John Romano, Muscular Development magazine senior editor, began offering a 500-word space in his monthly Romano Factor column in late 2006. He made two requirements to be placed in his popular newsstand bodybuilding magazine: first, write about anything bodybuilding; second, earn the position by pleasing a mob of voters in the MuscularDevelopment.com forums. Online polls provide the ultimate winning submissions. Initially, a public poll was used to run up the top three stories, which were then voted on by the forum moderators and the previous month’s winner. This was to help prevent forum popularity from weighing more than quality content. Mostly, so new members would feel they had a chance.
With increased participation, the public polls eventually provided the final winner; eliminating the need for a separate moderator poll. This added in some real-time excitement for the writers – it all came down to one poll with a set expiration. Often it’s like watching a comparable set of race horses tear down the track. Several runner-ups were never published in the print magazine but their words rang loud for numerous online readers. To keep any one person from monopolizing the contest, a three-month ineligibility rule was enforced. After a win, writers have to wait three months before entering again.
After some initial grooming and marketing, the contest took off with a lot of fantastic entries. Throughout 2007, bodybuilders around the world grabbed their keyboards to put their thoughts on screen – from personal stories to observations. The contest continues today with incredible contributions. The following are the monthly winners, each published in the magazine, from the MuscularDevelopment.com forums’ 500-word story archive for 2007.
Bodybuilding’s hidden secret: Power
Deep within the bodybuilding magazines’ lore of successful bodybuilding tactics lays an often misunderstood truth: successful bodybuilding requires increases in power to generate maximum development. But what is power and how do the concepts apply to human physiology?
In general physics terms, power is the average amount of work done or energy transferred per unit of time, again, per unit of time. When you perform resistance exercise you are generating power that can be easily measured with the often neglected variable. Many training logs record sets, reps, loads, some girl’s phone number – but most neglect the start and end times.
You show up to the gym with your game face on, ready to make some improvements. You warm up with some flat barbell bench presses, preparing for your first working set. Time to get it on; you push out 10 repetitions of 225 pounds for 4 sets. If you did the exact same thing last time, could you have progressed? Certainly, but the extent lies in using the time to completion as part of the overall equation judging progress.
If you lift 225 pounds for 10 repetitions, you lifted 2250 pounds total. If you do this for 4 sets; you lifted 9000 pounds. But it doesn’t stop there. Last workout, from beginning to end, you did this in 10 minutes. If you divide 9000 by 10 you get 900 pounds per minute. If you did the same work in 9 minutes this workout; you lifted 1000 pounds per minute – a nice gain of 100 pounds per minute! You are continuing to develop your musculature by performing the same work in less time.
Remember the infamous question, “how much can you bench?” The correct response from this example would be 900 pounds per minute. Not the conventional answer, but one that refers to this misunderstood concept.
The body needs a reason to adapt. Simply going in and adding more weight to the bar – or going in completely blind to what defines progress – can leave you feeling hopeless, when in reality, you may be gaining. Short rest intervals can leave you re-training a muscle before it has been able to completely recover from the last set, but this is where true progress occurs. It’s the sweet-spot of your physiology. You must find loads, reps, and sets that lead to you performing more power over the same length of time.
Next time you are in the gym, think about this. Think about how many times you sit around staring at the mirror as if you could mind-build greater musculature; when you should be preparing for your next set. Bodybuilding is about short rest intervals and training that creates a demand for increased power. These workouts can be brutal, sometimes straight up nauseating, but they create a powerful growth cue for the body.
Stop sitting around, start a training log if you haven’t yet, and get moving – the clock on the wall is tickin’ and you should be sweatin’.
‘This one’ he points to another ragged scar across his abs, ‘was because some guy threw a piece of cake at me in the street’. I try to nod understandingly, terrified of this giant Chinese dude covered in scars and muscles and not an inch of body fat. ‘Also, he disrespected my grandmother.’ He smiles and I’m sure I see gold.
I’m in what could generously be called a gym hidden away on Wen San road. It’s actually nothing more than a garage with healthy amounts of tarp, but it’s clean, devoid of running machines, posers and only costs five rmb a go. Here, no one is going to open the door for you, teach yoga, enthuse about Pilates or stand about after three reps pattering water on their face scowling or smiling at potential fuck buddies.
It’s full of gangsters. They come here to lift things. Really heavy things. And I’m pretty sure if I bitched about there being no hot water in the outhouse-shower thing or enquired when the spinning class started they’d laugh gently then stand on my neck.
These were massive guys, the biggest Chinese dudes I have ever seen, hulking around the gym, spotting each other then playing cards between sets. But they were also pretty nice guys as hired muscle goes. Helpful but not patronizing. Asking me what I was eating, telling me how to improve my form, adding giant slabs of metal to each set assuring me that I would be able to lift it ‘no problem, no problem’. The equipment is older than me and some of it looks like it’s been made by the A Team or a hardcore Blue Peter spot. What light there is comes from the ragged holes cut into the tarp, the door is chained shut at night and the weights are haphazardly scattered around the area, continually shedding rubber skin.
After, we’re all sitting on overturned stools in the driveway, small pools of sweat collecting around each of us eating what seems like a field’s worth of watermelon. Giant, red, sweet glittering pieces that I’m having trouble lifting. After the taxi-drivers top three questions (where are you..what do you..how much is..) I ask about them and their scars. One guy is missing half the fingers on his right hand.
‘I was fighting this guy, he pulled out a machete, he was going to cut my head so I put my hand up to protect me’. My fingers instinctively close around each other as I listen, my balls shrink and shoot back inside my body. ‘He went to prison but he’s out now,’ tripod fingers going for another piece of watermelon, ‘he’s a very good business man, I bought a car from him’.
Whatever they get up to outside the gym, they don’t mess around inside it. During a set, there’s nothing but cold, calculated fury against the weights, with the other guys shouting encouragement or derision. I was pretty much beaten up when I deigned to pick up a 10 kg dumbbell. Between sets they can have a laugh and when they test out their English on me, (’hello baaaybee come some get’) they laugh about and slap me on the back, bruising me internally.
Their attitude is contagious, they need to be as big and strong as possible, they bodyguard the ‘big fishes in little ponds’ and they’re first line of defense between the night club wars this town suffers. But they’re not dicks. There’s no scowling or challenging looks between the water fountains. Roid free (they would lose face otherwise), arm wrestling and gut punches abound in healthy interest and competition.
A month later and about much sturdier I walk to the gym but its gone. There are ghosts of the machines on the floor and a lot of the tarp has been taken away. There’s a desk and about 400 small towels in a corner of the floor but that’s it. No one knows where they went or what happened. I move apartments and join a ‘respectable’ gym, a pretty luxurious one considering it has hot water and lockers. But its not the same, there’s no vitality to the place or sense of urgency. Those guys worked out for their livelihoods and the safe protection of their remaining fingers. Here, girls coyly ask you to spot them lifting 20 pound weights then pout when you laugh at them.
Alarm bells are ringing!
So, Here I am at my gym, about to hit a set of Inclines with the 120lbers when all of a sudden out of the corner of my eye I catch a glimpse of an amazing booty, clad in tight hot pants, as this girl turns around I see that this chicks abs are tight and flat, fully exposed until the bottom of her tiny vest covers them, which clings to her sweet breasts, her face isn’t too bad either.
Back to business, I start my set, one rep, two….she is on the move coming my way…Three…I’m focused now on the mirror, transfixed as her boobies jiggle rhythmically, almost in time to the music playing…four….fi….four and a half….BANG! As I tilt my head slightly to watch her ass as she passes, my shoulder drops, something pops and a searing pain shoots through my inner chest.
Fast forward to three months later, and after surgery followed by intensive therapy, a nice out of court settlement and a lifetime gym membership I’m back and ready for action. I roll up to the front desk, and I’m confronted by a huge sign that reads
“WARNING! Would all female members ensure they refrain from wearing any type of tight clothing when on the gym floor; there must be no exposed skin, with the exception of the arms, lower legs and face. All Females must also refrain from wearing any make-up or perfume in the gym. This behavior will not be tolerated as it is deemed intimidating to other female members and distracting to our male members. Any Breaches will see our “Hottie Alarm” activated and will result in a 1 month suspension of your membership, further breaches may result in a lifetime ban.”
I asked the girl at the front desk (who used to look hot, but now looked rather plain) what was going on, and she replies “Some pervert hurt himself whilst checking out some chick, so now our lawyers have advised us to put up this sign to prevent being sued for millions”. I smile sheepishly and head to the changing rooms, knowing this is going to be a shitty workout today.
Now back to reality. Could this really happen, Hell No!, but it highlights just how stupid “Lunk Alarms” are, Bodybuilders are discriminated against, whilst Hot chicks in skimpy outfits are encouraged, in fact it’s actually seen as good for business, yet even though I’m sure we have all been distracted by some hottie walking past during our workout. I can also be sure that some women are intimidated by these alpha-female displays too.
Now to the moral of this story, if your gym has a “lunk alarm” or some other anti-bodybuilder policy, kindly ask them to tell the girl in the hot-pants to cover up as it is distracting you from your workout and then see what they have to say……Or you could just shut up and enjoy the scenery!
(two winners published)
“The police blotter vs. jersey sales”
Every Sunday in the fall, during every NFL game there will be one or more United Way commercials. At every home game for the Minnesota Vikings there is a stream of messages on the big screen declaring the charities and foundations each of the players is associated with. Every time a player interacts with a charity or school, the local news is alerted. Why would a financially motivated organization dedicate valuable advertising time and space to this? Why would they take the time of paid office personnel to interact with the media and ensure maximum exposure of these non-revenue events?
They know what’s coming next:
- A wide receiver flees the police while driving drunk during training camp.
- Another nearly runs down a traffic control agent while going the wrong way down a one-way road.
- Half the team gets lap dances on a boat.
- (fill in your local scandal here)
The NFL and it’s affiliates (the teams) build a positive image and brand around the good things accomplished by the players and coaches so that when bad things happen (and they always do), the court of public opinion might just be a little bit more forgiving.
Where is the leadership of the IFBB in branding and building the image of the sport? Where are the key business’ (MD included) in building the image of the sport?
There are good people involved in this sport. Why are the individual athletes responsible for the greatest opportunity that professional bodybuilding has for building a positive image? Jay Culter spends a day at a school talking to the students about fitness, business and his life; he has to promote it on his DVD. Kevin Levrone spends a day with sick and dying children, and he has to mention it on his video. Shawn Ray raised $25,000 for a children’s hospital, Shawn had to promote his involvement himself. How many other examples are there in the industry that might soften the meathead/juicing image the world has of bodybuilders?
Who’s involved with their local schools? Big-brother and mentor programs? Hospitals? Churches? What would it take to get MD and Flex each set aside one page per month dedicated to telling the good human interest stories from bodybuilding? They could lead the image building for the sport by using their contacts to get press releases out to local newspapers in the communities where these athletes work and live? Even if they only covered their own contracted athlete’s good work, it would still start the industry down the path to being treated fairly.
Branding and image matter. The big players in this industry need to recognize this and their role in it. Small steps could make a small difference in the next round of congressional hearings.
A Life Lesson…
Somehow over the past 4 years, the sounds of clanging iron and the grunting of striated warriors has taught me more about life than any teacher or textbook ever could. Before taking this journey into the iron game, I was not only critical, but almost against what I now know as being perhaps the greatest thing on earth. Not only bodybuilding, but the general lifting of weights has shown me so many more positives than anything else I have ever experienced.
Taking a step back a few years, I was a skinny teenager, who could have only dreamed of being the stature of a comic book super hero. Little did I realize that the power was in my hands. Like others, I stood back and criticized the narcissistic, egocentric gym rats I saw in magazines, on television, and even in my home town. Later I learned that was jealousy brewing inside me; an almost deep seeded anger directed at people I didn’t even know. With the help of those I resented I quickly developed a great physique, and an even better mind. What I learned far surpasses any spectacular gain I could physically make; I learned acceptance, appreciation, and patience. I discovered that the pursuit of self-improvement could help channel my negativity, and I learned to see things in a new way.
When I hit the gym after school, before work, and on my days off I never once faced bullying, discrimination, or any negativity. Instead I was face to face with acceptance, friendship, and a helping hand any time I needed it. I am still fairly young (22 years old), but I have seen 7 close friends all under the age of 26 pass away, and the one thing I could always count on was the iron. The bottom line, and I guess my point, is that iron doesn’t hate, it doesn’t bully, it doesn’t hurt. Iron builds fine young men and women, and it helps us all to better ourselves, and to become better people. Every night I thank whatever forces out there make it possible for me to continue to come in – day in and day out – and break myself down, because I am really building myself up. Now when I see people gawk and stare, knowing that they are the ones who choose to be ignorant, I smile and hope that one day all of those people can find their own gym and become better people. This game we play is one of love, commitment, and friendship, not hate. So I’d also like to thank all of you, because we are a community, and without the support of each other, this essay would be complete bullshit.
By Gaoshang Xiongshou
I stand alone.
Whether it is on the practice floor of the kwoon, or in the gym, there is only me. In the kwoon, those who stand before me are just waiting to taste defeat. In the gym, the weight is just a figment of my imagination. Who is to stop me?? It would not be the one in the wushu sam standing across from me, and it would not be the 225 lbs. on the bar either.
I see myself… cross striated, ripped, a roadmap of vein etched across my paper thin skin, nearly ready to burst out of any clothing I am wearing… yes, I am small though, an ectomorph… whoopty-freaking-doo. And so you look at me… long limbs, tall frame, appearing as if I could not even pay for mass. You laugh… you point… you joke amongst yourselves… until you see me hoist double my bodyweight off the floor in a conventional style deadlift with ease (something you cannot do)… you see me drive home three warm-up sets of 20 rock-bottom squats, BEFORE I get into my working sets (something you will not do), or you see me load the leg press machine up with more than you can even dream about attempting, and take them rock bottom as well… you see me bang out 10 sets of 10 on the flat bench press, and know that while you would be screaming like a little pigtailed school girl and could not stomach anything after that, I am going for broke until failure on pushups (something you WISH you could do), just to squeeze what little bit of fortitude that I have left out of me.
But… you told me I was too small… that I did not know what I was doing… that I did not know what I was talking about. Yet, I am the one who is making progress, NOT YOU. I am the one who is getting stronger as the weeks go by, NOT YOU. I am the one that people want to train with, because they know I will get them to their goals, NOT YOU.
Yeah… not you…
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
I may be small… not nearly as big as everyone else, but , when it is all said and done, at my size, I am going to look like I just stepped off the mother ship, and be the one that people… you included… think, “Good God, what is that?!” And who is to stop me?? Certainly, not you…
I stand alone. But only because I want it more than you, more than the rest who surround me. Yes, so what if I am a martial artist? Hard and soft collide… when the smoke clears, I am the product. And I am what you cannot comprehend. Physically, I may not be as large as you, but regardless, I have surpassed you, and you know it, and it eats you up inside, and I love it. You spent too much time laughing at me… laughed so hard, you had a hard time breathing. I hope you choke.
I told you I would go on until I could not be touched. All the naysayers and detractors, I plan to smash the whole humble pie in your faces… you are not good enough to just get a slice.
Continue to underestimate me… laugh, point, snicker, whatever… you have been warned. My triumph will ultimately be your undoing…
A Place They Call Sacred, A Place I Call Hell
By The Machine
Day after day, the same anti-climatic shit happens. Nothing new, nothing exciting. Each day the only thing you wish for is the day to end! Here in this place, far away from friends and family, far away from freedom…here in Afghanistan, only one thing keeps you going, one thing that you wait for every day and think about all night. Gym time!
Beep beep! Beep beep! The alarm on my watch goes off, time to start my next set. Knock out a grueling ten, reset the watch and get lost in the abyss. One minute fifteen seconds to get lost…To go wherever you want, to find your own sacred place in this god forsaken land. But then, beep beep! Beep beep! Reality strikes. It’s time to get back to work. Your reward for all this hard work, one minute fifteen seconds.
You move to the next exercise, but wait…you can’t. There’s an obstruction in your way, holding you back from getting that sweet, sweet minute of mental freedom. It happens to all of us, some fat asshole in your way doing an exercise in shitty form, with the lightest weight on the rack, and he’s just mocking you. You think to yourself “Hey asshole, why don’t you grab a barbell and build some mass before you waste your AND my time by doing dumbbell preacher curls with 25 pounds, NOW GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY WAY..I have WORK to do!” But you can’t. This could be a high ranking officer and you can’t do a damn thing about him. In a sorry attempt to try and keep your arms warm you move on to a different exercise. But the reward isn’t so sweet anymore. These pussies, these weaklings ruined your sweet salvation from this hell hole.
Pissed off and out of routine your gym time is ruined. All I ask is that no one get in my way, not that I’m a “ball hog” but I have WORK to do, this isn‘t play time. If they were body builders, no problem, but assholes that think that because they’re in the Army they need to be in gym goofing off, talking, using crappy form and light weights. It pisses me off!!! Nonetheless, after a hardcore routine, you can’t help but to be relaxed again, no matter how pissed you were.
Some people find their salvation in the form of a phone call home, some get lost while writing a letter to their girlfriend. But for people like us…we find our greatest pleasures in the iron torture chamber…tired, out of breath, exhausting yet feeling like a King!
For one hour each day I feel at peace. Once I’m done blasting whichever body part for the day I have this euphoric feeling rush over me and the day is complete. It’s the only thing that keeps me going in this hell hole. The only thing to look forward to. It may not be heaven…but it sure does feel like it!
Life of pain and pleasure
What is it that keeps bodybuilders dedicated to obtaining physically extreme conditions? They some how find gratification in constant self-torture and disruption – starvation and overeating, microscopic destruction and rebuilding, injury and rehabilitation, restraint and self-indulgence.
Could the brain’s reward systems be so demented? It must be deeper. It doesn’t matter how generous your life has been, the act of building a greater body can become a parallel lease on life – a new opportunity to rein control and feel pleasure. Conceivably it’s how bodybuilding mimics the very stages of life: birth, coming of age, struggle, maturation and death.
A bodybuilder is born when the lifestyle consumes a vulnerable host. Appreciation for the ability to take control of body composition is grasped, self-fulfillment seems easily attainable. Obtaining a strong and lean body symbolizes health and success – professional and personal. Extreme muscular size and definition becomes a primary goal. The union of everyday living and bodybuilding is nurtured with a reallocation of time and energy. Recreational athletes accept an idea of general fitness for well being; bodybuilders have a perpetual thirst for extreme muscularity.
A bodybuilder comes of age once athletic innocence is lost – extreme results will only occur in the presence of extreme measures. Simply going through the movements is not going to cut it. What has been achieved must pale in comparison to what will be achieved. Evolving knowledge about human performance and personal limitations is necessary for further success. Obstacles are inevitable and must be identified in order to defeat them. True success will not occur within moments of comfort and convenience but through challenges and controversy.
The stage encompassing struggle begins. There are no magic pills to assist in further progression; only intestinal fortitude. The weak will leave the lifestyle while the strong rummage around for more. Their increasing knowledge must be augmented with professional assistance and optimum facilities. A great lesson is being realized: nothing good in life comes without great effort. Constant training is a way of life. Persistence is paramount; never go backward without purpose, always hunt for any means to move forward. Food becomes fuel for a process, not a resource for enjoyment.
Finally the bodybuilder matures. Years of knowledge and struggle present a worthy package. The veteran may have unveiled a genetic anomaly, destined for fame and exhibition. Otherwise, all that is left is a lucid example of a human being garnished in determination and motivation, buried deep within the soul. Success in competition is not mandatory; the only obligation is to the continued craving for further refinement. This matured soldier’s battle wounds: scars from old injuries, stretch marks, and grazed skin.
Like life, bodybuilding is not infinite and must eventually succumb to death. When the bodybuilder must pass on, a legacy is left for a new generation of extreme athletes. They take the knowledge from the elders and build upon it. The newborns step on stage for a new lifetime of commitment. The best reward from a lifetime of bodybuilding: having lived it.
If I had a buck…
If I had a buck for every guy and gal I see training that doesn’t know what they are doing, another for those with the nutritional knowledge of ants and who stay up all weekend doing all kinds of drugs and then tell me that aren’t making progress I’d be dictating this to a group of naked Miss America’s J
Maybe it’s some kind of arrogance on my part to assume that there is no need for what I see and maybe, just maybe the guy doing one hour on that ab spinner has a condition of some kind. I mean I never see him do anything else and he seems a little fat. Maybe those guys that train like monsters yet miss 2 meals a day have a cunning plan of some kind. Surely the group of guys working chest who all and I mean all have the same shoulder injury actually know what they are doing??
But what if they all don’t? What if in spite of a million websites, loads of bodybuilding magazines, the 100 plus books from Amazon, 10’s of thousands of personal trainers and even, poor as they might be, the many newspaper and mainstream magazine regular features guys and gals don’t actually know what they are doing?
Could it be true? Why is this? Why is it in spite of all that info, all that help and all that advice people don’t do as well as they could?
I’ve been asking myself these questions recently and I have a few thoughts as to why. Maybe it’s information overload. So many sites, so many magazines, so many people offering advice that it overspills and becomes confusing. Might it be that, as others have said, “Some lead and some follow” and many of the confused and lost need to be told what to do? Perhaps it’s that they all started out with great intentions and 100 changes to their training plans have meant that now they appear to train in a muddled fashion and that they need to get back to basics. Still more don’t ask themselves why they do certain exercises and at best can say ‘cos Jay does it and what works for him must work for me’.
We have seen even pros asking for help with nutrition and training. MD features two nutritional advisers and one training adviser to the pros. Yet those same advisers often start by stripping away the confused and crazy habits their pupils have and slowly add in new ideas. Get back to basics, stick to a proper meal plan and always ask ‘do I need to be doing this?’ when making progress and thinking of changing something. You’ll be surprised at how little you need to do – still done hard mind – and how much better your progress will be once you become more focused on getting the right food in and getting rest.
I’d still like buck for all those that make mistakes though – Bill Gates would have nothing on me!
Weightlifting Saved My Life
By Pounding weights not beer
Years ago, while lying on the dirty carpet of our local emergency waiting room for the third time in a week, I made a promise to myself; I was going to quit drinking. After being diagnosed with ruptured ulcers, due to many years of heavy drinking, I went home and wept. Not forgetting my promise, I went to an A.A. meeting the next day. Never in a thousand years, would I’ve known the ramifications of one simple meeting. There, I ran into one of my co-workers who I told my story to, including the fact that the doctor told me, that drinking was killing me. He promised to sponsor me through my recovery as long as I found a healthy hobby to replace the void that not drinking would leave. On my way home, I decided to stop by a Long’s Drugstore to look at magazines on “lifestyles.” This was going to be as life changing as the meeting that I’d attended. Although there were many magazines, the one that caught my attention was M.D.’s August 2005 edition, which I will forever keep, with an exclusive entitled “ The Pain & Survival Of Flex Wheeler.” Without a second thought, I bought the magazine. When I got home, the first thing I did was read this article. As I sat there weeping for Flex, Weeping for myself, I decided that bodybuilding was going to replace the void. With only a hundred dollars in the bank, and a phone bill past due, I went down to the gym and gave them sixty-five of those dollars to start a membership.
Man was I excited!!! Like many unsupervised beginners, the first body part that I worked out that day was chest. I couldn’t wait to have an enormous chest. As the endorphins rushed through my body, a feeling of pleasure and calm came over me. Gradually overtime, with M.D. as my bible, I learned about symmetry and dieting. Over the course of a year, I lost sixty-eight pounds of fat, put on by the many years of drinking and started getting attention from girls that were once WAYOUT of my league. I’ve gotten married, moved to another state and gone back to school. Occasionally, my wife will tease me about all of the issues of M.D. that I’ve kept over the years. To me, these are my books of the bible, with every issue offering something new. Today, I sponsor newly recovered alcoholics. As they stand there with fear in their eyes asking me, what I did to replace the void, I look them in the eyes and like a dying man trying to tell a secret, I tell them body building saved my life. Although not making as much money as I used to has been hard, I’m glad that I did it. Today, right after this essay, I have to walk to the gym. Why? Even when I don’t have gas, nothing will stop me from working out. It saved my life.
Estrogen and AI’s
Will taking aromatase inhibitors affect my gains ?
When you talk about testosterone you also usually hear words like estrogen and aromatize ..
Most people that use AAS understand that testosterone converts to estrogen (via aromatase enzyme) and this causes problems like bloating, gyno, and other side effects. People have been posting on message boards, lately, inquiring as to how AI’s and estrogen relate to muscle gains.
Estrogen is important to the muscle-building process. Estrogen has been linked to increases in GH and IGF-1. Therefore, in essence, some of testosterone’s effects are dependent, to a degree, on the aromatization process..
For instance, cattle are given estradiol in order to “beef” them up. And when cattle ranchers choose a single drug treatment, they always pick estrogen. This is because estrogen’s role is important. Think about it, how many people report that when using AI’s their gains are diminished? AI’s reduce estrogen levels which, in turn, reduce GH and IGF-1 levels.
I have a buddy that has done 2 cycles. The first he used Testosterone enanthate at 500 mg per week with Arimidex at 0.5 EOD. His second cycle consisted of 600 mg of testosterone cypionate per week with 40 mg of Dbol per day (with .5mg Arimidex per day). He ate well and trained intensely yet he wasn’t making the gains he expected to make considering the drugs he was using. This friend made an appointment with his doctor and the doctor ordered a total testosterone and total estrogen blood test. It turned out, his estrogen was extremely low.. He then finished his cycle and did a proper pct and took time off to recover…
Than he did another cycle using Dianabol, testosterone enanthate at 600 mg per week, and no AI. This time his body responded incredibly. People that didnt see him for a few months didn’t even recognize him. He went beck to the doctor and asked for blood work while he was on cycle (7 weeks into the latest cycle). This time around, his estrogen was high (around 300 ng/ml with 120 ng/ml or less being considered norma. Likewise, his strength was through the roof and he reported a great sense of well being and engery associated with what he was doing. There were no real side-effects that were where experencied. He also never looked real bloated.
Let’s not forget, gynecomastia (bitch tits) thrive on high estrogen levels so you never to let that hormone climb too high. Remember, minimize the breast’s exposure to estrogen; but don’t get rid of it completely.
Does Master mean less….
I’m old now. At least I’m as old as I thought old would be when I was 20. And I’ve become somewhat of a freak…as in freak of nature in my old age. I just turned 50 in May this year but most strangers who meet me refuse to believe I’m that old.
Why? Because old men can’t bench 400 lbs. Old men don’t have 20+ inch arms. Old men don’t have chests that are twice as big as their waists. And old men never, never look better than the majority of 20-something studs.
Why do audiences marvel at the Masters classes just because a man in his 40’s, 50’s, or 60’s is willing to get up there and try to show some muscle? I think we’re treated like were competing in a Special Olympics event, where it’s cute and noble to just put forth the effort. The hell with winning a trophy! Good for us for just giving it a go!
And I believe that many Masters Competitors feel exactly that way about themselves. “Hey, look at me! I’m old, wrinkled around the knees and belly but by God, I’ve put on a little muscle…more than Morty down the street and I’ve dieted so hard that my skin sags on my ass, so give me my props! And, oh yeah, I’ll take that second place trophy and brag around the Lodge about how I got second in the big show, even though there were only 2 old men in my division.
I refuse to enter my twilight years with a second-class attitude. I started to do that. I said to myself when I got back into training at 47 following a 14 year lay-off. Just compete in the Masters 50-over, where there isn’t any real competition and satiate yourself with the “you looked really good up there (for a man your age)” from those around you who would say that if you were purple and 50 pounds overweight.
I looked myself over at the gym just before my first competition and realized that I had compromised. My friends in the gym were very complimentary of my progress….even somewhat amazed. But their platitudes were filtered with the fact that I was 50, not that I was a bodybuilder. That’s not to say I wasn’t muscular, or bigger than normal. I wasn’t preparing to compete at my best, though. I was set to compete as I thought a 50 year old should!
Hmmm….it really is hard to grow old(er). There are some things that change with age. Recovery takes a little longer….although not so long as to inhibit growth. Old injuries nag and new injuries can come more easily. The skin isn’t as supple as it used to be and the face never lies about one’s age. But dammit! If I think I’m old and less capable, then less capable is what I’ll be. I refuse to take that attitude!
You know, to have Master attributed to your craft or profession used to mean you were at the top of your game. Now it means you’re too old to compete with everyone else. It’s a misnomer. We’re like the sideshow now where folks can oogle and ahhh at those little old men doing their best up there. BULLSHIT! And F__k me for taking that attitude.
I want to be the biggest badass up there. And I’m starting to train, think, and eat that way. Oh, I’ll still compete in the Masters divisions…but I intend to bring them to a new level. Instead of waiting to hear “you did a good job up there…you looked good”, I wanna hear “SHIT! Why didn’t you enter the open super heavyweight? You could’ve kicked some ass!”
I’m kicking my own now, for ever doubting!
Another year, another opportunity
“Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning,” said Benjamin Franklin, statesman and journalist. Bodybuilding is a journey into physical growth and progression. It’s a long expedition of learning and applying. Accumulating greater musculature requires ongoing motivation – a relentless obsession to surpass previous fitness thresholds in the midst of daily distractions.
In 2008, I turn 30 years old. Fortunately, the bodybuilding light is still bright as day. I don’t feel a year older. I still see a young man in the mirror – one with the intension to keep improving his physical dimensions. Turning 30 years old seemed like a bad move as an out-of-shape teenager – today, it’s embraced as added opportunity. Every year presents more time to further master body transformation techniques. I know getting into great shape is not a reserved right for an exclusive list of people – it’s simply a matter of time once the necessary path is discovered.
Unfortunately, growing up overweight and grossly unfit is becoming exceedingly typical in the United States. Early in life, it was obvious I wasn’t genetically predisposed to become an athlete. Even so, I was unsatisfied with my physical shape – fat and clumsy couldn’t be a necessary lifelong condition to endure. At 16 years old, I held my new driver’s license and counted the years… in 2008, I will turn 30 years old. Where would I be then? I started exercising at a local health club, attempting to alter my life’s course. Nonetheless, obtaining a true sense of fitness was still elusive. Roughly a year later, I became determined to master my physique. I realized it’s the inherent right of every able-bodied person to create a muscular and lean physical stature. My fortitude was no frivolous New Year’s resolution. It was similar to a hunting dog after finally finding a sought out scent.
I grabbed magazines and books – then, researched online resources and medical abstracts. For a kid who formerly hated to read, I couldn’t get enough. I read about physiology and nutrition, as it relates to altering body composition. I began to understand how the human body’s metabolic complexities tied together. Above all, I was learning a central concept: being out of shape is a choice, not a requirement. The human body is designed to be a cross-trained athlete, certainly not weak and flabby. As it loses cardiovascular health and physical strength, it readily becomes tired and diseased. Applying progressive resistance training and making proper food selections will promote greater physical and mental fitness. You only get one body in this life, you better enjoy it.
In 2018, I will turn 40. At that point, I will continue to disconnect myself from the cliché, “I used to be strong and lean too.” After 10 more years of training, I will have graduated to a new level of knowledge and understanding; a new level of conditioning. In the words of writer Henry David Thoreau, “none are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”