Muscle Magazines Review – August-September

Ughh. A bit late this month with this month’s muscle-rag reviews. There isn’t enough Red Bull in Thailand to keep me awake while wading through these pages of wearisome wank sometimes. Muscular Development The first few pages are dedicated to the thrilling topic of how California is no longer the Mecca of bodybuilding and that things have shifted more to the East Coast being the world’s premier hot spot for training. I’m not sure about the East Coast because I’ve never been there, but there was a marked change in the 15 years between trips out to Venice and Golds. When I went the first time, there were famous faces from the industry everywhere. My first meeting with Lee Priest was a chance occasion just walking down the streets of Santa Monica. When I visited last year, I trained with Robby Robinson, but didn’t see many of the famous guys around like I did back in the 90s.

Me and Lee - Streets of Santa Monica, 1999.

Me and Lee – Streets of Santa Monica, 1999.

Have you ever noticed how girls on Facebook would post pics of female celebrities who were they’re so called “crushes”, that invariably their “crush” had a striking resemblance to themselves? An interesting editorial from Peter McGough discusses the seemingly random act of the bodybuilders we choose to support as inspirations or favourites. It goes back to the psychological principle of liking that which likes us, or is like us in some way. I know in my case, it’s always been the guys who have similar structures to mine that I hope to emulate. I can never be Dorian Yates or Arnold Schwarzenegger, so I don’t favour their physiques even though they’re beyond awesome. Instead I like Lee Labrada, Danny Hester, Frank Zane, Danny Padilla and Shawn Ray.

Man crush - Danny Padilla

Man crush – Danny Padilla

Greg Valentino Quote of the Month – “If big Ramy ever thickens up through the chest and back and if he ever gets his calves and hamstrings up to the level of his quads, god help the rest of the pros….the Sandow will be Egypt for a long time. ramy Research Bytes *WEIGHT TRAINING AT SIMULATED ALTITUDE PROMOTES MUSCLE HYPERTROPHY (Clinical Physiology and Functional Imaging, published online April 1, 2014) Chinese researchers found that training in a low-oxygen environment promoted muscle hypertrophy without increasing strength. The test subjects trained in air containing 12.7 percent oxygen, which is equivalent to training at 13,000 feet.

GLUTE-HAM RAISE AND ROMANIAN DEADLIFT BEST HAMSTRING EXERCISES (Journal Strength Conditioning Research, 28: 1573-1580, 2014)

Is DINITROPHENOL a Useful Weight-Loss Drug? (Journal of Biological Chemistry,published online May 28, 2014) in a study on mice, determined that DNP was highly effective for weight loss in normal environmental temperatures. The drug also improved blood sugar regulation. They suggested that combining low doses of DNP with drugs that control appetite could be effective for treating obesity.

Fish Oil Has No Effect on Post-Exercise Muscle Soreness (International Journal Sports Nutrition Exercise Metabolism, 24: 206-214, 2014) University of Aberdeen in Scotland found that fish oil supplements administered for six weeks reduced markers of inflammation— but had no effect on post-exercise muscle soreness induced by a high-intensity weight-training workout involving eccentric quadriceps contractions

Clenbuterol Poisonings Increase in Australia (Medical Journal Australia, 200: 219-221, 2014) Poison control centers in Australia reported a dramatic increase in emergency room visits stemming from clenbuterol use between 2004 and 2012. Most patients were non-athletes who used the drug to improve their appearance.

VIAGRA INCREASES THE RISK OF MELANOMA (Journal American Medical Association Internal Medicine, 174: 964·970, 2014 A Harvard Medical School study showed an 84 percent increased risk of melanoma in men who used of sildenafil (Viagra)

. WOMEN WITH WIDE HIPS HAVE MORE ONE-NIGHT STANDS (Archives of Sexual Behavior, published online April 22, 2014) Researchers from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom found that women with larger hips had more sex partners and were more likely to have one-night stands. Wide hips were defined as greater than 14 inches across.

The wider the hips the more frequent the dip...doesn't explain Asian girls exactly.

The wider the hips the more frequent the dip…doesn’t explain Asian girls exactly.

Post workout carbs aren’t necessarily warranted post training being that high intensity training sessions don’t cause significant reductions in muscle glycogen (about 40% at most) Glycogen stores are easily and sufficiently topped up from subsequent feedings. Most of the post-workout literature looking into glycogen retention focused on endurance sessions.

Post workout insulin response is less important that the availability of leucine and the general importance of post-workout carbs boils down to a trainee’s individual goals; If you are looking to build muscle without concerns about your fat burning get your carbs, protein and creatine after your training. With all the added blood flow to your muscles and up-regulated glucose/amino acid transport mechanisms, saturation with nutrients after a workout is fine.

However, if your goal is to burn fat and you are utilizing a glycogen-depleted state to burn more of the fat, why spike insulin right after your training session? Let the fat-burning machinery run for a while after your training with a more moderate rise in insulin obtained from post-workout protein. If you want to build muscle without gaining much fat, get as much of your added calories from whey protein as you can tolerate. If your goal is to perform your best over two-per-day training sessions less than eight hours apart, utilize carbohydrate immediately after your training to restore glycogen levels before your next training session.

That is, if your goal is to perform your best in the second session. Post workout carbs are also influenced by the goals dictated by one’s total macro intake for the day “If you are trying to maintain a low-carbohydrate diet for ketogenesis, it is likely that your carbohydrate will be evenly distributed into your veggies for the day and having a bolus of carbs after your training won’t be feasible. Data shows that you don’t need the added carbs to maximize muscle protein synthesis postworkout. If you are consuming carbohydrates in your meals, plan to have one of your meals immediately after your training. Thus since some studies show no effect and others show a positive effect of immediate protein and carbohydrate supplementation, what do you have to lose by trying?”

** An article promoting the hormonal benefits of intermittent fasting covers much already well-trod ground.

** Don’t think of a pink elephant!…well this month’s interview with Kai Greene is a fairly interesting read with more than a references to his his shady past, and asks readers not to delve too much into Kai’s past when judging the accomplishments of his physique…

** Pro, Max Charles does 3 ½ hour workouts, weighs over 300 pounds at 5’11 and hardly eats anything beyond “moderate servings of rice, beans and chicken just three times a day.” He does however drink two to three gallons every day of V8 juice in fruit punch or strawberry-banana flavors, plus Sprite and Mountain Dew. For workouts he does 20-30 reps per set and goes as high as 40-50 reps claiming that low reps never worked for him. A typical workout sees him doing 40 sets.

max charles

Max Charles

**A small piece on how Bev Francis Powerhouse gym is the Mecca of the East and how it came to be the popular choice of gyms for bodybuilding greats visiting the area

** A piece of supplemental medical treatments to raising testosterone including the use of Viagra. **

DAA is unlikely to be of significant value to healthy, young men with high normal testosterone. Prior to considering DAA, it may be appropriate to measure morning testosterone. If it is under 500 ng/dL, then you may see a benefit; if it is over 600 ng/dL, you likely will not see a benefit, and could potentially lower testosterone to mid-range.

** William Lewellyn resident MD steroid expert touts the use of arachidonic acid (ARA) – The researchers found eight weeks of (ARA) supplementation to increase lean body mass, muscle thickness, strength and anaerobic power in experienced, resistance-trained adults. “ARA has been fully and strongly validated as an anabolic and ergogen. As for effective dosage if you choose to supplement, I’d suggest 1,000 milligrams of ARA per day (pre-workout) for two months. Then, take an equal amount of time off . This seems to extend its usefulness a great deal.” The last section featuring Q&A’s with the pros and their trainers gives a good idea of how far genetics plays a part in this sport. Many of these guys can get away with things that no average Joe could possibly fathom doing.

** Ronnie mentions that he finds it hard to train now at home in his decked out gym with his little ones running around…how many kids does the GOAT actually have?? I know his missus just gave birth to ANOTHER one the other day…..must be 7-8, 9? by now. At least one for every Sandow win I’m guessing… father Ron

** Jay never goes higher than 405 in squat and Paul Demayo never went over 315 – these were their training weights and I’m sure these guys could use a lot more but don’t feel the heavier weights necessary to build big legs.  – Jay also gives his kidneys a rest by cutting down food and protein intake significantly post contest.


** Dorian gives a rundown at some of the best gyms around the world that he’s trained at. Venice Golds is poorly laid out and more of a social club. Metroflex Texas is hardcore and never been cleaned. Bev’s has the best equipment. Doherty’s in Melbourne has some awesome atmosphere and great equipment.

** Branch mentions that he can’t hang with his heaviest weights in the gym anymore, mentioning that his prime strength years were between the age 27-34. “Johnnie and I were both just stupid strong back then. Every PR [personal record] I set in my life happened in that period. On the bench press, I got 500 for seven reps, and six plates a side, or 585, for a double. I could incline press 495 for five, and do military presses with 405 for four or five reps too. On squats, I did 800 for a one-rep max, and hit 585 for 15 deep reps. The best deadlift I ever pulled I can’t recall exactly, but it was in the low 700s. He says he can’t train like that anymore since his joints and connective tissue is fucked…..nahh really? (if you’ve seen his training footage with garbage form, you’d know what I’m talking about – check out his and Jonnie’s Leg Day video here to see what I mean.)

**Jose Raymond – “I don’t have cheat meals. Instead, I have higher carb/higher calorie days.  Once I start my diet, there is no cheating.” Jose also takes 12 weeks off after contest seasons to let his joints and injuries repair. – “I’m also taking time off from a strict diet and all supplementation, so my receptors can get a break too.”

** Nick Trigili – “As far as strict dieting goes, I am blessed with a very fast metabolism so I never really feel those dieting woes everyone speaks about. I still do cheat meals every few days and I diet on about 500-700 grams of carbs.”

** Juan Morel in his column also mentions how he never dips below 1000 grams of carbs pre-contest and generally maintains an intake of around 1200-2000 carbs  a day. Viva la Insulin!

** Charles Glass – answers a question on tattoos saying that he thinks they are generally a bad idea for competitors because they blur definition in the area they cover too much.

Lee Priest - tattoos overdone?

Lee Priest – tattoos overdone?

** Victor Martinez echoes the often repeated sentiment that legs need high reps to grow. 8-10 isn’t going to cut it and certainly not the low reps that powerlifters do.

** Schwarzenegger (or his ghost writer) rounds out this month’s articles with a piece on the value of a good training partner. Arnold was rumoured to train so intensely that he burned through training partners with very few guys (such as Franco) being able to hang through his marathon torture sessions. Arnold and Franco training I’ve always tried not to be dependent on a training partner, but I think a good one can lend as much as 10% difference to workouts if you can find a good, dependable one.

Ironman Sept

IronMan Australia Only thing more overplayed than Arnold cover features are articles detailing the Oak’s arm routine. Go back through the Arnold archives and listen to him relate about his 5 hour per day workouts, or selection of this and that exercise to peak, chisel or build certain areas of the bicep….You’d have to be the most naive of fools to believe any of these articles resemble what Arnold actually did in the gym because 1) Arnold was/is a pathological liar when it comes to training. He never lets facts get in the way a good narrative cultivating the upkeep of his own legend. 2) Many of his articles are ghost written – i.e. purely made up to perpetuate the mythology surrounding aforementioned legend. A Jerry Brainum side bar alludes to this. He said that training with Arnold many times, his workouts rarely exceeded 1.5 hours, he only got really serious about training 12 weeks from a contest, and the only muscle he trained hard all year was his calves.

Arnold - The Legend, The Myth, The Bullshit-Artist all rolled into one.

Arnold – The Legend, The Myth, The Bullshit-Artist all rolled into one.

The 50th Olympia is set to be televised live – the first time since 1984. Victor Martinez, the guy who never seems to get a break talks about how he suffered a spiral fracture of the humerus during arm-wrestling mock photo shoot  and how pre exhaust training allows you him mitigate the effects of injury.

The ascetic acid found in apple cider vinegar was responsible for declines in body weight, waist circumference, triglycerides, and blood fat. ACV positive effects on detoxification and blood alkalinity.

Scott Goble’s commentary of making the most of the inevitable curve balls and shit times life can sometimes throws at us; injury, work stress, sickness etc – his suggestion entails showing up continuously regardless and doing your best. Injured? Work around it. Heavy work load? 30 minutes is better than nothing.

Luke McNally recommends treading carefully when it comes to calcium supplementation. Not only is it NOT an effective preventative supplement for osteoporosis as once believed, but it can cause a host of other problems. (calcification of the arteries, pressure on the adrenals, kidney stones, thyroid impairment etc) Magnesium is a better supplemental bet, especially when it comes to athletes. A power-rep range-shock leg program has the trainee cycling reps ranges every week. For example; Week 1 – 4-6 reps Week 2 – 10-12 reps Week 3 – supersets and high rep sets. Originally devised by Eric Broser, it’s funny how Neil Hill, trainer of Flex Lewis, rebranded the same program and called it Y3T.

Neil Hill, program copy-pasta....ummm, spots Flex Lewis on rear delt flys.

Neil Hill, program copy-pasta….ummm, spots Flex Lewis on rear delt flys.

** Poliquin covers the technique of wave loading citing how it’s an excellent method for stimulating the nervous system to enable the body to actually lift heavier weights as the workout progresses due to undulating intensity. I love this method and remember experiencing its benefits when running the HP Mass program.

** Some tips for better digestion and elimination – not eating too many vegetables or fibre (too much psyllium etc), including some dried fruits, eating a simple diet and introducing new foods in one at a time to determine distress inducing foods. Digestion is so important and one that impacts a lot of people who train because of the unnatural amount of food bodybuilders need to square away everyday. You can ingest the perfect amounts of calories and macros, but if you’re not digesting your food properly, it’s all for shit. (pun intended)


Muscle and Fitness It’s becoming harder and harder to find anything remotely newsworthy or redeeming to say about this publication. Its so schizophrenic in it’s content, bouncing from celebrity workouts, to cross-fit, to hardcore Mr Olympia coverage to Men’s Health-esque fashion blurbs – a classic case of a mag trying to cater to everyone and in the process catering to no-one.

Read M&F if you want the low-down on celebrities that no-one cares about giving advice on how not to gain muscle and/or strength.

Read M&F if you want the low-down on celebrities no-one cares about giving advice on how not to gain muscle and/or strength.

Without even the slightest hint of irony, M&F headline Dwayne Johnson as the greatest physique icon since Arnold – The editor notes – “Third time in two years since he’s been on the cover and I could easily make the case of putting him on every cover.” Well, IronMan do the same thing with Arnold, so why not?

Dwayne Johnson - Cover model for the ages.

Dwayne Johnson – Cover model for the ages.

An article emphasising the importance of sleep shows that dieters who cut back on their sleep slowed fat loss by up to 55% even while adhering their diets. Sleep deprived dieters were also 30% less sensitive to insulin, displayed lower testosterone levels all within 4 days of consecutive diminished sleep schedules. An article on clean bulking recommends the logic bomb suggesting one eating MORE of the same clean foods when trying to add weight!

Muscle Mag Sep


A really disappointing effort this month from the MM offices/orifices. Studies have confirmed that the September edition is comprised of 60% shit content and 40% ads.  APRIL 2014 EDITION OF THE  JOURNAL OF STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING RESEARCH indicates that work to rest ratio sweet spot is 2:1 – So if you sprint for 4 minutes, the ideal rest time is 2 minutes…who the fuck can sprint for 4 minutes is what I’m wondering…  Bicep curls performed using a vibration plate’s cables led to greater muscular activation – The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Apparently it only looks retarded....I'm sure researchers just love to fuck with the public sometimes.

Apparently it only looks retarded….I’m sure researchers just love to fuck with the public sometimes.

 Exercise expenditure as tracked by Fitbit,Up24 or Nike FuelBand is basically shit ranging in variance up to


 Wearable fitness bands - waste of money

Wearable fitness bands – a wonderfully novel way to flush money down the toilet.  A meta-analysis published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. Taking creatine during the ages of 58 to 69 while following a resistance-training program enhances muscle mass gain, strength and functional performance over resistance training alone. Incidentally, a totally cunty strategy I noticed is that MuscleMag blatantly places supplement advertorials in the research section to give the impression the supplements are part of the research roundup. Ashley Kaltwasser an Olympia bikini entrant is a total babe.


A Mass Gaining special dedicates so many pages dense with bro-science information, it would take months to mentally undo all the knots for any newbie ingesting this load of bullshit. Of course, it’s another MM advertorial wrapped up in nonsense supplement recommendations – confuse, contradict , obfuscate -it’s a formula the magazines have used successfully for years to keep the newbies in a state of wheel-spinning dependence. A perplexed, dizzy noobie consumer makes for the easiest of marks. One interesting feature looks at how certain pros approach their precontest phases. I find Mark Dugdale’s plan interesting in that he uses primary and secondary workouts 7 days per week without cardio unless absolutely necessary. dugdale

Flex Sep Flex Magazine

First article is…..another look at how Arnold trained arms…

Excitement is brewing among the bodybuilding promoters regarding the telecast on TV of the 50th Olympia with Jim Manion quoted as saying that “it will surely grow the fan-base even further”. Yes, just like Generation Iron did, right? Speaking of Manion, he’s quoted in another section of the magazine shamelessly plugging the fact that his son is now part of the judging panel for the IFBB pro rank comps. I’m sure there’s absolutely no-one more qualified on the planet than his own offspring, but if you’re going to be anymore nepotistic in an already controversially incestuous sport than this one, you could at least be discreet about it.

Phil Heath was a respectable sprinter as well as an accomplished basketball player is his college and school days – notable seeing as he’s only 5’9 and not exactly genetically “gifted” for those particular pursuits . As one of the youngest guys in the lineup he’s still got years ahead of him to rack up more Olympia wins – so it just may be possible that he achieves his goal of 10 Sandows at this rate.

I think Heath would have fit right in with the NBA ranks.

I think Heath would have fit right in with the NBA ranks.

An article on the role of the importance of the mind when it comes to defining a champion – the psychological discipline, the systematic approach needed and the ability to transcend limitations are all cognitive tools needed to be developed and continually honed in order to become the best.

An article detailing the (Weider) concept of ‘freestyling” another way of saying “training ADD” – As Brandon Curry puts it, ““I switch it up like the wind changes. I don’t want to get bored in the gym. I just want to enjoy it every time I’m in there, so I’m constantly trying new things.” I love change too, but there has to be some rhyme and reason underpinned with a level of consistency and progression driving the change. Change for the sake of change is probably a poor strategy for 95% of us normal folks. It’s also too hard to pinpoint successful tactics when you’re changing things around too much too often, since progress often occurs from variables initiated a while before their effects are fully realised.

Matt Porter features a short write up on intra-workout nutrition – I know that in this day of (often warranted) supplement skepticism, workout nutrition, pre-post and intra is shit on by many of the “anti-bro-science” gurus, yet I remember having my most productive workouts in the times when I used a solid program of pre-post and intra workout supplementation. Recovery was top notch and I definitely noticed progress in the form of strength gains much easier than without.

Hunter Labrada and Sergio Olivia Jnr are looking like absolute beasts these days.

Olivia and Labrada Jnr's - proving that the apples never fall far from their respective trees.

Olivia and Labrada Jnr’s – proving that the apples never fall far from their respective trees.

Kai Greene’s back training is mostly irrelevant filler for the accompanying pictorial. The fact that he eats 10-12 pounds of meat per day is however, astonishing.

You don't make transformation like this one by not eating a SHIT tonne of food.

You don’t make transformation like this one by not eating a SHIT tonne of food.

Cutler, Dennis James and Flex Wheeler weigh in with their predictions regarding each of this year’s Olympia competitors with the general consensus being that Heath is an unstoppable shoo-in with the real competition being for the second place medallion. It’s a familiar story that dominates all Olympias with one competitor being a dominating standout – even multiple injuries resulting in glaring stage imperfections couldn’t dislodge Dorian Yates from the top spot, so I don’t see anything drastic altering Heath’s placing this year. A continuation of the profiles of the 13 men who have won the Olympia title over the last 50 years. It’s amazing how much the conditioning aspect started to slip from competitors after Yates – Cutler appears as smooth as a bar of soap and even Heath lacks that Yate’s level graininess.

Putting aside the fact that Yates only had one bicep, his conditioning far outclassed the guys of today.

Putting aside the fact that Yates only had one bicep, his conditioning far outclassed the guys of today.


Flex Lewis features in a 212 preamble article detailing his Olympia assault. I really like Lewis. I think he looks awesome and is as cool as hell, but I’m ambivalent about the 212 division. It’s not the Olympia and never will be. As great as Flex is, I’d personally view it as a consolation prize to the main event. Shorter, lighter bodybuilders of old didn’t need a special division – they competed alongside and beat many of the big boys. Like Lee Priest once said, “if you don’t have what it takes to hang with the bigger guys, don’t compete at all.” I’m inclined to agree. At the very least the 212 winner should be made to pose against the open winner for a direct comparison like they used to do in the 70s with the tall and short classes. – some interesting things about Flex’s training – giant sets consisting of between 400-500 reps. – high reps up to 20 on some exercises. – spends a large amount of time focusing on weaknesses and neglecting strengths to the point of not training certain muscle groups. – used to train under Dorian Yates and occasionally mixes it up with HIT – but feels like he needs to do more sets and reps at the conclusion of his HIT workout; in other words, not doing HIT…..

Lewis is phenomenal

Lewis is phenomenal

Interview with Dave “Giant Killer” Henry – don’t know much about him, but he comes off belligerent and with a chip on his shoulder.

Bench press world record holder, Joe Mazza offers up some tips in this multiple part series on improving you bench. The first tip he gives is to focus on improving your CNS response by avoiding training in that particular rep range too often. He recommends a few workouts in that intensity range and then backing off by using higher rep range sets in the 8-12 zone. I’ve definitely experienced this type of fatigue when running powerlifting cycles, and although the Matt Perryman nut-riders out there will categorically state that CNS overtraining is a myth, it’s pretty fucking real if you’re unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of the experience, let me tell you. And that’s it for another month.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: