Monday, September 18, 2017

The Isotron as a Bodybuilding Tool - Bill St. John (2017)

Bill St. John

The Isotron as a Bodybuilding Tool
By Bill St. John (2017)

The 1965 Strength & Health Picnic was a seminal moment in my career as a competitive bodybuilder because on this occasion Val Vasilef pointed out Dr. John Ziegler to me. My curiosity regarding the doctor began when Val, who was also my training partner and good friend, had made previous mentions that Ziegler, " had a machine which grew muscles!" So, on the basis of that "thought seed", I had attempted to read all I could about the doctor offered in the pages of Strength & Health magazine.
Actually, good fortune struck twice at the aforementioned picnic as there was an after-party at Bob Hoffman's house, and thanks to my close ties with Val I also got invited to this shindig. There were a number of Iron Game notables present, including the Raders and Dr. Ziegler among them.
Holding "court" at one of the social circles was Dr. Ziegler, talking in his inimitably unapologetic and animated way about a variety of mind-bending topics, including time travel. While listening to him expound, my first impression was, "Wow! this guy is out there" eccentric.
Funny thing, though, the longer I listened, the more I sensed his genuineness, so that by the end of his oratory, I was ready to sign up for extended time travel. Of course, the Ziegler creation I was more interested in was his Isotron, or as Val described it, the "machine which grew muscles."
And fueling this personal curiosity all the more was a revealing conversation Bob Hoffman and I had on the way to my car when leaving for home. Sensing my growing interest, Bob spoke effusively and very descriptively while praising Dr. Ziegler, and especially his Isotron. One statement the major domo of Olympic weightlifting made to me then which I never forgot was, " Bill, Ziegler's machine is just unbelievable!"
Think about the implications of that endorsement for a minute: here was the number one advocate of barbell-dumbbell (weight) training talking up this machine so glowingly to a dyed-in-the-wool weight guy! Quite progressive of Bob, all things considered!
Before continuing on, I want to put a finer point on the doctor's personality, thought processes, and especially his genuineness, which was mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago. As my association and rapport with Dr. Ziegler reached a level of extreme mutual trust over time, he would occasionally reveal pieces of himself and his innate complexity, such as his limitations with the ordinary, while juxtaposing his familiarity with the extraordinary. For instance, he once remarked, " I can't make coffee or fix the toaster, but I am involved in electronic medicine." 

John Ziegler 

Perhaps it should also be mentioned that Dr. Ziegler's unique look at the world was also shaped in part by weekly Thursday night "discussion groups" which assembled at his residence featuring exceptionally forward-thinking scientific minds and Mensa-level professionals from a wide variety of fields. Suffice it to say that these back-and-forths centered on topics far above standard newspaper editorials, radio call-in shows or even Sunday morning political talk shows.
Back to my gradual journey toward a relationship with Dr. Ziegler. In the spring-summer of 1966, I shared a car ride to a major lifting event in Newport News, VA with Bill March and Sam Bigler. It goes without saying that since I knew of March's working relationship with the doctor, I picked his brain for every shred or detail of information that encompassed that working relationship, but with special focus on the Isotron application.
Some months went by, and again thanks to being friendly with Val, who Dr. Ziegler liked personally, I got invited along for the ride to his Olney, MD residence in March of 1967. This was a Sunday, but this was not a quiet day at the Ziegler residence with W.R. Grace bigwigs visiting, Doc's L-lysine dispensing machine spitting out tablets at a loud and frantic rate, neighbors also stopping by, etc. When the uproar died down a bit and Val and I got a bit of face time with the doctor, as politely as I could I asked Ziegler if I could experience the Isotron? Whereupon,he asked his assistant Andy Turnbull if they had any conducting solution left. When the affirmative answer came back, he interrupted the show-and-tell of his gun and Civil War memorabilia collection long enough to pad and wire up my right femur. Then he turned up the current for a few seconds, cut if off and then went back to expounding on his Civil War artifacts.
Was the experience all that I had hoped it would be? While even at that point in my life I recognized that sometimes the reality of things did not live up to their hype. However, in this case that few seconds of sensation got my attention. I thought my thigh bone was going to snap! Nevertheless, and perhaps in defiance of common sense, my fascination with the Isotron peaked even more.
Perhaps this would be the appropriate point to mention that intense electrical muscle stimulation (especially via the Isotron) is not for everyone. While Bill March, Russ Knipp, Ernie Pickett, and eventually myself thrived on it, guys like Lou Riecke and Bill Starr did not like being involuntarily contracted. Pickett once offered a very plausible anecdotal defense to explain their dislike: "In war time, if the enemy had the Isotron, all a soldier taken prisoner would give them would be his name, rank, serial number...and the current position of the 7th Fleet!"
Before moving on, there is one point of history I would like to offer regarding my initial Isotron sampling: the model Dr. Ziegler used on me that day was the suitcase model he took with him to the White House when treating President Kennedy.
After that March, 1967 Sunday visit, I wrote Dr. Ziegler a personal letter, which resulted in an actual dinner invitation on April 2, 1967.Dick Smith was also a dinner companion that day.
Apparently, I was growing on the doctor as around that time, I found out later, he asked Tom Suggs for his assessment of me. So, in late May of 1967, Dr. Ziegler began administering Isotron treatments to me. Of course, I would do everything in my power to ingratiate myself with the Ziegler, including his wife Lillian, who was a very highly regarded physician in her own right. Hence, whenever I was invited to their home in Olney, I would stop at New Jersey fruit stands along the way and bring them tomatoes, berries or what have you.
By January of 1968, Ziegler's personal interest in me was blossoming. In fact, he took my family up on an invitation to stay at our home, and simultaneously assess my bodybuilding progress at the Mr. East Coast Contest which was held at the Philadelphia YMCA. Ziegler and my parents really hit it off. My mother, in particular, really liked him.
Ironically, while I won the physique contest, Dr. Ziegler only saw a fraction of it as he and Joe Mills, the famed New England Olympic lifting coach, found a local watering hole to their liking.
Not withstanding that incident, thanks to Ziegler's guidance and Isotron treatments, things were really starting to come together for me as the 1968 Mr. America approached. Earlier in the year, Dr. Ziegler prompted me to clamp down on my diet, stressing that I consume more eggs, in particular.
Subsequently, I dropped from 208 to 188 over a couple of months. It was sheer agony to me, plus I thought I lost everything else with it. However, my own mother offered this approving comment, "Well, you finally lost those love handles." Aside from this being a necessary reverse step to build toward a better physique, in retrospect, this was also probably a partial Ziegler test to see if I would continue to do what he instructed.
Clearly, all of the Ziegler-inspired assistance was working as even Val Vasilef began commenting on the physical transformation I was undergoing. My overall muscular hardness was off-the-charts. Even in casual clothes, my musculature looked like it was alive but solid as granite. I began getting admiring stares much in the way Val got them.
Perhaps the ultimate compliment I ever received was from the great Tommy Kono, who took me aside at a major national contest in 1972 to say, "Bill, you look like the strongest guy up there in the line-up."
Honestly, prior to the 1968 Mr. America Contest I had no business competing in a national level physique contest. Again, clearly, Ziegler's expert guidance made all the difference as I took sixth place overall at this contest. I have already mentioned the nutritional side of things, but my pre-contest training regimen consisted of two-a-day workouts (upper body session at one, lower body at the other) daily, along with two full-body Isotron treatments daily. This was the regimen in the final 12 day run-up to the event. Of course, I had to build up to that volume of combined workouts and Isotron treatments over the course of a few weeks, nor could one keep that schedule up endlessly either. But unquestionably, the intense Isotron sessions imparted a degree of muscular separation and hardness that no combination of diet and voluminous exercise had given me before.
My physical improvement, as well as the Isotron's reputation was pulsating through the lifting world by this time, even among non-York affiliated lifters. I think it was at the 1970 Nationals that the very fine West Coast lifter Dan Cantore came to my hotel room, noting my progress and asking questions about Ziegler's machine.
Taking the merits of the Isotron in another direction, the conventional wisdom holds that it is nearly impossible to promote strength/power gains and muscular endurance in the human body simultaneously. My experience with the Isotron says otherwise as the combination of fast paced, high volume bodybuilding workouts six days per week and fairly regular Isotron treatments imparted both in fine measure. While working out once with the late Dr. John Gourgott, himself a fine bodybuilder and Olympic lifter, a curling challenge was issued: Barbell curls for reps with 150 pounds, back against the wall. I cranked out 10 reps at which point Gourgott remarked that my last rep was performed with as much control and rate of elevation as my first rep. Oh, and by the way, 400-pound full squats for 20 or so reps was also a routine thing for me.
Still, had it not been for Dr. Ziegler's uncanny medical expertise my personal moment of glory at the '68 Mr. America would not have happened. If this story sounds familiar, Bill Starr referenced it in his classic training book “The Strongest Shall Survive”, but it bears repeating in any discussion of Dr. Ziegler's medical rehab skills.
Six weeks out from the '68 Mr. America, I badly injured my ankle (on a Wednesday) at my Philadelphia Naval Shipyards job. That same day, the Navy doctors determined via X-rays that I had chipped a bone in my instep and had ligament tearing. So, they put me on crutches (which I needed desperately) and told me to come back in 6 weeks.
Being desperate, I hobbled to the car, barely able to drive, got home and called Dr. Ziegler; advised him of the siutation and was instructed to “get down here!” At that point, driving a car was no small feat as the edema, discoloration from ankle to knee and overall pain had reached an excruciating apex, which was aggravated all the more when depressing the clutch to shift gears.
Immediately, Dr. Ziegler got diuretics and blood thinners in me and performed some ultra sound treatments, which then gave way to Isotron treatments. In a nutshell, he worked on my ankle intensely, primarily with the Isotron—10 individual treatments total-- from that Thursday evening when I arrived through the following Monday when I went home in no pain, with no swelling or discoloration, no need for crutches, and with full mobility restored.
In fact, I felt so back-to-normal that I naively visited the Navy doctors bright and early Tuesday morning to report my progress, as well as my desire to return to work, figuring they would be keenly interested as to how my speedy recovery came about. As I said, I naively thought that. Their immediate reaction was to disavow any responsibility for me since I had received treatment from another physician. Not only did I go back to work, but that Tuesday night I full squatted 400 pounds for reps at the Philadelphia Athletic Club.
Most likely, a lot of lifters would have thanked Dr. Ziegler for the astounding ankle recovery, as well as the startling physical transformation and kept in touch. Learning more about the range of capabilities that the Isotron possessed became a unflagging quest for me. Perhaps the “ aha “ moment was when Dr. Ziegler informed me that he was using the negative-pulse feature of the Isotron—which was a different modality than he employed for pure muscle stimulation-- to heal my ankle. Suddenly, it dawned on me that the machine had a range of functions and uses, so my inquisitiveness was maximally stirred.
Massively helpful, too, was the fact that the doctor did not interact with me as though I were just a dumb bodybuilder, but more like something of an understudy in the Isotron curriculum. It goes without saying that the quality and quantity of information about not only the Isotron, but many other medical-topics he imparted over time was head-spinning.
Of course, this close rapport also provided me the opportunity to serve as his primary test subject when he gave Isotron demonstrations to movers-and-shakers. Typically, it was educational to see the reactions of these power types when watching me take some serious stimulation. Very frequently, the doctors and administrators, such as those from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), just could not wrap their heads around the whole process.
Moreover, it could be equally educational to take in Dr. Ziegler's reactions to these educated eggheads. For example, when the folks from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) did not appear to be warming up to the Isotron demonstration as Doc thought they should, midway through he started berating them with this sarcastic bromide: “Aren't you the same guys who spent $6,000 on a mattress last year!”
These examples notwithstanding, the brilliance of the Isotron could not be kept “under a rock.” Due to the fact that Dr. Ziegler was located near the country's seat of federal power, and he had friends in high places, word of mouth about his creation reached the local professional sporting world rather quickly. During one of my numerous visits to Doc's, someone from the Washington Redskins brought over their quarterback Sonny Jurgenson, who was suffered from elbow and shoulder miseries enough to adversely affect his on-field play.
Jurgenson, who because of his lengthy football career, had been through the athletic training mill and was,hence, skeptical in general, took one look at the Isotron and sort of disparagingly remarked, “One of those muscle jumpers, huh?” Nevertheless, he took a treatment on the machine. The following day his attitude had changed toward the unit as he called Dr. Ziegler to thank him and report that his shoulder and elbow were feeling much better.
Even big names from professional non-contact sports came to Ziegler because of the WOM about the Isotron. Golfer Deane Beman was not as physically powerful as his main rivals Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino. In brief, his “short game” was on par with theirs, but his driving was where he came up short. A period of time on the Isotron, and the sporting press was commenting on how he was suddenly breathing down the necks of Nicklaus and Trevino. In fact, there was an article in our local “Philadelphia Evening Bulletin” at the time showcasing Beman and his improvement. However, at the request of Dr. Ziegler there was no mention of him or the Isotron in the article.
Admittedly, in an effort to express the versatility and effectiveness of the Isotron, I have hopscotched somewhat from the theme of this article: basically, the Isotron as a pure muscle building tool. All I can tell you is that I was a veteran bodybuilder who would have NEVER risen above regional caliber had it not been for Dr. Ziegler's remarkable counsel and assess to his Isotron. Granted, I never won an overall Mr. America or Mr. USA title, but if you check the record, beginning in 1968, I never placed out of the top five or six at these events, and on a couple of occasions was second overall at the Mr. USA.
The bottom line is that my metamorphosis as a bodybuilder began at that 1965 Strength Health Picnic, which I mentioned at the outset. I really miss those S&H Picnics. And I'll finish waxing nostalgic with another obvious admission: I also really miss my friend Dr. John Ziegler.

Note: This is the third in a series of related articles on Doctor John Ziegler.

Part One:

Part Two:  

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Excerpt From "The 70s Big LP by Justin Lascek (2015)

I know what you’re thinking: “What kind of a stupid asshole puts himself on a cover like that?”
The answer is an asshole who wants to get you stronger. Jacked. Thick. TIGHT!

When I first started planning this  book in 2011, I considered it an arm training program. But as I experimented and wrote, it became clear that it’s a legitimate program…that just so happens to make impressive arms.

The 70’s Big LP is a…
  • Linear Strength Progression – This is another option for novices to get stronger and bigger. The inclusion of things like rows, chin-ups, and curls will prevent the “big legs, small arms” body so many guys get from only squatting.
  • Transition from Bodybuilding to Strength Training – This program is a good transition from bodybuilding because it includes a bit of vanity training, but not at the expense of strength training. Bodybuilding guys can even use this as a mass gaining program; the decrease in training frequency and overall volume combined with hard eating cannot be denied.
  • Transition to Intermediate Programming – Each exercise in this program has several set/rep schemes to keep you progressing for a long time. Some of them breach into the realm of intermediate programming. There’s a gray area between novice and intermediate programming, and The 70’s Big LP connects the two.
Let's get down to business. Here is the basic program:

Monday -
Press | Squat | Weighted Chin-up | Biceps

Wednesday -
Bench | Deadlift | Barbell Row | Triceps

Friday -
Weighted Dips | Front Squat | Weighted Pull-up | RDL | Biceps

Not much to it, huh? Before you consider your money wasted, allow me to explain the template.

Each session begins fresh with strength training - a pressing movement - followed by high rep back-off sets for growth. Then there's a big movement, like a squat or deadlift, to keep the systemic stress high. Then there's an arm pulling movement - chin-ups, pull-ups, or rows - for growing musculature and improving upper body strength. Lastly, there's arm specific training that focuses on the biceps and triceps because a book about bigger arms wouldn't be complete without them.

To make it all work better than a normal linear progression there are peculiarities ch type of exercise. The following sections will expand on each. The end of the chapter will show a table with it all put together.

The Pressing Movements

Each day starts with a pressing movement so that the lifter is fresh to pour his full rage and intensity into getting stronger in a classic upper body strength exercise. Some linear progressions put the squat or deadlift first, but that will detract from our FOCUSED GOAL OF UPPER BODY DEVELOPMENT.

Initially, the set and rep scheme will follow a standard "three sets of five repetitions" - which means the work sets after the warmup consist of 3 sets of 5 reps at the same weight - yet will evolve to allow further progression. If you have not exhausted a linear progression - whether it's your first attempt or you're running another progression after a layoff, sport season, deployment, or injury - then use "three sets of five reps" with incremental loading until it stalls. Consistent, small increases in weight are the key to linear progressions. Since the bench press and press use less weight than larger movements like the squat and deadlift, aim to add five or fewer pounds each session.

People often ask how many times they should reset when using the same work set poundages for three sets of five reps. In standard linear progressions you'd reset several times, but we don't want to waste too much time resetting in The 70s Big LP. If the bench is increasing, yet the press is stalled, simply reset the press and continue the bench's linear progression. By accumulating bench and press sessions over time - even if the weight isn't steadily increasing - you will still establish a foundation of musculature. If bot lifts are consistently stalling at the same time, and you have completed two or three legitimate resets, as discussed in Chapter 1 - Important Concepts, then you are a candidate for the set/rep schemes in this section.

However, the 70s Big LP incorporates weighted pull-ups, chin-ups, and barbell rows. If you haven't been doing these movements and your presses have stalled, see how the presses progress after adding these exercises in. Simply reset with the standard "three sets of five" approach as you add the upper body pulling exercises in and see if they help you push past your previous stall. If they do not, move to the next section . . .

This very small excerpt is taken from page 13 of the book, which is 52 pages in length. There's so much more in here, plenty of ways to keep squeezing out progression, so much applicable info for use in building a better upper body (and of course BIG ARMS) while you're building basic body strength and overall muscle. 

Highly recommended. 

The Definition Diet - John McCallum (1968)

Originally Published in This Issue (March 1968) 

Last summer a friend and I toured most of the States by car. My friend's name is Andy. He's not a lifter. Andy never lifts anything heavier than a knife and fork if he can help it. His hobby is eating.

We loaded up with Chinese food in Frisco and drove to L.A. It took us two days. Most people drive it in a day but Andy can't pass up a hamburger stand.

We stayed in Long Beach as the guests of some very nice people with a burning passion for roast beef sliced thick and baked potatoes smothered in sour cream. This is Andy's idea of a holiday. We went to Marineland one day, but Andy got hungry watching them feed the whale so we left and went downtown for pizza and beer.

We pointed the car east and ate our way through the central states. By the time we hit Mississippi I looked like King Farouk. Andy was never happier. He still thinks hush puppies and deep-fried catfish are a tourist attraction.

Andy becomes very philosophical and sympathetic towards his fellow man when he's well fed. We came out of a cafe in Alabama. There was an appliance store across the street with a sign in the window that read "Color Television."

Andy took the toothpick out of his mouth and looked suitably shocked. "Look at that," he said. "Even the TV's segregated."

We drove north through mountains of buttered yams and Kentucky fried chicken. We ran out of time in Indiana and headed home through the northern states. I'd gained 22 pounds and my belt was cutting me in half. Andy'd never had a better time in his life.

As soon as we got home I waddled into the gym and took a good look at myself in a full length mirror. The next day I started the definition diet. Three weeks later the flab was gone and I looked human again.

If you've been bulking up steadily, the chances are good that you've added some excess fat. Ninety-nine men out of a hundred accumulate a little lard during the building up process. It's a normal thing and nothing to worry about. The only problem is what to do about it.

As I explained last month, you can get rid of fat two ways. One, the old fashioned way, is to start a program of very high reps and follow a low calorie diet. You simply stave off the fat. The trouble with this method is that you also starve off a lot of muscle. It's not a satisfactory way to trim down.

The best way to trim down, the modern way, is to vary your training slightly and adopt very specialized eating habits. I call it the definition diet. It's a new concept in nutrition and we're going to talk more about it. Before we do, though, let's take a quick look at the route towards a championship physique.

It used to be thought that the best method of bodybuilding was simply to bulk up thirty pounds or so above what you hoped to eventually weigh in muscular condition, and then trim down once and for good. This concept proved faulty in two respects.

The first flaw was that some men simply couldn't bulk up that much without becoming pure fat men. The second flaw was that some of the men who did bulk up enough never succeeded in trimming down properly afterwards. They'd accumulated too much extra flab and they'd carried it too long. For a complex combination of physiological and psychological reasons they never did reach the appearance they wanted.

It's not known that the best way to build up is in a series of jumps. You don't just zoom up to your top body weight. Your increases should be in gradually ascending plateaus rather than in a straight climb.

Let's make that simpler.

If you want a herculean physique, you do it like this:

Keep increasing your body weight with bulk and power exercises until you start looking too soft and weight begins to accumulate on your waist and hips. At this point you should stop gaining weight for a while. Train back down ten pounds or so, or until you look hard again. You don't have to look like an anatomy chart, but get into fairly solid condition.

Now hold this reduced body weight for a month of two and work hard on your showy muscles, such as arms, pecs, deltoids and so on. After a couple of months you start bulking up again from your new base.

Never let your body accumulate too much fat. It's too hard and time consuming working it off again. Keep careful watch on your condition. As soon as your waist gets to the point where it's spoiling your appearance, work off the flab, sharpen your overall appearance, and then start bulking up again.

If you train this way, bulking up and then trimming down periodically, you'll make better progress in the long run and you'll end up with a much better physique. Your aim should be for a herculean body, not a fat one. Don't confuse muscle with blubber. You'll notice that even the big bodybuilders, like Park and Pearl, maintain some definition. Not as much, perhaps, as smaller men, but still enough to emphasize their muscular development.  

Let's assume that you've bulked up to the point where your general appearance is smooth rather than defined, and your waist and hips are getting just a little too big for good proportions. If you've been training properly, most of you should be at this point by now.

What you're going to do is trim the extra weight off your waist and hips and cut your body weight until you look hard and solid all over. You won't reach a highly defined state, just looking solid is good enough at this point. You'll hold this solid look for about two months and then start bulking up again.

The key point to remember is that you don't want to lose weight all over. You certainly don't want to lose any muscle. All you want to do is trim your waist and hips. Any loss of fat off your arms and legs should be compensated for by increased muscle in those areas. The end result should be that your muscular measurements remain the same or increase slightly while your waist and hips reduce drastically.

If you do this properly, you can look for a revolutionary change in your appearance. You'll take on a polished, highly trained look. If you train hard and diet conscientiously your appearance will change practically from day to day. You'll improve more in two or three months than you would in two or three years of normal training. Do this several times and you'll own an outstanding physique.

Remember - this isn't the end of your bulking up. You'll start highly advanced bulk and power training again after you harden up. Each time you trim down to a solid condition you'll start up again from a greatly improved base. Each time you bulk up you'll be able to carry a lot more body weight without looking sloppy.

The hardening process, as I said earlier, will be accomplished by an altered training routine and the definition diet. We'll start with the diet.

The secret of the diet is this - eliminate carbohydrates. Not reduce them. Eliminate them. Eliminate them completely.

There are several diets around - the Air Force diet, the drinking man's diet, etc. - based on the idea of reducing your carbohydrate intake to 55 or 60 grams per day. I'm not talking about that. I mean eliminate carbohydrates completely while you're on the diet.

You don't cut calories. You don't even count them. You don't restrict the amount of food you eat. You simply don't eat any carbohydrates at all.

So much for what you don't eat. Let's talk now about what you do eat.

You can eat beef. All you want. Steaks, roasts, hamburger, boiled, fried, chipped, dried, corned, raw if you like it that way, short ribs, sweetbreads, tongue, tripe. Any kind of beef you like and as much as you want.

You can eat pork. Chops roast, sausage, ham, bacon, spareribs. Eat all you want.

You can eat poultry. Chicken, turkey, goose, pheasant, duck. Fry it, roast it, any way you like it.

You can eat most seafood. Salmon, fresh or canned. Catfish, codfish, flounder, halibut, haddock, pickerel, mackerel, tuna, herring, perch, shad, sturgeon. trout. Clams, lobster, crab, shrimp, mussels. Squid, if you can gag it down.

You can eat lamb if you want. Or veal if you like it. Butter, eggs, bulk cheese. Frog legs if they appeal to you. Caviar, if you can afford it.

You can rabbit, mutton, unsaturated oils, and black tea or coffee.

As you can see, the foods without carbohydrates, with the exception of the tea and coffee, are mostly protein and highly nutritious. They're also fairly high in calories. You'll stay well nourished on the definition diet. Your energy level will stay high and there'll be none of the discomforts that go with a straight low calorie diet.

Some people find the diet a bit monotonous after a while. That's something you'll just have to put up with. Actually, if you're imaginative enough, the diet can be quite varied and very satisfying.

Let me give you some sample menus:

Breakfast - Ham or bacon: All you want. Eggs: As many as you like, boiled, fried, poached, scrambled, it doesn't matter.

Lunch - Alaska black cod: Boiled. Pour melted butter over it and eat all you want. Black tea.

Supper - Steamed clams: Drink the nectar and eat as many as you like. Steak: The biggest one you can afford with a side order of spareribs. Bulk cheese. Black coffee.

Remember that condiments and sauces are classed here as carbohydrates.

Don't eat between meals. Eat enough at mealtime and you won't have to.

You don't have to eat the most expensive cuts of meat. The cheaper cuts re just as good. Play around with various combinations of food. You should be able to come up with enough interesting meals to keep boredom from setting in.

Take protein, vitamin-mineral, some form of wheat germ oil, and supplements. Get the best quality you can afford. You'll find enough variety in the supplements listed in this magazine to fill the bill quite nicely.

Don't fudge on the supplements. They're very important. Take the protein in the recommended amounts. Take the vitamin-mineral and the oil in three times the recommended amounts.

The carbohydrate free diet, like running, is a new wrinkle among weight trainees. It's now widely known yet. Don't waste any time getting on the bandwagon. Start the diet tomorrow and see the results for yourself.

Next month we'll discuss the type of training you need to really sharpen you up.  


Saturday, September 9, 2017

The Three Cornerstones of Geezer Weightlifting - Matt Foreman (2014)

Articles by Matt Foreman at Catalyst Athletics: 


[Note: This is a very small excerpt from the book above. I can't recommend it highly enough!]


by Matt Foreman

1) Thou Shalt Be Forced to Train Differently When You're Older

Seriously, I just can't believe how many people never seem to figure this out. To my way of thinking, this one is so elementary and obvious that I almost hesitate to write about it. It's the weightlifting version of common sense. But there are a lot of people out there (and I know I'm stepping on some toes with this) who just won't accept the facts. Here's what I mean:

 - When you are young, your body is in a certain condition and capable of certain things. 

 - When you are old, your body is in a different condition and it's no longer capable of the same things. 

 - Because this is true, you have to train differently when you're old. You have no choice. 

And despite how clear and indisputable those concepts are, the O-Lifting graveyard is still littered with casualties who could have had exciting masters careers if they just would have accepted the truth. Instead of acceptance, they made a decision to live like superhuman terminators of power, and they kept training in their 30s and 40s the same way they used to in their 20s. Actually, I should correct that sentence. They TRIED to keep training in their 30s and 40s the same way they used to train in their 20s, and their bodies went kaplooey. Injuries forced them out of the sport, and it was their own damn fault. 

I think this mindset comes partially from all the hyper-inspirational media advertising we get bombarded with on a daily basis. We see these NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE advertising slogans from Nike or Reebok or whoever, accompanied by a photo of a leper with no hands paddling a kayak down a raging river. Commercials come on TV with dramatic piano music playing in the background where we see a 20-second documentary of somebody who got hit by a train an diagnosed with eight types of cancer, and then went on to win the New York Marathon. You feel like a lazy turd compared to these people. In other words, the world we live in today tries to convince all of us that we can overcome any obstacle. They want us to believe the rules of normal limitations don't apply to us. And by the way, you need to buy the new Jordans to accomplish these things. 

This stuff is awesome, admittedly. Little bits of motivation are great fuel for our lives, and I'm not dissing them. Hell, some of you might have decided to try masters weightlifting because of how excited you got from watching that leper in the kayak. In that case . . . excellent! 

However, the flip side of this phenomenon is that many people reject the idea that they have any limits at all. That can get you into scary territory. You see, there's a sensitive balance between courage and stupidity. Being a competitive athlete in your older years is courageous. Refusing to accept the facts of basic biology is stupid. I really, really hope you understand this. I might sound like I'm overdoing the world's most obvious facts, but I realize some of you are hard chargers who don't want to back off. You're stubborn, which is a good thing. But it can get you in some trouble if you don't blend it with intelligence.

Age WILL put limitations on you. It won't limit your spirit or determination, but it will limit the amount of strength and power your muscles can generate. It will limit your ability to recover quickly from hard workouts. It will limit the elasticity of your tendons and ligaments. And because of this, you simply have to smarten up and concede, at some point, that you'll have to train differently as your birthdays pile up. Ignore this rule at thy peril.

2) Thou Shalt Be Forced to Back Off When You're Older 

Obviously this is a continuation of cornerstone #1. We first establish that you're going to have to do things differently when you're older. From there, we establish that "doing things differently" means you're going to have to do LESS. It's like the Ten Commandments in the Bible, where they tell you not to commit adultery . . . and then later they tell you not to covet your neighbor's wife. You get ten rules for living your life, and two of them are about sexual indiscretions. Likewise, the Three Cornerstones of Geezer Weightlifting have some overlap too. #1 basically bleeds into #2.

Backing off, brothers and sisters. That's all we're talking about here. If you want to make it through the long haul in O-Lifting, you'll have to learn to pull back on a lot of things. Volume, intensity, frequency . . . all of it. And as we mentioned already, this is a challenge to your pride and enthusiasm.

When you're older, your athletic life means a lot more to you than it does when you're young. You understand that you're very lucky to even still be healthy enough to lift weights in your old age. You treasure your training because it's one of the best parts of your day. The thought of losing it scares the crap out of you. Because it means so much, you want to enjoy it to the fullest. That means you want to train hard and often.

You won't make it as a masters weightlifter if you don't find a way to pull back on how hard and often you train. You could train hard six days a week when you were a kid? Gotcha. You might have to train moderately two of three days a week when you're old. You don't believe me? Fine, keep going full blast and see how long you last. You probably won't break down right away, but it'll happen eventually. As sure as God made little red apples, you'll break down. When you're young, it takes a lot of self-discipline to train hard all the time. When you're old, it takes as lot of self-discipline to stay OUT of the gym when you need to. 

3) Thou Shalt Be Forced to Pay More Attention to Nutrition and Taking Care of Your Body When You're Older.  

Can you believe some of the things you got away with when you were a kid? Did any of you party a lot when you were young, maybe in your college years or whatever? Remember when you could hit the bar until 2 a.m., get hammered drunk off your ass, crawl home and get four hours of sleep . . . and then train like a maniac the next day? Does that ring a bell? 

I know some of you might come from very strict backgrounds where you didn't really have any wild days. If you're a Mormon, the wild phase of your life might have been the years when you stayed out until 11:30 p.m., drank caffeinated soda, and skipped family home evening once a month. If that's your story, it's cool.

But for those of you (like me) who went full-tilt boogie back in the day, isn't it crazy to think how resilient your body was back then? You could defile yourself in a variety of creative ways, and you would still be feeling great and ready to rock by noon the next day. And that's just talking about the drinking and lack of sleep. We haven't even looked at nutrition yet.

Remember when you could eat anything you wanted, with almost no consequences? I'm talking about the days when your dinner could be a box of greasy tacos and burritos from Taco Bell, with some chocolate Ding Dongs for dessert, and it wouldn't change anything about you. You wouldn't get fat and flabby, and your stomach could digest that garbage without a hitch. Now it's different, right? When you're old, try going out and stringing together a bunch of Taco Bell and Ding Dong dinners. You spend the rest of the night having a turbulent relationship with your toilet, and the extra fat and sugar hits your ass like a cottage cheese cannonball. 

Things hurt a lot more when you're old too. Now we understand why our dads grunted like rhinos when they got up from their recliners. Their bodies were achy, and now yours is too. It wasn't like that when you were a kid. If you got hurt, it only lasted for a short time. If you had an injury, it went away pretty quickly unless it was a broken bone or something like that. Now, injuries stick around for a nice long visit. A muscle pull that would have been gone in three days when your were 22 will bug you for three weeks when you're 50.

You can't get away from this. And if it makes you feel any better, you can't get away from it even if you don't lift weights. As we've mentioned, most of the decrepit old farts limping around the world didn't get that way from hard training. They got that way from doing nothing. So if you're going to be in pain anyway, you might as well get strong and have some big muscles along the way. However, you'll have to clean things up if you want to make your weightlifting last. Diet, hydration, injury prevention, taking care of your body . . . those things will have to become a much bigger part of your life. If you address them intelligently, you'll probably feel a lot better. We'll cover them later, after we talk about what you need to do with the barbell . . . 

Table of Contents

Overview of Olympic Weightlifting

Section One: Addressing Prior Notions of Age in Weightlifting
Masters Weightlifting Questions and Facts
Masters World Records: The Facts About What's Physically Possible
Basic Physiology: A Necessary Concession
Different Bodies, Common Decisions

Section Two: Physical Assessment, Prior Training, and Injury History
Training Background
Injury and Physical History
A Change in Your Mentality

Section Three: Coaching and Lifting
Is Coaching Necessary at Your Age? 
Learning Olympic Weightlifting Technique
Learning the Snatch
Learning the Clean
Learning the Jerk

Section Four: Programming and Training
The Three Cornerstones of Geezer Weightlifting
Programming Phase One: Proper Warm-up and Preparation
Programming Phase Two: Exercise Selection
Programming Phase Three: Workout Exercise Order
Programming Phase Four: Weekly Structure
Programming Phase Five: Training Analysis of Elite Masters Lifters
Programming Phase Six: Sample Training Programs
Programming Phase Seven: Weekly Loading and Weight Selection
Programming Phase Eight: Post-Workout Stretching

Section Five: Pain Management and Injury Prevention
Performance-Enhancing Drugs
Therapeutic Exercises and Prehab
Massage Therapy and Chiropractic
NSAIDs and Painkillers
Supportive Equipment

Section Six: Resolution and Attitude
Training Program for 2012 American Masters Championship
Training Program for 2008 American Open 
Training Program for 2009 Garden State Games 

Also by Matt Foreman: 

Bones of Iron is a collection of articles by Matt Foreman that appeared in the Performance Menu journal between 2008 and 2011 along with a few new pieces of material.

Foreman's background in Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting and coaching multiple sports gives him unique perspective and insights into a wide array of elements not only of strength training and competition, but all athletic pursuits and life itself.

The chapters are rife with as much humor as helpful training information, and Foreman covers topics ranging from practical guidelines for designing training programs to personal experiences with training and competition.

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