I suppose it is a sacrilege in the present youth-dominated bodybuilding game to even write about what I personally consider to have been “The Golden Years of Bodybuilding.” I consider those years to have been in the 1960s when such bodybuilders as Dave Draper (www.biophase.com), Larry Scott (www.biophase.com), Bill Pearl (www.billpearl.com), Harold Poole, the late Chuck Sipes, and Sergio Oliva (www.sergiooliva.com) roamed the pages of the bodybuilding magazines as the top superstars in the sport. Each one was and is to this day unique unto themselves. To give you an example, in some of the bodybuilding magazines today there is a “Guess Who?” page where the head of some top bodybuilder is missing in the photo and only his or her upper and lower torso is showing. It seems that the bodybuilders today are so generic in their physical appearance that you can guess it to be one of any 5 or 6 bodybuilders. Not so back in the ‘60s. Put a photo of Sipes in the magazine minus his head and it only would take a millisecond to identify him just by seeing those monster-like forearms, or it if was Larry Scott, his arms and shoulders would be a dead giveaway.
Back in the ‘60s, there were only a few good bodybuilding magazines from which to choose from. Today it seems that going to the bank for a small business loan to start up a magazine is no problem at all and new bodybuilding magazines flash by us from year to year. Open up the magazines and you will see all kinds of articles on the current superstar of the moment and without exception most have found it cliche to say “I am natural.” Bull S_ _ _!
Are we supposed to believe that when the “natural” superstar doesn’t look any different from a chemically enhanced user? On top of that, it seems that every superstar can bench press at least 500+ pounds on a bad day, squat 700 lbs. for 10 deep and easy reps. Oh, and don’t forget, each of these guys claim to have at least 21-inch plus arms cold and a 31-inch waist. Ah, the magic measuring tape which adds, subtracts and multiplies. I find it laughable that the guys claiming the huge arms never weigh more than 220 pounds and the guys with the 31-inch waists always weight at least 240-265 lbs. Right! How about a battery of tests in which accurate bodypart measurements are taken (and with a steel measuring tape) along with contest bodyweight (fat versus lean muscle mass) and some actual strength performances. Along with this, tests should be scheduled which can determine anabolic drug usage, the results of the usage, etc. Publish these test results and also make them available to the readers of the bodybuilding magazines. I seriously doubt that many of the top bodybuilders would go for this and more than likely when they hear about it would be out of the door faster than Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson out of the starting blocks in a 100-meter sprint.
I remember back in the 1970s one top bodybuilder went so far as to have a notarized statement published in one of the bodybuilding magazines which stated he had never taken anabolic steroids to develop his physique. What a crock! Have you ever seen a notary actually read a statement (in full) presented to them? Not many do. Usually they just want to sign off the statement and get that person the heck out of the office. The other side to this story is that the bodybuilder who went to all the trouble to have his statement notarized has suffered the negative effects of heavy anabolic steroid usage during his previous bodybuilding career.
Another thing that really irritates me is that there is when a top bodybuilder endorses a certain product supplement line and says that it developed his physique from that of an untrained bodybuilder to a top superstar in amateur bodybuilding competition in a little less than a year. While the photos show him to be in sensational shape, the truth be known he looked like a contest-winning bodybuilder previously, and where was that supplement company then?
Not only that, but I get really steamed when I see an ad in a muscle magazine or Website for a course, book, or audio or video tape, and order it, and then I get my cancelled check back or see that my credit card has been charged many weeks previous to receiving my order. I really go into a silent rage when I do receive my order and find out that the ad was 10 times better than the course. It really chaps my ass when I can’t find the author’s name on the course. He is either ashamed of his work or he doesn’t want the Better Business Bureau tracking him down.
In a lot of the commercial gyms back in the 1960s, there seemed to be an atmosphere of kinship. There was an unselfish feeling of cooperation and an easy friendliness to strangers. Now it seems that some of the people behind the desks in many high-profile gyms give you the once-over and if you don’t meet their subconscious standard of looking like you have 20-inch arms, a 50-inch chest, with a 31-inch waist and 28-inch thighs, then you are not wanted. You’ll know if you are not accepted by the deadpan and vacant look (kinda like Jon Arbuckle in the Garfield comics) on their faces. However, that expression of downright unfriendliness can change into a big cheesy grin if you say that you have $75-100 to cough up for a one-to-one training session. Once I overhead one personal trainer advise a client to eat two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a six pack of beer every day to gain additional bodyweight. Whew! Was this guy for real or not?
Asking a top bodybuilder for some training advice or a written workout schedule can invite a royal ass-chewing. It does appear that they jealously guard their routines and you are regarded with suspicion or hostility. One top physique I came in contact with years ago wanted 250 dead Washingtons before he would let anyone measure his arm. There weren’t any takers on that particular day, but I am sure he found one sooner or later for as the saying goes, “there is a SUCKER born every minute and two to take him.” A lot of the physique shows today are usually a cold and unsuccessful attempt to entertain a disinterested public.
Many of the contestants who enter these shows are so narrowly devoted to their respective interests, they seem to have no time left to enjoy it. Years ago I overheard one top amateur bodybuilder say that he would give up his marriage and his left nut to be a Mr. America winner. I suppose he thought if he did win his ego and his image would live happily ever after. Yet this same type guy upon questioning couldn’t remember the previous 5 Mr. America winners. That should have show him and anyone else how fleeting fame is if he or anyone else does happen to win a top title in bodybuilding. Each bodybuilding show is merely a whistle stop (they think) on the road to the top. I remember reading in the gossip section of one bodybuilding magazines that one top pro had been banned for life from competing in certain sanctioned bodybuilding shows, and why? For trying to beat the dog crap out of a contest promoter because he didn’t place as well as he would have liked. The guy should have faced up to the fact that he looked like a Potato Boy at that particular contest.
Check out some of the bodybuilders in the gyms and at the various contests, especially at the Expo’s at the two top pro shows. They walk around like they have a corn cob stuck up their ass. Plus compared to their over-inflated (Synthol) arms, the necks on some of these guys look like sticks stuck in candied apples. These pumped up egotists live blindly in a narrow little world of muscles that’s for sure.
One thing that would get a billy goat to puke was having to listen to all the hype years ago that one top pro bodybuilder used to spread around about his age. It seems that this guy would go to great lengths to tell anyone who will listen that he was 60+ years of age. Horse pucky! This guy was only 52 years old at the time he was doing all the bantering and posturing about his age, give or take a year. This same individual obviously wasn’t blessed with the best mind for math. Not only can he not figure out his age, but he used to run ads in bodybuilding magazines for audio cassette training tapes. He would state in the ad that the tapes were 60 minutes in length. The simple fact is that the tapes only had 14 or so minutes of information on them. I wouldn’t have hired this guy as my accountant anytime soon.
Have you noticed that in the last couple of decades how many self-proclaimed experts have come along with some supposed new bodybuilding technique or exercise style? One guy will say “train with volume” another says do “only one set per bodypart.” These are just a couple of examples of what I’m talking about. Each claim that their way is the most effective way of training ever conceived. Give me a break! You can be sure of one thing. Nothing but nothing that is written about in the various muscle magazines in-so-far as exercises and training principles are concerned are new. The exercises and training principles were being used 60 to 100 years ago but now they have just been given new names and presented as startlingly new. I think this is grossly unfair, and cheating by taking the credit away from those to whom it rightly belongs.
It’s a great disservice to those new bodybuilders who come into the sport believing that the body they want can be achieved in 3 months. As the late Vince Gironda, the “iron guru”, used to say, phooey! It’s a proven fact that you can’t even get the body you want in three years. If I train from now ‘til Doomsday, I will never bench 500 lbs. and you can better well believe that I won’t have a 20-inch arm busting out my shirt sleeves.
In conclusion, I am really disillusioned with some aspects (not all) in the world of bodybuilding, and it is no longer the inspirational and pleasant hobby that it once was for me. I Am Fed Up (with bodybuilding)!