June 2010

From fat to sickeningly anorexic and all points between, Martin Berkhan has occupied all parts of the physique spectrum. Today, he lives and breathes the life of a natural albeit non-competitive bodybuilder, a feat made all the more laudable provided his unrepentant fondness for cheesecake. He trains only two to three times in a given calendar week, eats all the ‘wrong’ foods, fasts for 16 hours a day, and takes in all of his carbohydrates at night, all at a bodyweight of 195 pounds and 5.5% body fat. Not bad, huh? Martin’s desire to rid himself of the neuroses that accompanied his...

A commonly held belief, especially among those on the internet, is that you must squat, deadlift, and bench press if you want to get as big and jacked as possible. It stands to reason. Take a look at successful bodybuilders’ training routines and you’ll find these movements over and over again.  It’s not surprising – they’re very effective. If you take a gander at Tom Platz’s stems, you know he’s spent hundreds of hours in the squat rack.  Watch Ronnie Coleman deadlift 800lbs for reps and it becomes obvious what is responsible for a back that resembles the broad side of...

There aren't many things you can do in the gym that are "manlier" than deadlifting a heavy barbell loaded with five plates per side. It's the ultimate cool factor, the one movement everyone stops to watch (plus it means you're strong as hell). I remember reading a passage from Brawn, a book by Stuart McRobert, that said with a few years of smart training, any average Joe should be able to bench 300 pounds, squat 400 pounds, and deadlift 500 pounds. (1) That’s a good goal for sure, but not one that many guys are hitting. In my experience as a lifter,...

'Rag on the Mags' is a feature in which we will to review the current crop of Muscle and Powerlifting publications as they come out each month (normally before they hit the newsstands). The basic idea here is that we will present you with the CliffsNotes® of the pertinent info, allowing you to determine if it’s worthwhile for you to run a comb through your hair, head into civilization, and plunk down roughly six-bucks for the issue. You can be assured that I have no agenda to give the thumbs up or down for a particular issue, I’ll just tell it how...

'Rag on the Mags' is a feature in which we will to review the current crop of Muscle and Powerlifting publications as they come out each month (normally before they hit the newsstands). The basic idea here is that we will present you with the CliffsNotes® of the pertinent info, allowing you to determine if it’s worthwhile for you to run a comb through your hair, head into civilization, and plunk down roughly six-bucks for the issue. You can be assured that I have no agenda to give the thumbs up or down for a particular issue, I’ll just tell it how...

'Rag on the Mags' is a feature in which we will to review the current crop of Muscle and Powerlifting publications as they come out each month (normally before they hit the newsstands). The basic idea here is that we will present you with the CliffsNotes® of the pertinent info, allowing you to determine if it’s worthwhile for you to run a comb through your hair, head into civilization, and plunk down roughly six-bucks for the issue. You can be assured that I have no agenda to give the thumbs up or down for a particular issue, I’ll just tell it how...

'Rag on the Mags' is a feature in which we will to review the current crop of Muscle and Powerlifting publications as they come out each month (normally before they hit the newsstands). The basic idea here is that we will present you with the CliffsNotes® of the pertinent info, allowing you to determine if it’s worthwhile for you to run a comb through your hair, head into civilization, and plunk down roughly six-bucks for the issue. You can be assured that I have no agenda to give the thumbs up or down for a particular issue, I’ll just tell it how...

'Rag on the Mags' is a feature in which we will to review the current crop of Muscle and Powerlifting publications as they come out each month (normally before they hit the newsstands). The basic idea here is that we will present you with the CliffsNotes® of the pertinent info, allowing you to determine if it’s worthwhile for you to run a comb through your hair, head into civilization, and plunk down roughly six-bucks for the issue. You can be assured that I have no agenda to give the thumbs up or down for a particular issue, I’ll just tell it how...

Before the advent of widespread internet use and things like blogging, there were things called fanzines. Fanzines were mini-magazines made usually on the cheap with low production quality, often on inexpensive pulpy paper, sometimes crudely Xeroxed. In bodybuilding, the late Steve Neece put out a gossip newsletter called Venice Beach Newsletter and Dante Trudel published Hardcore Muscle. My good friend Mike Schak published Hardcore Muscle-zine, perhaps the crudest in both content and production of the bunch. Most of it was hand-written, with uneven columns and truly horrible cartoon sketches. He was probably lucky to get over a hundred copies of the magazine...

His name was Mario, but due to the stupid looking tattoo on his shoulder, I insisted on referring to him as Canario. “It’s a parrot!” he’d yell. “I’m no ornithologist, but it looks like a canary to me. Or maybe a swallow? What are you trying to say by having a swallow tattooed on your arm?” He would shake his head and swagger away, “When you are buying your shirts in the men’s department, you can talk.” He had a point. I had made some gains, but I had a long way to go. There was a pecking order here, like at any...