dangerous exercises. We think the injury potential of behind-the-neck pulldowns and behind-the-neck presses is overblown because it’s dependent on genetics, exercise form and where you place them in your program. For example, notice that we do Smith-machine behind-the-neck presses toward the end of our delt routine. That means our delts are fatigued when we get there, so the poundage we use is much lighter than it would be if we did them first. The same is true for behind-the-

neck pulldowns—we do them late in our midback routine. Form is key on the two behindthe-neck exercises. On the presses we stop the descent at ear level to minimize rotator-cuff risk. That’s the stopping point on behind-theneck pulldowns as well. Problems occur on both of those moves when the range is exaggerated and the poundages are extreme. If you want to perform them safely, follow our lead: Use a shorter stroke, and put them late in your workout so you’re forced to use lighter weights. Note: The new e-book, X-Rep Update #1, which includes fascia expansion, Forced X Overload and X-Rep-only training, is now available. Visit for details. Editor’s note: For the latest on X Reps, X e-books and the X-Blog training and supplement journals, visit A few of the mass-training e-books are shown below. IM

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by John Hansen, Mr. Natural Olympia

compete, I want to win!

Lost Fat, Need Muscle

A: First of all, congratulations on losing so much weight and so much bodyfat in only one year. That’s a great accomplishment after being overweight your whole life. You’ve gone to so much trouble to lose all that bodyfat, I’m not sure it would be a good idea to bulk up again. As you said, your body gains weight fairly easily, so you have to be careful about what type of weight you put on. Your current training routine has you working out three days a week, each bodypart only once a week. I recommend that you increase your training. I think you’ll build more muscle by working out more frequently at your level. A good program for you would be to train two days on/one off/one day on/one off. That has you working each muscle group every five days instead of every seven. Here’s an example of how you’d schedule your workouts using your current training program:

Q: As far back as I can remember, I was a fat boy— until I turned 30. That was last year, when I went from 270 to 198 pounds at 6’1”. I think my bodyfat is between 12 and 15 percent right now, and I want to compete next year in a few events around my area. Now to the questions: 1) I do pushing muscles on Monday, legs on Wednesday and pulling muscles on Friday. Do you think that’s enough, or should I hit each muscle twice a week? 2) I can gain weight fairly easily, so I think I should add some cardio: walking at 3.5 miles per hour. What do you think? If you have any other recommendations, books, DVDs or other material that you think would help, let me know. Also, I’m really, really competitive—I don’t want to

Day 1: Pushing muscles Day 2: Legs Day 3: Off Day 4: Pulling muscles Day 5: Off Day 6: Pushing muscles Day 7: Legs Day 8: Off Day 9: Pulling muscles Day 10: Off You’ll be in the gym more often, which is better for staying leaner and building muscle. Even though you’ll train more frequently, you still have plenty of rest days, so you won’t overtrain. That’s a great intermediate routine for building muscle. You won’t have to do as much cardio because you’ll be burning plenty of calories in the gym. If you’re going to expend calories, do it building muscle instead of just trying to burn them off by doing cardio. Make sure you’re eating plenty of protein to build more muscle mass while staying lean. Turkey, chicken, egg whites and fish are all high-quality proteins that are low in fat and calories. You can also include some protein sources that are lean but that contain some fats, such as whole eggs, lean red meat—round, flank and sirloin—and salmon. Shoot for 1.25 to 1.5 grams for each pound of bodyweight. The key to getting bigger without adding much (continued ontoo page 102)fat is manipulating your carbohydrate intake. Eat enough carbs to fuel your workouts and help with postworkout Working each muscle group every five days is recovery, but don’t eat too many carbohydrates; a good mass-building strategy. they could be stored as fat. The best carbohydrate sources are low glycemic Neveux \ Model: Joey Gloor


Naturally Huge

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Naturally Huge We all want to win when we compete, but the real victory comes in achieving peak condition onstage.

and high in fiber. Complex carbs are absorbed more slowly and are more likely to be stored as glycogen in the muscle cells instead of in the fat cells. Good sources of low-glycemic-index and high-fiber complex carbohydrates include oatmeal, sweet potatoes, brown rice, oat bran and fibrous vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, green beans, green peas and cauliflower. It’s also important to eat carbohydrates at the right times of the day. The body is less insulin sensitive in the morning, so it makes sense to eat more carbs for breakfast and lunch than in the evening, when those carbs have a better chance of being stored as fat. Another critical time for eating carbohydrates is immediately after an intense weight-training session. Hard anaerobic training depletes glycogen from the muscle cells, so getting carbohydrates after a workout will help the muscles recuperate faster and create an anabolic environment. I recommend a postworkout drink such as Optimum Nutrition’s 2:1:1 Recovery or Muscle-Link’s RecoverX, as they were designed with muscle glycogen replenishment in mind. If you follow all those guidelines, I think you’ll be able to add size without adding bodyfat. That should put you in a good position to get ripped next year when you get ready to enter your competition. Yes, we all want to win when we compete, but the real victory comes in achieving peak condition onstage. Q: I’m a 29-year-old natural recreational bodybuilder who has been training hard for about eight years. Can you tell me your best approach to cutting bodyfat while retaining as much muscle as possible? Here’s my current approach: I’m eating the same number of calories that I eat for maintenance, but I’m eating much cleaner—barely any refined carbs, no high-glycemic carbs except postworkout. I eat about 15 percent fat, 45 percent protein and 40 percent carbs, mostly complex. I do vary my calorie intake from day to day so my body won’t plateau on me. I used the metabolic-rate calculator on Body to determine my maintenance intake

for a 6’ 215-pounder. I don’t want to drop calories too much for fear of losing hard-earned muscle mass, so I just train harder and push myself harder on the cardio to burn the calories and hope that the majority of those calories are fat. As for weight workouts, I stick with a low-volume, high-intensity method. I throw in the occasional high-rep, lighter-weight workout when I feel burned out or when I don’t have the intensity to lift hard. I train four or five days a week, hitting each muscle group once per week, abs three days a week. I use mostly multijoint exercises like squats, deadlifts and presses. I throw in isolation only at the end of my workouts for a nice burn. For cardio I do three to four sessions per week, HIIT for 15 to 20 minutes, usually about 1.5 miles on a decent incline. I’ve used the slow-and-steady cardio approach in the past, but I ended up looking like a swimmer, so I’ve changed to HIIT to avoid that. I agree with Layne Norton that most track stars look like bodybuilders because of their sprinting and other training methods, and most long-distance runners look like preteen boys because they burn all their muscle during those long running sessions. Plus, I love the fact that I feel so much better and have more spring in my step from the hard running. I feel I can breathe so much better afterward, as I really have to open up my lungs to get through the cardio approach that I use now. The 35 minutes, 3.8 miles per hour was boring, and all it did was make me sweat a bit. I’m dropping about 1 1/2 pounds a week on average, which is fine for me because I’m targeting only about 12 to 15 pounds. I figured I’d ask how my current method looks to you. A: You have a very well-thought-out program for losing bodyfat, and I agree with most of what you’re doing. Here are my thoughts on all the aspects of your program: Diet: You mentioned that you’re eating the same number of calories that you eat for maintenance, just cleaner. I personally have to lower my calories below my mainte-

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Naturally Huge ing. My macronutrient breakdown is 45 to 50 percent protein, 25 to 30 percent carbohydrates and 25 to 30 percent fat. On my training days I eat 45 percent protein, 30 percent carbohydrate and 25 percent fat. On the days I don’t work out, I eat 45 to 50 percent protein, 25 percent carb and 25 to 30 percent fat. As I’ve discussed in this space before, I discovered that as I got older, I needed to eat fewer carbohydrates in order to lose fat and get really ripped. That meant I had to increase both my protein and fat in order to keep my calories consistent with what they were when I was dieting for competitions. One thing I have to disagree with you on is your decision to keep your calories the same while increasing your cardio in order to get leaner. I go the opposite route, decreasing my calories and doing as little cardio as possible. I’ve found that the combination of doing cardio and lowering calories is dangerous for muscle tissue, especially for the natural bodybuilder. I prefer to slowly reduce my calories while keeping my protein intake high and eating at least six to seven meals a day to keep my metabolism stimulated. By doing that, I starve the fat cells by eating just the right amount of nutrients and calories. Doing too much cardio along with intense weight training tends to make me lose too much muscle and flatten out. Training: My training is very similar to yours—high intensity, moderate-to-low volume with heavy resistance. I usually train very hard for seven to eight weeks before taking a break. Then I either take a full week off or go really light for a week to give my body a chance to recuperate before starting the cycle again. I think it’s a good idea to concentrate on the basic exercises—squats, deadlifts, barbell rows, bench presses, incline presses, etc. Those are the mass builders, and they make a difference in your physique. It’s also important to do exercises that will add more shape—laterals for the medial delts, hack squats for the outer thighs and dumbbell flyes for the outer pecs, to mention just a few; however, I think you can train heavy on those exercises and not just use them for a burn at the end of the workout. Cardio: I’ve never been a big fan of HIIT cardio. I don’t do a lot of cardio, but when I do, I use lower-intensity cardio either at the end of my workout or first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Nevertheless, HIIT cardio seems to be working for you, so keep doing it. Each body is unique, and we all have to find what works for us. All in all, your plan sounds good. I think you’ll succeed in losing the 12 to 15 pounds that you need to drop in order to get ripped. Best of luck!

Decreasing calories and doing as little cardio as possible is the best way to burn fat and preserve muscle tissue.

nance level in order to lose bodyfat. I eat 2,800 to 2,900 calories on my training days and around 2,500 calories on my rest days. I like the idea of raising your calories once or twice a week after going pretty low for a few days. That definitely works for me when I’m dieting. My waist seems to go down after a day of eating slightly more calories and carbs than when I go lower on calories and carbs for several days. That’s because of a boost in metabolism from the increased calorie intake. Your macronutrient breakdown is similar to the one that I followed when I was getting ready for a contest. I’d eat almost equal amounts of protein and carbohydrate (40 to 45 percent protein and 40 percent carb) and 15 to 20 percent fat. My metabolism was a little faster when I was younger, so I was able to eat more carbs and still get ripped. I currently eat fewer carbohydrates now when I’m diet-

My waist seems to go down after a day of eating slightly more calories and carbs than when I go lower on calories and carbs for several days. That’s because of a boost in metabolism from the increased calorie intake.

Editor’s note: John Hansen has won the Mr. Natural Olympia and is a two-time Natural Mr. Universe winner. Check out his Web site at or send questions or comments to him via e-mail at John@ Look for his new DVD “Natural Bodybuilding Seminar and Competitions” along with his book, Natural Bodybuilding, and his training DVD, “Real Muscle,” at his Web site or at Home Gym Warehouse, Send written correspondence to John Hansen, P.O. Box 3003, Darien, IL 60561. IM

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by David Goodin

Contests and Drug Tests Q: I heard that you’re sanctioning your contest (the Texas Shredder Classic) with the NPC this year. Is that true? If so, why did you leave the natural organizations? Will it still be drug-tested? A: Yes, you heard right. I’ve been asked this question so many times this year that I think it’s time I wrote about it. I did sanction the Texas Shredder Classic with the NPC this year, and with the ’08 show behind me already, I’m sure it was the right move. And, yes, it was fully drug-tested. I wouldn’t have it any other way. A number of factors led me to the decision to move my show to the NPC. The biggest thing is that I can introduce so many more people to drug-free bodybuilding because

of the size of the NPC and the amount of publicity that the NPC shows get. If you added all the members of all the drug-free organizations together, they still wouldn’t come close to matching the membership of the NPC or the amount of coverage that it gets in the various magazines and muscle Web sites. I realized that if I stuck with the exclusively natural organizations, I would reach only the small number of people who were already sold on drug-free bodybuilding. I’m excited to see that I’m already having an effect on the NPC. Texas State Chairman Lee Thompson got such a big response from the news about my getting onboard that he’s decided to hold an NPC Natural Texas State Championships in ’09. Speaking of Lee Thompson, I’ve been very impressed with his leadership and the changes that he has brought about in the NPC Texas. Before he took over as the state chairman I don’t think I would have even considered moving to the NPC. Lee also brought in my best friend, Cecil “CBX” Ballard, as a vice chairman for the area. Cecil’s enthusiasm for bodybuilding and his vision of what we could do in terms of growing natural bodybuilding was instrumental in my decision. (Check out Cecil’s Web site for info

’08 Texas Shredder Classic

Craig Ritchie, novice overall winner

Chris Heitman, open overall winner

Adrien Johnson, novice figure winner

Desiree Aguirre, novice overall winner

Kandace Shelby, open figure winner

Don Strickland, masters 40+ winner

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Mary Moran-Parker, open overall winner

Reed Masters, masters 50+ winner

Photography by Lisa Brewer,


Shredded Muscle

on the ’08 NPC Capital of Texas Roundup.) Quite a few people have asked me if I was unhappy with the OCB, which sanctioned my ’07 show. I must say that my experience with the OCB was a very, very good one. OCB president Matt Shepley is a great guy, is extremely well organized and does a tremendous job of running the organization. All the people I met who were connected with Lee the OCB were extremely nice and were fun to be around. I would say that the general feeling I got from being around the OCB people was one of camaraderie. I felt bad about leaving the OCB, but again, I felt that I could reach a lot more people by going with the NPC. I realize that some of the athletes who have been competing in my show for years were disappointed by my decision. Although I still tested every athlete by polygraph for a comprehensive list of banned substances and tested my open winners by urinalysis, some pointed out that drug testing at higher levels (of the NPC and IFBB) falls short of what we’re accustomed to. My response is that if no one ever steps up and brings more comprehensive drug testing to the NPC, it’s never going to happen. I would hope that what I do with my show can eventually effect a change at higher levels. My final reason for moving to the NPC was selfish. After placing second to Chris Faildo (who won the overall) at the ’07 NPC Team Universe, I want to go back and give it another shot! I want to compete in the NPC Masters Nationals. Okay, actually I want to win those shows! They’re much bigger stages than I’ve been on in a long time, and I want to have the chance to measure myself against the best. I knew that if I competed in any more drug-free pro shows, I would be suspended by the NPC, and I was worried that if I continued to promote shows

I love bodybuilding. I especially love natural bodybuilding. I want to be remembered as someone who did a lot of good for natural bodybuilding.

Thompson, Dave and Cecil Ball. outside the NPC there was a possibility that I’d be suspended. When I discussed my options with some of my closest friends, I figured out that I could do the most good not only for myself but for others as well by stepping onboard with the NPC. Then the decision was an easy one. I applaud all the other bodybuilding promoters who host drug-tested shows. It’s risky. There’s a lot more work to do, a lot more expense involved, and generally you don’t get as many competitors. I was lucky to have built a reputation as a natural bodybuilder before I started promoting, so I didn’t have to spend the first few years losing money in order to build confidence in my show. We started with 57 athletes at the ’98 Texas Shredder Classic, and because I have a great staff and my shows have always run very smoothly, the contest has continued to grow. With the caring atmosphere that Lee Thompson has brought to the NPC Texas, I think that athletes who sat out my show this year will want to come back next year—at least I hope they do! And I think that longtime NPC athletes who were skeptical about the quality of a truly drugfree show will want to compete next year after seeing this year’s contest. I love bodybuilding! I especially love drug-free bodybuilding! When my days are done—I hope not anytime soon—I don’t want to be remembered just as someone who was a good natural bodybuilder. I want to be remembered as someone who did a lot of good for natural bodybuilding.` Note: Dave will be guest-posing at the NPC Capital of Texas Roundup in Austin on August 9 and at the NPC Crystal Cup in Anchorage, Alaska, on October 25.


Editor’s note: Read Dave Goodin’s new blog at www.IronManMagazine .com. Click on the blog selection in the top menu bar. To contact Dave directly, send e-mail to TXShredder@ IM

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by Steve Holman

Neveux \ Model: Jonathan Lawson

Efficient 3D Back Attacks

Q: I don’t have a lot of time to train, which is why I look to you for info. All of your techniques and workouts revolve around efficiency, which is great. I can’t afford to waste time. My question is about back training. When I do a 3D POF lat routine, doesn’t my midback get plenty of work too? Isn’t the opposite true as well: When I train midback, don’t my lats get enough stimulation? I just don’t want to do work that’s not necessary. Every minute I’m in the gym must count. A: I hear you. Jonathan Lawson, my training partner, and I train on our lunch break four days a week, so our primary concern is efficiency-of-effort muscle building. That’s why we try a lot of things and discard what doesn’t work, constantly refining our workouts. You bring up a good point about back training—there is a lot of overlap between lat and midback work. You may want to decide which is the weaker area and do a full 3D POF program for that muscle group, then simply add one efficient exercise for the other area. Let’s say your lats need more attention. Here’s a good 3D POF lat routine with a potent midback exercise added to the end. Midrange: Wide-grip chins Stretch: Dumbbell pullovers Contracted: Stiff-arm pulldowns Midback: Two-arm dumbbell rows

2 x 9-12 1-2 x 9-12 1-2 x 9-12 2 x 9-12

As we discuss in the back chapter of the e-book 3D Muscle Building—which is all about Positions-of-Flexion

mass training combined with X Reps—the two-arm dumbbell row is a very efficient midback exercise. The hands move close together at the bottom of each rep, which stretches the middle-trapezius muscles. They move apart as you pull to the top, which lets you squeeze your scapulae, or shoulder blades, for midback contraction. Meanwhile, you’re using your arms and lats for synergy, which allows a heavy overload. You get stretch-, contracted- and midrangeposition work all in one midback exerChest-supported dumbbell cise. Very efficient. rows are a very efficient If you can, use midback exercise—you get chest support, as that stretch at the bottom, as the will keep momentum dumbbells move together, and in check. If you can’t contraction at the top, as you use chest support, pull the dumbbells wide and just do standard bentretract your scapulae. over two-arm dumb-

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Neveux \ Model: Jonathan Lawson


Critical Mass

bell rows and keep your torso angled up, slightly above parallel to the floor. As you row the dumbbells—whether you use chest support or not—keep your arms angled out away from your torso so your shoulder blades can move together at the top. If you row with your arms close to your body, your lats become the prime movers. What if your midback is the weaker of the two areas? You’d do a full 3D POF midback program like this, with an efficient lat exercise to finish.

Undergrip pulldowns are to lats what two-arm dumbbell rows are to midback. The undergrip gives you some lat stretch at the top and max contraction at the bottom, plus it puts the biceps in a strong pulling position for synergy and overload. Incidentally, you could alternate those two programs, giving lats the most attention at the first workout and midback the full-on hit at the second. We’ve used many 3D POF programs to train our midback and lats over the years. There are a lot of great variations. Does it work? Jonathan’s back double-biceps, pictured at left, says yes.

Neveux \ Model: Jay Cutler

Q: A guy at my gym told me that dumbbell bench presses are better than barbell benches for chest development. He said it’s because of the increased range of motion you can get with the dumbbells and the pec squeeze you can do at the top. What do you think? Should I switch? A: Well, as explained in the e-bookThe Ultimate Mass Workout, neither of those is best for chest development; decline presses are a much better choice because the angle puts you in a more ergonomically correct position for hitting pecs and minimizing front-delt involvement. It’s why people lift their butts off the bench when doing them flat— to get into the more advantageous decline position. Nevertheless, we understand that it’s sometimes difficult to find a decline-bench-press setup, so a flat-bench press is the next best thing. Should you use dumbbells or a barbell? Both have their advantages. That’s the reason I often suggest alternating them from chest workout to chest workout—but I do prefer one over the other. I’ve found that the barbell is better, but not just because

Neveux \ Model: Abbas Khatami

Midrange: Shoulder-width cable rows 2 x 9-12 Stretch: One-arm dumbbell rows 1-2 x 9-12 Contracted: Bent-arm bent-over laterals 1-2 x 9-12 Lats: Shoulder-width-grip undergrip pulldowns 2 x 9-12

Undergrip pulldowns give your lats some stretch at the top and max contraction at the bottom, and muscle synergy with the biceps and midback contributes to the action. It’s a very efficient lat exercise.

you can overload the pecs with more weight than you can with dumbbells. With your hands locked on the bar, you can push inward statically, creating more nerve force and fiber activation in your pecs. With dumbbells you have to balance and control the arc as you push them up, and it’s very easy to allow your front delts and triceps to take over. That’s not such a problem for trainees with naturally good pecs (and therefore good neuromuscular efficiency in those muscles), but for those of us who have below-average nerve connections in that area, which means our front delts and triceps will take over at every opportunity, barbells will keep the focus where we want it—on our pecs. What about the increased range of motion with dumbbells? If you use 3D Positions of Flexion, you get stretch overload from flyes, the stretch-position exercise, and tension in the flexed position with cable crossovers, the contracted-position exercise. You cover the full spectrum of the pectoral muscles’ range, so there’s no need to worry about that on bench presses, the midrange move. That means you can concentrate on max-force generation, the biggest contributor to getting bigger pecs. Editor’s note: Steve Holman is the author of many bodybuilding best-sellers and the creator of Positions-of-Flexion muscle training. For information on the POF videos and Size Surge programs, see the ad sections beginning on page 200 and 280, respectively. Also visit for information on X-Rep and 3D POF methods and e-books. IM \ SEPTEMBER 2008 81

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n r a e H ’ O l e a h c i M Takes His Lifting Mentality Into Battle as

Drug-Free and on TV by Lonnie Teper

NBCU Photographs by: Paul Drinkwater and Mitch Haaseth


kay, I admit I was getting a tad impatient with Michael O’Hearn after 10 days of trying to run down that “Titan” of the entertainment industry. After all, we go way, way back, and now he’d forgotten about little ole me? I first met O’Hearn at the famous Los Angeles eatery The Original Pantry back in the early ’90s, when he was an awestruck pup visiting from Kirkland, Washington. The intro came courtesy of Marty Demirjian, a former manager of folks like Gary Strydom and Shane DiMora. When Marty said he thought somebody had the goods to be a star, I made sure to look—and listen— carefully. In this case, yes, I was impressed. Told the strapping kid he should be in the movies or at least get a TV gig. See, once in a while I do get it right. I’d done several cover stories on O’Hearn since he’d moved down south, so not getting a shout back, pronto, from the “American Gladiators” idol regarding the interview for this cover story was gnawing at me. Michael’s a good guy, however, and a veteran of dealing with the media (you’d be, too, if you’d been on nearly 500 covers worldwide), so I gave him the opportunity to explain when we finally got together at Gold’s Gym, Venice, on a Tuesday morning in May. “Sorry, but I was in New York for a few days,” he said. “On Sunday I partied until 4:30 a.m. with P Diddy, Jay-Z and [NBC entertainment co-chairman] Ben Silverman,” O’Hearn offered. Jay-Z? Did you forget about L.T.? And I know Sil-

verman very well myself. Ruthless Ruth Silverman, that is. Okay, Michael, I can live with the explanation. It’s not like you were hanging out at the local Costco, looking for deals. Well, you have been looking for deals, I suppose. And getting great ones, at that. Like the one that got you the gig as Luke on the popular soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” Or the possible contracts surrounding promising big-screen roles on flicks like a “Conan the Barbarian” sequel, “Captain America” and “Hercules.” Plus, teaming up with Dr. Drew Pinsky on his radio show, not to mention a possible spot on Pinsky’s “Celebrity Rehab” reality show (not as one of the patients, folks) ain’t too shabby. Then there’s a new fitness book, Work Smarter, Not Harder, thoughts about competing in the Team Universe, speaking to kids at local schools about health and fitness and, of course, the time spent five days a week at Gold’s kicking your five training partners’ butts. O’Hearn and I settled into our chairs in a quiet, second-floor room at Gold’s, overlooking a Pilates class. Enough “jousting,” Michael. Talk to me. LT: Let’s backtrack a bit. This isn’t your first gig on “Gladiators,” is it? MO: Correct. I was on the show in 1995 through ’96, but I didn’t get a lot of screen time because we only had five men and five women [compared to 10 on the current show], and I was the first alternate. I played Thor, the mighty god of thunder. We were \ SEPTEMBER 2008 85

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MIKE O’HEARN Titan NBC’s “AMERICAN GLADIATORS” syndicated—it was not a network show at that time. Mike O’Hearn is a real-life superhero. Like the bodybuilding greats before him, It was a blast. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, Mike is a former Mr. Universe. In fact, LT: What was your he holds four Universe titles and was voted one of the 12 greatest physiques of all size back then, comtime by the fitness industry. A fierce competitor who’s pared to now? undefeated in the joust, Mike will be back for season MH: I was the same— two of NBC’s smash-hit television series “American 6’3”, 250 pounds or so. LT: You were a supeGladiators,” where he is known as Titan. rior athlete in several Mike is a true champion and well-rounded athlete areas even as far back with a background in natural bodybuilding, strongman as high school—chamcompetition, powerlifting and mixed martial arts. Before pion bodybuilder and winning his four Mr. (Natural) Universe titles, Mike powerlifter; all-star was Mr. California, Mr. USA, Mr. American and Mr. credentials in football, International. He is also a four-time powerlifting chamwrestling and martial arts. Did that make pion and two-time Iron Warrior: Decathlon of Strength it pretty easy for you Strongman champion. when you did the initial Mike has graced the covers of more than 500 magatryout? zines worldwide, earning him the title of Fitness Male MH: Well, it was cerModel of the Year seven times. His 2008 magazine tainly easier than an covers include IRON MAN, MuscleMag International, acting gig because I’m Reps and Planet Muscle. Women around the world will already visually that character. Every time there is a recognize him as the cover model for Topaz romance show like the “Gladiators” novels. or “Battledome” [O’Hearn Recent television and radio appearances include “Ellen,” “Today Show Weekend,” was a featured player on TV Guide Channel’s “Reality Chat,” “Reality Remix,” “E! Hollywood Hot Bodies,” that series in 1998 and national radio media tours on hundreds of stations throughout the country and the ’99], where it’s both theatnationally syndicated shows “Hollywood Confidential With Leeza Gibbons” and rical and athletic, I book it. “Loveline.” When I watched the original “Gladiators” in A lifelong proponent of the natural approach to bodybuilding, Mike is the author high school and college, of Proven Techniques for Drug Free Bodybuilders, which he wrote to inspire the I thought of those guys next generation of weightlifters and teach them that they can achieve success withas walking superheroes. out the use of such enhancers as steroids or growth hormone. To me, they were the pinMore than a positive role model for kids of all ages, Mike recently spoke to the nacle of health and larger second-grade class at Carpenter Elementary School’s Jump for Heart event. than life. Mike and ’06 California Fitness champion Sherlyn Roy created S.H.I.F.T.I.N.G.— Learning from the guys who were already ahead of Serious High Intensity Fitness Training Integrating Nutritional Guidelines—to help me on the first show really their high-profile Hollywood celebrity and executive clients reach their fitness goals. helped me initially—and Mike grew up on a farm in Kirkland, Washington, and has nine brothers and siswhat I learned from them ters. He began competing in bodybuilding at the age of 15, when he won the Teencarried over to the current age Washington State competition. In college O’Hearn was a three-time all-state show. Just being able to defensive tackle and all-American football player. fight with “Nitro,” “Hawk” In addition to appearing as Titan on “American Gladiators,” Mike will be seen in and the others, learning how they worked the mike. NBC’s on-air advertising for the summer Olympics. When not training, he’s busy They were great TV. writing, producing and directing a movie about a character who discovers he is a LT: The show ran its superhero. He has a leading role in the just-released “National Lampoon TV—The course, but you stayed Movie.” Other film roles include “Barbarian” and “Keeper of Time”; film projects on track in the enterdue to be released in 2008 include “Tumblers” and “Captain Ultimate.” tainment field. “Battledome” came along two years later and ators.” I got to go out there and beat lasted two seasons. was fun, but it just didn’t catch on. heads. That was fun. Eventually, you became a hot What was nice was that I did the LT: One of your many advanromance novel cover boy, segshow from the ground floor—I did tages over fellow team memued into films and so forth. the pilot, and they booked me from bers and contestants has always MO: Yes, we had a couple of good that directly into the show. It was been your strength—especially seasons with “Battledome,” and it much more violent than the “Gladi86 SEPTEMBER 2008 \

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considering that you’re a tested drug-free athlete. I’ve written about your powerlifting credentials in the past, but you got back into it last year and still set alltime marks, correct? MO: Yes, I did. I moved up to the 275-pound division and did a 600pound bench without a shirt, an 815 squat with no belt and 760 in the deadlift. LT: I’ve always been curious about how much of a benefit that shirt gives somebody. Obviously, it’s much more than a minor aid. MO: Oh, yeah, it can mean as much as 200, 300 pounds. Maybe more. You need to do a story on that. You put these shirts on and you can’t even move your arms [because the shirt forces them out straight], so you have to lift 1,000 pounds to even [force your arms to bend and] bring the weight down. I mean, no disrespect, but if you can’t do it walking around in posing trunks, then you can’t lift it. LT: Where can I get one of those shirts? I want to say I benched 350. [O’Hearn and L.T. bust up.] Besides, I have to wear the shirt, because I sure as hell ain’t gonna strut around in posing trunks. Did you? MO: [Laughs] No, but I did it in shorts, no shirt. In the squat, no suit, no belt, no knee wraps. No suit or belts for the deadlift, either. I don’t use belts because it’s just going to atrophy my back. Again, with everything that I do— fighting, running, martial arts—why would I wear a belt lifting if I can’t wear it in a fight? It doesn’t help me. This is just my belief, and I’ve never been injured. And I’m stronger now than I’ve ever been in my entire life. LT: You’ve had no major injuries in your athletic career? MO: No. Now, humans get injured—I’ve heard that—but I don’t. [Both laugh.] There’s a thing called blunt force trauma, Wolf’s Law. If you do something over and over again, you are going to build up such strength to that. Have you seen those shows on the Discovery Channel? One of the segments shows a guy pounding things over and over with his fist. Eventually, he brings up even more strength in his fist; an average person would break his hand doing the same thing. I have never lifted light. I lift heavy

“I have never lifted light. I lift heavy every workout, five days a week.”

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A Gladiator’s Diet Meal 1: 7:30 a.m. Preworkout 2 whole eggs, 3 egg whites, 8 ounces strawberries, 6 ounces pineapple, 2 ounces salsa Meal 2: 9:30 a.m. Postworkout 1 Angus beef patty, 1 cup rice, 2 ounces salsa, 1 banana, 1 scoop peanut butter Meal 3: 11:30 a.m. 1 Angus beef patty, 1 cup rice, 2 ounces salsa, 1 banana, 1 scoop peanut butter Meal 4: 1:30 p.m. 1 Angus beef patty, 1/2 cup rice, 2 ounces salsa, 8 strawberries, 6 ounces pineapple Meal 5: 3:30 p.m. 5 ounces salmon, 1/2 cup rice, 2 ounces salsa, 3 ounces broccoli Meal 6: 5:30 p.m. 5 ounces salmon, 1/2 cup rice, 2 ounces salsa, 3 ounces broccoli Meal 7: 7:30 p.m. 5 ounces salmon, 1/2 cup rice, 2 ounces salsa, 3 ounces broccoli Note: He drinks 225 ounces of water every day, one ounce per pound of bodyweight.

O’Hearn’s Titan-ic Weight-Training Regimen Each exercise is performed for four sets, three to eight reps per set. Legs Squats Leg presses Seated leg extensions Leg curls Walking lunges Seated calf raises Chest Bench presses Incline presses Flat-bench flyes Cable flyes Back Deadlifts

One-arm dumbbell rows Lat pulldowns Seated wide-grip rows Seated cable rows Pullups Shoulders Seated overhead presses Lateral raises Front raises Seated rear-delt laterals Upright rows Arms Pushdowns Standing curls Lying extensions (skull crushers) Incline curls Dips Preacher curls

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every workout, five days a week. I do one bodypart a day, and I will go ballistic on it. I train like that yearround. Now, my training method is great for me and for what I do. For somebody who is bodybuilding—or interested in general fitness—I say tone it down a bit. I admit my obsession in the gym leads to overtraining. I know I should stop, but I have such a passion for lifting, I can’t leave. I won the Natural Universe four times, have broken records in powerlifting. Last year I won the West Coast Strongman competition. It involved pulling a truck, lifting the Atlas stones, log lifts, the clean and jerk, the farmer’s walk, bench, squat, deadlift—all those things. LT: It’s no secret that people have questioned whether you’re really drug-free, especially with the type of weight you throw around. Do those rumors bother you? MH: No—I love it! When people ask me if I’m on steroids, I say, “Thank you, that’s a real compliment.” I’m trying to prove you can do these things without drugs. To me, what have I accomplished if I used drugs? LT: When you say you overtrain, how many sets are we talking? MO: You know Joe DeAngelis? You have done stories on him, right? Well, Joe said something to me that really meant a lot. He said he’s never met anybody who is as consistently as strong as I am yearround. When we train together, we don’t count sets; we just keep going at each other. [O’Hearn has five different training partners, as mentioned above, each for a different bodypart; “nobody can hang the whole week.”] I work out to beat the other guy, to destroy him. It’s fun for me; it’s like a fight.

LT: Yes, I can see the glee in your eye on the show, especially when the Joustmaster is ready to whack down his foe, often with one blow. MO: You are very observant—yes, I really enjoy taking people down, in every form of competition. LT: What fueled such a competitive drive in you? Were you that way when you were growing up? MO: You know this: I grew up with nine brothers and sisters—I’m the youngest—and all of them did bodybuilding, powerlifting, wrestling and martial arts. My sister won

the Emerald Cup, my other sister won the Washington Powerlifting Championships, my two brothers won the Mr. Washington bodybuilding title. So I was always getting my ass kicked not only by my older brothers but by my older sisters too! I knew from an early age—I was eight, nine years old—about working out. LT: Sounds as if the original season of “Survivor” should have been filmed at the O’Hearn household. No Ozzie and Harriet there! MH: For sure. If you wanted to eat, you had to carry a fork and stab the other person. [Both laugh.] So I was bred to be a fighter, to be in this field. LT: But you also grew up unable to read or write. MH: Correct. Because I was bigger than the other kids, I skipped a grade and, in the process passed over the basics of reading and writing. Being that young, I didn’t understand it, thought I was slow, whatever.

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So I took to sports even more so. As a kid you get teased when you are “different,” so that drove me even more to be the strongest kid in the school, the best athlete. LT: Eventually, you were diagnosed with dyslexia. MO: Yes, in the ninth or 10th grade. And I’m glad I had it because it helped me develop other senses to function in life. For example, I study scripts more than most people to adjust for the disorder. It made me who I am, and I wouldn’t change a thing. LT: I’d say you’ve handled things quite well, Titan. Did the producers of the “Gladiators” approach you, or did you go to them? When did the tryouts take place, and did you feel you had it in the bag? MO: It hasn’t even been a year since this all began. I have to admit I had my ego bruised a bit because I saw an announcement about the show in Variety, but nobody had contacted me. So I called my manager, told him I wanted to meet with the producers at NBC. He said, “Don’t worry about the first couple of calls. We’ll get you on the callbacks, get you right to the producers, since they already know who you are.” I told him that’s not how I roll. If everybody else is trying out, then I need to try out. I went into the tryouts saying I was going to end up as the team captain, to lead these guys into battle. I ended up setting all the records for the tryouts. Now I always have guys, both current Gladiators and competitors, coming up to me and saying they’re going to break my records. I just smile, say okay. But we are in our second season, and the records still stand. LT: Where did the auditions take place? MO: Everywhere. Here, New York, Texas, Chicago, Florida. I was 270 when I tried out and ran a 4.8 40-yard dash—you have to understand, we were on pavement, with loose gravel. I did 35 pullups in 60 seconds. LT: Still, you knew that you’d be getting on the show before the first pullup. MO: Not really. LT: What? I mean, come on—you were on the first “Gladiators,” then “Battledome.” You’ve been the lead in films, been in front of the camera nearly as much as Jay Leno. Oh, speaking of Leno, that wasn’t very nice of you, knocking out that little guy with the joust just because he wanted your Klondike bar [O’Hearn did a skit on “The Tonight Show” on May 15]! MO: [Laughs] Well, I did feel good during the tryouts, and everyone was saying 94 SEPTEMBER 2008 \

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more than 12 million for the premiere last January 6 and following that up with more than 10 million fans watching the first episode the next night. Any other differences? MO: I would say the biggest difference is that the characters are bigger. And although we’re playing characters, when you see me as Titan, you’re really just seeing Michael O’Hearn. That’s me; I’m just having fun. I love this stuff. I was born to do this, so it has come very naturally for me. LT: Yes, you are definitely having fun, especially on the joust. I saw one instance in which the challenger came up to your knee, and you were filled with glee when he lasted about two seconds after being smacked in the head, then dropped into the water. No guilt there?

MO: [Laughs] I just wanted to get him off there quickly so he could get on to another game. No, I don’t feel bad for any of the guys because they are all athletes and have a lot of heart. Actually, I have found that the bigger guys don’t have the heart the smaller guys do. LT: You say you aren’t playing a character this time? What is Titan? MO: What you see on the show is who I am. Remember, when the original “Gladiators” was on, there was no Internet. So those people for the rest of their lives are going to be “Nitro” and “Zap.” The difference today is that people can go to the Internet and find out who Michael O’Hearn really is. A lot of people will come to me and say, “Hey, Titan—Mike O’Hearn, how are you? Mr. Natural Universe,” and stuff like that. For me that is

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NBCU Photograph

it’s a sure thing for me, but nothing in Hollywood is a sure thing. There’s always the “don’t quit your day job” element in this business. On “Battledome” I never got beat, and I kept that personality through this audition process—I don’t lose, I’m going to lead this team and teach these guys how to be great Gladiators. When I was in the last audition, one of the producers asked me what would happen if I lost. I told him I don’t lose. The guy told me later, after I got the show, that he was going to tell me, “You lost this—have a nice day.” He was actually thinking about doing that because of what I said. Nothing is for sure. LT: Of course, the biggest difference between the first “American Gladiators” and the current one is that you’re on NBC now. And it opened with a bang, with a viewership of

great, but you never want to get lost into a character. LT: Were you shocked by the numbers when the show opened up huge? MO: I was pleasantly surprised— let’s put it that way. We were all nervous, waiting to see how the ratings would be. It was the biggest NBC opening in four years or so. To open up that big was immense for

the games 24/7, but we didn’t get to practice any more than the contestants. Actually, we had less time, because we had to go out and do photo shoots, press junkets, etc. LT: The joust is obviously your favorite event. Anything else really get you going? MO: Well, like I said, I love all of this. But I’d say Powerball is my second-favorite game. Nothing is better

MO: Well, here’s the best part about being lifetime drug-free—all I have to do is eat to maintain what I have. During the filming you don’t have time to work out. I just make sure to keep my diet exactly the same, and I do not change from the beginning of the taping through the final taping. LT: How much time does it take to record a season?

than going into battle with another man and beating him down. [Smiles broadly] Can you imagine, I get to live that Gladiator lifestyle—I get to train, then go beat somebody up. LT: And get paid for it. How have the filming and the traveling affected time in the gym?

MO: Two months. If it’s not on a daily basis, it’s every other day—on the off days you are just recouping. LT: So that’s why you didn’t show up the couple of times I challenged you to a bench press contest. Guess you had a legit excuse to back out.

NBCU Photograph

“Can you imagine, I get to live that Gladiator lifestyle— I get to train, then go beat somebody up.”

us. Obviously, the fans loved it. LT: What was the preparation time like before you hit the air? You must have had at least a month of training. MO: We had one week of training. They put this together so quickly, people thought we were working on

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MO: I knew you’d understand [both laugh]. LT: Obviously, being a major player on a major network can open up a lot of doors. How’s that working for you, and what may be coming in the future? MO: When you do a show like “Gladiators,” you hope it leads to other things. When I started bodybuilding as a teenager, I was hoping I could follow Arnold and go into television and movies. And that worked. I have been blown away how much my life has changed since the show first aired five months ago.

It has worked out that I’ve become the fans’ favorite male Gladiator, and that’s huge for me. I mean, on “Sunday Night Football” there’s a commercial of me. I drive by the NBC studio, and I see a five-story photo of me. It’s not just hyping “Gladiators,” it’s for all NBC shows. It has led to my getting a part on “Days of Our Lives”; I shot it be-

tween the first and second seasons, and I’ll be going back again. LT: Has that run already? MO: Yes, in March. My character’s name is Luke, I own a bar, and I have a shady past, of course. I’m trying to change my life, be a good guy now. It will be a recurring role, but the producers are talking about creating a new character. But, that’s not the only project. Ben Silverman has become a friend of mine, and he wants me all over the place. He’s talking about other shows, like “Chuck,” a new show coming out later this year called “King,” and “Knight Rider.” LT: Wow, things are blowing up big time, guy. MO: That’s not all. I get calls from my manager and PR person: “There’s talk about you playing Conan.” Yes, Arnold’s Conan movie, with a $100 million budget. The studio [Millennium Productions] brought me in to talk about the (continued on page 104) movie, talk 100 SEPTEMBER 2008 \

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(continued from page 100)

about the script. That’s mind-blowing. At this point I know less than my manager does, but because there’s no actual script at this point, the discussion has moved to another film they do have a script for—“Hercules.” Another $100 million project. I left the office not sure exactly how they felt about me, but then I got a call from my manager to let

to meet with Marvel about “Captain America.” LT: An “Iron Man” type flick? How could you possibly measure up to Robert Downey Jr.? You know, he allegedly did 10 reps at 235 on the bench. MO: Did he really? Wow, that’s not bad. Well, he did look good, and he pulled it off, big time. LT: With so many exciting

success people may think it is. When did you move down here from Washington, 1992? MO: Good memory, L.T. LT: So I guess you’ll never compete in another bodybuilding contest or powerlifting meet again. MO: You’ll see me at the Team Universe. LT: Only you would dare to

me know they would be sending over the script, and I’m reading it now. LT: You could be the new Steve Reeves, my all-time-favorite physique star. Can I get an autograph now, before you become unapproachable? MO: [Busts up)] Yes, can you imagine that? And next week I go in

things on your plate, how are you keeping your feet on the ground? MO: My manager and PR people keep me in check. They’ve had other clients who have been very successful, so they understand it. LT: I hope it happens for you; I know better than anyone that yours hasn’t been the overnight

say that. Despite all of the other stuff, you’re still a bodybuilder and powerlifter at heart. MO: Those things have gotten me where I am today. I can’t give that up; it’s my meditation. Seriously, I think the T.U. is a possibility because I’ve seen the changes over the years—the guys are looking so good now. It amps me up even more. I

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“We work with clients and trainers throughout the country using our beliefs in nutrition and training, which Sherlyn and I follow.”

love the competition, the fight to be the best. I compete, not for the title, just to beat the guys. Know what I mean? There is a difference. The title is icing on the cake. LT: Done with powerlifting though? MO: Yes, but I love strongman competition. You can lift a truck. That’s really cool. LT: Despite your mainstream successes, you are still deeply involved in the fitness industry. I know you and Sherlyn Roy have created your own com-

pany. Tell us about it. MO: It’s called S.H.I.F.T.I.N.G.— Serious High Intensity Fitness Training Integrating Nutritional Guidelines. We work with clients and trainers throughout the country using our beliefs in nutrition and training, which Sherlyn and I follow. Currently, with my schedule being as crazy as it is, Sherlyn has taken over most of the company, but here’s the gist of what our company is about. Nutritionally, we practice and believe that one has to eat a good

calorie level throughout training— keeping the caloric intake high and exercising it off instead of dieting it off. When it comes to training, we believe in sticking with the basics and challenging the amount of weight you can push, pull or press, whether you are male or female. We both train a bodypart per day: legs, chest, back, shoulders and arms. Each training session has four to six exercises, and each exercise should be four sets, with three to eight reps. Sherlyn is a great example of our program. She trained for 10 years and got her body to a certain level of physique and athleticism. After six months of training under this program, with a focus on competition, she completely transformed her physique and stepped onstage and won the fitness contest and got second in figure at the 2006 Cal. Then she won the figure overall a week later at your Junior Cal. Confirming that our program works, she moved on to compete at the Figure Nationals and got seventh out of 50-plus females in her class in her first-ever national-level competition [Roy also placed ninth in her class that same year at the extremely deep USA]. LT: By the way, are the rumors true that you inked a deal with VyoTech Supplements? MO: Yes, they are. Me and Shawn Ray. We’re moving forward and are going to blow this thing up. This will be something that I’ll be able to get my hands into, help create new products and so forth. LT: How many hours do you need in a day to be Michael O’Hearn right now? MO: I still get up at 3 a.m., kid. LT: Not when you hang with P. Diddy and Jay-Z! MO: You’re right—got in at 4:30 in the morning but got up at 7 a.m. for my flight back to Los Angeles. But come on, when you have a chance to hang out with those guys, you’re not going to pass because you need to go to bed early—like, “If I see you the next time I’m in New York, we’ll do lunch.” Editor’s note: To contact Michael O’Hearn about how to smack people around and get paid for it, write to him at mike@mikeohearn .com. IM

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Sleep , Perchance to

Part 1

Grow 108 SEPTEMBER 2008 \

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Snooze or Lose Muscle by Jerry Brainum

Neveux \ Model: Greg Smyers


n 1963, 17-year-old Randy Gardner came up with what he considered a novel experiment for the Greater San Diego, California, Science Fair. Randy thought it would be interesting to find out what his mental reaction to extended sleep deprivation might be. He choose to stay awake for 264 hours, or 11 straight days. Two friends alternated staying awake to ensure that Randy didn’t doze off. The experiment also caught the attention of noted Stanford University sleep researcher William C. Dement, who monitored the experiment with the intent of publishing the results in a scientific journal. By the second day without sleep, Randy was already experiencing focus problems. He was handed a few familiar items but couldn’t recognize what they were. On the third day he became moody and lashed out at the friends who were assisting him. When asked to repeat the phrase “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,” he failed. On the fourth day he began having hallucinations, believing that he was a famous professional football player. His speech began faltering on the fifth day, and he had difficulty focusing his eyes. He felt dizzy and continued to experience various hallucinations. Randy’s alarmed parents insisted on a visit to a local hospital, but the examining doctors

could find nothing wrong. On the 11th and final day Randy celebrated with his friends, then was promptly whisked to a local hospital for a neurological checkup. He fell into a deep sleep soon afterward—15 hours. He showed no apparent permanent health effects. While Randy’s experiment affected only himself, other cases of sleep deprivation have proved tragic. One example is the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill that occurred off the coast of Alaska in 1989, the result of someone falling asleep on the job. Both the Challenger space shuttle disaster and the Chernobyl nuclear accident were attributed to sleep deprivation. Various surveys show that most of us aren’t getting enough sleep. Half of all adults don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Another 75 percent report having problems that affect the quality of their sleep several times a week. In some cases—with people who are driving, for example—lack of sleep can prove fatal. Other instances involve drops in work productivity. A poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation in 2002 found that millions of Americans are short-tempered and prone to overeating because they’re not getting enough sleep. A quarter of the respondents reported that they were likely to eat more food than usual on days they didn’t \ SEPTEMBER 2008 109

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A recent study from researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that poor sleep quality can take a greater health toll on women than men.

Neveux \ Models: Lana and Craig Titus

sleep produced an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in middle-aged women but not in men.2 Sleep is an overlooked anabolic factor in bodybuilding. Sure, we all know that we need sleep, but many bodybuilders skimp on it. That can result in poor or no gains in muscular size and strength. Conversely, improved sleeping habits can often pull you out of an apparent training rut.

Sleep Science Scientists characterize sleep as occurring in distinct stages, as measured on an electroencephalograph machine, which tracks brain waves. Certain types of brain waves dominate during specific portions of the sleep cycle. Stageone sleep is a transitional phase from waking to sleeping. The true onset of sleep happens during stage two. Stages three and four,

Neveux \ Model: Kat Myers

get enough sleep. Recent studies link the rising rate of diabetes and obesity not only to eating too much and exercising too little but also to insufficient sleep. The question is, How much sleep is enough? Although sleep is under intense scrutiny—at least four scientific journals are devoted entirely to sleep research—precisely how much sleep is required for optimal health isn’t clear. What is known is that either too little or too much sleep is detrimental to health. A study published in the Archives of Psychiatry in 2002 found that people who sleep either eight or more hours or fewer than four hours a night have a slightly higher risk of dying prematurely than those who sleep six to seven hours a night. The study examined the sleeping habits of 1.1 million people between the ages of 30 and 102. The subjects were interviewed in 1982, then followed up six years later. The researchers found that while regular use of sleeping pills was associated somewhat with premature mortality, insomnia wasn’t. A recent study from researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that poor sleep quality can take a greater health toll on women than men.1 In the study, which examined sleep habits in 210 men and women, women with poor sleep habits had more mental distress, including greater feelings of hostility, depression and anger. The men with poor sleep quality didn’t have those feelings. The study found that women report sleep problems twice as often as men. Women who had problems also had more higher inflammatory markers linked to cardiovascular disease, such as C-reactive protein, interleukin-6 and higher resting insulin levels. Those results were most associated with trouble falling asleep, not sleeping itself. Women who took 30 minutes or longer to fall asleep showed the worst health profiles. The author wasn’t sure of the cause of the gender disparity but suggested it could relate to substances involved in sleep, including serotonin and melatonin. Another recent study found that either too little or too much—less than six hours, more than eight hours—

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Sleep ttoo Grow

Neveux \ Model: Greg Smyers

Sleep is an overlooked anabolic factor of bodybuilding.

however, are the deep-sleep periods, collectively referred to as slow-wave sleep. At the end of the slow-wave stages the body reverts to lighter sleep, followed by rapid eye movement, or REM, sleep. REM sleep is often considered the stage where dreaming occurs and is similar to stage-one sleep, with the addition of a lack of muscle tone and the rapid

eye movement. Each sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes, and there are four to seven cycles per night, depending on total sleep time. Some sleep researchers suggest that most body restoration occurs during the slow-wave, deep-sleep stages. That’s when the maximum secretion of growth hormone occurs. In fact, 75 percent of the daily

release of GH, which is thought to play a major role in cellular repair, occurs during that time, usually about 90 minutes after you fall asleep.3 It’s during REM sleep that brain restoration, including glycogen replenishment and other required processes, occurs. Insufficient REM sleep leads to feelings of grogginess when you awaken.

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Sleep to Grow

Certain drugs prescribed to treat insomnia adversely affect REM sleep, explaining the fatigue hangover that often occurs when those drugs are used. Not getting enough sleep is known to adversely affect various hormones that directly affect training progress, including growth hormone, thyroid hormone, testosterone, IGF-1 and leptin. Lack of sleep shifts the balance of hormones from anabolic to catabolic, as evidenced by the body’s higher cortisol count the day after a night of little sleep. It’s a vicious cycle, since elevated cortisol adversely affects restorative REM sleep, during which excess cortisol is degraded.

When young men are deprived of sleep, their testosterone levels plummet rapidly.

Neveux \ Model: Jonathan Lawson

Sleep and Hormones Because growth hormone release occurs primarily during deep-sleep stages three and four, anything that interferes with those stages can interfere with GH release as well. One example is sleep apnea, a condition that temporarily halts a sleeper’s breathing and is also linked to heavy snoring. People who suffer from sleep apnea often awaken feeling tired and groggy, and they have reduced levels of both GH and its by-product, IGF-1. In one study heavy snorers who used a device that dilated their nostrils, increasing breathing efficiency, did not experience residual fatigue when they awoke and had significantly more IGF-1, indicating higher GH release during the night.4

A lack of sleep tends to increase a craving for high-carbohydrate, high-calorie foods. It also may increase bodyfat.

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Sleep ttoo Grow

Neveux \ Model: Greg Smyers

The short sleepers were 40 percent less insulin sensitive. Having more insulin not only predisposes you to diabetes but also causes you to store more bodyfat. In addition, having insulin resistance promotes catabolic reactions in muscle, leading to muscle loss.

Lack of sleep interferes with testosterone even more. In a study published last year, 12 healthy men, aged 64 to 74—older people tend to have more sleep disturbances than younger people—had their testosterone levels monitored after a night of sleep.5 The less sleep the men got, the lower their testosterone. And not just older men are affected. A study of young men found that sleeping during either the day or night led to more testosterone release.6 When young men are deprived of sleep, their testosterone levels plummet rapidly. Another study found that testosterone release at night is blunted in middle-aged men. A lack of REM sleep appears to have a particularly potent blunting effect on testosterone release.7 Shift workers who experience disturbed sleep patterns all show lower-than-normal testosterone.8 Another study charted the course of sleep over the years in 149 men, aged 16 to 83, none of whom had any sleep problems or hormone disorders.9 Researchers found a decrease in slow-wave sleep that began during middle age, age 36 to 50. The deep-sleep stages were replaced by the two lighter-sleep stages, but there was no serious sleep fragmentation or adverse effects on REM sleep. During the transition from middle to older years, no further decrease in slow-wave sleep occurred, but an increase in time awake of 28 minutes per decade did lead to drops in the levels of REM sleep averaging 10 minutes per decade. As expected, the decline in slowwave sleep during middle age paralleled a major drop in GH secretion, since that’s the sleep period when GH release is maximized. The GH continued to drop with age, but the decline was found to be closely associated with loss of slow-wave sleep. At the same time, cortisol release rose with the passing years, becoming significant only past age 50, when sleep became more fragmented by frequent awakenings and REM sleep declined. A trend for increased cortisol secretion at night was linked to lessened REM sleep that was independent of age. More recent studies indicate that not getting enough sleep may lead to increased bodyfat. Missing just one night of sleep can alter

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Sleep ttoo Grow hormones related to body composition, including norepinephrine, epinephrine, thyroid-stimulating hormone and cortisol, all of which are increased. GH drops, as does aldosterone, an adrenal hormone, while insulin activity is adversely affected. Changes in those hormones affect various body functions. For example, blood pressure rises, heart rate increases, and inflammatory chemicals in the body rise. Most closely related to obesity are the ways a lack of sleep affects leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is produced by fat cells and signals satiety. Ghrelin is secreted in the gut and does just the opposite—it tends to stimulate appetite and overeating. Sleep loss can lower leptin by 16 to 18 percent. Calorie restriction also lowers leptin, while excess calorie intake raises it. The reduction in leptin after two to six days of getting only four hours’ sleep is similar to the reduction caused by three days of eating only 70 percent of daily calorie requirements. That would translate into severe hunger, especially if accompanied by a rise in ghrelin, which is precisely what occurs from a lack of sleep. A lack of sleep tends to increase a craving for high-carbohydrate, high-calorie foods.10 Again, that translates into more difficulty staying on a fat-loss or precontest diet. Ghrelin sends feedback to the appetite center in the hypothalamus, thereby increasing appetite. Secretion of the hormone increases between meals and drops rapidly when food is consumed. Ghrelin increases during the night and may signal you to eat when you wake up. Short sleep duration is linked to higher ghrelin levels and more bodyfat. Sleep loss is known to boost ghrelin by 15 to 28 percent. Restricting calories increases ghrelin levels, and combining that with a lack of sleep tends to make losing bodyfat an uphill battle. Interestingly, ghrelin also helps bring on slow-wave sleep and GH release. Most studies show that a lack of sufficient sleep is closely linked to increased bodyfat.11 Several mechanisms explain why. Hormones that control appetite get unbalanced when you don’t get enough sleep,

with the appetite-stimulating ghrelin dominating the appetite-suppressing leptin. Another factor is the drop in anabolic hormones caused by sleep deprivation, such as GH and testosterone, both of which favor lower bodyfat. Thyroid hormones, which control resting metabolism, are adversely affected by a lack of sleep as well,12 while cortisol levels go up,13 which is also not a good thing. More cortisol favors increased fat deposition, especially in the central, or trunk, area of the body. The rise of cortisol interferes with insulin function within four to six hours, leading to insulin resistance, which is considered a prediabetic state. That implies that insufficient sleep could be a factor in the rising incidence of obesity and diabetes. A study presented at the 2001 meeting of the American Diabetes Association clearly revealed the effect of a lack of sleep on insulin sensitivity.14 Getting 6 1/2 hours or less of sleep each night has the same effect on insulin resistance as aging. In the study, healthy adults who slept an average of 5.2 hours a night over eight consecutive nights secreted 50 percent more insulin than their better-rested counterparts who slept an average of eight hours. The short sleepers were also 40 percent less insulin sensitive. Having more insulin not only predisposes you to diabetes but also causes you to store more bodyfat. In addition, having insulin resistance promotes catabolic reactions in muscle, leading to muscle loss. Next month we’ll look at sleep and exercise as well as how what you eat affects your sleep.

References 1 Saurez, E.C. (2008). Self-reported symptoms of sleep disturbance and inflammation, coagulation, insulin resistance and psychosocial distress: Evidence for gender disparity. Brain Behav Immun. In press. 2 Tuomilehto, H., et al. (2008). Sleep duration is associated with an increased risk for the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in middle-aged women—the FIN-D2D survey. Sleep Med. 9:221-227. 3 Cauter, E.V., et al. A quantita-

tive estimation of growth hormone secretion in normal man: Reproductibility and relation to sleep and time of day. J Clin Endocrin Metabol. 74:1441-1450. 4 Loth, S., et al. (1998). Improved nasal breathing in snorers increases nocturnal growth hormone secretion and serum concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-1 subsequently. Rhinology. 36:179-183. 5 Penev, P. (2007). Association between sleep and morning testosterone levels in older men. Sleep. 30:427-32. 6 Axelsson, J., et al. (2005). Effects of acutely displaced sleep on testosterone. J Clin Endocrin Metab. 90:4530 7 Luboshitzky, R., et al. (2001). Disruption of the nocturnal testosterone rhythm by sleep fragmentation in normal men. J Clin Endocrin Metabol. 86:1134-139. 8 Axelsson, J., et al. (2003). Hormonal changes in satisfied and dissatisfied shift workers across a shift cycle. J Appl Physiol. 95:2099-2105. 9 Cauter, E.V., et al. (2000). Agerelated changes in slow wave sleep and REM sleep and relationship with growth hormone and cortisol levels in healthy men. JAMA. 284:861-868. 10 Spiegal, K., et al. (2004). Brief communication: Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite. Intern Med. 141:846-50. 11 Rontoyanni, V., et al. (2007). Association between nocturnal sleep duration, body fatness, and dietary intake in Greek women. Nutrition. 23:773-777. 12 Crispin, C.A., et al. (2007). The influence of sleep and sleep loss upon food intake and metabolism. Nutr Res Rev. 20:195-212. 13 Leproult, R., et al. (1997). Sleep loss results in an elevation of cortisol levels the next evening. Sleep. 20:865-70. 14 Schultes, B., et al. (2005). Sleep loss and the development of diabetes: a review of the evidence. Exp Clin Endocrin Diabetes. 113:563567. IM

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A Bodybuilder

Is Born Episode 38

Stimulate, Don’t Annihilate by Ron Harris Photography by Michael Neveux


hen do you know you’re getting old? That’s tough to say. You hear all types of tired clichés: “You’re only as old as you feel”; “Age is just a number.” Other markers let you know when you’re really stepping into your golden years, such as pulling your pants up to just under your nipples (what’s up with that?) and buying giant, boatlike sedans built by GM. I think I’ve come across a far more accurate indication of when you can be sure you’re getting old: You suddenly realize that you consider the current crop of teenagers a bunch of shiftless, illiterate punks. The worst thing is, I’m still in my 30s. I like the latest hits on the radio, and I still spend an average of $1,500 a year on Nike Shox and Air Max sneakers. What geezer would do that? Even so, I have to accept that I’ve at last aged enough to reognize a generation gap between me and today’s youth. Here’s why: my distaste for the two big cliques of kids at my gym. No, they aren’t gangs like the Jets and the Sharks, and they don’t rumble, but they’re distinct groups with a style of dress that sets them apart. The first group’s name was assigned to them by my wife, Janet: the Gotti Boys, after the reality show “Growing Up Gotti,” which follows the filthy

rich grandchildren of infamous Mafia boss John Gotti. They struggle with typical adolescent problems—whether to take the Ferrari or the Lamborghini to pick up those supermodels for a night of decadence, which club to go to, as they’re on the VIP list at all the night spots in Western civilization, plus some happening joints in unexplored areas of the Amazon rain forest and Antarctica. The Gotti Boys—maybe six or eight of them—at our gym all have hair that’s been slathered in industrial-strength gel and spiked up to form a nest of daggers jutting up from their skulls. They wear Adidas pants, white wife-beater tank tops and thick gold or silver chains. The look is completed by trendy tattoos they’ll all surely regret later in life, such as tribal bands around the biceps and Japanese kanji characters that could well mean “pansy white boy” or “egg roll with porkfried rice.” Their age range is 16 to 20. We used to called that general look “guido,” and it went along with certain brands of cars: Monte Carlo SS Turbos and Iroc Z-28s. These days it’s little imports tricked out with tinted windows, fancy rims and spoilers that make them resemble small aircraft—not forgetting the neon lights below so that police officers have an easier time pulling them over at night.

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Is Born

Their rivals: the Abercrombies, today’s version of what we used to call preppies. Back in the day they wore tight Izod golf shirts with the collars turned up and painted-on jeans with the hems rolled up. The group at my gym all either work at Abercrombie & Fitch or do a great deal of shopping there. You see a lot of cargo pants and T-shirts with the sleeves ripped off, carefully faded to look like they’ve been worn for 10 or 12 years. Did I mention the backward baseball caps? Both groups annoy me for several reasons. Number one, they’re the laziest bunch of twerps I’ve ever seen disgrace a gym floor. I happen to think a gym is where you’re meant to train and train hard, not socialize. Those brat packs lounge around and yap, half to each other and half on cell phones to other brats. When they do train, it’s endless sets of bench presses and curls—horrible form and weight my wife would laugh at. The Gottis and the Abercrombies both look emaciated, so skinny that I wonder if they’re so busy trying to look cool that they genuinely forget to eat. Out of the entire mélange there’s one exception: Scott. He’s probably 19 or so and is the only kid in either bunch who has any type of physique, far from complete though it is—close to 6’ and 170. He has decent arms and chest, and his shoulders and traps aren’t too shabby. From what I’ve observed, though, those are the only bodyparts he trains—and far too much. Sometimes I come into the gym to train something like back or legs, muscle groups that take me roughly an hour to finish, and Scott is working biceps. When I finish, he’s still not done. It’s only when I do my cardio that he’ll wrap it up, meaning that he’s spent about 90 minutes just on biceps, performing eight to 10 exercises for four or five sets each. Respected bodybuilding guru John Parrillo famously said that there’s no such thing as overtraining, only undereating and undersleeping. Even John would have to take issue with what Scott’s doing. I’d watched it go on for months and was committed to staying out

of Scott’s business. Having been lashed out at by defensive types

over the years for offering urgently (continued on page 126) needed but

The Gotti Boys at our gym all have hair that’s been slathered in industrial-strength gel and spiked up to form a nest of daggers jutting up from their skulls, a look that’s completed by trendy tattoos they’ll all surely regret later in life, such as tribal bands around the biceps and Japanese kanji characters that could well mean “pansy white boy” or “egg roll with pork-fried rice.”

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Model: Justin Seitz

A Bodybuilder

A Bodybuilder

Is Born “How’d you get your abs like that?” he asked. I had no intention of answering because of all the junk food I’d been eating lately that had blurred them out. Instead, I saw my chance to jump right in and criticize his training. “You have a pretty good physique shaping up,” I said. That caught him off guard. “Oh, thanks,” he said, looking around and wondering whether to bolt. “You could have a much better physique if you gave your muscles a chance to grow.” That clearly addled him. He just looked at me like I was crazy.

(continued from page 122) unsolic-

ited advice, I have a strict policy of noninterference. If asked, I help; otherwise I let people continue in no-results ignorance. On the other hand, I know my way around an excuse to meddle. I often distribute magazines that I appear in at the gym, leaving them on the magazine rack next to People, Car and Driver and the rest of the reading material that keeps members occupied on the cardio machines. The kids are much more into watching the little TVs mounted on the machines than into reading and rarely go near the rack. One day last week, though, Scott picked up a copy of one of my magazines.

I was only 10 feet away on a stair stepper. He stopped and squinted at the page, then looked over at me. That happened three times before I finally blurted out, “Yes, that’s me in the picture.” He ambled over. It had been chest day for him, and his pecs were red and swollen behind his wife-beater tank top (Scott seemed to have a wardrobe that enabled him to walk among both Little Gottis and Abercrombies). His chest was a bit droopy, thanks to tons of flat-benching with the bar, dumbbells, Smith and Hammer Strength machines, plus endless sets of cable crossovers—but little incline work for the upper chest.

Model: Omar Deckard

Model: Mike Semanoff

His chest was a bit droopy, thanks to tons of flat-benching with the bar, dumbbells, Smith and Hammer Strength machines, plus endless sets of cable crossovers—but little incline work for the upper chest.

“Trust me when I tell you that if you did half as much as you’re doing now, you’d probably put on 10 pounds of muscle in the next month.”

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A Bodybuilder

Is Born

Model: Mike Semanoff

month.” That hooked him, and we spent the next 20 minutes going over changes he needed to make with his training and eating. It turned out he wasn’t eating nearly enough protein or calories. I explained that he needed to add a couple of quality meals plus a shake or two a day to his current nutrition plan. I also explained that he needed to work each muscle group equally, even if he wasn’t interested in competing as a bodybuilder, which he wasn’t. Hitting the big muscle groups like the back and legs stimulates overall growth, and being proportionate all over makes any body look more impressive. When I stopped talking, Scott rejoined the Gottis and the Abercrombies, who’d convened at our juice bar to discuss such crucial topics as the best illegal music downloads and who’d dumped his girlfriend or been dumped so that newly available girls could be asked to hook up that “It means that you should work the weekend. Watching them, muscle hard enough to stimulate growth I had to conclude that but not overwork it with so much they weren’t really such a bad bunch of kids, and exercise that it can’t recover and grow.” no doubt today’s older adults once looked upon me and my friends with disgust. I glanced at my “I see you in here all the time,” don’t annihilate.’ Know what that reflection in the mirror, so close I I said. “You train pretty hard, but means?” could reach out and touch it, and you’re doing way too much for each “Not really,” Scott said. couldn’t help but notice a few gray muscle group. Have you ever heard “It means that you should work hairs. I made a mental note to pick of a guy named Lee Haney?” the muscle hard enough to stimuup some Grecian Formula if it got Scott shrugged. late growth but not overwork it with much worse. “Eight-time Mr. Olympia? Totalee so much exercise that it can’t recovThen I picked up my cell phone. Awesome? Nothing?” er and grow. Tell me, are you trying “I’m afraid I’m going to be a bit late, Scott stared back at me blankly. to get bigger?” babe,” I told Janet. “I need to stop by “That’s okay,” I said. “He’s been “Yeah, of course,” he shot back. the mall to get some clothes at Aberretired since you were in kindergar“Why else would I be in here every crombie, then to that auto place on ten. Lee was a smart guy. He never day?” Route 138 to look into some fly new had a training injury to speak of, “Trust me when I tell you that rims for the Infiniti.” and he went out a winner. When if you did half as much as you’re I’d made up my mind. I’d get old it came to training, Haney had a doing now, you’d probably put on someday, for sure, but not quite yet. very solid philosophy: ‘Stimulate, 10 pounds of muscle in the next IM 128 SEPTEMBER 2008 \

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Chest Chiseling Derik Farnsworth’s Pec-Building Program and Pointers by Cory Crow Photography by Michael Neveux


erik Farnsworth is famous for his posing to the Randy Newman classic “Short People.” That makes sense when you consider that, at 5’2”, Derik is typically one of the shorter bodybuilders on any stage. It doesn’t mean that he’s not a thick, fully muscled competitor or that he doesn’t look good, however. It just makes it harder for him to compete against the mass monsters that are in favor with the IFBB judges today. Enter the 202-pounds-andunder competitions, which have a lot of fans and competitors buzzing with excitement. “I can’t stand next to Jay Cutler and be competitive, but I know I’m holding my own against guys who are closer to my weight,” says Derik. Those thoughts—and the new competitions—have recharged his training and lit a new fire in the belly of the former three-time NPC Team Universe lightweight champion and ’02 NPC National lightweight-class winner. As with most lifetime natural-

bodybuilders, Derik has accumulated a wealth of training wisdom that average lifters can apply to their training with lasting results. In Derik’s case that involves 20 years of trial and error and a unique grasp of physique mechanics gained in his experience as a personal trainer and a massage therapist. “Massage therapy training has opened my eyes to a whole new world,” he says. “I have a better understanding of how the muscles work now, how they are connected to one another and how to best stimulate certain muscle groups.” As a novice lifter who has trouble isolating my chest, I thought that Derik would be a great resource from which to glean some ideas for targeting the chest muscles. I’m sure that many of you have experienced the same thing—you finish a chest workout, and your chest isn’t spent. “The keys to a good workout for chest are grip and rep speed,” Derik suggests. “Don’t flip the weight around, and don’t go too fast. Focus on contracting the weight up instead of hurling it up—nothing but injury can come from that.” As you can imagine, with 20 years

of experience and more than 50 contests under his belt, Derik is very conscious of how injury can prevent you from reaching your goals. “The most frequent mistake I see novice lifters make when training chest is gripping the bar too wide and bringing it down too high,” he says. Also, he says, spreading your hands out puts strain on the shoulder joints, as does bringing the bar down at the nipples. “I shoot for just under the sternum,” Derik says. “Even though that’s outside of what most people shoot for, I’ve found that following that form with a slightly lighter weight has improved my max bench.” If improving your max bench, increasing your chest size and preventing injury are concepts you’re interested in, then you might want to listen to what Derik has to say about chest training. “Not everyone will like my chest-training style,” he admits, “but my clients usually thank me for changing the way they think about pec training after they see the results.” \ SEPTEMBER 2008 131

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Chest Derik’s

The Second Chest Workout The following is a secondary chest workout that Derik occasionally uses, especially when he doesn’t have a spotter available. Smith-machine Smith-machinebench bench presses presses(warmup) (warmup)1-2 1-2xx30-50 30-50 Superset Superset Incline 33xx8-12 Inclineflyes flyes 8-12 Smith-machine Smith-machineincline incline pressups 33xx8-12 pressups 8-12 ••1/3 1/3up, up,down; down;2/3 2/3up, up,down; down;full up, = 1 rep fulldown up, down = 1 rep Seated Seatedflat flatHammer Hammer presses 33xx8-12 presses 8-12 • Perform this movement with a moderate rate and keep the focus on squeezing the weight to the top. Again, the movement should resemble more a piston moving up and down than a jerky mess. Modifiedcable cable Modified X-overs 10-12 X-overs 33xx10-12 •To perform this exercise, Derik takes an incline bench and places it in the middle of the cable crossover machine. He positions himself facedown on the bench with his chest just above the top of the back. When he brings the cables down he brings them under his chest as if he’s performing a most-muscular pose. He brings his fists down to just where they cross over at the bottom of the movement. (continued on page 136)

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“I keep my rep range anywhere from eight to 12, depending on how I feel, but I never go over 12 and never under eight.” (continued from page 132)

Derik Farnsworth’s Base Chest Workout Smith-machine bench presses. Derik starts every chest workout with this movement. It’s primarily a warmup that gives him a feel for his body’s responses that day. “I typically shoot for a superhigh-rep range of 30 to 50, using very light weights. Not only does that warm up the muscles, but it takes the stress out of the movement and lets me focus on how my chest feels that day.” Derik uses a moderate rep speed, but he doesn’t sacrifice his form just because the weights are light. “It’s easy to let your form slip on light weights, but don’t. You can

learn more about the mind/muscle connection using light weights than you can going ultraheavy if your form is correct.” This lift has the added advantage of being great for injury prevention, as it gets the muscles full of blood but doesn’t put a lot of stress on un-warmedup shoulders, thanks to the built-in stabilizers in the Smith machine. Incline dumbbell presses. After the light Smith-machine work it’s time to begin blasting the pecs with three heavy sets of incline dumbbell presses. “I keep my rep range anywhere from eight to 12, depending on how I feel, but I never go over 12 and never under eight,” he says. Derik also keeps his focus centered on “squeezing” the weight up and not pushing it up. “When you think ‘push’ instead of

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Chest Chest Derik’s Derik’s

‘squeeze,’ it’s very easy for your delts and triceps to take over. If you think ‘squeeze,’ then your chest will do most of the work by default.” Bench presses. For most of his weight-training career, Derik wasn’t a huge fan of the standard flatbench press. “I used it extensively at first,” he says, “but I never really felt my chest get a huge pump after I finished.” That changed when he tried a trick used by powerlifters. “I brought my hands in a little, to just inside shoulder width.” Using a modified powerlifting style—without the pronounced back arch— Derik found that he was recruiting his pectorals to do more work than when he used a more standard bodybuilding grip width. Not only did the change renew his belief in bench pressing, but it also made it easier for him to control the bar speed. “Move the bar like a piston. Don’t stop at the top, but think of an automobile engine—up-down, up-down.” Moving the bar like that keeps continuous tension on the pectorals and helps prevent cheating. With this technique selecting the correct weight and keeping your ego out of the way are of increased importance. Incline flyes or flat-bench flyes. Derik alternates the two exercises from week to week, but his philosophy of performing flyes does not. He does them superslow. “I’m a huge proponent of superslow training,” he says. “It allows you to really tax your muscles without having to resort to ultraheavy weights that can lead to injury.” When you perform these, think, “five seconds down, five seconds up,” or five seconds on the ascending stroke and five on the descent. You can also do 10 and 10 or even more if you feel you have control of the weights. Slow is good when you’re finishing your workout.

Stretching In past issues of IRON MAN there’s been a lot of talk about Doggcrapp, a.k.a. DC, training. One of the principles of DC is the stretch. Derik is friends with Dante Trudel, the creator of DC, but he doesn’t apply a lot of Dante’s training principles. “I’ve been doing it my way forever;

He uses a narrower grip on the bench press than most bodybuilders use and says he feels his pecs working much harder.

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Chest Derik’s

Derik uses a superslow style on flyes, whether he’s doing them on an incline or flat bench. it’s working, so why change?” Derik asks. That doesn’t mean he’s not open to new ideas, however. “I did talk to Dante a lot about his stretching. The difference is that I use stretches at the end of my workout and not in the middle.” Derik’s favorite stretch? “Grab a set of dumbbells and lie on a flat bench. Then stretch out your chest with a flye motion, holding for one minute at the bottom of the movement—that’s the best stretch ever.”

Preventive Care “You see too many guys walking around with bencher’s chest, that hunched-over look that people have because their front delts are so tight,” Derik says. He’s a firm believer in regular massage treatment to keep the muscles loose—so much so that he’s training to become a massage therapist to offer the service to his trainees. “When you’ve been training as long as I have, preventing injury becomes a very serious issue,” he says. “Don’t think that your body doesn’t require stretching and massage. If you’re a serious trainee, planning to stay involved in the game for any length of time,

then these things will help you reach your goals.”

The Coming Year As mentioned above, Derik is very excited about the new contests for under202-pound pros. It’s stoked his fire and has him banging out weights, using workouts similar to the one above, five days a week in preparation for several contests in the upcoming year. “I may do the Tampa show and want to do the Europa because I love that show, and there’s the new event at the Olympia.” Now, for the first time in years, the short bodybuilder known for his conditioning and insane thickness feels that he has a chance. That’s all he needs. Editor’s note: To contact Derik

Farnsworth for personal training, guest posing and serious sponsorship opportunities, visit www IM

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How I Gained

100 Muscle

Pounds of

Rich Gaspari Tells How He Did

It—and How You Can Do It Too by David Young Photography by Michael Neveux and John Balik


vividly remember when Rich Gaspari came on the bodybuilding scene in 1984. I was alternating working out at Gold’s Gym, Venice, and Ray Mentzer’s Muscle Mill gym in Redondo Beach, California. Mike and Ray Mentzer were, of course, sticklers for high-intensity workouts, and they’d been hearing rumors about a kid out of New Jersey who was ripping up the gym with “Platz-like” intensity. Even to the hardcore Mentzers, Tom Platz’s intensity at Gold’s was legendary. So if that kid Gaspari was being mentioned in the same breath, he deserved attention. Of course, it’s no secret that Rich went on to become one of the fiercest competitors of the 1980s, not only because of his monstrous size but also because of the new standard he set for conditioning. He was the first-ever competitor to display striated glutes. That was at the ’86 Pro World Championship. At the evening show the audience went absolutely berserk. The bar had been raised. Striated glutes became a new standard for judging bodybuilding competitions—thanks to Mr. Gaspari.

So why is this interview important to you? Because Rich is a lot like many of us. He had very humble beginnings—underweight, sickly and weak. Frankly, at 14 years old, he hardly seemed to have the potential to become a Mr. Neighborhood, much less a world-class bodybuilder. He had narrow shoulders, skinny arms and bird legs. Still, a fire started burning in Rich’s mind—a fire that exploded into an intense desire to succeed. That, combined with consistent and well-planned training, set the stage for Rich’s onslaught against his bodybuilding competitors. He defeated some of the most starstudded bodybuilding lineups of the time, which earned him the moniker “the Dragon Slayer.” Let’s get to the heart of Rich’s ideas on gaining strength and muscle size. He put on more than 100 pounds of muscular weight during his first five years of training. (In a future issue we’ll cover his ideas on contest preparation and conditioning.) DY: I’ve heard that you were really skinny when you started. How old were you, and what did

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you weigh? RG: I started lifting weights when I was about 14, but I got serious about bodybuilding when I was about 15 years old. I was a really, really skinny kid when I started. Actually, I started training because my doctor advised my parents that I should do something to gain some weight. I was always sick when I was a kid. I had mononucleosis and lost even more weight. At one point I was 89 pounds. DY: How did your body respond? RG: Within a year’s time I put on nearly 40 pounds, but I was also still growing in height. DY: Even so, that’s a really good muscle weight gain. What were you doing? RG: I was eating quite a bit, and I was reading all the booklets by all the top bodybuilders. When I read Larry Scott’s booklet, I related to him because he said he was really skinny. I was trying to follow a workout from somebody who had a problem gaining weight. I got myself to eat six meals a day, making sure that I took in around two grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. I was taking in a lot of calories as well. I was drinking a gallon of milk and eating a dozen eggs a day. I was actually using Rheo Blair’s milk and egg protein with heavy cream because that’s what Larry said he did. And I did gain a lot of weight. I wanted to get as big as I could. At 20 years old I got up to 255 pounds— that was my heaviest bodyweight. DY: That was at 20 years old? RG: Yeah, but then I competed at the Nationals at 189. DY: So you went from 89 pounds at 15 to 189 at 20—100 pounds of muscle in five years? RG: Yes, but I overdieted. A year later as a pro bodybuilder, at my first show, I was at 212 pounds. DY: That’s an incredible gain (continued on page 150)

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“I did some crazy workouts. At one point I squatted 785 and was hitting 525 on the bench.” (continued from page 144) in muscle

in six years. You’re talking about gaining another 23 pounds of muscle—123 pounds total. Amazing. RG: I guess it is. I was really, really determined. DY: One of the reasons I wanted to interview you is that I’ve read so much over the years about your intensity, drive and focus in the gym. What drove you to train with such ferocious intensity and determination?

RG: I read about Tom Platz’s training, and I felt like I had to train that hard to make any gains. I did some crazy workouts. At one point I squatted 785 and was hitting 525 on the bench. I mean I was using some crazy weights when I was trying to get big––almost like it was my rite of passage. I never got to witness Tom’s workouts, but I tried to emulate what he did in terms of intensity and what I was willing to put myself through. I looked at the workouts he did and

the weights he was handling, and I said, “I can do just as much.” I did crazy stuff like squatting 50 reps with 315, 405 for 20 reps. Part of the reason I put on so much muscle mass was the intensity of my workouts, but it was also from the food that I ate. DY: At some point it goes from “I want to gain some muscle” to that twisted, over-the-edge intensity—where you leave nothing in the gym but a bunch of scrap metal. Where does that

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come from? RG: Well, I was reading all the magazines, and I was definitely mesmerized by how the bodybuilders looked. I was just bitten by the bodybuilding bug. Every time I’d put on a few pounds of muscle, I’d tell myself, “I’ve got to get bigger; I’ve got to get bigger.” I was like the opposite of an anorexic. I’d look at myself and always thought I looked small—I thought my arms looked small, my chest was small—so I definitely was into the bulk phase of

my training. I read a lot, and I made sure that I was not following the precontest routines and diets. I made sure I was doing really heavy movements and strict form, six to eight reps. I made sure I was doing basic exercises and not shaping exercises. For example, chest was heavy inclines, heavy bench presses, heavy flyes and dips. Back was chins, bent-over barbell rows, dumbbell rows and deadlifts. For shoulders I did front barbell presses, Arnold presses and really

“I don’t believe in low carbs. You also need lean proteins, and I believe in eating whole eggs.”

heavy, strict dumbbell laterals and rear lateral raises. I had trouble getting wide, so I made sure that laterals were a mainstay in my workouts—but I did them strict and heavy. I had to resort to descending, or drop, sets in order to really force them to grow. I wouldn’t do that every workout but maybe once a month. My leg workout was heavy squats—very heavy—but I felt my legs also needed more reps, so I’d do heavy sets of six to nine reps, but I would also do sets of 12 to 25 reps. I stuck to exercises like squats, leg presses, hack squats and leg curls. For arms I made sure that I did basic movements—but very, very strict. I liked barbell curls and dumbbell curls for biceps. For triceps I liked close-grip bench presses and the pullover and press. DY: The pullover and press is really old school. It sounds as if most of your workouts were old school. RG: It’s kind of funny because when I was like 14 or 15, the father of a close friend of mine gave me a bunch of bodybuilding magazines from the ’70s So that was my introduction. As I said, I did the basic movements, and I trained three days on/one day off. DY: Until the early ’80s, everyone either trained four days a week, dividing the body

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’88 Mr. Olympia, 2nd.

’89 Arnold Classic, 1st.

into two workouts, each done twice a week, or trained six days a week, splitting the body three ways. Samir Bannout, Rich Gaspari and a few others pioneered the idea of the three-days-on/ one-day-off routine, on which you got that extra day of rest. RG: That’s right. You need that extra day of rest after training really

heavy for three days. You need rest to grow. I did chest and arms on day 1, shoulders and back on day 2 and legs on day 3. Once I turned pro, I started training twice a day, even off-season. I’d do chest in the morning and arms in the evening on day 1. I’d do shoulders in the morning and back in the evening on day 2. Then for legs I’d

do quads and hams in the morning and calves in the evening on day 3. Leg training was the hardest workout, and I threw up many times. DY: That sounds pretty grueling, but I guess it worked out well. RG: Yes. The three-days-on/oneday-off routine was definitely the mainstay for me for gaining muscle

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“I got to train with Lee Haney, and he emphasized even further that it was about really feeling the muscle. He’d say, ‘Stimulate, don’t annihilate.’” ’89 Arnold Classic, 1st.

mass. For larger bodyparts I’d stick with around 15 to 18 working sets, and for smaller bodyparts I’d do 12 to 15 sets. DY: You mentioned some of the weights you used between ages 15 and 20. Your strength increases along the way must have been pretty dramatic.

RG: It was very noticeable, but it was always within that six-to-eightrep range. I did go even heavier about once a month—down to sets of two or three reps. As a teenager I was always striving to get stronger. I would always go strict and have my training partner occasionally help me get a few forced reps. It’s impor-

tant to have a good training partner. DY: You’ve mentioned strict form a few times. When I’m watching people in the gym and some of the pros train, a question always comes up: What’s the difference between lifting weights and throwing weights? That is, how fast or slow does

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the movement have to be to be productive? RG: The good thing about the gym I trained at when I was 15 is that it had a lot of experienced lifters. When I first started there, I was training sloppy and very quick. The guys got on me about using strict form—that I wasn’t going to gain any muscle unless I used strict form and slowed down the movement. I was very fortunate to have those guys who knew what they were doing. I made sure the movement was slower and continuous and that I was feeling the muscle I was training. Later I got to train with Lee Haney, and he emphasized even further that it was about really feeling the muscle. He’d say, “Stimulate, don’t annihilate.” He was very big on strict form

“I made sure I was doing really heavy movements and strict form, six to eight reps. I made sure I was doing basic exercises.”

and feeling the muscle. I was an amateur, and he was already a pro, so at 20 years old I took in his knowledge. He was very strong. I had him on leg strength, but it was phenomenal how he could handle some of the weights he did, especially considering the strictness of his form. That also taught me the value of really feeling the weight that you’re using—not just throwing up the weight. DY: So you never used cheat reps? RG: There are times I would use some cheat reps—like on the last one or two reps of a set—but not on 158 SEPTEMBER 2008 \

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With Cheryl Sandy, from the February ’91 IRON MAN cover shoot. the entire set. For me it was more important to really squeeze the weight on the way up, then squeeze hard for a count at the top, then lower the weight slowly. You’re going to get a lot more lean muscle growth that way than by trying to use an extremely heavy weight with sloppy form. You see a lot of people in the gym training too heavy with sloppy form. Train strict if you want to gain quality muscle. DY: What are some mistakes that people make with their routines in trying to gain size? RG: I would say the biggest mistake is overtraining or overemphasizing certain exercises. I’ve seen guys bench-press for 45 minutes instead of doing three or four sets and then moving on to the next movement. Twelve to 15 sets is the maximum for large bodyparts, nothing more. DY: And diet mistakes? RG: The biggest one is eating crap foods. You’ve got to eat high-quality foods if you want to gain muscle mass—like good complex carbohydrates, such as oatmeal, rice, brown rice, baked potatoes, yams. I don’t believe in low carbs. You also need lean proteins, and I believe in eating whole eggs—maybe 10 whites with 2 yolks. Also eat chicken breast, no skin, but I’d eat the dark meat as well for mass. Lean steaks, fish. I’d just try to eat a good variety, plus a good protein shake. If you really have a fast metabolism, take a good weight gainer. DY: Let’s talk about supplements for muscle gain. Perhaps you could start with the under20 group—the poor man’s supplement program for those on a limited budget. RG: First, you should get a multivitamin-multimineral just to get in all those nutrients that you can’t get from food alone, especially if you’re training hard several times a week. That’s even truer for athletes who are going through practice sessions. Also take a good protein supplement and creatine. One of the reasons I got into the supplement business is that I wanted to come up with the best products, the best supplements. I wanted to make sure that people got the best that is out there.

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For the poor man’s budget, I recommend our creatine-complex formula, SizeOn, which is creatine with a four-to-six-hour timed-release complex carbohydrate. That makes it ideal for storing glycogen in the muscles and for putting on lean muscle size. It also has ATP. Creatine converts to ATP, which provides the energy for all the cells in the body. SizeOn is good for building muscle size, and it’s good for endurance. DY: What about protein? RG: I recommend IntraPro, a high-quality, strong protein supplement engineered specifically for athletes who want to gain lean muscle mass. It has all of the highest quality proven nutrition bodybuilders need for substantial muscle growth. DY: What about supplements for the guy who’s a little bit older, has a little more money and wants to really get the most from a supplement. RG: If you’re looking for something that’s not an illegal steroid and is for an advanced bodybuilder, baseball player or football player, add Gaspari Nutrition Halodrol Liquigels. It’s a phenomenal product. It uses nonhormonal ingredients along with hormonal ingredients, like arachadonic acid. There have been a lot of studies on it. Arachadonic acid increases prostaglandin output, which

“I would say the biggest mistake is overtraining or overemphasizing certain exercises.”

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in turn makes your body go into a rebuilding phase. It’s a patented compound licensed to Gaspari Nutrition. That exclusive license means that it will be the only product of its kind ever sold in the supplement marketplace. It’s also got DHEA and an antiaromatase to lower estrogen. Then we added another ingredient to increase the bioavailable testosterone. As you know, increases in testosterone help increase lean muscle. With that product people are putting themselves in an anabolic state––increasing strength, which in turn increases lean muscle mass. DY: That sounds powerful. What else would you recommend? RG: We cycle that with another product, Gaspari Novedex XT AntiAromatase. It naturally increases testosterone. It’s one of the few products backed by unbiased studies published in medical journals, conducted at Baylor University. It’s been shown to increase testosterone by 600 percent. Jerry Brainum raves about that product and has discussed it in IRON MAN. DY: Didn’t I read that it increases testosterone for quite a long period of time? RG: Yes, as you continue to take the product, it will increase testosterone for weeks! The antiaromatase prevents estrogen from forming in males. The male endocrine system tries to make estrogen by increasing testosterone, but Novedex XT prevents estrogen from forming. That’s why in four weeks male subjects increased testosterone by more than 600 percent. DY: Very impressive. What’s the recommendation on cycle lengths? RG: We recommend four pills a day of the Halodrol Liquigels for 40 days, then switching to the Novedex XT, two pills before bed, for 30 days. One of the things that you have to know about Gaspari Nutrition is that we have unbiased studies to prove the products’ effectiveness. Some people say, “Well you’re paying for the studies.” Yes, but we’re paying a lot of money for factual, unbiased studies—not lies. DY: Most studies are done on an ingredient that’s in a prod-

uct, not the product itself. RG: That’s exactly right. We have taken it a step further and made sure the studies were done on the product exactly the way the consumer gets it, and not just one ingredient. These are unbiased studies on each product that we offer. That’s what has legitimized Gaspari Nutrition. Lots of companies out there are trying to bamboozle consumers with smoke and mirrors. You look at graphs and charts, and sometimes you’re reading information that has nothing to do with what works. The first study that we did was on Novedex XT. We noticed that everyone was getting strength increases, and then this guy came to us with blood work that showed his testosterone had increased. We thought it was just going to lower the estrogen. So we got universities to conduct the studies. Now we have about three or four different universities. DY: You’re right: There has to be science behind it, not just hype. RG: The industry is being watched by the FDA, and a lot of outrageous claims are out there. If you can’t substantiate the claims, it’s bad for everyone. I feel that to protect the industry, everyone should substantiate what the product does. DY: What other products do you recommend? RG: Problem: You go to the gym, you don’t have any energy. We have a product called SuperPump that affects the neurotransmitters so that when you go to the gym, you’re ready to train. Plus you get pumped, and you get improved recovery. In a future installment Rich Gaspari gives his tips on shedding bodyfat and preparing for a contest. Editor’s note: Find Gaspari Nutrition products at www, or visit www. Home-Gym. com is the leading source for bodybuilders and athletes who want to get the edge. Products include legal supplements, books, DVDs, audio CDs, training supplies and accessories and more. IM \ SEPTEMBER 2008 161

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How Acid in Your Body Affects Muscle Growth by Michael G端ndill Photography by Michael Neveux

The blood of bodybuilders tends to be acidic. Their diets are rich in amino acids, and their muscles release lactic acid while they train. Acid production is even more intense in those who follow low-calorie diets because free fatty acids are released from the fat tissue. All that acid impairs muscle growth and fat loss and reduces performance. Fortunately, supplements can counteract the devastating effects of a low blood pH.

Model: Jonathan Lawson

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An Increased Need for Buffers Bicarbonate is a major extracellular blood buffer. It neutralizes acid, therefore balancing blood pH. Unfortunately, bodybuilders tend to suffer from a shortage of bicarbonate for the following reasons: 1) Their diet is lacking in carbohydrate-rich bicarbonate precursors such as sweet potatoes. 2) The generation of lactic acid during heavy training increases the need for buffer molecules such as bicarbonate. 3) For several hours after an intense workout, the urinary losses of bicarbonate are accelerated up

Model: Jim Romagna

Too much acid—from amino acids to lactic acid to fatty acids—can lower blood pH and derail your muscle gains. to fivefold. That’s why they have greater need for buffers, especially bicarbonate, than the average person.

Cheap Science Despite their benefits, buffering agents aren’t all that popular as supplements because the research is somewhat equivocal. Some studies show body composition and performance improvements, and others do not. Typically, research subjects get huge doses (200 to 500 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight) of buffers such as bicarbonate all at once. Their athletic performance is com-

pared before and after the so-called “bicarbonate loading.” Trouble is, the buffering action after bicarb loading starts in the stomach and digestive tract. When a huge amount of bicarbonate is poured in the very acidic environment of the stomach, carbonic gas is released. As a result, the stomach expands rapidly, which is not the most pleasant feeling (it’s not like a pumped muscle). The rest of your digestive tract also tends to be acid. The arrival of bicarbonate will alter the intestine pH. Local bacteria don’t appreciate the change. Result: side effects from bloating to diarrhea. There is no way a trainee whose digestive tract is tortured by bicarb loading can do a strong workout.

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Anabolic Bicarbonate loading is bad research methodology and a bad training idea. It makes more sense to use smaller dosages for a longer period of time so you optimize the benefits of the supplementation while minimizing the side effects.


Bicarbonate to Improve Performance Two studies have demonstrated effects of bicarbonate supplementation. In one trained athletes received 300 milligrams of sodium bicarbonate per kilogram of bodyweight 90 minutes before a leg workout.1 Blood pH rose from 7.33 to 7.39—that is, it became more alkaline—after supplementation. Bicarbonate improved performance by more than 5 percent. In a more practical study, men received 500 milligrams of sodium bicarbonate per kilo daily for five days. After 24 hours of supplementation, blood pH increased from 7.40 to 7.43. No additional increase in pH was noted during the next four days, but bicarbonate accumulated in the body. The storage of extra bicarbonate counteracted the depleting effects of training and diet. Leg force increased 10 percent after five days of supplementation.2

Bicarbonate for Fat Loss When blood is rendered more alkaline, the release of fat-burning hormones is triggered. In men and women, 160 milligrams of sodium bicarbonate per kilogram of bodyweight increased calorie expenditure by 10 percent and fat oxidation by 18 percent for three hours. In women oral intake of 2.5 grams of bicarbonate three times a day increased growth hormone secretion by 15 percent over 24 hours. In a three-week study, obese men and women followed a very low-calorie diet (400 calories per day).3 During the first week subjects received either four grams of potassium bicarbonate daily or a placebo. In the second and the third weeks bicarbonate doses were increased to six grams. With the placebo, blood pH acidified, falling from 7.42 to

Some supplements can raise the blood pH, making it more alkaline instead of acidic. Having less acid in the blood increases strength and the ability to burn more bodyfat.

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pH Model: Jim Romagna

An acidic environment will exacerbate joint pain. That’s why studies have shown that regular bicarbonate use relieves joint discomfort.

Time your bicarbonate intake carefully. Don’t use it when you’re having a high-protein meal. 7.38, and the blood level of bicarbonate fell by almost 10 percent. Those changes didn’t occur with the supplement. Bicarbonate spared about 100 grams of muscle mass per week. When, during the fourth week, the placebo group received bicarbonate, their rate of muscle loss was cut in half. In another study, subjects took 12 grams of bicarbonate daily during a two-week fast. The supplementation spared one kilogram of muscle in 15 days. That is, instead of using muscle protein calories, the subjects burned more bodyfat calories. That means bicarbonate acts as a repartitioning agent during a low-calorie diet. Incidentally, an acidic environment will exacerbate joint pain. That’s

why studies have shown that regular bicarbonate use relieves joint discomfort.

How to Use Bicarbonate Time your bicarbonate intake carefully. Don’t use it when you’re having a high-protein meal. Proteins trigger an acid release in the stomach. Bicarbonate is destroyed by the acid, and the resulting buffering effect means protein digestion won’t be very effective. You’re better off using bicarbonate between meals. Drink plenty of water along with it so that the gastric juices aren’t as acid as usual. That simple trick lets you assimilate more bicarbonate while minimizing the side effects. Use only small doses. Some mineral waters are rich in bicarbonate. Add several grams of bicarbonate to the water and drink it slowly throughout the day, taking five to 10 grams daily. Ease into daily bicarb use, and don’t take it all at once. On day one, use one gram. If everything goes well, try two grams the next day and

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Anabolic so on. If you experience side effects, reduce your dosage a bit before going up again. You do not need the large amounts used in many studies.


Which Form of Bicarbonate Is Best? Sodium bicarbonate, a.k.a. baking soda, is the cheapest and most widely available form of bicarbonate. Its main problem is that it is full of sodium, which is likely to enhance digestive side effects. Furthermore, by promoting fluid retention, sodium will make you lose some muscular definition. It is wiser for a bodybuilder to use potassium bicarbonate, though potassium can be lethal in excessive amounts. You have to gradually increase your potassium intake in order to avoid that problem. If you use potassium bicarbonate, make sure you don’t use any additional potassium supplements. Another solution would be to mix sodium bicarbonate with potassium bicarbonate. That’s what happens if you mix your potassium bicarbonate with a bicarbonate-rich mineral water.

Citrate Salt Supplements The effects of a bicarbonate buffer agent can be enhanced by several other supplements. In the liver, for example, citrate salts are transformed to bicarbonate, which is one reason you may want to try citrate supplements. The effects of sodium citrate on performance were tested in active men.4 The subjects had to cycle as fast as possible for one minute, mimicking the kind of effort bodybuilders exert while they train.

cause at high dosages they impair some energy pathways. Sodium citrate is the most studied form of citrate, but like sodium bicarbonate it’s not the supplement of choice for bodybuilders. If you are already using potassium bicarbonate, potassium citrate is not a wise choice either. Magnesium or calcium citrates make more sense, as they supplement your diet with two important minerals on top of the extra citrate.

Citrate to Prevent Kidney Stones

They were given either 100 or 200 milligrams of sodium citrate per kilogram of bodyweight. Ninety minutes after intake, their performance did not improve significantly. The story changed, though, with higher doses: • At 300 milligrams of citrate per kilogram of bodyweight performance improved 12 percent. • At 400 milligrams of citrate per kilogram of bodyweight performance improved 14 percent. • At 500 milligrams of citrate per kilogram of bodyweight performance improved 23 percent. Not all citrate studies are so positive. The incidence of side effects is usually high in the studies that fail to detect any improvement of performance. For example, researchers gave 500 milligrams of sodium citrate per kilogram of bodyweight to elite runners one hour before a 3,000-meter run.5 No improvement of performance was detected, but eight out of the nine subjects experienced gastrointestinal side effects. Citrate salts tend to be slightly less effective than bicarbonate be-

If you are not using citrate for performance, use it for health purposes. In urine, free calcium is the main raw material for kidney stones. When citrate binds with a calcium molecule, it prevents kidney stone formation. When blood gets acid, the kidney retains citrate in order to buffer the excess acid. The urinary calcium is freed and is therefore more prone to form stones. By increasing blood pH and by adding extra citrate to your diet,

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Carnosine, the New Kid on the Block Carnosine enhances performance by acting as an intracellular buffer. In sedentary subjects it’s responsible for about 10 percent of the muscles’ buffering capacity. Its importance increases in trained bodybuilders, as their muscles contain twice as much carnosine as untrained subjects. Studies have shown that supplementation with 6.4 grams of beta-alanine can almost double muscular carnosine concentration in 10 weeks. It may be wise to use citrate, glutamine or carnosine along with bicarbonate to better balance blood pH.

Model: Tommi Throvildsen

Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid that’s critical for muscle growth. It can also act as an indirect buffer, lowering blood acidity.

you reduce the likelihood of kidney problems. Citrus fruits such as lemons or oranges are rich in citrate, but fruits are usually not included in great quantities in a bodybuilder’s diet. Citrate supplements can replace fruits.

Glutamine Glutamine, which is critical for muscle growth, acts as an indirect buffer. When blood pH is low, glutamine is extracted from the muscles.

That’s why acidosis wastes muscle glutamine. Once in the kidneys, glutamine is converted to bicarbonate. Balancing blood pH spares muscle glutamine. In one very famous study the oral intake of two grams of L-glutamine increased bicarbonate production by 20 percent after 90 minutes.6 Glutamine also increased renal acid secretion by 10 percent. It may be that by rendering blood more alkaline, glutamine stimulates the natural release of growth hormone.7

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1 Coombes, J. (1993). Effects of Bicarbonate Ingestion on Leg Strength and Power During Isokinetic Knee Flexion and Extension. Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 7(4):241249. 2 McNaughton, L. (1999). Effects of chronic bicarbonate ingestion on the performance of high-intensity work. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 80(4):333-6. 3 Gougeon-Reyburn, R. (1989). Effects of sodium bicarbonate on nitrogen metabolism and ketone bodies during very low energy protein diets in obese subjects. Metabolism. 38(12):1222-30. 4 McNaughton, L.R. (1990). Sodium citrate and anaerobic performance: implications of dosage. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 61(5-6):392-7. 5 Shave, R. (2001). The effects of sodium citrate ingestion on 3,000-meter time-trial performance. J Strength Cond Res. 15(2):230-4. 6 Welbourne, T. (1998). An oral glutamine load enhances renal acid secretion and function. Am J Clin Nutr. 67(4):660-3. 7 Welbourne, T.C. (1995). Increased plasma bicarbonate and growth hormone after an oral glutamine load. Am J Clin Nutr. 61(5):1058-61. IM

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Model: Jim Romagna


Model: Luke Wood


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Steps to Steady Progress

Grow Bigger and Stronger Workout After Workout by Matt Danielsson

Step 1: don’t get injured

Photography by Michael Neveux


ver wonder why some guys keep growing every year while others seem to take one step forward and two steps back? The key to making continuous gains is not found in a supplement, a routine or a drug. It’s a matter of following a basic set of commonsense steps that help keep you on track. Let’s walk through them one by one. It’s not rocket science, and you’ve probably heard some of this before, but put it all together and stay the course, and you’re guaranteed to get results.

This would seem to be a no-brainer. If you tear a muscle, you won’t be able to train it properly. Worse yet, you may have to stay out of the gym for a month to let it heal, which will cause you to regress considerably. The good news is that it is relatively easy to regain lost mass, but that’s where many guys repeat their mistake. They either start training again before the injury is fully healed, or they pick up with the same weight they used before. Either way, you’re back to square one in a jiffy. The remedy is simple enough: Check your ego at the door, focus on good form, and listen to your body. Don’t jerk or bounce the weights. One-rep-max attempts should be done very sparingly, if at all. If your joints are aching, it may be a good idea to cut them some slack. It’s the same old litany you’ve heard before, yet a large percentage of lifters, especially young ones, seem hell-bent on getting themselves a nice ligament tear. Training smart is more important than lifting heavy.

Model: Greg Smyers

Step 1: Don’t Get Injured \ SEPTEMBER 2008 189

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Step 2: Use what works

Model: Nahtan Detracy


Step 2: Use What Works for You

Step 3: Mix it up

Model: Berry Kabov

The magazines are littered with workout routines, fads and specific exercises that this or that professional bodybuilder swears by. Well, guess what? If squatting hurts your lower back, it is totally irrelevant that a pro gets excellent results from squats. There will always be those who don’t benefit from certain exercises. Some typical examples besides squats: barbell curls done with a straight bar, which kills some people’s wrists, and behind-the-neck pulldowns, which force those with stiff shoulders to hunch over and take a large part of the load off the lats. While dips can be a boon to triceps development for some, for others the

movement only seems to hit their pecs and delts. You probably know a few exercises that just don’t feel right, even though you use textbook form. Either they hurt in a negative way (as opposed to the positive pain you get from exhaustion), or you may not feel anything at all in the target muscle. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you—the exercise just isn’t working for you. So don’t listen to the dogma—use your head and reject exercises that don’t do it for you. If your training partner happens to like one of your “bad” exercises, find a compromise or simply agree to do those particular sets on different machines.

Step 3: Mix Up Your Training This is the flip side of the coin outlined in step 2: The exercises you really like tend to become the mainstays of your (continued on page 194)

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Presents (continued from page 190) workout,

which has a negative effect on your results over time. Even though you get good at pushing big weights with your handful of favorites, your body quickly figures out the pattern and gets less and less inclined to grow in response. Check your workout log every month for numbers that aren’t moving as they used to do. If a specific exercise keeps popping up, let it rest for a couple of weeks while you try something different. Another issue that falls into this

step is the reliance on either free weights or machines. You will find people arguing for sticking with only free weights or machines, but the best results are usually achieved when you combine the two. If you’re in the habit of hitting chest with free weights—flat-bench, incline and decline presses; dumbbell flyes—you’ll find it beneficial to throw in some cable work and machines for a different resistance curve. Again, the trick is to get as much variation as possible.

Step 4: Use Periodization In addition to changing the exercises around, you must also vary the weights and reps. That shouldn’t be a haphazard endeavor. By engaging in a carefully planned periodization strategy, you’ll reap the benefits of low-rep training without letting your muscles grow accustomed to it. Alternate four-to-six-week periods of heavy/light training with one-to-two-week transfer periods of low-rep work. That shifts the attention among the muscle fiber types,

Model: Mike Morris

Step 5: Rest

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cranks up the intensity and offers other advantages.

Step 5: Rest Between Workouts Some degree of overtraining is common, especially among more dedicated bodybuilders. It’s easy to perceive time spent in the gym as something positive, while hanging out on the couch back home is laziness. That’s a mistake. Unless you’re doing cardio to burn fat, the sole purpose of going to the gym is to trigger a growth response. Once that is accomplished, you should go home and not come back until the muscle is fully recovered. That means short but intense workouts of less than an hour and

enough rest to make sure you’re not short-changing yourself. Think of it this way: Training damages the muscle. Suppose the first three days afterward are dedicated to repairing what you destroyed, and the last two days are used for overcompensation, meaning growth. In that case you’ll be good and ready to hit the weights again on day six. You’ll be stronger, bigger and better able to handle additional weight; however, if you’re too eager and hit the muscles on day four, you won’t have given your body much time for rebuilding. Instead of growing, it will be struggling just to keep up with the damage you’re inflicting on it. Again, the answer is a no-brainer: Rest until the soreness is gone, get eight hours of (continued on page 199)

Use periodization— different rep ranges for specific periods of time. That shifts attention among the fiber types for full, complete muscle development.

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Step 6: Do cardio

Model: Greg Smyers


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Model: Greg Smyers

Step 7: Think positive

(continued from page 195) sleep per

night, and listen to your body. In addition to growing more quickly, your body will thank you by being less prone to injuries. [Editor’s note: For more on sleep, see page 108.]

proaches to cardio. Lately, I’ve been leaning toward the interval technique, where you alternate lowintensity jogging with full-speed running, because of the dual benefits of fat burn and increased heart and lung capacity.

Step 6: Keep Your Cardiovascular System in Shape

Step 7: Think Positive

Running on the treadmill or pedaling away on a stationary bike is boring enough to make a grown man cry. It’s a necessary evil, however, if you want to stay healthy and make consistent progress. First of all, cardio keeps your heart and lungs efficient. That’s good for heavy compound lifts such as deadlifts and squats, where you need a fully functional cardiovascular system to keep the steam up during the last few sets. Second, cardio burns fat, and bodyfat is not cool when you hit the beach. Furthermore, the extra weight increases the impact on your joints as you walk, run and do anything at all. Oh, and fit people tend to live longer and have fewer health problems as they age. Bet you never heard that before, huh? There are a few different ap-

If you keep doubting your ability to stick with a diet, fear lifting heavier weights and otherwise undermine your resolve, it’s no surprise your expectations become self-fulfilling. Your mind is what sets you apart from your dog—make full use of your mind, and have it work to your advantage! Set challenging but realistic goals and commit yourself to achieving them. Be consistent. Take a “before” picture and put it on your fridge. Choose a specific goal, be it to gain 15 pounds of mass in the next year or lose 15 pounds of lard, and write it down 10 times a day before breakfast. Try to get your mind inside the muscles as you train them. Look in the mirror and visualize the goal you seek. Another aspect of putting your mind to use is to keep an eye out for new information that can benefit

you. Listen to all the advice given to you, and then discard the B.S. while keeping the nuggets that actually work. If you ever hit a plateau in spite of the variation and periodization, one of those nuggets may be the key to busting out and getting back on track. None of this is revolutionary. I guess it’s like the Zen approach, in which we’re told that the key to a good life is to “do the right things and avoid the wrong things.” The good news is that the seven steps above are pretty easy to stick with once you get in the habit. Granted, you may end up injured in spite of using common sense. And sure, periodization is not an absolute guarantee that you’ll avoid plateaus. All things considered, however, your odds of success increase dramatically, and if you stick with the steps, you’re guaranteed to make slow but steady progress over time. Editor’s note: Matt Danielsson became an IFBB-certified personal trainer in 1998 and then ran a personal-training business, Pro PT, prior to moving to California in 1999. For more of his articles, visit IM \ SEPTEMBER 2008 199

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Fittest Couple 2008

Dena Anne Weiner and Rado Pagac Shake Things Up at the Los Angeles Convention Center With a Cirque du Soleil–Inspired Routine by David Young Photography by Michael Neveux and James Farrlley The winners of this year’s Fittest Couple competition at the ’08 FitExpo were a departure from those of past years. Why? Previously the winners have been young couples just starting their fitness careers. While that’s great, it can be an even greater source of inspiration to see people like Dena Anne Weiner and Rado Pagac. Dena is a 45-year-old mother of three teenage sons, ages 19, 18 and 16, and a hardworking, career-oriented mortgage broker. Her partner Rado is a 30-year-old personal trainer who moved to the USA from Slovakia in 2003. Dena and Rado met in 2006 when she was judging Rado in a fitness and bodybuilding competition. Dena approached him after the event with the idea of pairing up to perform a fitness routine and go on the road promoting health and

fitness. Rado’s nobody’s fool—he wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity like that. So they ventured off, and in 2006 traveled the country doing guest appearances at contests sanctioned by four different affiliations: Musclemania, Amateur Bodybuilding Association, Organization of Competitive Bodybuilders and the Muscle Beach Classic. All in all, they did a total of six guest appearances. In 2007 they decided to change their style and add difficulty to their routine. One of Dena’s friends who was familiar with Cirque du Soleil moves trained them to do lifts off the ground and flexibility and strength moves as a duo. That year proved to be even more successful, and together they performed at a total of nine venues, finishing out the season in Thessaloniki, Greece, in late November, in

addition to a few solo appearances. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there are some tricks of the trade to learn from this couple. DY: What are your heights and weights? DAW: I’m 5’6” and weigh 122 pounds. DY: Is that in contest condition or off-season? DAW: I compete around eight to 10 times a year, and my weight stays fairly consistent. DY: Rado, what about you? RP: I’m 6’1” and weigh between 200 and 210 pounds. DY: Success in fitness and bodybuilding doesn’t happen overnight. How long have you been training? DAW: My entire life! I’ve competed in two sports nationally and internationally: gymnastics and fitness and figure. I lifted my first weight on July 31, 1994. Before that I lifted my own bodyweight with gymnastics to gain muscle mass and be small and compact. RP: I started lifting when I was 13 years old and never stopped. So that would be 17 years now. DY: Dena, you remember the exact date? How did you get started? DAW: On a dare. I went to a gymnastics reunion. I was 5’6”, 125 pounds, whereas when I went to UCLA on gymnastics scholarship, I was 4’11”, 87 pounds. I had three kids—ages six, five and three—at the time. My ex-teammates dared me to do some of my old gymnastics moves, and they helped me get invited to compete in Florida at the Ms. Galaxy competition in January 1995. That was 76 fitness and figure shows and 13 years ago. RP: When I was seven years old, I started with karate. At the age of 12 I added traditional national dancing. A year later I discovered the world of bodybuilding. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the sport. When I was 20 years old, I entered my first fitness show in the junior division and got second place. That motivated me to do more shows. DY: I like that you both started with diverse athletic backgrounds, and it sounds as if you’ve both done quite a few

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2008 Fittest Couple

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competitions. It’s important to have good people influence your training. Who inspired you? DAW: A team of fitness experts has helped me along the way over the past 13 years. That group has inspired and educated me to be successful, change constantly for every show and make it fun. My sidekick, nutritionist, bodyfat measurer, massage therapist, personal trainer, rehabilitation and physical therapist is Steve Murphey in Newport Beach, California. Jay Cutler used Steve as well. My three sons also influence me to be a great role model for them and to teach them about the importance of being healthy and fit 12 months out of the year. DY: Rado, same question. RP: I’ve never had a real mentor or fitness guru to give me direct inspiration. I found motivation and inspiration in fitness and bodybuilding magazines. My biggest hero since I was 15 years old has been Arnold. DY: Besides fitness, Dena, what do you do for a living? DAW: I’ve owned a mortgagebanking corporation here in the Orange County, California, area since 1991. I’m raising and training my three teenage sons, who all play football in high school and college. DY: And aside from bodybuilding, Rado, what work do you do? RP: I work as a personal trainer and nutrition adviser in a private club in Dana Point, California. DY: You two are filled with energy. It just permeates everything you do. How do you keep pushing yourselves? DAW: It helps working out with a partner in the gym to stay focused

and on track. either. I eat between We motivate 2,500 to 3,000 calories and inspire a day divided into six each other meals. I eat most of my to reach our carbs and fats in the first four meals—lots of vegcompetition etables and fruits. I try and routine to gain no more than 10 goals. In 2007 Rado and Dena pounds off-season. Most we were conperform at the ’08 crucial are the last two stantly moving Fit Couple Contest. weeks before the show. from one comI slowly start lowering petition to the the amount of carbs and other trying to fats, and in order to not improve our burn my hard-gained routine and our body muscle mass, I increase composition. the amount of protein RP: Before it was from 250 grams per day always competitions to up to 350 per day. I that kept me on track, add BCAAs and regular but since I’ve met amino acids to my diet Dena, she’s been givas well. ing me lots of positive DY: Do you add energy and motivacheat days? tion. DAW: Here’s how I DY: You seem to look at it: If I’m going feed off each other’s to do something and positive energy. spend the time, money DAW: We respect and dedication to acone another, and we complish it, I’m going definitely feed off each to do it 100 percent all other’s positive outlook of the time. My biggest on life in general. We’re fear is that I would get very fortunate and onstage to compete very blessed to have and hear someone say, met. We have a lot of “What’s that old lady chemistry and a very doing onstage? She’s not powerful connection prepared.” My motivatogether when we’re tion comes from that. So performing onstage the answer is no, I don’t together. find it necessary to cheat RP: I can say it’s because I’m only cheatpretty much mutual ing myself out of what off-season, but when I’ve worked so hard to it comes down to a accomplish in the first few weeks before the place. show and my mood RP: I usually have changes—low carbs one to two cheat meals and a low-calorie intake—Dena always pulls out some per week up to one month before a show. From one month out I stick to tricks to cheer me up and keep me the diet until the competition. I almotivated and focused. ways have a “free pass” the day after DY: Speaking of diet, tell us the show to eat anything I want, what your diet is—during the including the cookies Dena makes season and off-season as well. me after every show. The next day, DAW: Well, I’m a little different though, I cut back to normal eating here. My diet on- and off-season is habits again. basically the same. I’m fit for life. I DY: Can you give us a sample maintain a bodyfat percentage of 10 of your eating for a day? to 12 percent year-round. Since I’m DAW: I never starve myself— a fitness competitor, I don’t need to never! That would spell diet disaster. be as lean as a bodybuilder. I eat 2,000 calories a day. I do not eat RP: I don’t have big changes \ SEPTEMBER 2008 209

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2008 Fittest Couple

“During my preparation for a show, I take glutamine, creatine, BCAAs, regular amino acids, L-carnitine and thermogenic fat burners. I also take vitamin C, a multivitamin, fish oil, glucosamine and flaxseed oil on a regular basis.�

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any dairy, no processed foods, very little bread and nothing white. I drink a lot of water, and I make sure to eat every three to four hours. For competition season I eat a little less, about 1,800 calories, and add a little more pure protein—that is, meat—but my workout intensity goes up. I split my cardio day and night so I’m able to get leaner and stronger—for my stage presence in a bathing suit and to get through the fitness routine onstage. I have three Crock-Pots with meals cooking all the time, so I never have to worry about preparing meals at the last minute for myself or my family. RP: I usually start eating between 6:30 and 7:30 in the morning, and from then on I eat every 2.5 to three hours. A typical day’s meals look like this: Meal 1: omelet made with 10 egg whites and 1 yolk, 1 cup lowfat cottage cheese, 1 wholewheat tortilla, tomato, bell pepper, a cup of green tea Meal 2: Protein bar with apple Meal 3: 1 cup brown rice, 2 pieces grilled chicken, mixed fresh green salad with lowfat dressing Meal 4: Protein shake with banana, 1 cup oatmeal Meal 5: Steamed broccoli and asparagus, 8-10 ounces grilled tilapia Meal 6: Low-carb, lowfat protein shake DY: What are your favorite supplements? DAW: As I’m in my mid-40s and having been an athlete my entire life, I now need to take better care of my body. I eat healthfully. I take glucosamine for joint support, MSM for inflammation reduction and connective-tissue support, CoQ10 for my metabolic energy, chromium picolinate for my metabolism and calcium, magnesium, vitamins C and D and B complex. RP: I don’t take too many supplements (continued on page 214)

“I never starve myself—never! That would spell diet disaster. I eat 2,000 calories a day.” \ SEPTEMBER 2008 211

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2008 Fittest Couple (continued from page 211) off-season.

DY: What are your goals regarding bodybuilding and fitness? DAW: Rado and I are in the process of preparing our routine for this year with a theme: Rado as James Bond with me being his Bond girl. We still have to coordinate our costumes, choose the songs and choreograph our routine. We’ve already been asked by some fitness and bodybuilding associations to do guest appearances. When Rado and I do guest appearances for those

shows, I compete in fitness and figure as well, and Rado does bodybuilding and fitness-model competitions. I have four national and international fitness shows planned so far this year, with the first competition in June in Toronto, for the World Championships. RP: I’d like to get more exposure in the fitness industry, and my goal is to end up on the cover of a fitness magazine. Another big plan is to promote couples fitness as much as possible and encourage more and more couples to get enough support

“I don’t have a specific training plan. I try to change the exercises for each muscle group every single week.”

to make pairs fitness strong and a division. DY: Dena, I notice that you seem to always have a plan, a purpose and a goal. Do you have a life philosophy that’s helped you be more successful in your training or career? DAW: Life is not a dress rehearsal. You are onstage every minute of your life. The character you choose determines your destiny! Life is an adventure and an amazing journey. Never let an opportunity pass you by! RP: Everything in life is possible. You just have to believe in yourself, work hard 110 percent and never, never give up on your dreams. DY: How do you switch from normal training to contest mode? DAW: Once Rado and I have choreographed our entire pairs fitness routine, we practice it as much as we can together. There are a lot of timing issues and coordination we need to accomplish for our routine so no one gets hurt. My intensity level for my cardio exercise picks up, and I split my cardio between the morning when I wake up and the evening before I go to bed. I back off heavier weights so I can concentrate on lifting my own bodyweight for my gymnastics and strength moves in my routines. I have three routines: a fitness routine, a pairs fitness routine and for some affiliations a figure routine. RP: The only difference is the intensity of the workout. I usually cut the breaks down from one minute to 30 seconds, and I increase the time of my cardio from 30 minutes to 60 minutes about five to six times a week. I usually start with one heavy exercise, which always includes forced reps toward the end of the exercise. Then I choose two to three other exercises for the same muscle group and superset them. I usually do eight to 10 reps per set. That way I can utilize my muscles to the maximum and feel the great burn at the end of each set. DY: How do you organize your training week? DAW: Rado and I train our pairs fitness routine two days a week for an hour and 15 minutes. A few days

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“I have written in a journal every day, one full page, since January 1, 1977. That’s how I am organized and efficient in my life!”

a week we weight train together, do yoga and stretch. When we do cardio together, we discuss our goals and what we need to accomplish each week to be prepared for our upcoming show. RP: I train at the gym five times a week, Monday to Friday, and I usually do outdoor cardio activities over the weekend. Besides lifting weights—which I do a lot more of than Dena—I get together with Dena to work on our fitness routine, practice our gymnastics moves at the gymnastic center, stretch a lot and do yoga. Altogether it’s about 10 hours of workout a week. DY: How much cardio do you do? DAW: One hour of cardio early in the morning before work and 45 minutes in the evening before I go to bed, five days a week. On the weekends I do about an hour of cardio, usually outside running, biking or playing sports. I practice my fitness routine, pairs fitness routine and figure routine three days a week for about an hour.

RP: Off-season I try to do cardio at least four days a week. When it comes closer to a competition, then I do cardio five to six times a week. Depending on how close to the show I am and how much bodyfat I still have to lose, I do between 30 to 60 minutes of cardio training a day. Plus, working on our fitness routine together makes us sweat and definitely gets our heart rates up. DY: Please describe a typical week of your training program bodypart by bodypart. DAW: One thing you don’t know about me is that I write my entire life down. I have written in a journal every day, one full page, since January 1, 1977. That’s how I am organized and efficient in my life! When I’m in training mode—April to November—my workout schedule is very strict and very calculated. Monday, 5:30 a.m.: One hour of cardio (anaerobic and aerobic)—20 minutes on three different cardio machines. Forty-five minutes of weight training—leg weights, calves, quads and hamstrings. Inverted

squats on the Smith machine, leg presses, leg extensions, seated calf raises. Four sets of 15 reps. Monday, p.m.: Forty-five minutes of cardio plus core movements, Pilates, yoga, pushups, pullups and moves that lift my own bodyweight and 45 minutes stretching. Tuesday, 6 a.m.: Run stadium stairs and run sprints on the running track, walking lunges uphill. That lasts one hour and 15 minutes. Stretching afterward. Tuesday, p.m.: Forty-five minutes of cardio, plus doing my three routines—one with Rado—several times at the gymnastics center. Wednesday, 5:30 a.m.: An hour of cardio—same as Monday—then 45 minutes of weight training for chest and shoulders. Exercises include flat- and incline-bench presses, cable flyes, lateral raises, front raises and handstand pushups. Four sets of 15 reps each. Wednesday, p.m.: Forty-five minutes of cardio plus core movements, Pilates, yoga, pushups, pullups and fitness strength move- \ SEPTEMBER 2008 215

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2008 Fittest Couple ments for my routines and lots of stretching for flexibility. Thursday, 5:30 a.m.: One hour of cardio—same as Monday and Wednesday. Thirty minutes of weight training for back— pulldowns, pullups, seated rows. Four sets of 15 reps. Thursday, noon to 1 p.m.: Work on fitness routine with Rado. We need to do our routine several times a week for coordinating and timing so we don’t get hurt. Plus we stretch each other out afterward. Thursday, p.m.: Fortyfive minutes of cardio, do my figure and individual fitness routines at the gymnastics center. Stretch afterward. Friday, 5:30 a.m.: An hour and 15 minutes of cardio. Biceps and triceps work for 45 minutes— seated curls, barbell curls, hammer curls, dips and rope pushdowns. Four sets of 15 reps. Friday, noon to 1:15 p.m.: Forty-five minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of sideways walking lunges, stepups, butt exercises and leg stretches. Saturday, 7 a.m.: Run the stadium stairs and run sprints on the track, jogging 1.5 hours. Pullups, pushups and body countering movements—plus stretching. Sunday, a.m.: Bike ride—road or mountain—outdoors. Sunday, p.m.: Work on fitness routines and individual gymnastics or strength moves to perfect them. Lots of stretching. Sometimes 30 minutes of cardio. RP: I don’t have a specific training plan. I try to change the exercises for each muscle group every single week. I usually train for about an hour. After trying to train different combinations of muscle groups in one training unit, I’ve found that I get the best results by training only one muscle group per workout. Since biceps and triceps are small muscle groups, I train them together on one day. I usually choose five different exercises for one muscle

group and do five to six sets of each. I start with lighter weight and about 12 to 15 reps for warmup and try to increase the weight on every set as the reps decrease down to six. Right after a workout I usually do cardio. Two to three weeks before a show I also add cardio early in the morning before breakfast. My usual training split looks like this: Monday: Chest and abs Tuesday: Back and abs Wednesday: Legs and calves Thursday: Biceps, triceps and abs Friday: Shoulders and abs Weekend: outdoor cardio (Rollerblading or running at the beach) DY: What about rest periods? DAW: I don’t know what that is. I’ve been conditioned my entire life with all the sports I’ve participated in to do some form of exercise. It’s like getting up in the morning to brush my teeth. I work out every day for my sanity. Working out early in the morning is relaxing, and it

enables me to clear my head and have a positive attitude and outlook on life. RP: I’ve always been a very active person, and it’s hard for me to imagine one day without any sport activity. If I don’t work out at the gym or don’t sweat at the beach, I have to at least go for a walk. Otherwise I would get crazy. Working out is for me the best antidepressant. And to keep myself happy and full of positive energy, I need my dose every day. DY: What is the best thing about being a bodybuilder or fitness competitor? DAW: Setting goals for myself; the journey it takes in preparation to get onstage. Competing against myself to be the best I can be and to push myself to the limit in body, mind and spirit. It continues to make me very disciplined, accountable and dedicated to all aspects of my life. It’s balanced out my life with family, career and making health and fitness a lifestyle. RP: Bodybuilding has taught me to be focused, consistent, punctual, responsible and self-disciplined. I’ve also built up a lot of self-confidence. All these aspects are reflected in my regular life, and I am taking advantage of it every single day. Needless to say, this sport brought great people with positive energy into my life. Those people happen to be my best friends. Last but definitely not least, if it weren’t for bodybuilding, I would have never ended up living in beautiful sunny Southern California. Editor’s note: To contact Dena, send e-mail to; to contact Rado, send e-mail to Their Web sites are and IM

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218 SEPTEMBER 2008 \

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Heavy Duty The Wisdom of

Mike Mentzer by John Little

n going through my archive of bodybuilder interviews, I happened upon an April 1995 conversation with Mike Mentzer that took place just prior to the release of his book Heavy Duty II: Mind and Body. It gives the reader an insight into that revolutionary book and Mike’s decision to make it his most philosophical work.


Q: What’s the process of writing a book like for you? MM: I like to remain plastered to the endeavor so that I can maintain that sense of logical continuity day to day in my writing and editing. When I am continually torn away from it for reasons beyond my control, it becomes somewhat aggravating because I have to keep going back and establishing that sense of logical continuity. Q: How long is it since you revised the original book Heavy Duty? MM: It’s been 3 1/2 years. I’ve learned a number of things since then, as I tell my clients all the time. Nothing contradicts the basic principles, of course, as they’re eternal and universal. What I’ve learned, however, that’s very important and that has me quite excited is a much finer application of the principles of productive bodybuilding exercise. Not too long ago in one of my articles I said that when I look back to revising Heavy Duty, my level of understanding of exercise science was limited. As well as my clients were doing, I wasn’t fully balancing their physiological accounts. I knew they should have been doing even better. Q: What prompted you to continue looking at this area? MM: It was a philosophical idea: that when one is in possession of a valid theory—whatever the field of endeavor—and making the proper practical application, progress should be almost spectacular all the time. My clients’ progress wasn’t always like that. So I continued refining the application until I achieved a higher level of understanding. \ SEPTEMBER 2008 219

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Heavy Duty Q: When I hear you say that, I’m reminded of your critics, who say, “There goes Mentzer again—Mr. Omniscient. He knows everything!” MM: Hold on. I didn’t lay claim to omniscience or infallibility. I don’t even pretend to have an exhaustive knowledge of exercise science. I merely said I have a full grasp of the fundamental principles of anaerobic exercise. Didn’t even my critics master the fundamentals of mathematics—addition, subtraction, multiplication and division? Q: I see what you’re saying. MM: So I’d say to my critics, “Give me a break. It took me 20 years to master the simple fundamentals of exercise. I’m a little slow.” That’s all it is—mastering the simple fundamentals—which of course relate to the principles of intensity, frequency and volume of training. Q: The additional information that you were able to assimilate—how does it apply to training? What are the fine points that changed? MM: Let me go to that point a little obliquely. It’s most clearly manifest in my clients’ greater progress. Remember, I said that my motivating idea was that when you have a valid theory and are making the proper practical application, progress should be little short of spectacular all the time. Whereas one, two, three or four years ago I would only occasionally have a client gain 10 to 20 pounds in a month, or 30 to 40 pounds in three or four months, since February of last year it’s no longer been the occasional client or the exception. It’s become the rule. My clients’ progress, by and large, is spectacular all the time— not 100 percent but in remarkably large numbers.


Mentzer training pro bodybuilder Aaron Baker. 220 SEPTEMBER 2008 \

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Heavy Duty

“That’s all it is— mastering the simple fundamentals— which of course relate to the princples of intensity, frequency and volume of training.” 222 SEPTEMBER 2008 \

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Q: What are they doing that the previous people weren’t? MM: Instead of training on a three-day rotational cycle Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as listed in the first book, they now train on a four-day cycle once every four days: Monday, Friday, the next Tuesday, Saturday and so forth. I’ve found that frequency was misunderstood by almost everyone—including me. Lack of understanding was responsible for compromising my clients’ progress short of 100 possible units. Like almost everybody else, I’d uncritically accepted the notion that decompensation starts within 96 hours of training. In a period of rigorous philosophical retraining, I made a firm commitment to never accept so-called sacred truths at face value just because “they” say it’s true. Q: I’d bet you made a commitment not to accept that many years ago. MM: Yes, but it takes a while to apply it to every area of one’s life. A lot of people say it to themselves, but to actually follow through and really make a rigorous application isn’t all that easy. That’s been my goal, by the way—to achieve philosophical consistency, which is what Leonard Peikoff, in his new introduction to Atlas Shrugged, claims is “human perfection.” Human perfection is 100 percent philosophical consistency. Q: You’re a bodybuilder, writer and philosopher—a rare combination indeed. MM: It’s interesting to be a bodybuilder and writer and philosopher because I’m dealing so very much with the human body. Anybody who has an interest in philosophy understands the age-old mindbody dichotomy. To write a book so exclusively about the mind and so exclusively about the body and then attempt to integrate the relevant principles has been very exciting and very challenging. The challenge, though, is the reward. Q: What would you estimate is the split between the philosophical discipline of clear thinking, as a percentage of the book, and the application of clear thinking to bodybuilding specifically?

“I have people gaining 10 to 20 pounds in a month, 30 to 40 pounds, even more, in three, four or five months.”

MM: It’s almost a perfect 50-50. Heavy Duty II: Mind and Body is quite different from my last book; it’s all philosophical. The opening paragraph from the introduction show the direction of my writing: “This book represents a final attempt on my part to fully clarify the fundamental issues of bodybuilding science. Much more so than any of my previous writing, this book analyzes a very broad philosophic/scientific context within which to present my views on the subject of anaerobic, high-intensity stress physiology. In fact, the philosophical context of this book is not merely broad but comprehensive; i.e., it includes all of the relevant philosophic principles required to achieve an understanding in any science—at least in terms of fundamentals. For many, some of the terms or concepts will be new in so far as they are used in the proper intellectual manner. For example: philosophy, reason, logic, principle, theory, identity, nature, causality, cognition, volition and—unique to bodybuilding books—ethics, morality and critical judgment. A firm intellectual grasp of these philosophic

concepts is a precondition not merely for understanding science, but all of the fundamental issues of human life. A fundamental issue is one that pertains to all members of the species Man; an inescapable aspect of human existence.” Q: Some people might be prompted to say, “Well, that’s too intellectual for a bodybuilding book.” MM: Bodybuilding doesn’t exist apart from the rest of life. Why shouldn’t someone integrate a philosophical context into a bodybuilding book? It’s a part of life. Q: I think it’s great that you don’t talk down to the reader the way so many articles and ads do in bodybuilding magazines. MM: I’ve made the point recently that almost all training articles consist of little more than a series of biblical-like commandments: “Thou shalt perform four sets of this!” “Thou shalt perform five sets of that!” Why? No reason given—no logic or explanation provided. The reader is expected to do what the writer says merely because the writer “com- (continued on page 226) \ SEPTEMBER 2008 223

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Heavy Duty the endeavor of bodybuilding really is. MM: It also exhibits, on their part, an appalling indifference to truth. Honesty and justice are two virtues that most of the people in bodybuilding have done very little to identify and integrate. In fact, almost everyone in bodybuilding has an appalling indifference. Chapter 7 of my book, entitled “Either-Or,” is critical evaluation of the moral status of the field of bodybuilding based on Ayn Rand’s statements that nothing that’s man-made should be accepted uncritically and that, as she says, “the proper operative ethical precept is not, ‘Judge not,’ but ‘Judge and be prepared to be judged.’” Only in that direction lies a rational moral, life-enhancing course. Q: And if people are truly open-minded and of a scientific bent, they don’t mind constructive criticism. To the extent that the criticism is correct, it’s a great benefit. To the extent it’s just a hatchet job, nobody benefits. MM: Because they have not integrated all the proper philosophical principles. The idea shouldn’t be to discover who’s right, necessarily, but instead what is true. What’s the difference who says it? We all benefit from the truth. Part 2 of this insightful interview will be continued next month.

Mentzer won the ’78 IFBB Mr. Universe with a perfect score.

(continued from page 223) manded”

him thusly. That’s ridiculous, of course. Any intelligent human being wants to engage in an endeavor with a full understanding of what he’s doing, not because some individual he’s never met told him to do it that way. Q: You’ve been attacked every

time you’ve tried to advance a new idea on training volume and frequency—it started when you came on the scene in the late 1970s, and it continues to this day. My observation has been that the turf guarding of so many people in the business demonstrates how unscientific

Editor’s note: For a complete presentation of Mike Mentzer’s Heavy Duty training system, consult his books Heavy Duty II, High Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way and the newest book, The Wisdom of Mike Mentzer, all of which are available from Mentzer’s official Web site, www.MikeMentzer .com. John Little is available for phone consultation on Mike Mentzer’s Heavy Duty training system. For rates and information, contact Joanne Sharkey at (310) 316-4519 or at, or see the ad on the opposite page. Article copyright © 2008, John Little. All rights reserved. Mike Mentzer quotations are provided courtesy of Joanne Sharkey and are used with permission. IM

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Kris Dim Update Dim’s Light Shining Brighter


It’s always fun to emcee the California Championships. No airplane trips or strange hotel beds—and no worrying that I’ll get stuck in a room next to a competitor who’s celebrating a strong performance, if you get my drift. Plus, the Veterans Auditorium in Culver City is always filled with some of the biggest names in the industry, so the paparazzi are always snapping away. This year’s event was no exception. For the first time promoters Jaguar Jon Lindsay and Steve O’Brien opened the show to competitors from everywhere in the country. It paid off—about 25 out-of-staters came to So Cal to take part in history: the 170-plus field was the largest ever. With the California Pro Figure competition again part of the festivities, the total came to about 200 athletes. In fact, one of the winners, figure champ Sara Hurrle, flew in from Denver to do the show. Of course, I called her the “Denver Nugget” when announcing her as the new titleholder. Congrats also to men’s winner Mark Byers, who I met when he won Flex Wheeler’s contest in Fresno last summer, and to Julie Assa for taking the women’s crown. NPC Prez (and IFBB Vice President and Chairman of the Professional League) Jim Manion made his annual trip from Pittsburgh; J.M. Manion was there as well, per usual, covering the show for the NPC News. Shawn Ray, who didn’t need to remind Jim and me that he won the coveted crown 21 years ago, did exactly that, then pointed to Richard Jones and let us know that “Magic” had taken the title 11 years back. I had to remind Sugar Shawn that folks were wondering why his midsection was swole more than wife Kristie’s after she gave birth to Bella Blu a few weeks earlier. Hold it in, brother. Bob Cicherillo was at his post at the

At the ’07 IRON MAN.

Kris Dim in June ’08.

Jon Lindsay and Bob Cicherillo.

Jim Manion and L.T. Richard Jones.

From left: J.M. Manion, Adela Garcia, John Tuman and Sonia Adcock.

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Photography by Lonnie Teper, Ron Avidan and Merv


MOMENT OF SILENCE. How the show went on in Plano. Page 231

VERSATILITY Just what is Tricky up to now? Page 232

PULLUP KING Why Russ is a champ. Pages 232 and 233 booth, as were many other wellknown faces. Silvio Samuel was in the audience, and I made sure he took off the shirt and hit a few poses after he took part in the awards ceremony at the finals. Brandon Curry, the Swami’s pick to win the USA (see the segment below), was in the house and said that he’s just moved from Tennessee to San Diego. Smart man, that Curry. What pleased me the most, though, was getting a chance to see Kris Dim for the first time in 14 months. A very healthy-looking Kris Dim at that. Why is that big news? Well, for those who don’t remember, Dim was given but a 10 percent chance of survival on June 7, 2007, after suffering an aortic dissection, the condition that had caused actor John Ritter’s death five years earlier. I was at the podium at Dim’s previous two contests, the ’07 IRON MAN Pro, where he finished Cal champs (from left): Wendy Kaszer, masters figure; Sara Hurrle, figure; 11th, and the now defunct Sacramento Pro, where Mark Byers, men’s; Julie Assa, women’s; and Ric Escalante, novice men. he moved up to sixth. He looked much better at the latter, and I agreed Silvio Shawn Ray and L.T. with his feelings that a top-five finish Samuel. in his hometown would have been justified. Three months later, on June 7, at 8:30 a.m., Dim was training a client at his Kris Dim’s Personal Fit studio in Sacramento. As always he’d finished his own workout at “Fierce Fitness” earlier, at 5:30, and felt fine. Then, Dim says, “I felt like a 1,000 pounds caved in on my chest.” He hit the ground and told his client to call an ambulance. Dim vaguely remembers being put into the vehicle but has no recollection of anything else that day. When he woke up, either later that night or the Brandon next day (he doesn’t remember exactly), he found Curry. out he’d undergone a 5 1/2-hour open-heart surgery at Better Memorial Hospital in Sacramento to repair the rupture. “Basically, my aorta had no oxygen or blood flow,” says Dim. “My cholesterol and blood pressure levels were high. Eventually the aorta burst.” Kris spent a week in the hospital and was told by his doctor that he had only a 10 percent chance of surviving. “Or perhaps I’d have to live with brain damage, or paralysis, or both,” the 35-year-old says. That he was young and strong Kristy played a major role in the fact that none of it hapHawkins pened. and “My doctor said if I had been taking my blood Branden pressure and cholesterol medications, this Ray. wouldn’t have taken place,” says Dim. “I’d take the blood pressure med, feel weak, so would get off it. You know how athletes are—we don’t want \ SEPTEMBER 2008 229

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to take anything that will set back our training.” Dim left the hospital in a week. In a story that belongs in Ripley’s Believe It or Not, he was back at work several days after his return home. “The doctor told me to take it easy, so I did,” he says with a laugh. “I would just drive, open up the door to the studio. My clients would put the weights on and take them off.” Two months later Kris began light workouts. He said he felt “40 percent” after five months. Incredibly, today he is back to his previous offseason weight of 216 pounds at 5’5”. He says he feels great, and he’s actually thinking of competing again this summer! Fortunately, he listened to training partner—and mentor—Leonard Crabtree, who convinced Dim he needs to chill and rethink the competition scenario in about a year. “I don’t train real heavy anymore. I slow down on all reps and am doing more sets,” he says. “I check my blood pressure every day and have a CAT scan every six months. I know you think this is really taking a chance with my health, but if I feel great and my scans are good, my blood pressure is low and my cholesterol is down, why not?” I quickly gave him the obvious answer to that question. Shoot, Kris, I’m just happy as all get out you survived. Take it slow and easy, man. The Man upstairs was with you on this one. I don’t want to ask Him for his assistance again!

Curtis Bryant.

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ADD CURRY—As stated above, I’m going with the new-age Flex Wheeler to take it all during the last weekend in July at Jon Lindsay’s annual USA blockbuster (go to www.Muscle for all the details regarding the twoday affair, to be held on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas). Check out my video preview of the battle at www.IronManMagazine. com, with former USA Lightweight champ Alex Azarian joining the broadcast team. Not only does Curry have the goods to win the overall, but he’s coming off back-to-back secondplace finishes in the heavyweights at last season’s USA and Nationals. So who else should I select? Not that there won’t be a slew of outstanding physiques onstage. I’ve already written about the other Branden in the show—Branden Ray—who is coming off an impressive light-heavyweight victory at the ’07 Junior Nationals. Branden has been at Gold’s, Pasadena, quite a bit, visiting his lady, Kristy Hawkins, so I’ve gotten a good look at the kid. Thick and well balanced, he should be in the hunt as he moves up a class in ’08. Will Ray be the guy chasing Curry to the crown, More USA contenders (clockthough? Not this time; that honor will go to Florwise from above): Grigori ida’s Lee Banks, who finished one slot behind Atoyan, Al Auguste, Eric Curry and two places behind class winner A.D. Blancaflor and Sean Allen. Cherry at the Nationals last year. Lee just happens to be one of my Rising Stars in this issue, and you know what that could mean! Check out the new section, beginning on page 234. Grigori Atoyan finished behind only overall winners Ben White and Evan Centopani in the superheavyweights at last year’s USA and Nationals, so Grigori is my sure shot in that class—if there is such a thing. Photog Bill Comstock says the division will go to Todd Jewell, and since Todd was a Rising Star last month, can I argue with Big Bill? Hold on a minute. Isaac Hinds just called and said he has the name of the dude who will take the superheavyweight class. It will be big Sean Allen, who won the overall at Steve Weinberger’s Atlantic States this year. Allen is a large man, at 6’4” and about 280 pounds, and if he nails his conditioning,

Tamar ElGuindy.

Scott Turner.

the Lifter could be accurate for the first time in 2008. In the light-heavyweight class I’m going with Al Auguste, but I also like the chances of Curtis Bryant, who was overlooked at last year’s Nationals but came out west to take the Excalibur, which put him back into title contention. Actually, I really like Bryant, since he has heeded my advice and is moving down a class to bring in the razor-sharp definition he’ll need to best Auguste and the boys. Azarian agrees with my selection of Atoyan, is high on Erich Blancaflor in the heavies, and likes folks such as Tamar ElGuindy in the light-heavyweights (Tamar was second to Jose Raymond in the middleweight class last year at the USA), Scott Hutchinson in the middles and Scott Turner in the welterweights. One guy who is an uncertainty at this point is Trey Brewer, he of the monster wheels, who was scheduled to compete in the Junior Nationals on June 21 (the same day as my Junior Cal), and I imagine he’ll make his decision about the rumble in the desert after that. For the record —and in case you don’t get this issue by game day—this column is being written in early June.

ADD NPC Shows LONE STAR CLASSIC—The show must go on, even in times of tragedy, and that’s what happened at Prince Harrison’s Lone Star Classic in Plano, Texas, on June 7. If you read my blog on the show (at, you know I titled it “Somber Weekend at Lone Star Classic.” A day before I boarded the plane to emcee the show, the horrible news that pro figure star Amanda Savell and on-again/off-again boyfriend Dave Jacobs had been found shot to death in Jacobs’ Plano home had pushed the Craig Titus-Kelly Ryan plea deal to the bottom of the message boards. What’s more, according to police reports, Jacobs was the one who pulled the trigger, firing several shots into Savell before taking his own life. I won’t go into too much detail here; you’ve no doubt read the Lone Star winners (back row, from left): Jessica Brichta, Jaime various theories of what went down. Although he was always Davila, Holly Chambliss and Ali Taktak. Front row: Stephanie Irick. very pleasant around me, the 35-year-old Jacobs was from all reports an extremely jealous boyfriend whose Jill Brooks and L.T. and Stephen life was spiraling out of control. Since he’d been arLee Thompson. Frazier. rested during a highly publicized steroid bust a little more than a year earlier, Dave had lost his Supplement Outlet nutrition store in Plano. Plus, people who he counted as close friends weren’t returning phone calls, and his relationship with Savell was on the rocks much of the time. Based on what the police confiscated from his home after what they have called murder-suicide (let’s start with 146 vials of steroids, four containers of raw materials and scales), the man who avoided prison time by agreeing to cooperate fully with authorities might still have been in the business of making and selling steroids. I opened the show on Saturday night by dedicating it to Amanda’s memory. Later in the evening NPC Texas Chairman Lee Thompson came to the podium for a tribute to Savell, then asked for a moment of silence. Amanda’s close friend Jill Brooks followed Thompson to the mike and shared some personal stories about Savell. Somehow, someway, we all got through the evening fairly smoothly—even though we got off Scenes from the tragedy in Plano (from left): Dave Jacobs’ nutrition store; to a rocky start when Harrison himself had to Jacobs’ house, where the murder-suicide took place; and a local-news van. \ SEPTEMBER 2008 231

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Prince Harrison.

Prince Fontenot


man the music area until a kind volunteer from the audience and Jen donated his services. That Harrison is one all-around fella! Cook. As always, the Lone Star produced some outstanding winners (this is where I met Kristy Hawkins in 2003, when she took the overall). Jaime Davila was in great shape en route to winning the men’s overall crown; Holly Chambliss muscled her way to the overall in the women’s division; and Jessica Brichta was a “brick…house” as she led the way in an extremely competitive figure contest. Cute-as-a-bug Stephanie Irick defended her crown in fitness as well as winning the A division in figure, and Ali “Baba” Taktak was more than impressive in winning the novice men’s overall. Look for this cat as a challenger in the open class in ’09. Another Rising Star featured in this issue, Stephen Frazier, joined Victor Martinez as the evening’s guest posers. I’m picking Frazier to take the superheavyweights and earn pro status at the Nationals. So don’t make me look bad, Stephen, or it will be “Down goes Frazier.” Martinez, who had knee surgery in January, looked pretty good, especially for a guy who’d been back in training for only a month. He admitted, however, that it’s highly doubtful he’ll be able to challenge Jay Cutler for the Olympia crown this year and instead will concentrate on his rehab in preparation for the ’09 Arnold Classic. Despite the grave atmosphere surrounding the event, I enjoyed seeing the folks who’ve become friends over the years. Prince Fontenot, a week out from his own production in San Antonio, was on the judging panel, while his wife, Debbie, was sleeping, er, cheering, in the stands. Bob and Laura Johnson were at their usual post for Posedown Muscle & Figure Magazine; Jen Cook looked great as usual and said she’s gotten her master’s degree from the University of Texas, Arlington, and has been deejaying and doing some fitness modeling. Jen certainly has the look. Last, but certainly not least, a special thanks to June and Katie Munroe, who provided chauffeur service for the weekend. That June—is anybody on the go more than the owner of Flexstar’s New Age Nutrition? She is to “keep moving” what Yogi Avidan is to “keep eating.” I did get a bit nervous when Katie, the toy pinscher, wanted to take the wheel but, hey, it’s better than taking the bus. And she’s still the best dresser at any show. Congrats to all involved with the event at such a tough time—Harrison, his staff, the competitors, judges and the appreciative fans. Same time, same place, next year.

The Munroes, June and Katie.

Debbie and Prince Fontenot. Laura and Bob Johnson.

Tricky Jackson.

RIBBON-CUTTING DEPT.—On May 17 I traveled to Muscle Beach, Venice, for the grand reopening of the weight pen. Thanks to Russ DeLuca 232 SEPTEMBER 2008 \

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Roland Balik

A TRICKY PRODUCTION—Ricky “Tricky” Jackson is more than a star bodybuilder; when he’s not competing in the new 202-pounds-andunder pro contests, the Lexington, Kentucky, Lexus puts on his promoter’s cap. And he’s been successful in that capacity as well for quite a while now. Tricky’s next event is the NPC Bluegrass Muscle Classic Bodybuilding and Figure Championships, which is set for Saturday, October 11, in Lexington. Johnnie Jackson, who qualified out of the chute for the Olympia at our season-opening IRON MAN Pro, is the featured guest poser. For more info go to, or call (859) 221-4959.

of and to Todd Greene of Headblade, a new structure was unveiled. Russ donated $41,000 for the 30 pieces of Star Trac equipment that now grace the area; Greene pitched in 20K for the new flooring. Both DeLuca and Greene were a bit giddy at the event: Russ challenged me to an impromptu pullup contest, while Greene offered to become a title sponsor at my Junior Cal next year if I shaved my noggin with one of his special blades. Since has been the title sponsor of my event for the past several years, I had to let DeLuca edge me in the pullup posedown. Okay, so it was 20-1, but it was a lot closer than it looked. As for Todd, he’ll have to come up with a lot more booty than that to get me to shave off my beautiful locks. Or is it my lock? DeLuca and Greene joined Sophia Piña Cortez, a superintendent of the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, and L.A. City Councilman Bill Rosendahl in the ribbon-cutting ceremonies before DeLuca cut me up on the pullup bar. Jack LaLanne and Franco Columbu were there, receiving their Lee Priest (with Muscle Beach Venice Bodybuilding Hall of Fame plaques. Jack is as spry as Rich Gaspari) ever, asking me if my goatee “tickles the girls” during a video interview of the at the ’06 IRON fitness king that was recorded by Avidan (find it along with several fun videos MAN Pro. I did that day at Jack was pushing his latest book, Fiscal Fitness, and made me smile when he autographed the inside cover before giving me a free copy. If it’s free, it’s for LT. Jack and Elaine LaLanne with L.T. Kudos to Muscle Beach promoter Smokin’ Joe Wheatley for leading the charge in getting this effort completed. I felt for the guy the week of the event—he was calling morning and night, about to lose his head over all the complications that usually accompany this kind of production. Shoot, the place looks so good, I might be coming down now and then to train in the pen. After all, I do need to work on my pullups.

More Personalities Prince Harrison.

Pullup king DeLuca.

Muscle Beach ribbon cutters (from left): Russ DeLuca, Sophia Piña Cortez, Councilman Bill Rosendahl and Todd Greene.

CONFESSIONS OF A PRIEST—The Priest, suspended from his favorite church since September 2006, has been let back into the parish after admitting that he’s sorry for his sins. Lee Priest, suspended from the IFBB since September 2006, when he moved over to the now-defunct PDI, got the call from Jim Manion that he’d been waiting for in early June. The suspension had been lifted, and Lee was free—to compete, to guest pose, to give seminars, etc., as soon as he fills out his IFBB membership card. The controversial one, who had been moonlighting in video production during his time away from pro bodybuilding, says he’s 232 pounds and will be onstage at the Atlantic City Pro in September and, he hopes, on the Mr. Olympia stage two weeks later. At 36, will he still have the goods to be among the best in the game? I think so, but we’ll know soon enough. Priest was living in Scottsdale, Arizona, when he got the good news, but said he’ll have relocated back to his native Australia by the time you read this. Guess the rent’s cheaper. Based on Lee’s history with moving trucks (he packed up an entire truck by himself and drove from Austin, Texas, to Lancaster, California, in a single day a few years back—honest Injun!), how long do we give the man with the best arms in the industry before he transfers back to the States? Look for him in a city near you sometime soon.

TITUS-RYAN PLEA DEAL—Unless you’ve been buried under a rock for the past couple of months, you know that Craig Titus and Kelly Ryan accepted a plea deal on May 30, three days before their murder trial was to begin in Las Vegas. By the time you read this, they will have been sentenced by Judge Jackie Glass, who will also preside over the O.J. Simpson case come September. IM

To contact Lonnie Teper about material possibly pertinent to News & Views, write to 1613 Chelsea Road, #266, San Marino, CA 91108; fax to (626) 289-7949; or send e-mail to \ SEPTEMBER 2008 233

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L O N N I E T E P E R ’S R i si n g St ar s


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Age: 36 Weight: 220 contest; 250, off-season Height: 5’8” Residence: Jacksonville, Florida Occupation: Child care owner-director Contest highlights: ’07 NPC Nationals, heavyweight, 3rd; ’06 NPC Nationals, heavyweight, 6th Factoid: He’s a Desert Storm vet. Contact:


L O N N I E T E P E R ’S R i si n g St ar s

L O N N I E T E P E R ’S R i si n g St ar s



Age: 17 Weight: 181 contest; 245 offseason Height: 5’11” Residence: Modesto, California Occupation: High school student Contest highlights: ’08 California Championships, teen overall; ’06 Contra Costa Championships, teen overall \ SEPTEMBER 2008 235

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LO NN IE T EP E R’S Ris ing St a r s


Stephen FRAZIER Age: 28 Weight: 250 contest; 300 offseason Height: 6’1 1/2” Residence: Dallas, Texas Occupation: Owner of South Grand Prairie Fitness Contest highlights: ’07 NPC Nationals, superheavyweight, 3rd; ’04 NPC John Sherman Classic, overall Contact:

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Age: 40 Weight: 198 contest; 230 offseason Height: 5’6” Residence: Miamisburg, Ohio Contest highlights: ’07 NPC Nationals, light-heavyweight, 4th; ’07 IFBB North American Championships, lightheavyweight, 2nd Factoid: He’s the father of a 14month-old son. Contact: \ SEPTEMBER 2008 237

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LO NN IE T EP E R’S Ris ing St a r s



Eric Broser’s

Muscle “In” Sites If you find something on the Web that IM readers should know about, send the URL to Eric at

> Without a doubt the science and technology behind the sports supplement industry have grown by leaps and bounds over the past 20 years. Simple protein mixtures, liver tablets and brewer’s yeast formulas have given way to hormone modulators, insulin mimetics, thermogenics, nitric oxide enhancers, cortisol blockers, sleep inducers, creatine, beta alanine, pre-, intra- and postworkout recovery matrices and more. Fancy words and phrases such as polylipid, nanodissolution, nanoparticulation, microfraction, advanced dispersion, methyl and ethyl have become commonplace in product ads and on discussion boards. It seems that these days, unless you have an advanced degree in chemistry, nutrition or biology and/or keep up with all the latest journal articles and scientific data related to supplementation, you’re bound to find yourself dazed and confused when trying to figure out what to take to help you reach your fitness goals. Sure, reading the hype that most companies spew about their products can be exciting, but where can you turn to find out what is truly fact and fiction in the world of pills, powders and potions? Well, here’s one great place. is a Web site dedicated to helping consumers “find answers to their supplement questions” through what the company calls the largest library and scientific database of dietary supplement information videos found anywhere on the Internet. Its profes-

sional staff has more than 200 years of combined experience and includes some of the most highly regarded, reliable and well-known experts in the industry, such as Dr. Jose Antonio, Dr. Jeffrey Stout, Dr. Tim Ziegenfuss and IFBB fitness pro Carla Sanchez. They’re dedicated to empowering everyone with the knowledge and education to make informed choices about proper supplementation, whether the goal is building a contest-ready physique, enhancing sports performance, fending off the aging process or simply getting healthier and increasing feelings of wellbeing. While there’s plenty of excellent free information at, you can also choose to become a basic or executive member, which will afford you a host of other valuable benefits, such as access to specialized products, a personal lifestyle profile analysis, the most up-todate supplement news and one-on-one consultation with top experts. This is definitely the best site of its kind on the Web and a tremendous resource for consumers, trainers, nutritionists and coaches alike. Remember, knowledge is power.

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>DVD Review: Phil Heath’s “The Gift: A New Beginning” ous problem, he handles himself well, remains calm and finishes up his leg workout—a true warrior mentality. Other particularly interesting sequences include a trip to the chiropractor for an adjustment and some

time in the factory of one of Phil’s main sponsors (think chicken). Perhaps the best part of “A New Beginning” is seeing Phil’s body literally morph from a smooth block of muscle that honestly does not look very impressive at week 11 into a chiseled, rock-hard, stage-dominating physique that looks extremely impressive and that took on all comers at the Colorado Pro, resulting in his first professional bodybuilding victory. Since the DVD was made, Phil has become a top contender in the sport, with two more pro victories—one at the ’08 IRON MAN Pro—and a second-place finish to another giant killer, Jackson, at the most recent Arnold Classic. So while I’m not sure whether Phil is a gift—well, maybe to bodybuilding—he certainly is gifted! Merv

It’s been my contention for years that the quality of the physiques on the IFBB circuit has been slowly diminishing. Yes, the guys have gotten bigger and freakier, but it’s become a rarity to see the muscle separation, striations and graininess that were displayed by such champions as Shawn Ray, Dorian Yates, Andreas Munzer, Lee Labrada and Rich Gaspari, to name a few. One man, however, has recently arrived on the scene with a bang, and he’s certainly helping to keep quality alive with a physique full of shapely, tight and ridiculously conditioned muscle—Phil “the Gift” Heath. Phil in contest condition reminds me of Shawn Ray circa 1994, when he almost stole the Olympia crown—and in my opinion, he should have— from King Yates. Phil isn’t huge by any means, but the illusion he presents onstage through a combination of incredibly round muscle bellies, tiny joints and crazy hardness enables him to slay most of the giants, just as men like Ray, Labrada and Mohammad Benaziza did before him and as the great Dexter Jackson is still doing today. Thus it was with great interest that I sat down to watch Phil’s first DVD, “A New Beginning,” which chronicles his journey from 11 weeks out right up until show day of his professional debut at the ’06 IFBB Colorado Pro. As with most new releases these days, this is not only a training DVD but one that also gets a bit into the lifestyle of the subject. The gym sequences are nothing groundbreaking. Don’t expect to see any unique exercises or crazy training techniques—just simple yet fairly intense workouts with some commentary by Phil, explaining a bit about why and how he does things, as well as his overall approach to the sport. One thing I must mention that I’ve never seen before on any previous DVD is an actual training injury during a workout. Early on in the video you witness Phil severely pulling a hamstring while performing lying leg curls. Although that could’ve been a seri- \ SEPTEMBER 2008 243

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Eric Broser’s >Net

Results Q&A

The Power/Rep Range/Shock innovator answers your questions on training and nutrition. Q. My hamstrings are falling far behind my quads. Judges at my last show confirmed that. I do the standard lying leg curls, seated leg curls and stiff-legged deadlifts. My form is good, and I work hard. I’ve even backed off on the intensity of my quad training so I have more left for hitting my hams. Any tips on how to get those suckers growing? A. That’s a pretty common problem in the world of bodybuilding. It can be seen at every level, from average gym rats to novice competitors and often right into the pro ranks. Many top bodybuilders bring massive quad development to the stage but fail to match it with a pair of round, hanging hammies. When you do see someone with fully developed hamstrings, it adds a whole new dimension to every side and back pose. Take a look at old photos of former IFBB professional Tom Prince, and you’ll truly understand the meaning of freaky hams. I’m going to answer your question in three parts: First, consider the possibility of training your hamstrings before your quads either on leg day or on a separate day entirely. That’s called prioritization, and it’s one of the most important concepts in the world of successful bodybuilding. So many trainees complain of weak bodyparts that won’t grow, but they fail to understand that if they start giving those stubborn parts priority over strong ones, that alone may well solve the problem. Yes, most bodybuilders train quads before hams or chest before back, but sometimes you must break tradition if you want to reach your full potential. So my first suggestion is to train hams first on leg days, when you’re fresher and can physically and mentally do a better job of blasting them. Alternatively, you can train hamstrings on a separate day, perhaps with a small bodypart like biceps. Either way you’ll more successfully stimulate your hams to grow through more efficient and intense training. Second, add a new exercise to your hamstring program that can really trash some deep muscle fibers

once you learn to master it—hyperextensions. I realize that exercise is usually reserved for the lower back, but if you can mentally connect with your hamstrings and make them do most of the work, you’ll be rewarded with some freaky mass on the backs of your legs. In fact, in many ways hypers are actually superior to stiff-legged deadlifts for maximizing hamstring development. The key is to lock your ankles in very tightly under the pad and keep your hams tensed throughout both the eccentric and concentric phases of the movement. Don’t even start the first rep without consciously flexing your hamstrings hard. Make sure to lower yourself slowly, over three to five seconds, and only about two-thirds of the way down. Once you hit the bottom position, think again about tensing your hamstrings maximally while relaxing your lower back. Focus on using only hamstring power to move your torso back to the starting position. Once you get the hang of it, your hams will be screaming for mercy. Finally I’m going to suggest that you use my Power/ Rep Range/Shock (P/RR/S) training protocol to help awaken your hams and bring them up to your quads. Here’s the routine. The numbers in parentheses indicate the rep tempo to use Week 1: Power Lying leg curls Stiff-legged deadlifts Standing single-leg curls Rest between sets: 3 minutes

2 x 4-6 (3/0/X) 3 x 4-6 (3/0/X) 2 x 4-6 (3/0/X)

Week 2: Rep Range Seated leg curls Hyperextensions Lying single-leg curls Rest between sets: 2 minutes

2 x 7-9 (2/1/2/1) 3 x 10-12 (3/1/2/1) 2 x 13-15 (2/1/2/1)

Week 3: Shock Superset Seated leg curls Hyperextensions Lying leg curls (with X Reps) Standing single-leg curls (drop) Rest between sets: 1 minute

2 x 8-10 (2/0/1) 2 x 8-10 (3/0/1) 1 x 8-10 (2/0/1) 1 x 8-10(4-6) (2/0/1)

Use the program for three cycles over nine weeks, trying to increase the weights you use at each of the three workouts. Follow that with either a light week of training or an entire week off, and then repeat the cycle—but shake up the exercises to keep the muscles and central nervous system off balance. I promise that if you follow all of the suggestions above, the judges at your next show will have an entirely different opinion of your hams—and you may need a new pair of jeans. Note: Watch future issues of IRON MAN for my take on blitzing quads and hamstrings with my Fiber Damage/Fiber Saturation super mass-building protocol. IM

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by Jerry Brainum

Under the Radar It seems that hardly a day goes by without another elite athlete’s being exposed as having used anabolic drugs to enhance athletic performance. The furor about illicit anabolic drug use is not new, however. Concern about it, particularly among the young, led the first President Bush to sign the Anabolic Steroids Control Act on November 29, 1990, placing the drugs in the same category as more conventional drugs of abuse, such as amphetamines and cocaine. The law didn’t appear to make a significant dent in the international use of steroids and other anabolics by athletes and others, but concern about the side effects linked to steroid use did lead to the development of another popular anabolic offering: pro-hormone supplements. The pro-hormone era began with the over-the-counter sale of DHEA, a natural androgen made in the adrenal glands. DHEA is a precursor of various other steroids, in-

cluding estrogen and testosterone, which made it of interest to marketers. Subsequent studies revealed that while DHEA does reliably convert into testosterone in women, it takes a variety of pathways in men. In some older men it does eventually convert to testosterone, particularly if they have low testosterone production. In younger men, however, DHEA converts to either estrogen or a metabolite of DHT. A metabolite of testosterone itself, DHT is considered the source of many undesirable side effects, such as prostate enlargement, male-pattern baldness and acne. So-called renegade chemists, such as Patrick Arnold, who later became famous for producing designer steroids that were implicated in the current crop of athletic drug scandals, began marketing what they referred to as “prohormones,” the first of which was androstenedione. Andro, a more direct precursor of testosterone than DHEA, looked promising, especially when such high-level athletes as baseball slugger Mark McGwire were found to be using it. Later studies revealed that andro was more effective at increasing estrogen than boosting testosterone. Back to the drawing board. A series of other pro-hormones followed, all touted to significantly increase testosterone levels minus the potential serious side effects. The results: They seemed to produce many of the same side effects associated with steroid drugs—but not the promised gains in muscle size

DHEA does eventually convert to testosterone in older men who have low testosterone production, but in younger men it can convert to estrogen.

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and strength. Once again, the inventive marketers of pro-hormones came up with a better idea. They dusted off old androgen research textbooks and came up with various anabolic steroid drugs that had been developed by major drug companies but never commercially marketed for one reason or another. They were able to circumvent the 1990 steroid law because of loopholes in another law—the 1994 Food Supplement Act, which had a clause stating that a substance existing in a natural form could be marketed without going through an extensive and expensive drug-approval process. The key to marketing new pro-hormones—actually old drugs—was therefore to do some detective work and find a natural source of the substance. Once that was accomplished, you could sell the substance without fear of action by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Eventually, government agencies, such as the FDA, caught on. That led to an amendment to the 1990 law in 2004 banning all current and future pro-hormone food supplements that were capable of either converting into testosterone or were in fact testosterone derivatives—that is, anabolic steroids. The lawmakers thought that clinched it as far as over-the-counter hormones were concerned. Again, they underestimated the creativity of supplement marketers. While the 2004 amendment specifically mentioned most of the current pro-hormones by name, several thousand had been developed in the early 1960s by various drug companies, only to be discarded. The amendment was worded to prevent the resurrection of any of those limbo steroids, but that didn’t stop some companies from marketing at least one anabolic steroid that the lawmakers had overlooked. The drug in question was methyldrostanolone, also known as methasteron, initially developed by Syntex in 1959. Around the same time the company was also developing other anabolic steroids that it did market, such as oxymetholone (Anadrol) and drostanolone (Masteron). Both became popular bodybuilding drugs, although they were marketed for treatment of medical conditions. Methasteron was described as a cross between Anadrol and Masteron. In fact, it differed from Masteron only by a methyl group added at the C-17 position of the steroid molecule. That meant that it resisted premature breakdown by the liver but also made it toxic to the liver. The drug is similar to Anadrol, again with minor changes to its molecular structure. Some have described methasteron as a “supersaturated Anadrol,” the implication being that it produces many of the same anabolic effects. Unlike Anadrol and Masteron, however, methasteron was never released to the commercial market, other than briefly in another form. Why that occurred is now clear, based on several recent reports published in the medical literature. In 2005, companies began selling methasteron in complete defiance of the 2004 steroid amendment. It was sold under several trade names—Superdrol, EST Methyl-vol,

CEL M-Drol, SNS Methyl Drol XT, Fast Action’s SDroll and IDS Mass Tabs. It usually came in 10-milligram capsules, and the standard dose was two capsules a day taken for no more than six to eight weeks. Some Internet ads described methasteron as a designer steroid, likely to cash in on the publicity stemming from the term being in the news. In fact, as we’ve seen, methasteron was just an old, discarded anabolic steroid. The Internet ads also warned of possible side effects: Andro was purported to convert to • Severe muscle testosterone, but studies eventually cramps, especially found that it converts to estrogen. in the lower back • Extreme lethargy or lack of energy and fatigue • Painful shin splints, making cardio very difficult • Substantial increase in harmful low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol with a lowering of beneficial high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol—common with oral anabolic steroids • Methylation of methasteron, making liver problems a possibility • Loss of libido, or sex drive, near the end of a cycle The FDA finally caught on to methasteron in late 2005, warning companies selling it that they were in violation of the 2004 steroid law amendment. Most companies discontinued sales in 2006. One company, however, continues to sell its “improved” form of Superdrol. The primary ingredient is listed as “Prasterone” and is described as a potent precursor of testosterone. In fact, it’s just another name for DHEA. Many who purchased methasteron likely assumed that because it was sold over the counter, it was safe. In fact, the substance was as toxic as—or even more toxic than—other

In 2005, companies began selling methasteron in complete defiance of the 2004 steroid amendment. Some Internet ads described methasteron as a designer steroid, likely to cash in on the publicity stemming from the term being in the news. In fact, methasteron was just an old, discarded anabolic steroid. \ SEPTEMBER 2008 249

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Jerry Brainum’s Bodybuilding Pharmacology Be very afraid of anabolic steroids that are available on the Internet, unless you have complete disregard for your health.

anabolic steroid drugs. That probably explains why Syntex decided to shelve the product in the first place. Its animal studies probably indicated excess stress in the liver, and recent case studies published in medical journals seem to confirm that. One study reported on a 23-year-old bodybuilder who had nausea, vomiting, jaundice, pale stools, dark urine and extreme body itching, all signs of liver inflammation. He used the suggested 10 milligrams of methasteron twice a day for six weeks, stopping only when the itching began. He had no previous history of liver disease. The patient was initially treated with medication to increase bile flow in his liver, along with an antihistamine to relieve the itching. He returned to the hospital two weeks later, however, complaining of itching and vomiting. An examination revealed extreme liver inflammation. He also showed a decline in kidney function with a diagnosis of IgA nephropathy, an abnormal accumulation of immune cells in his kidneys. That particular condition is usually associated with liver and immune diseases. The doctors suggest that it emanated from his liver problem, with the liver producing an

Anadrol and Masteron are linked to severe liver problems, and methasteron is a hybrid of the two. That makes liver problems highly likely for someone who uses methasteron.

overabundance of immune factors that attacked his kidneys. The origin of the problem, however, was thought to be his use of methasteron. A report of a more recent series of case studies showed that methasteron caused severe liver inflammation in five young men. The study notes that the two other steroids, Anadrol and Masteron, are linked to severe liver problems, and methasteron is a hybrid of the two. That makes liver problems highly likely for someone who uses methasteron. In fact, in the five case studies, the liver inflammation persisted an average of two weeks after methasteron use stopped. The Internet ads about methasteron implied that it provided the beneficial anabolic effects of Anadrol and Masteron minus the side effects. Actually, it proved to be similar or worse. According to several reports, methasteron may still be available on the Internet, although it’s now illegal. Consider that even highly profit-motivated drug companies refused to sell this stuff. Several other dubious “anabolics” are also being sold over the Net. If your health is important to you, you’d be wise to avoid them. A recent report in a medical journal found that a combination of early pro-hormone supplements led to the development of a rapidly spreading form of prostate cancer that killed one man. I’d say that’s reason enough to give wide berth to these “safe steroids.”

References Jasiurkowski, B., et al. (2006). Cholestatic jaundice and IgA nephropathy induced by OTC muscle-building agent Superdrol. Am J Gastroent. 101:2659-2662. Shah, N., et al. (2008). Methasteron-associated cholestatic liver injury: Clinicopathologic findings in five cases. Clin Gastroent Hepatol. 6:255-58. IM

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About August: • • • •

Contest Corner California Dreamin’ Surfworthy Physiques Pump-Pourri

Photography by Ruth Silverman


CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN? Massed-out, ripped-to-thebone bodies were nowhere in sight, and vivacious Amber DeFrancesco was queen of the night at the ’08 NPC Junior National Women’s Bodybuilding Championships in June. I thought I was dreaming as I paged through Roland Balik’s photos from the event. Find them at IronMan, and see if you don’t think that everyone’s taken a step way back, at least at the Juniors.

HONOREES Amber and Junior Nat’s Fitness champ Stephanie Irick were among the first recipients of Roland’s new “Pixelicious” Awards. Read all about it on his blog at IronMan Magazine .com.

GRAB SHOT STORY This photo-op, which took place at the ’08 Cal in May, started with three subjects and one photographer and just grew. By the time (from left) Kristi Tauti, Sonia Adcock, Adela Garcia, Michelle Mayberry and Felicia Romero were in place, there were three or four photographers snapping away behind me. No fair, guys! Yours are faster. 252 SEPTEMBER 2008 \

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UNWRAPPED PACKAGES After the photo below left was taken, Cal Pro Figure finalists Felicia and Kristi (right) stripped to the ’tards. Felicia looked like a winner—and she was.

BLASTING OUT OF A PLATEAU Kristi turned her ninthplace finish at the ’07 Cal Pro into a dim memory, taking third this time. To the O they both go.

SURFWORTHY PHYSIQUES 1) Last month’s upand-comer is this month’s hot new arrival. Second in Cali means Heather French is headed for the September classic, a.k.a. the OIympia.


2) Huong Arcinas is always raising the bar, from eighth at the Pittsburgh to fourth here.


3) Zhanna Rotar has got the 1 pose down pat. Now, if she could just put together a package that would get her into the blast-off zone. 4) Spain’s Celeste Gonzalez hasn’t made the judges’ A-list yet, but the physique-photography corps has started


flashing at her big time. Looking, fabulous, Celeste! And I hear you’ll be even more fabulous at the Houston Pro in July.

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HANDSTANDING OVATION Talk about your fitness fortitude. Kristen Nicewarner will be 42 this summer, and the reason she’s competing solely in figure is that she’s still rehabbing from a shoulder injury that struck during her prep for the ’05 Fitness International. Don’t count her out for fitness, says Kristen. She’s back to doing handstands, and it’s only a matter of time.

NEWBIE The last time I saw Darlina Kirconzic, she was passed out on the floor at the ’00 Pittsburgh Pro Fitness. Now Darlina Brown, she reminded me of that incident as she introduced me to her husband, U.S. Army Major Cale Brown, at the ’08 Cal Pro Figure. It was a special evening for the couple, and not just because Darlina took fifth. Cale, who was soon to be headed for Afghanistan, got to see her compete for the very first time. 254 SEPTEMBER 2008 \

LOOK OUT WORLD Lesley Stamper was introduced to me as the business director of J.C. Lopez’s Hardfitness online magazine, but I predict she’ll soon be known for her bod (and beauty) as well as her brains. The two-time Arkansas figure champ should stir things up at the national shows this season.

CUTEST COUPLE OF ALL Jayla Worrall, six, was on hand at the Cal to cheer on her mom, April Fortier. Jayla and April take gymnastics lessons together, and the youngster hopes that she and Mom, a fitness and figure athlete who turned pro at the ’07 USA, can do fitness guest-posings as a duo. Promoters, take note. These lovely ladies are based in Sacramento, California.

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2) Speaking of lean, Heather Green looked at least as good as she did at the Pittsburgh three weeks earlier and got sixth again.


1) Behold the results of Nicole PitcherScott’s patented leaning technique, demonstrated in last month’s edition of this column. Would you believe, it works?




SECRET WEAPON Ubertrainer Mike Davies chuckled when people (including me) expressed surprise at Teresa Anthony’s star-making pro debut at the Pittsburgh. If I’d seen this photo ahead of time, I probably would have guessed.


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Mary Ann Newman, masters figure overall.


3) Meriza DeGuzman vowed to refine the package she brought to the Culver City, California, venue and wow ’em at the Europa in August. Fair warning to the State of Texas.

STEEL CITY TALENT POOL The photo on page 252 of Amber DeFrancesco, who was the NPC Pittsburgh Bodybuilding champ in ’07, shows why it pays to pay attention to the little shots from the Pittsburgh that appear in these pages. The next time you see the ’08 Pittsburgh figure winners, at right, they could be gracing much larger photos.

Amanda Breznau, figure overall.

PUMP-POURRI—CALIFORNIA PRO Stacy Clary gets the P&C award for the most radiant rookie at the Cal Pro. Think of all the good times—and lessons learned.

Don’t let that patient smile fool you. Michelle Mayberry has postcontest feasting on her mind.

Bill Dobbins, back in the pit after a recent illness, shot the pro contest for IronMan In June he picked up with his music career (which he’d revived last year), playing a gig in Redondo Beach, California.

Andrea Dumon (below) started off her third year of big-time quarter-turning with a ninth-place finish. Photography by Ruth Silverman

Jessica Nabinger (below), last seen doing splits and kicks at the ’06 Team U, was practicing her booth-babe skills at guess whose table. On hiatus from competition, she’s working on her MBA at Capella University.

Above: That Nancy Georges sure knows how to pack for a figure show. It’s what they call being a pro. Left: Terry Goodlad and Cal co-promoter Jon Lindsay were still smiling after a long evening of champions being crowned.



Remembering Amanda. She was always having fun, and she made my job more fun whenever our paths crossed. That’s how I prefer to remember Amanda Savell—by the way she enjoyed life rather than the tragedy that informed her death. (For more on the latter, see my blog at These images show the vivacious Amanda (from far left) onstage at the ’07 Figure International, clowning around after the ’06 Olympia and attracting fans with Jen Searles at the Pinnacle booth at the ’06 USA.

You can contact Ruth Silverman, fitness, figure and women’s bodybuilding reporter and Pump & Circumstance scribe, in care of IRON MAN, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033; or via e-mail at

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Of Endings and the Period Dr. Al Thomas, 1930-2008 by Steve Wennerstrom, IFBB Women’s Historian


o current-day IRON MAN readers, the name Dr. Al Thomas may not be immediately recognizable, unless you were a faithful follower of the magazine during the publishing days of Peary Rader. The magazine had a vastly different look in those days, but it was a haven for the preachings of a man whose vision offered an unexplored horizon for the female strength athlete. When IRON MAN publisher John Balik contacted me about writing a farewell to Dr. Thomas, I froze. Having labored as a writer in the area of women’s sports for the past 35 years, I felt for the first time that I might not have the faith in myself to complete the assignment. Put simply, Dr. Al meant the world to me, and his passing has left me numb. He was a mentor of incalculable measure and the primary motivator in encouraging me to pursue the life path I’ve followed since my first communications with him in 1974. Due to powers greater than I can comprehend, I was brought around to the decision to write a tribute, and it was one that left no alternative but to proceed with what will be the toughest assemblage of words I have ever put to paper. The irony of my penning this

Dr. Al Thomas, an outspoken proponent of female muscle. farewell falls squarely with Thomas himself. It was in Iron Man magazine where I first fell headlong into his writings—thoughts that touted his unbridled exhilaration over women who were challenging their physicality for the first time and discovering the true beauty of strength and muscle as an agreeable female trait. His earliest writings appeared largely in the ’70s,

when bodybuilding as a sport was only a distant dream in the minds of a few. Al Thomas’ visions, however, were always beyond the horizon. His call to women to revel in the joy of strength and muscle had an effect that was something akin to the way the Pied Piper of Hamelin’s faithful followers came when he beckoned. Al dared women to empower themselves in the purest sense— through the “container” they walked around in every day. His siren song struck a chord—positive or negative—with everyone who read his articles. His ideas forced deeper thinking. He implored the newly initiated to become immersed in newfound inner feelings of human physical achievement. “Forcing your container to grow is a freeing experience,” he would declare. With a childlike inquisitiveness Al would proffer: “Why is it that no one questions a woman and her desire to increase her mental capabilities? No one raises an eyebrow over a woman elevating her IQ from 125 to 150, because then, God forbid, she would become too intelligent. Yet when women enter the world of physicality \ SEPTEMBER 2008 257

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East Coast contests in the early ’80s. Al’s feelings about the beauty of humanity came spilling out in those conversations: “Jesus, look at all those women. All unique, all different in God’s infinite wisdom. Some are blessed with the special genetics specific to this damn sport, while others, ordinary in many ways, are just not blessed for bodybuilding stardom. But Stevie, Stevie, look at each one of those brave souls long enough, and you will see that they all have at least one redeeming quality. Every one. That’s beautiful… beeeeuoootiful!” Beautiful, indeed. In Al’s honor, I just uncovered my own manual Smith-Corona typewriter—buried in my garage for the past 10 years—and used it to pound out these final words, just as he did for every letter he ever wrote. In further honor of his passing I am ending this farewell with a comma; as I recall how much Al—a rebel grammarian and English literature professor of the highest order—detested the period. “The period,” as he would say in no uncertain terms, “signifies an ending. And there should never be an ending.” His point about the period is well taken. In my case, there will never be an end to what Al Thomas has left with me in my life. His presence will remain with me forever, never to end. If there is such “a place”—we discussed the possibilities of such a place on many occasions—I’ll see you on the other side, my friend, IM Photographs courtsey of the Dr. Al Thomas family

with a sincere desire to push back the ‘boundaries of acceptability,’ there are suddenly those who line up to caution women not to become ‘too strong’ or ‘too muscular.’” Mystified, he’d shake his head in disbelief. Eloquent in his descriptions as he envisioned these women in the not-too-distant future, he used a masterful selection of descriptive words from the recesses of his vast vocabulary that had us exulting in his verbiage and phraseologies. Indeed, he was the proverbial kid in a candy store, and muscular female strength was his chocolate truffle. Only Al Thomas could create a uniquely colorful female vision of a strength athlete by referring to her as a “magnificent Clydesdale filly” with the capability of radiating “shadow-casting muscle,” never once using those terms in an unflattering way. Meanwhile, he bled admiration for those brave women who always, always suffered the slings and arrows of a culture that simply could not understand women who possessed the desire to enter a world of strength, power, aggression and muscle that had been—since time immemorial—a male domain. For anyone who ever gazed on a female strength athlete with a true appreciation for what she had accomplished, the seeds of that appreciation were sown by Dr. Al. My first letters from Al Thomas 34 years ago were magical in their content. Today they’re treasures of his personal philosophies, which I’ve always respectfully called his “Thomasonian theories.” They were generations ahead of their time. It was at Al’s prodding that I began to submit my own articles to Iron Man—my first ever, in fact—in an effort to help strengthen the fact that he was not alone in his philosophical thought regarding those “grand fillies.”

And how he loved the idea of those larger-than-life women “taking up space on God’s green earth,” never realizing that all of their combined volumes of space could never fill the void he’s left. I was struck by his profound insight into what he felt was an unavoidable unfairness with regard to the finality of a contest and its results, as shown by his decades-long dissatisfaction with the concept of a “bodybuilding contest” and the coldness with which a “placement” was ascribed to each “contestant.” I recall our sitting together at several

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With the


Ava Cowan Compiled by Jonathan Lawson

Photography by Michael Neveux

Figure Champion Height: 5’4” Weight: 123 Hometown: Sacramento, California Current residence: Pompano Beach, Florida Marital status: In a relationship Workout schedule: Monday: legs Tuesday: shoulders, abs; Wednesday: off; Thursday: biceps, back; Friday: chest, triceps \ SEPTEMBER 2008 265

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IRON MAN Hardbody Sample bodypart workout (legs): barbell squats, 4 x 10; leg extensions, 4 x 10; Butt Blaster, 4 x 8-10; lying leg curls, 4 x 8-10; Romanian deadlifts, 4 x 9-10; seated calf raises, 4 x 8; standing calf raises (drop sets), 4 x 8(10), 8(8), 8(8), 8(8) Favorite foods: “I love sushi, dark chocolate, Mexican food and pizza, although I rarely eat any of them. As for healthful foods, I enjoy the basics, such as London broil and brown rice. If I’m eating a quality musclebuilding protein along with a low-glycemic-index carbohydrate, I’m very happy.” Factoids: “I’m the current Ms. Figure America world champion and a WNSO figure professional. I graduated from Fitness Institute International, where I obtained my CPTS, and am certified through NSCA-CPT as well. Additionally, I’ve started to work with women preparing for competition. I work with them extensively on stage presentation, quarter turns, costume selection and nutrition. I’ve won overall titles in the NPC (’05 Southern States), the FAP (’07 Ms. Figure America) and FAME (’07 FAME North American Advanced Figure Champion), and I feel very excited and confident that I’m able to share my experience with other women.” Future plans: “I’m currently collaborating with Dream Tan Competition Color to develop a brand-new color I can endorse. I can promise that you won’t want to step onstage wearing anything else. Also, I’m looking to team up with a quality sports supplement company so that I may continue to compete at the professional level.” Contact info: For bookings contact or visit

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Only the Strong Shall Survive

From Beginner


IntermediIntermediate How to Move to the Next Level by Bill Starr


urrently, there’s a large supply of information to help you get started on a strength program: books, videos and numerous articles in a wide range of fitness magazines. Some of them provide very detailed outlines on how to put together a functional routine, even recommending starting poundage, sets and reps to be used for the various exercises. Most, although not all, also have instructions on how to use proper technique, along with sequence photos. Then of course there’s the army of personal trainers with more initials behind their names than professors at Harvard who know absolutely everything about training a beginner, not to mention having expertise on diet, aerobics, stretching, mental preparations and who will win the next presidential election. While resources like those are beneficial, many embark on their quest to get bigger and stronger on their own. They pick up ideas from others at the gym and from

what they read, winging it and altering their programs fairly regularly until they find one that works for them. It often turns out that those who put together their own programs fare as well as or even better than those following a system laid out in a book or magazine or by a personal trainer. The reason that happens is quite simple. If trainees use at least decent form, are consistent with their training and put their full effort into the exercises, they’ll make progress at the beginning. Perhaps the most important variable is consistency. I’ve noted in this space before that a poorly designed program done consistently will produce greater results than a perfect routine done sporadically. The key to success early on—or at any level for that matter—is never missing X number of sessions in a given week. If one is missed, for whatever reason, it must be made up during that week. Anyone following that basic rule will make gains. Beginners make progress rather rapidly when they train regularly

and with enthusiasm. That encourages them to continue with the discipline. The work done in the weight room, especially on the larger muscle groups, strengthens the muscles and, most important, the attachments. When the tendons and ligaments are exercised in a steady, progressive manner, they respond favorably and provide a solid base of strength for future work. At the same time, invigorating workouts stimulate appetite, and beginners find that they’re able to gain muscular bodyweight easily. As they put on weight, they get stronger, and the stronger they get, the more muscle they gain. Once that happens, they’re hooked because few things in life can equal the heady feeling of being able to get stronger and alter how you look—all through your own volition and sweat. That can’t be bought or obtained through any other means, and that makes it very special. I can state unequivocally that strength training changed my life. When I came across my first set of

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Model: Sebasstian Siegel

Photography by Michael Neveux \ SEPTEMBER 2008 283

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Only the Strong Shall Survive weights at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, I weighed 135. Two years later I’d gained 50 pounds and was loving it. Like my contemporaries, I put together my own beginning program. I had yet to see a fitness magazine or meet anyone with any experience in the field, so I proceeded by using logic as best I could. I’d read the manual on Charles Atlas’ Dynamic Tension when I was 15 and used that as a sort of guide. I never

did any of the free-weight exercises he recommended, however, because there was no way I could afford the set of weights he offered. I did try using some parts from my father’s Caterpillar bulldozer, but all I got out of that were bruises and busted hands. I did learn that a bar holding weights needed collars. Although I had plenty of setbacks, usually from trying to do way too much too soon, I made steady gains

Model: Sebastian Siegel

I quickly found two glaring faults in my training. First, I was doing far too many exercises.

as long as I was consistent. While I was stationed in Iceland, I asked a friend who was going stateside on leave to bring me back some fitness magazines. He brought me three Strength & Healths, and I started building my routine around the three Olympic lifts. I liked the idea of being able to use the strength I’d gained in an athletic way. I’d study the photos of a lifter snatching. pressing, and clean and jerking and do my best to copy him. When I was assigned to the medical unit at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, I was elated to find that the YMCA had a well-stocked weight room and an Olympic bar. Even though I didn’t know what I was doing, I entered meets, not only to participate but to learn. I’d watch the other lifters do their attempts in the warmup area and on the platform and try to mimic the ones with excellent technique. Some may find that a tough way to learn a sports skill, but in fact it’s most beneficial because I took nothing for granted. Any little form point I could pick up was special and stuck with me. Gains continued to come. I was young, pumping plenty of testosterone, had the benefit of lots and lots of good food, was full of enthusiasm and woke up every training day thinking about my upcoming workout. When you’re full of youthful vigor, you fully believe that the sky’s the limit, and for quite some time that was the case. Then reality stepped in, and I hit a wall. I couldn’t get any of my lifts to move—not the Olympic lifts or any of the basic strength movements, like front or back squats. I tried training longer at each session, and that backfired. I reorganized my program. Things went from bad to worse. I read everything I could lay my hands on, but none of the suggestions helped. I decided to take a few days off and quickly discovered that was a very bad idea. I slipped back even further. I had arrived in the place every strength athlete enters

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Only the Strong Shall Survive sooner or later: the doldrums. I had no one to turn to for advice. I couldn’t figure out how to move from beginner to intermediate. I knew it could be done because I’d watched many lifters achieve success. Over the years I’ve talked with a lot of fellow strength athletes who told me they encountered the identical situation. In nearly every case the solution came from someone with experience.

I know now that it was inevitable that I would eventually plateau. It had to happen, not just to me but to everyone who ever started on any type of strength-training routine. Otherwise, there would be hundreds of people overhead-pressing 500 pounds and cleaning 600. But it was very frustrating, and for a full year I made very little progress. While nearly all coaches with some background in training can

Model: Brent Kutlesa

If you hit a plateau, go back to the fundamentals and eliminate the frills.

teach beginners how to get started, very few can help them graduate to the next level. I believe the transition from beginner to intermediate is more difficult than moving from intermediate to advanced. Those who have been training diligently at the intermediate level for some time understand how their body responds to certain exercises and workloads. They’ve also spent time perfecting technique, so they are able to move into a higher strength level more readily. Usually it’s just a matter of gradually increasing the total volume and intensity. Moving up to the intermediate level requires lifters to pay close attention to the subtleties, and most beginners don’t know what those might be. I learned what I was doing incorrectly once I began training under the coaching eye of Sid Henry. After I enrolled at Southern Methodist University, I went to the downtown Dallas YMCA to see if I could lift with him and the rest of the Olympic team. I was more than welcome. I quickly found out two glaring faults in my training. First, I was doing far too many exercises. I was under the impression that if I wanted to get out of my rut, I had to increase my load. That was, in fact, true, but I was spreading out my energy doing a lot of movements for my smaller groups. That changed once I joined the group training with Sid, more out of necessity than philosophy. The weightlifting area was in a cramped space overlooking a squash court. There was room only for a lifting platform and squat rack. As a result, everyone did exactly the same program. We would do three exercises per session: jerks or overhead presses, pulls, full cleans, full snatches, power cleans or power snatches, then front or back squat. That was it. So in one stroke, all my extra work was eliminated. That enabled me to concentrate all my energy into primary movements. It was a major change, and my lifts began to move upward right away. My other shortcoming had to do with form. Since I’d never had anyone coach me on technique, it was little more than adequate, except for my clean. That was a natural move

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You Can Get for me, and the only adjustment I ever made for it was that I learned how to pull longer. When it came to form, Sid was an absolute perfectionist. When you trained with Sid, you did exactly what he instructed you to do or you left. If a rep wasn’t performed precisely, it didn’t count, and you redid that set. That forced

Bigger, Stronger and Leaner

me break out of my stagnation and move into the intermediate category within a few months. I’ve used the concepts I picked up from Sid ever since and have helped countless beginners break through that barrier of distress. Most who come faceto-face with an overall plateau start looking for complicated solutions

Faster Than Ever Before! You don’t have to burn hard-earned muscle as you melt away fat. Now you can actually build more muscle size and strength as your abs get razor sharp and you get ripped. That’s the attention-grabbing look you want now, and the new Fat to Muscle 2 shows you how. You’ll discover: nutrition guidelines and diets— •eatPrecise to max out your muscle mass as pounds of ugly bodyfat disappear. (Learn the CarbStacking strategy that can transform muscle size and stoke the fat-burning furnace.) Which substance—found in almost any kitchen—is the ultimate aid for energy, better muscular response and fat burning. How dairy can help you burn fat— yogurt, cheese and milk can get you leaner. How to increase fat use with a minimum of aerobic exercise, and why aerobics may be a waste of time for a lean, muscular look. The amazing direct/indirect Fat-toMuscle 2 training program—with this innovative routine it appears as if you train a bodypart only once a week, but you really train each twice thanks to indirect work (and each workout takes less than an hour). The 8 key nutrients for faster fat burning, including how much to take of each. Top 6 fat-to-muscle tricks. (Great info!) The 10 rules for super energy. The secrets to melting away bodyfat as you build lean, ripped muscle are all packed in this bulletin—eating plans, workout routines, metabolism-acceleration techniques and the best fat-to-muscle nutrients. Stop dieting Pack On Le an away muscle—pack As You Shed Mass Bodyfat Includes carb on more as you burn -sta diets, grow cking and carb-reducti on fat-burning th hormone activatio n, workouts and fat, and look your and the 10 sup Rules for Sup plements er Energy hard, muscular best in record time!

• • • •

Model: Brent Kutlesa

When you’re attempting to break through to the next level, use the tried-and-true strength standard of four to six sets of four to six reps.

• • •




us to pay very close attention to the small form points on every set and was a valuable skill to use in contests. No one was permitted to jump to a higher poundage if the previous set was done in a sloppy manner, even if it was completed. Again, that forced us to focus on what we were doing. Another positive side effect was that it moved the workload upward gradually, which is how it should be. That way the weaker muscle groups get time to catch up. Another bonus was that my workouts at the Dallas Y were 20 to 30 minutes shorter than those I had been doing. That had a direct influence on recovery, and recovery is one of the keys to advancing to a higher strength level. The systematic approach to training helped

to the problem, but the changes are quite basic. So if you should find yourself in the same position, unable to elevate your level of strength from beginner to intermediate, here are some suggestions. First, get rid of the extras you’ve picked up over the months— perhaps even years. When I’m asked to evaluate a program, I quickly notice that the athlete is doing too many exercises. It’s an easy trap to fall into; I know because it happened to me. You read an article on strengthening some bodypart and think, “I could use that.” A few months later another piece on back or shoulder strength strikes your fancy, and you add a few exercises for those bodyparts and so on, until your program begins to look like an index for a training manual.



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Only the Strong Shall Survive find a way. Ask around. Find out if there’s a knowledgeable coach in your area. You might be surprised to find that there is. Then seek him out. Every capable coach I know of is more than ready to help a fellow strength aficionado. That’s because in all likelihood someone assisted him when he needed advice. If there’s a college or university nearby, inquire about its strength program. At Hopkins there were usually a dozen nonathletes and several nonstudents training with me. A few fathers brought their sons for one-time visits to have

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Model: Brent Kutlesa

Go back to the fundamentals cises in the routine: triples, doubles and eliminate the frills. Limit the and singles. They activate the atnumber of exercises in a workout tachments more than even slightly to three primary and no more than higher reps and are beneficial for one auxiliary. That’s not counting beginners just as they are for inthe warmup movements for the abs termediate or advanced strength and lumbars. Put 100 percent of athletes. For the most part, though, your effort into those primary lifts, stick with five times five. and they’ll begin to move upward. Another very necessary step Your sessions will be shorter, and in the process is improving your that saved energy will be useful for technique. I was most fortunate to your next workout. have Sid Henry teach me, and I fully Those primary exercises should understand that it might not be an center on strengthening the core easy task to accomplish. If you’re lower back, hips and legs, with adtruly serious about elevating your ditional attention given to the large level of strength, however, you’ll groups of the back and shoulder girdle. Leave the Besides having too many smaller groups alone for exercises in a workout, the most part. When you many beginners are guilty attack the larger groups, the smaller ones always of training more often are involved, and that’s than they should. sufficient at this level of training. Another fault I find in programs people send me is that the set-and-rep formula is all over the place. When you’re attempting to break through to the next level, use the tried-andtrue strength standard of four to six sets of four to six reps. Regular readers know that I prefer five sets of five because 1) it’s easier to do the calculating when determining workload with that formula, and 2) it’s easier in general when you’re working with a large group of athletes. Of course, some exercises need to be done in lower reps—front squats and jerks, for example. Lower reps are better because the bar always tends to slip out of the solid position on the front deltoids during those movements. When it slips away from that ideal rack, form is adversely affected. That’s why it’s smarter to lower the reps to threes or sometimes twos and do more sets to get the work in. Occasionally, it’s a good idea to handle lower reps on all of the primary exer-

Only the Strong Shall Survive strong. Usually they’re just too busy with their occupations or family to train hard enough to be national caliber. Yet they know the sport and can lend much useful advice to anyone seeking it. Besides having too many exercises in a workout, many beginners are guilty of training more often than they should. They get caught in the split system, which puts them in the gym four times a week. That system does have its place, but only for already intermediate or advanced strength athletes—and then only for a short period during the year. Three days a week is sufficient. You need the off days for recovery, and if you fully apply yourself to the three workouts, you’ll make gains. A few other tips. Keep an accurate record of every workout: weights used on all the sets, number of sets and reps done, plus anything else that you might think of that has an influence on your training, such as bodyweight, weather, biorhythms, if you know how to figure them, diet, suppleRemember, ments, how much rest you when you get and so on. Recording the attack numbers is absolutely critithe larger cal because without them groups, the you have no way of knowing smaller ones just how much total work you’re doing. You may think always are you can recall what you did involved. last week or two weeks ago, but you won’t. I had some In the same vein, find out where very intelligent athletes at Hopkins, the strongest men train in your area. and none were able to do so unless In some instances their gym may be they kept a training book. a good distance away, but again it Once you feel that things are will be worth the drive every week moving in the right direction again, or so to work out with that group. you must keep an eye on your workTraining with athletes who are load. It has to go up gradually. The stronger than you is always helpnumbers will reveal which bodyful. It raises your expectations and parts are receiving the most attenbrings home the fact that if others tion and which ones aren’t. That will can lift a certain poundage, you enable you to bring weaker areas up can too, over time. Plus, the energy to par and may be the single most generated from training with highly important step in gaining strength motivated strength athletes flows on a consistent basis. Your training into everyone in the weight room. log will give you a picture of exI’ve discovered through the years actly what you’re doing without any that for a wide variety of reasons guesswork, and from that you can some of the very best technical make adjustments in your routine. coaches are not necessarily that Without it, you’re shooting in the Model: Brent Kutlesa

me check their technique. A great many workshops and clinics are held throughout the country and are most helpful to those who need critical eyes to observe their technique. You can track them down on the Internet. Or do what I did. Go to weightlifting meets and watch the form of the top lifters. Plenty of videos are also available. It may not be easy to find someone to critique your technique, but at least make an effort.

dark. Finally, nutrition and rest. The more wholesome your diet, the easier it will be for you to gain strength and size. Avoid junk foods, foods with empty calories, colas, foods high in saturated fats and sugar. That way you won’t have to spend precious energy burning off the unwanted bodyweight. Build your meals around protein foods, and drink a protein shake right after you complete your workout. That, too, helps recovery. Keep in mind that you don’t have to gain bodyweight in order to get stronger. Those who compete in sports that require weight divisions, such as Olympic and powerlifting and wrestling, have to increase their strength while remaining within a fixed weight limit. As I made steady progress under Sid’s tutelage, I stayed in the 181-pound class. If the sport of your choice is one where being heavier is an advantage, however, like football, hockey, lacrosse and basketball, by all means try to pack on more muscle. Adding bodyweight is actually the easiest way to get stronger. You can do it by drinking several protein milk shakes a day—and be sure to have one at bedtime. That’s one of the keys to gaining functional bodyweight. For many who want to get stronger and perhaps bigger, getting a sufficient amount of rest is the most critical variable of all. It always was for me. Simply going to bed half an hour earlier than usual the night before a workout can spell the difference between having a successful session and a crummy one. So if you’re struggling to move up to the intermediate level, condense your program, hone your technique, train hard and consistently, keep accurate records, eat right, and make sure you arrive at the gym fully rested and ready for the task ahead. Editor’s note: Bill Starr was a strength and conditioning coach at Johns Hopkins University from 1989 to 2000. He’s the author of The Strongest Shall Survive—Strength Training for Football, which is available for $20 plus shipping from Home Gym Warehouse. Call (800) 447-0008, or visit IM

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No, I’m Not Running For President


itting at the bus stop organizing my gym bag, I’m once again reminded how glad I am I’m not running for president this year. Hard training, smart eating and the basic truths go right out the window. Strategy meetings, fund-raisers and basic deceptions take their places. Not that I couldn’t fix the mess, but the stress...and resulting catabolism. I note mouse-size tooth marks on the edge of a faded meal-replacement wrapper, the content of which is rock-hard and long past its 1999 expiration date. While contemplating whether to keep, discard or eat the relic, a vaguely familiar voice from behind me asks if we might continue the conversation we started months ago. It’s the guy who journeys biweekly to the unemployment office to negotiate his compensation, as old and satisfying as my mousey energy bar. “Anybody sitting here, Mr. Draper?” Referring to me as Mr. Draper does not win him points. Sitting back and crossing his legs, he asks his first of a series of aimless questions: Q: What were the popular training methods used back in the ’60s?

A: The basic movements were applied with good order, repetition, force and regularity. The methods were not yet analyzed, overintellectualized and named. I guess the popular training MO among the original Gold’s champs was volume training: three exercises per muscle group, reps in the 12, 10, 8, 6 range, with max-power reps thrown in when the urge was unstoppable. Each muscle group was trained compatibly twice a week and the gym visited at least five of the seven days. Squats and deadlifts counted big time, and supersets were plentiful. Heavy dumbbells had a special place in our hearts. One generally amped his training in the spring and summer and powered it in the fall and winter. Q: Describe the diet you used back in those days. A: If you sat down with us after a workout at our favorite Marina cafe, you’d see us order hamburger patties and eggs, home fries and whole-wheat toast. Our diets were high protein with an accent on meat and milk products, medium carbs with plenty of salad and fresh fruits and medium fats with no fried food or junk. With me, some things never change. Q: How long would bodybuilders train back then? A: There was a season for hard training and a season for harder training. The average time in the gym was 90 to 120 minutes, five days a week. When contest preparation loomed (spring, summer and early fall), training twice a day was a common practice for the guys. That added another hour to the total. Q: Today people say you risk overtraining if you train beyond one hour, but back then guys routinely lifted for two hours or more, yet got amazing results. How would you explain the progress that was made under these circumstances? A: I don’t see how a competitor can make progress with much less. Overtraining can be a problem, and it must be monitored closely. Training to the edge isn’t the most healthful method of training, but it is the only method for a superior championship physique. Q: Was cardio used as often as it is today? A: You hardly ever saw cardio training in our neighborhood. There was no stationary bike to mount at the gym, no treadmill for miles and miles, and the other swell gadgets (ellipticals, steppers, goofy gofers) were yet to be invented. Q: How did people respond to Arnold when he arrived at Gold’s for the first time? A: People in Venice in the ’60s weren’t easily excited. The kicked-back nature of the stony beach community influenced our reception of Arnold. Besides, bodybuilding was yet a novelty, an anomaly, remember? A half-pint in a rolled-up brown

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paper bag. “Arnold, he’s the big kid with muscles and an odd accent from Europe. He won bodybuilding contests over there, Germany, I think, and dresses funny. Looks like he learned to lift at Camp Munich.” We liked him, helped him, taught him by not teaching him and watched him grow and grow. The rumble you heard in the background was bodybuilding in its early stages of takeoff…five, four, three, two, one… Q: I have seen some great photos of you and Arnold training together. How influential was Arnold in your training and bodybuilding progress? A: Arnold was impressive then, almost as impressive as now. I was a loner who, like a wolf, knew and trusted and tended his own territory. I could live beside a good man without doubt, envy or antagonism. Arnold was a strong force, and his energy and drive were infectious. His training at first was clumsy—nothing to emulate—and gained grace and meaning day by day. He and I and the rest of the small mob fed on each other generously. Our unity was evident, as were our developing training styles and individuality. Intensity begets intensity, and our wills to win rose to the surface like helium-filled life preservers. Q: What was life in general like for bodybuilders back then? A: I never thought of myself as a bodybuilder. The term never rolled off my lips with affection. The early lifters from Muscle Beach were no fonder of the term than I. We were, we are, weight lifters—people who lift weights. Bodybuilder has a connotation as likable as mercenary when speaking of soldiers, or camper when referring to explorers or star-gazing when discussing astronomy. Who knows? Maybe they hung at the beach and waited for life to happen. You’d have to be one to know. I trained hard and slipped out the back door, applied myself to forming wood and lived a simple life. Q: What kind of clothing did you wear in the gym and on the street? Was there a specific dress style for bodybuilders? A: Few of us were fancy dressers on the street and certainly not in the gym. Think T-shirt, tank top, sweatshirt and flannel shirt and jeans. We wore our clothes hard and adjusted them to fit as needed and for comfort. The gear came later as the industry expanded. We wore layers in the winter and shed them as the workouts warmed up; sweatshirts and T-shirts often lost their sleeves in the middle of a workout if needed. It was cool to see the bulk and muscle bulging through the well-worn clothes, but it was not the main source of entertainment. There was work to do. Speaking of which, this is my stop, and you should get a job. Come to think of it, I should get a job. A job? Is that anything like work? And when would I take off, fly, soar and glide? If anybody asks, you haven’t seen me lately…better yet, tell ’em I’m busy… —Dave Draper Editor’s note: For more from Dave Draper, visit and sign up for his free newsletter. You can also check out his amazing Top Squat training tool, classic photos, workout Q&A and forum.


Eat to Save


unger may cause you to spend more money. In a recent study from the National University of Singapore, women who were exposed to the smell of baked goods spent more money on expensive items than those who weren’t. About 65 percent of the women who were exposed felt the need to splurge, despite a tight budget. Only about 15 percent of those who didn’t get the aroma wanted to spend carelessly. Lesson: Have a filling meal or protein drink before you hit the mall. —Becky Holman


No Phone, Better Snoozing


esearchers at Wayne State University in Detroit have found that using your cell phone before bed can interfere with sleep. It appears that the low-level radiation emitted by cell phones reduces the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that helps induce sleep. Lesson: Turn off your cell phone at least an hour before bedtime. —Becky Holman \ SEPTEMBER 2008 293

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MIND/BODY BodySpace Physique of the Month


John Perry .S. Navy Petty Officer Third Class John Perry went to sea in 2003 and became one of the first crew members of the USS Momsen, a guided missile destroyer. That job has enabled him to see Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Guam and go through the Panama Canal. It also enabled him to get serious about lifting in 2006—when he cruised across John was interested in working out, as were many of the crew, but when he found BodySpace, he discovered a place where people could share their interest in getting into better shape. John found articles about how to lift and how to build muscle—and he got answers to his questions about supplements. “We would be offshore, and the heli would come in with the mail with as many as 100 boxes, all from BodyBuilding .com—only three days after placing an order. Other companies would take forever.” John is looking forward to doing his first show. He’s lifting hard and loves it. He especially likes to work arms, shoulders, chest and back at least three times every week. His diet is clean, but he knows he has to tighten it up to be onstage. Protein from Muscle Milk and VyoTech 17HD are among his favorite supplements. Beyond his aspirations of getting bigger and getting onstage, he one day hopes to open a gym. What else makes it fun for John? He often works out with his wife, Jamie, and they are expecting their first child any moment. For more on John, check out his BodySpace, “john22perry,” on Body —Ian Sitren

Editor’s note: For more BodySpace bodies and info, visit

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Photography by Ian Sitren \ SecondFocus



Drink During Your Workout


TS’s GlycoNitric was developed as an in-workout supplement. What does “in-workout” mean? It means that you should drink GlycoNitric while you’re working out. GlycoNitric supplies you with a low-glycemic-index carbohydrate blend and all five essential electrolytes, as well as the muscle-pumping ingredients creatine and arginine alpha-ketoglutarate to fuel your training all the way through! For more information, visit, or call (800) 275-6079.


Mind Over Matters odybuilders know that stress can inhibit muscle growth, primarily due to the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that also suppresses the immune system. New research, however, suggests that it’s not so much the stress as how you perceive it. Some people don’t suffer any negative effects from stress but instead tend to thrive on it—a hectic life invigorates them. If you feel stress negatively, however, you’re probably not one of those few and should take steps to reduce life’s stresses. Daily meditation is one way— and yes, long walks and light workouts can count as meditative activities that relieve stress. —Becky Holman


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MIND/BODY Book Review

The Secret


ccording to the item titled “Mind Over Medicine” that recently appeared in IRON MAN, 45 percent of primary care physicians have given patients placebos. The reason is that if patients believe that something they’re taking will improve their condition, the condition often improves. It’s a case of the mind controlling the body—and that’s essentially what The Secret by Rhonda Byrne is about. In bodybuilding you often hear the phrase, “Believe and you will achieve.” No doubt you’ve read the stories of Arnold imagining his biceps as huge, peaked mountains. Making things happen, including physical changes, has a lot to do with your heartfelt beliefs and mental images. The Secret is full of testimonials from people explaining how believing something would happen made it so—everything from curing bad eyesight to getting parking spaces close to the entrance of a shopping center. While a lot of the aligningthe-universe-to-make-your-life-better rhetoric is rather esoteric, I’ve seen it in action. My husband recently showed me a slightly raised brown spot on his foot. Our dermatologist recently told us to watch for strange molelike growths on our feet and legs, as that’s often where melanoma, the fatal skin cancer, starts. We were concerned. After three months it hadn’t gone away, so he decided to make an appointment with the dermatologist. As fate would have it, I had given him The Secret to read, even though he’s quite a skeptic, and I knew he might shrug


By Rhonda Byrne the information off with a laugh. He finished the book in two days and decided to try the advice. He began visualizing the spot on his foot peeling away like a scab. He used that visualization technique every night before bed. Result: It peeled off after five days, just as he had visualized. We were amazed, and we cancelled the dermatologist appointment. That’s not to say you can cure disease or that you should attempt to self-treat serious conditions with visualization instead of doctorprescribed medication or surgery. It’s just an anecdote to show you the power your mind has to make things happen. On the flip side, having negative beliefs or a bad-luck disposition can make bad things happen. Ever hear of a self-fulfilling prophecy? How about a psychosomatic illness? We’ve all known people who thought they were cursed—and sure enough, bad things happened to them over and over. Was it the universe aligning to fulfill the mind’s visualization? The Secret says absolutely. Many of those quoted in the book tell of how they created fortunes by believing and acting as if it had already occurred. Go back to that last sentence and substitute “muscular physiques” for “fortunes.” Have you ever laughed at the skinny guy in the gym hitting poses and acting as if his physique was 250 pounds of raw muscle? Maybe he was on to something. Believe and you will achieve. It’s something to take seriously if you want to reach your goals in the gym and in life. —Becky Holman

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MIND/BODY Heart Health


Postworkout Cardio


number of writers in IRON MAN have recommended doing cardio after you train with weights rather than before. The reason is that lifting clears the bloodstream of sugar so you tap into fat stores almost immediately when you hit the treadmill. Now a study out of Japan says that doing cardio after weights also helps lower blood pressure, which tends to be higher after lifting. The postworkout cardio made blood vessels more elastic, which is a good thing, especially for older trainees. —Becky Holman

Best Sellers DVDs/Videos:


1) “’08 IRON MAN Pro”

3) The Precontest Bible by Larry Pepe

2) “Jay Cutler’s Jay to Z”

4) The Russian Kettlebell Challenge by Pavel Tsatsouline

3) “Ronnie Coleman: Relentless” 4) “IRON MAN’s Swimsuit Spectacular #9” 5) “2007 Mr. Olympia” Books: 1) The 7-Minute Rotator Cuff Solution by Joseph Horrigan, D.C., and Jerry Robinson 2) 10-Week Size Surge by IRON MAN

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3) Ronnie Coleman’s Hardcore Top E-book: Quick-Start Muscle-Building Guide—Your First 8 Weeks to a Muscular Transformation by Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson (available at www .MuscleQuickStart .com).

MIND/BODY Health and Aging

Juice Prevents Clogged Arteries


uices made from apples or purple grapes— and the fruits themselves—protect against developing clogged arteries, suggests a study that was reported in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. Researchers fed hamsters the fruit and juice or water, plus a fatty diet. The animals who got the grape juice had the lowest risk of developing artery problems. The University of Montpellier research team says the juice’s benefits come from its high levels of phenols, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants in various foods have been regularly cited as being beneficial to heart health. The French researchers looked at how juicing

affected the phenol content of fruit—because most studies look at raw fruit. They then looked at how various kinds of fruit affected the hamsters’ risk of atherosclerosis—the buildup of fatty plaque deposits in the arteries that can lead to heart attacks or strokes.

The amount of fruit the hamsters consumed was equivalent to three apples or three bunches of grapes daily for a human. Hamsters given juice got the equivalent of four glasses daily for a person weighing 70 kilograms, or 154 pounds. The apples and grapes had about the same phenol content, while the purple grape juice had 2.5 times more phenols than apple juice. Compared with animals given water, those given fruit or fruit juice had lower cholesterol counts, less oxidative stress and less fat accumulation in their aorta, the main vessel supplying oxygenated blood to the body. Purple grape juice had the greatest effect, followed by purple grapes, apple juice and apples. The researchers say their findings suggest that the amount of phenols contained in a food has a direct effect on its antioxidant properties. They also point out that other antioxidant compounds in the fruits, such as vitamin C and carotenoids, could contribute to their effects as well. The team, led by Kelly Decorde, says that the findings “provide encouragement that fruit and fruit juices may have a significant clinical and public health relevance.” —Dr. Bob Goldman Editor’s note: For the latest information and research on health and aging, subscribe to the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine e-zine free at

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Readers Write Letters

Iron Bug Venom Why do we pump iron? Because we have no choice. I was bitten by the iron bug at the age of 15. I wanted to be big like my favorite professional wrestlers, Brutus Beefcake and The Magnificent Moraco. I used to think bodybuilders looked disgusting. Who wanted to walk around with half their veins popping out everywhere? Not me, that’s for sure—that is, until I saw the November 1989 IRON MAN. Eddie Robinson was on the cover, and he changed my whole world around—he was huge, cut and, most importantly, veiny. He had a look that I wanted. I was 19 at the time; I’m 38 now. I’ve been pumping iron off and on for 23 years. Try as I might, I can’t purge the venom the iron bug injected into my system, nor do I ever want to. I’m well on my way to creating a physique that would blow that 19-year-old kid’s mind, and I owe it all to IRON MAN. Thank you for always being there for me. James Davis Pittsburg, CA

Nancy Georges.

Editor’s note: We’re proud to have inspired another dedicated lifter. By the way, the antidote for iron bug venom is marathon running.

Gorgeous Georges My photo session with Michael Neveux was awesome. He is great to work with, and I was thrilled with the results. I really had a great time shooting with him. Thanks for featuring me in IRON MAN. Nancy Georges via Internet

In Awe I got your Ageless Muscle issue [June ’08] and was blown away by Frank Zane’s photos. The man is 65 with the physique of a 35-yearold. Amazing. I know for a fact that he never had stellar genetics for building muscle, so to look the way he does now is quite an accomplishment. Keep pumping, Frank! Jerry Thatcher via Internet

Frank Zane, 65.

Brainum Is the Bomb I want to thank Jerry Brainum for his article on branched-chain amino acids [“Branching Out for More Muscle,” June ’08]. I’ve been telling young bodybuilders at my gym that BCAAs are one of the most important supplements for building muscle, and most of them shrugged me off as old school. Now I’ve got research-backed ammunition, thanks to Mr. Brainum. That article also taught me that BCAAs not only build muscle but help burn fat and support anabolic hormones as well. Great info. Sandro Melia Miami, FL

Exploding Muscle Size A few months ago I bought the e-books Ultimate Mass Workout and Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building [at X-Rep .com]. I had been working out for a year without getting much bigger. I’m 5’8”, 150 pounds, and I had some decent muscle, but I had 11-inch arms, and my pecs were barely noticeable. I started with the Ultimate Mass Workout for six weeks, and then I did the X-Rep Hybrid Program for six weeks. My whole body exploded! I can’t thank you enough for those programs. My body is so ripped now that sometimes I have trouble believing that it’s the one I started with! Plus, my pecs are now one of my best bodyparts, with 14-inch arms to match. Thank you! Bryan Marx St. Louis, MO Editor’s note: Three inches on your arms in only a few months and a new armor-plated chest? We’re impressed! Keep training hard. For more information on X Reps and X-hybrid mass-training tactics, visit Vol. 67, No. 9: IRON MAN (ISSN #0047-1496) is published monthly by IRON MAN Publishing, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033. Periodical Mail is paid at Oxnard, CA, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to IRON MAN, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033. Please allow six to eight weeks for change to take effect. Subscription rates—U.S. and its possessions: new 12-issue subscription, $29.97. Canada, Mexico and other foreign subscriptions: 12 issues, $49.97 sent Second Class. Foreign orders must be in U.S. dollars. Send subscriptions to IRON MAN, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033. Or call 1-800-570-4766. Copyright © 2008. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher. Printed in the USA.

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Ironman Magazine 2008-09  


Ironman Magazine 2008-09