Later then ever this month, but I was (procrastinating) waiting for this month’s edition of Musclemag to roll around which didn’t seem to happen. So anyway, let’s review this month’s tragedies…
MD comes out a lot earlier than the other mags – so much of this one is dedicated to building the suspense for the upcoming Mr O – which by now is a recent, but easily forgettable memory.
Skimming the photos of various contest goings on, it’s amazing how good Lenda Murray still looks at 52. The woman is ageless.
Phil Hill might be the most hated of Mr Olympias – but he always looks GQ smooth in every picture I see of him.
Cody Montgomery – what an absolute weapon and only a teen as well.
Question of the month to Shawn, Dorian and Kevin asks them to rate their best Olympia memory. Shawn reflects on the total quality year that was 1988 – and seriously, if you’ve never seen that particular Mr O – I really recommend that you watch it on DVD or Youtube as it’s the pinnacle year for bodybuilding.
Pain tolerance can be developed as a result of training.(Medicine Science Sports Exercise, 46: 1640-1647, 2014)
Although the sample was small a study by scientists from Iran, Ohio State University and Texas A&M University found that “chain training was superior to traditional weight training for building lower body strength. However, chain training provided no additional benefit in building upper body strength and power for lower body power.”
Some studies looking at HIIT training showed that overall fitness levels were improved when using high intensity methods vs longer, lower and moderate intensity protocols. Body composition improvements and energy expenditure in terms of calories burned were more pronounced in the HIIT groups.
Training facilities picking up on the current craze of simulating altitude training is basically “a dumb idea”. “Altitude training reduces plasma volume, which impairs cardiac output and temperature regulation.” The saying “live high, train low” is more applicable to athletes who sleep in chambers containing less oxygen, but train at sea level.
Fat Loss Research
TV’s in the room of kids are a great way to promote a sedentary lifestyle habits and obesity among children. (JAMA Pediatrics, 168: 427-434, 2014)
“Men and women lose weight at the same rate provided that energy expenditure is equal” puts pay to the notion that men lose weight faster than women. (Exercise Sport Science Reviews, 42: 92-101, 2014)
High protein diets seem to win out when it comes to weight loss a review of the literature concluded (PLOS ONE, 9(7): e101134)
“NINETY-FIVE PERCENT OF PEOPLE WHO LOSE WEIGHT GAIN IT BACK AGAIN WITHIN A YEAR.” so Iranian scientists, in a review of literature, summarized successful weight-maintenance techniques. These include consuming meal-replacement beverages several times per week, reducing high-sugar drink consumption, low-carbohydrate diets, high-protein diets, low-fat diets and regular exercise. None of these techniques work consistently in the general population. The National Weight Registry maintains a database of people who successfully lost weight and maintained weight loss. These people exercise an hour a day, consume smaller portions and limit consumption of desserts, bread and high-sugar drinks. (Journal Research Medical Sciences, 19: 268-275, 2014)
Poliquin recently stated that sleep was the most underrated factor in weight-loss and it seems that “increasing sleep time was linked to a reduced desire for sweet and salty foods.” (Appetite, 80: 220-224, 2014)
(Journal International Society Sports Nutrition, 11:30, 2014) showed that supplement users tend to choose healthier foods and eat healthier diets than non supplement users.
Cherries, which reduce exercise induced muscle damage, inflammation and oxidative stress, might be useful for reducing sports injuries and promoting recovery.
Studies of Vitamin D continues to show the positive effects of this vitamin University in Boston reported that lower blood levels of vitamin D were linked to lower aerobic capacity and higher body mass index. Vitamin D activates genes and cell-signaling chemicals that are critical for muscle hypertrophy, strength and improved muscle performance. Living in a climate that has 365 days of sunlight has definitely been beneficial towards my health and training.
Tanning could be addictive because of the release of feel good chemicals in the body. UV light stimulates the release of a hormone called melanocortin, which triggers the release of the tanning pigment melanin but also stimulates sexual desire. In short, people like to suntan because it turns them on. (Cell, 157:1527-1534, 2014)
Overtraining might be over exaggerated, but the effects of too much exercise have been studied in rats showing adrenal overload and dramatically decreased levels in muscle protein. (Physiological Research, published online June 5, 2014) I wonder how much effect the role of diet, supplementation, drug use and other recovery methods can mitigate those effects, but auto-regulating training and listening to your body is a highly developed and valuable skill trainees must learn to acquire if they want to successfully navigate the ebbs and flows of the training cycle.
Low testosterone is a sign of poor metabolic health and sets the stage for heart attacks, stroke and possibly cancer. (Journal Sexual Medicine, published online June 26, 2014) Which kinda begs the question; how many fucking studies does it take for the retarded medical community to come to terms with the fact that Test is king and males should be able to access on fucking tap, if and when they choose to do so.
Suppressing test levels in prostate cancer patients is a typical treatment, but can actually be a counterproductive and overall harmful measure. (JAMA Internal Medicine, published online July 17, 2014)
Colostrum supplements appear to aid older adults maintain muscle mass – “Seniors on 30 grams per day of colostrum for eight weeks while weight-training gained more leg strength and reduced bone resorption better than a weight-training group who took whey protein. Both groups improved upper body strength, muscle mass and mental function. (International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 24: 276-285, 2014)
Carnitine supplements promoted weight loss by interfering with blood vessel health. Carnitine prevented blood vessel relaxation, which is critical for blood pressure control and blood flow regulation during exercise. L-carnitine is an effective weight-loss supplement, but its side effects could partially erase the benefits of exercise. (Archives Physiological Biochemistry, 23:1-7, 2014)
DEA is investigating the increased use of painkiller use in the NFL – particularly the use of drugs such as Percodan, Vicodin and Toradol following a class action lawsuit from retired players who insist that team doctors prescribed these medications to keep players in the game. The players assert that these drugs we prescribed without full disclosure of their potential adverse effects and addictive properties.
Testosterone therapy encountered a roadblock with the publication of a study showing that testosterone supplements increased the risk of premature death, heart attack and stroke (JAMA 310: 1829-1836, 2013). The study received much criticism with a new study of 24,000 Medicare patients revealing that testosterone injections had no effect on the incident of heart attack. Testosterone therapy decreased the risk of heart attack in men with the greatest risk of coronary artery disease. The men were treated an average of four years for low testosterone levels, sexual dysfunction, fatigue and low bone density. (Annals of Pharmacotherapy, published online July 2, 2014)
Metformin may increase longevity by improving function in the mitochondria – some research suggests it could also prevent cardiovascular disease and cancer in diabetics.
An article by Dan Gwartney called “Fat Attack” looks at the lessons learned from the low-fat recommendations debacle advocated during the 80s and early 90s – those lessons being never listen to the government on any matter concerning your own health. I remember the erroneous mindset of people back then who thought that because “those chips and cookies are low fat, we can eat as much of them as we want – because FAT makes you FAT, right!?” That sort of thinking gave rise to these kinds of upward obesity trends.
Some of the ads appearing in muscle magazines are quite interesting these days – back in the early days companies would label their shitty wares with steroid sounding names like – Dianabolol or Anever, playing off a kind of quasi-name recognition. These days, companies straight out call their shit – Dianabol and Anavar In a historical recount of the 2004 Mr Olympia, premier bodybuilding historian Peter McGough talks of the almost upset Coleman as a result of that year’s challenge round. In an audience who mostly sits on its hands for the entire duration of recent Olympias, Mcgough contends that this was one of the most vocal Olympias ever. He also recounts the rise and demise of Wayne (rat-face) Demilla’s PDI organisation after falling out with the IFBB.
There’s some pre-contest profiles of this year’s Olympians detailing their diets, training routines and thoughts about the upcoming show. One thing that stood out is how much fucking food these guys put away WHILE STILL dieting. I realise there’s drugs at play, but c’mon. If you think you’re going to put on some good size using these 3000-4000 calorie per day bulking approaches, you’re living in a dreamworld. These pre-contest diets make that Dwayne Johnson, 12 Labors eating plan look like a light snack between dinner and bed-time.
Yet another interview from Haney Rambod about Phil being unbeatable, allusions to Kai being a graperfuit fucker, blah, blah, blah.
An expose by Pete McGough inquires (again) to the “Ramy-factor” at this year’s O, which we all know now in hindsight was pretty much (again) a non-event. If the prize always went to the biggest freak on the day, then guys like Ferrigno, Meddenhall, Moeller, Fux, Ruhl or anyone else with a German sounding surname would take home the Sandow – It’s the overall package that wins shows. Shawn Ray puts is best here –
“What Ramy has working against him is the very thing that made him: his enormous size. I am leery as to whether or not Ramy can remain healthy and have longevity at this level of competition, at his height-to-weight ratio, as I have been witness to many mass monsters who end up with health issues. I pray that Ramy does not fall victim to his own creation.”
As the saying goes – the biggest dogs live the shortest lives. And in bodybuilding, the biggest freaks’ candles seem to burn out all too soon.
Dr Gwartney writes an interesting piece on aromatase inhibitors and their use for treating hypogonadism, gyno, subfertility and even children to prolong height by way of delaying the closure of growth plates.
An article on increasing the effectiveness of bench press training discusses the importance of Compensatory Acceleration Training (CAT) as initially proposed by Dr Fred Hatfield. One of the key ways it does this is through the (possible) conversion of short twitch fibres to fast twitch fibres through the explosive movement of the bar. A recent study certain training tactics can stimulate the conversion: “confirmed that rapidly accelerated bench-pressing induces such a shift . In this study, the test subjects were split into two groups where one group performed standard-velocity bench presses and the second group performed both normal velocity bench presses on day one of the protocol, and then accelerated bench presses with 30 percent of their one-repetition max during the next scheduled workout. The results showed that the group performing both regular and accelerated bench presses increased the fast-twitch fiber type by 15 percent, while decreasing the slow-twitch fiber by a similar amount— indicating that high-velocity movements stimulate the conversion of slow- to fast-twitch fiber.”
Explosive training also promotes greater acitivty in the muscle which can lead to a bigger bench.
“Recently, in a study by Wilcox et al, it was shown that explosive acceleration during the bench press caused an immediate improvement in bench press strength, presumably by stimulating PAP. In this study, researchers showed that nine male subjects performing high-velocity push-ups, before attempting their one-repetition bench press maximum, increased their one-repetition maximum by approximately eight pounds— compared to the control group that did not perform high-velocity push-ups, and showed no increase in bench press strength. These results highlight the potential use of explosive movements for both short-term and long-term strength gains.”
In between fearing for his life from death threats by internet tough guys and 16 year old Youtube commenters, Lame Nordstrum manages to pen an article from his reinforced post-nuclear bunker under the pen name of Layne Norton on the topic of avoiding post contest rebound fat-gains. I’ll save you the time and trouble of reading but, “ADD CALORIES BACK IN SLOWLY” is the sage advice presented here. Of course, you don’t have to believe the article or numerous videos he’s made on the subject. For $80 you can buy his new ebook saying the same thing.
William Lewellyn profiles a very interesting SERM known as Lasofoxifene (Laso) still awaiting FDA approval yet promising in in its ability to potentially spike testosterone levels for a long period of time (28 days) on one single pill.
“The higher doses (10 mg, 30 mg, 100 mg) resulted in a large increase in LH, spiking between 200-500 percent during days three to seven. Testosterone followed a similar pattern. Levels increased by 36 percent, 82 percent and 90 percent at day seven in the groups that were given doses of 30 milligrams, 100 milligrams and 100 milligrams (with meal), respectively. The one-milligram group noted a 46 percent increase by day three. The increases were remarkably long lasting as well. At day 28, serum testosterone levels were measured to be 24 percent (1 mg), 57 percent (3 mg), 28 percent (10 mg), 81 percent (30 mg), 109 percent (100 mg) and 92 percent (100 mg, with meal) above baseline. Group mean testosterone levels tended to plateau at the high end of the normal range (30-40 nmol/L) between days 7-28, regardless of dose.”
The Pros corner, Ronnie talks about his first and last Mr O’s – Hard to think he was on that stage for 15 years straight. I remember first seeing him in the 1994 Mr Olympia chewing bubble gum through his entire routine and thinking “who’s this fucking clown?” I would never have predicted the run he went on to have and neither did many others at the time.
Dorian shares his experiences of some of the pros he’s worked with. Kai was two hours late for his session with Yates, and Doz chewed him out for being disrespectful. Kai basically became a sulking brat for the entire session and ignored Yates’ training advice.
He worked with Kevin in a cold gym during the FIBO expo of 93 or 94 where he showed Levrone his back training secrets and proper recruitment of the lats. He later regretted it when Kevin on to dramatically bring up his back making him a legitimate competitive threat to Yates!
Then of course is the infamous Chris Cormier leg training workout that reduced Chris to a quivering mess upchucking his breakfast on the Birmingham streets.
Justin Compton answers some Q&A – the first saying that he doesn’t track calories or macros; the second says he doesn’t do the same workout twice and then the third mentions the secret to progress is consistency in training and eating well. Hahahahahahah…hahahaha
Dennis Wolf says he’s not a fan of Milos Sarcev’s giant set training because the light weights needed are more for building muscular endurance. Straight sets is where it’s at for bodybuilders and pre-contest when he wants to etch in that “muscular detail” he’ll do drop sets. (lol)
He also speaks about his appearance in some new rapper’s music video called “Monsta”. I hope it wasn’t a speaking part because Dennis was pretty fucking awful during his acting audition featured in that “Generation Iron” movie.
Wolf also asserts that the post workout shake is an absolute necessity in order to hit that anabolic window before it slams shut on your gains! You’ve been warned!!
Dexter Jackson insn’t a big believer in cardio – and only does 20 mins in the morning to get his appetite stimulated otherwise he says he could go hours without food.
MUSCLE & FITNESS
“Arnold” starts things off attributing his superior results to visualisation, and more specifically, transcendental meditation. He recommends 20 minutes a day of mediation involving deep breathing and clearing the mind of all thoughts. He says through this method it’s helped him to achieve extraordinary levels of focus and maintain calm under pressure. I’ve been doing this for a few months now and can attest to its effectiveness.
Even the ads in this magazine are retarded – There’s one with the by-line “Be Selfie Ready”. Another with that by now hackneyed expression, “Just sayin…” Fuck I’m so glad I live in Asia where my exposure to Western culture is a bare minimum.
In a totally shitty editorial, Shawn Perine gives this crappy advice.
Yes way to go Mr Life Balance. If Joe and Jane Mainstream are your target audience, do you really need to be turning them into psycho-obsessive belligerents who won’t even partake a slice of fuckin’ mum’s birthday cake or go see a movie with friends?? How about you advise them to skip their father’s funeral because it coincides with legs that day, or blow off their daughter’s wedding because the reception runs until 12 and that’s when the best REM growth producing sleep occurs.
The cover story features perhaps one of the most famous 5’7 – 136lb muscle guys to ever grace a muscle mag – Bruce Lee. I’ve read a bit in the past about Lee’s weight addiction and training, nutrition, philosophy and steroid use and was hoping to learn something more here. It doesn’t detail his training so much as relate some of his lived philosophies via the recount of his daughter, Shannon Lee.
- Physicalize your Philosophy – don’t just read and talk about ideas, goals and theories – make them happen and turn them to into a physical manifestation of perfected artform.
- There are no “Little” things – neglecting even the small, sometimes incidental stuff like warming up can have dire effects in the long term. Pay attention to even the minor elements for well rounded success.
- Work towards artlessness – akin to hitting the hallowed “zone” when you become one with whatever you’re doing. The highest level of unconscious competence.
- Test your limits – Be forever seeking new challenges and pushing yourself (at times) to more than you’re capable of; alway asking, “how will this make me a better me?”
- Train as an individual – The many voices in our heads stemming from people in our lives to the plethora of information we’re constantly exposed to needs to be filtered – we need to let in only that which is productive and follow our inner voice in order to give it expression and realise the achievement with which it is capable.
- Listen – Everyone is selling their methods as being the best – ultimately we need to ask ourselves what we want to do/achieve, accept what is useful, cut that which doesn’t apply and then add “what is essentially your own” and apply it to your workouts.
A small piece on Atlas Stone lifting with a link on where to buy the stones – I personally would love to see this become the next big craze at gyms. This infinite potential of mishaps and crushed feet alone would be worth the price of a gym membership.
Sean Hyson recommends a chalk ball over using regular chalk for mess free chalk use. Is M&F short of writers or something, because Sean Hyson seems to be contributing most of the stuff there and probably writes under a few aliases if muscle magazine authorship history is anything to go by.
Some interesting tips from coach Jim Smith, business partner of Joe DeFranco. Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth to give you more cervical stability on the lift by keeping the spine in a better position.
For squats – warm up the IT bands, glutes and hip-flexors using a roller or medicine ball, then couple it with goblet squats and get your elbows on the inside of your quads. Actively drive your elbows into your knees for 3-5 seconds. Relax and repeat three times and stay in the hole. You should feel your hips drop so that you can sink deeper and squat more effectively.
Brandon Lilly details his comeback training using his Cube Method. I’ve briefly looked over his book and it seems pretty solid, but I’ll be fucked if I can find one commonality between all these powerlifters other than the fact that I’d look at most of them outside the gym and think, “dude, you really need to start hitting the gym” . The other commonality it that they’re always busted up and hurt or well on their way.
An article on rope climbing for better abs and back development – when I say article, I’m being generous. The new layout in many of these M&F topics can more accurately be described as “blurbs” or teasers. The graphic takes up 75% of the page with a few simple paragraphs of text for decoration. We truly are a by-product of the TL:DR generation.
Tony Gentilcore introduces novices to the concept of autoregulation in a decent article via the use of indicator sets to avoid pushing things needlessly on suboptimal days and then going for broke on those great sessions.
High Intensity Interval Training once again gets the nod for its effectiveness on fat loss and muscle retention. The recommendations being to select a method that’s full body in nature (sprinting, swimming, rowing) and switch it up where possible. A study from Australia recently showed that 20 minutes of 8 second sprints followed by 12 seconds of rest resulted in 6 times more fat loss for females than regular steady state cardio at 60% of their max heart rate for 40 minutes. Take in some BCAA’s if you’re also thinking of doing this on an empty stomach in the morning to preserve your muscle.
Interview with cover Lou Ferigno is a pretty stock standard Q&A, nothing controversial or probing. Didn’t realise that Big Lou was the trainer of Michael Jackson before his death. Lou says that if he had kept competing after 1975 he would have won the Olympia 8-10 times…..yeah, keep dreaming….
When you think you’re working hard, someone else is always working harder. Roy Callendar in 1979 used to 25 sets for pullups and 85 sets for back total. Even guys like Casey Viator and Johnny Fuller would do over 40 sets in total. Viator used to do over 1000 reps for legs alone! Cutler by comparison keeps the sets around 23-25 mark. Basically volume works – and the article here shows the novice tips on how to build up to doing more work productively with greater returns.
Steady state cardio beats out HIIT for overweight sedentary people where fat burning is concerned, while HIIT improves cardio fitness more effectively.. A new study showing that pedaling at a 50% max on a stationary bike and increasing the intensity steadily over a number of weeks burned more fat than the intensity group.
The flavor of the month topic it seems is post competition nutrition to avoid the multiple problems undisciplined pigging out can cause (edema, electrolyte imbalance, depression, lethargy). It’s nice in theory to advocate control, but I found that control was virtually impossible until my body had reached some prior hormonal/composition setpoint level. I was a bottomless pit and yes I experienced all of the above. I think the greater your calorie deficit, length of dieting and lower body fat level, the longer you can expect the post-comp urge to binge to prevail. The plan the article author gives is a rock solid approach to those that want to mitigate these rebound effects.
Poliquin has long been an advocate of rotating accumulation and intensification training phases – basically using period blocks of high intensity low volume with lower intensity higher volume. He outlines this approach in his column giving trainees a viable plan to adapt to their requirements.
The return of Alex Federov the Russian behemoth that stepped onto the scene 15 years ago gets a major profile detailing his comeback. Will be interesting to see how he fares when he steps on stage again on November 1 – or will he find that the bodybuilding world has passed him by where freaky size is now the prerequisite.
An expose on the top 10 bodybuilders who started out with either terrible or mediocre and went on to kick ass in their later careers. No surprises that Big Ron tops the list at number 1. The difference between 1992 and 2005 is night and day.
Tom Platz on his hardest leg workout – “I started with six 45-pound plates on each side with collars. I did about 20 reps to failure. These weren’t powerlifting-style squats, but strict bodybuilding-style squats, going all the way down to where your butt touches your calves. “I racked it, immediately took a plate off, and did as many reps as I could to failure with five plates. Racked it again, rested slightly longer, and did four plates, then I went down to 315, then 225, each time for failure. The entire set was probably a total of 150 reps.
Platz would also squat his body-weight for 10 minutes straight. A similar though less insane challenge is to try squatting your bodyweight for 100 reps taking some breaks if needed. If you can hit 70 without stopping, you up the weight for next time.
Loved this shot of Big Ron winning the 2006 Mr O at 296lb being presented his medal by Ben Weirdo
Somsak Kakhaen is a Thai bodybuilder who’s coming to Australia for a run at the WFF World Championships in Brisbane. There’s some really good Thai bodybuilders here
Another bodybuilding related docudrama called “The Perfect Physique” is in the works and this one, featuring Mike Ohearn, takes an inside look at the lives and routines of fitness models and mens’ physique competitors. In other words, “who gives a shit?”
Hard to think that Aussie competitor Christine Envall is still bringing it to the international stage. Christine was around when I first got into this 20 years ago and was known for her beyond belief freakish size. You have to see her in real life to appreciate how fucking huge she is to behold.
A WTF(?) study from the UK’s Southampton Solvent University has found that wearing different coloured lenses can affect how many reps you can complete on a given exercise. People wearing blue tinted lenses completed 29 reps of a leg press vs clear or red tinted lenses which reached failure at 25 reps.
Ron Harris advises to change your program…..once it stops working for you. He cites Ronnie Coleman for maintaining almost the exact same routine for his entire bodybuilding career. I’m all about being open minded and unlike many other people, will even listen to the advices of steroid users. There’s three kinds of people I won’t listen to when it comes to training advice – people that look like rubbish, black guys and Ronnie Coleman.
Kortney Olsen gives some tips on leg training, but I like her methods of visualising the muscle being worked before hand and imagining the reality of what you want to achieve. So many people show up everyday just to go through the movements without conceptualising the end result. There’s no way you can make progress beyond the norm doing this! She also advocates closing your eyes during the set and squeezing the hell out of the muscle on each rep.
Scared of grilling all that meat and grillings links to colorectal cancer? Marinade your meat in black beer or Pilsner which helps it scavenge the cancerous Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that occur with heating.
Luke McNally warns of the dangers in diet soda suggesting you kick that habit if you regularly imbibe. Aspartic acid kills brain neurotransmitters and Phenylalanine: depresses serotonin levels. Furthermore sodas increase the pH of the gut. I’ve recently given up my 2-3 Coke Zero habit and after a day or so, you don’t miss it. Keep a pitcher of lemon water on hand and you’ll feel better for it.
Peary Rader’s 20 rep squat program gets the dust blown off it and wheeled out once again. For those that don’t know it, it’s an abbreviated routine at which 20 rep squats are the cornerstone. Take a weight you can do a squat for 10 reps with (approx your 10RM) and do 20 reps with it taking breaths rest pause style between reps 10-20. Superset with light dumbbell pullovers. Once you recover from that misery, do a set of curls, benches, rows, presses and dips. Do the whole workout twice a week, or three times if you’re a beginner. The template is variable, but keep the squats and pullover combo and mix and match the rest where needed.
John Hansen recommends that first time competitors come in as ripped as possible even if it means no being the biggest cat in the show. Also, practice the hell out of your posing including both the mandatories and your individual routine. So many people suck at posing these days it’s easier to inch up the placings if you can hit the poses well.
Lower reps for gastrocnemius muscles recommends Poliquin as they are comprised mostly of fast twitch fibres. Hamstrings too respond better to lower reps despite all the programs of elite level bodybuilders doing 15-20 rep leg curls in their routines. Or fuck it and come to Thailand and get calf implants.
Roger Lockeridge suggests staggered sets for stubborn body-parts. Arnold used to this for his calves. You throw in sets for that bodypart during rest periods while working other muscle groups to accumulate volume over the training week. This is great since calves, arms, and delt training aren’t systemically draining.
Word is they’re rebooting the original Predator movie. Yeah, it worked so well with Total Recall…What they need to do is release that 100+ hours of unseen Pumping Iron footage still locked in the vault. They don’t need to edit it or nothing. Just release it as a boxed DVD set with no artwork and it will be 1000 times better than any of the shit they’ve released in the last 5 years.
A 4 page spread offers tips in Q&A form for the novice competitor. Note – the most recommended contest tanner is SunTANon and NOT Sustanon as my dyslexic mind first thought.