18. Q. What was your last contest? Do you miss competing? If so, what do you miss
A. I really do not miss the competition, the event itself, I do miss the preparation. I always loved training, pushing myself getting ready to meet the deadline of attempting to be my best on a particular day in time. Dieting was never that hard for me nor was the training; I seem to thrive on it. Probably the thing that I had to work on the hardest was posing. Without fail, I always started working on my posing 12 weeks out from the contest. I would spend 1 ½ hours everyday, seven days a week, working on the posing; I was striving to be perfect.
It is interesting to see how posing has changed over the years. I recall watching an old film of John Grimek posing, he could literally pose for five minutes, never repeating the same pose twice, finished and not be out of breath and not look like his head was going to explode while posing. I see no one around today capable of doing anything close to that.
19. Q. There were rumors that you were doing a lot of negative training for the
Masters Olympia in 1994, even doing more negative than positive. How did that work? How did you end up training for this show that way?
A. I did attempt to include some eccentric training back in 1994. Arthur Jones proved that this type of training to be effective back in the mid 70’s. To date, no one has been effective produced a safe efficient way to accomplish this. Life Fitness did produce a line of machines that did work fairly well, but at the time, they were too expensive, and they, unlike Arthur did not provide a method on exactly how to use them. Recently a company out of Sweden called X-Force has attempted to do this by developing a 45 degree tilting weight stack. On their machines allowing the machine to increase the resistance up to 40% in the eccentric movement, still the price has proved to high, therefore they have not been able to sell a single line of machines in the U.S. so far.
20. Q. Competitions aside, you have been a lifelong bodybuilder, getting up early
to train at 5 in the morning almost every day. What motivates you to keep going?
A. No doubt environment plays an important part in the way your approach life. I grew up in a family where both parents were early risers. My dad was always an early riser, when I was a small kid, one of the high points of my life was to always get up and eat breakfast with him each morning. I would have to say, my dad was my first hero, and I know that I must have driven him crazy with all the questions I asked. Once I asked him why he never slept late, he said he never knew any different; there was always something to do. He would just smile and say, it will always give you a head start on the day. So I grew up with that same attitude. I have always enjoyed training early in the morning, once again following along the lines of other men who I have admired, Red Lerille and Bill Pearl. When training I like to focus on what I am doing, the gym, usually being empty at that time if day, I just fine it easier. I never talk when training other than to maybe ask my training partner how much weight for the next set.
21. Q. You have always been one to evolve your approach that is, it seems if a good
idea came along you would give it an honest try. Is that a fair assessment?
A. I have always attempted to keep an open mind about everything. As the old saying goes “there is more than one way to skin a cat.” This is true with training as well. I have learned this, there is no one BEST way to train, you have to try them all and see what your body responds to best, always keep an open mind. I can say this also; you can’t change to shape of a muscle, unless you would go to a surgeon and change the insertion of the muscle. For example, I could do all the preacher curls I wanted, I am never going to end up with the much admired full biceps of Larry Scott anymore than Larry Scott could do all the concentration curls and never attain the biceps peak of Freddie Ortiz. Desire and drive is extremely important in success, but in bodybuilding, there is no way of getting around genetics. I use to believe otherwise, but I was wrong.
22. Q. In general, what is your philosophy of training and nutrition? My readers
would like to know what supplements you use, if any.
A. In the very beginning my diet was very basic. All I had to go by was what I read in Strength & Health. I recall reading about the huge eating habits of John Grimek; he was also a big consumer of milk. At the time milk was readily available, so I tackled milk first, I never drank less than a gallon of milk a day, sometimes as much as a gallon and a half. I was always trying to get big and gain weight. I recall a friend of mine and I had a milk drinking contest at school in about the 7th grade, we drank those little half-pint cartons, we drank so much during our lunch break, I don’t remember exactly how many cartons we drank, but I remember the lunch room table being filled with those empty cartons. When I got up to go back to class, I swear that I could hear that milk sloshing around in my stomach.
Next, I tried Hoffman’s Hi-Proteen, it was damn near impossible to get it to mix in any type of solution. I would mix it with milk, but always a battle to get it down. Next I tried Hoffman’s Hi-Proteen from the Sea. The label said, it was over 90% protein, so naturally I assumed it was the best. When you opened the container it smelled like rotten fish. I remember the first time I opened the can, my mother thought something had died in the kitchen. She would only allow me to keep in my dad’s workshop; I was not even allowed to keep it in the pantry.
After that I read about Weider’s Crash Gain Weight, there were 14 little containers, they advertised if you followed their directions you could gain 14 pounds of muscle in 14 days. Once again, I save up my money and sent off for it. I remember that the package arrived right before Christmas. I well recall, telling all of my friends that after the Christmas break, I was going to come back to school 14 pounds heavier, all muscle I might add. The first day of Christmas vacation, I got up early, rode my bike over to Theriot’s Feed Store, I didn’t want to trust my weight to a mere bathroom scale, and I wanted something official. So I talked the guy who ran the scale that weight horse and cattle feed to weight me. I was going to record my daily progress. After the weigh-in, I rode my bike directly home and mixed the first container with a quart of milk and drank it down. About 20 minutes later I threw the entire contents up. I was not easily discouraged. Each of the next 14 days I did the same thing, with the same results! I reasoned, if I could just keep the stuff down, I could gain weight. Sad to say, for all of my effort for 14 days I went back to school 1 ½ lbs. lighter than when I started!
Next I got hold of copy of Iron Man Magazine. I then learned about Rheo Blair and his nutritional products. Larry Scott was the big poster boy for Blair’s supplements. Larry believed that at least 50% of your success was due to nutrition, so I really started to pay more attention to nutrition, other than just protein. I ordered a small can of Blair’s protein, and I have to say, it tasted fantastic and it really did mix well. Besides, how can you not like something that is mixed with heavy cream or whipping cream. It was very expensive at the time so I could only buy it now and then. By the time I got to college, Rheo must have thought I had a little potential so he agreed to send me his supplements for free. I really appreciated that and made good use of his supplements, at one time I was taking 1/3 of a cup of his protein 9 times a day! Another supplement that he had was called Liver Extract, so I made use of that as well. Back them the real catch word was Amino Acids. Blair had a product called Free Amino Acids. It was extremely expensive and was not even offered on the price list of his catalog. I remember reading that Don Howorth would use this supplement for several weeks for competition. I never actually saw the products. Many years later, after I had won the Mr. America, I was doing an exhibition in Washing, D.C. and the promoter of the contest had an empty container of Blair’s Free Amino Acids sitting on his kitchen table. That is the only time I ever actually saw the container. There were 500 capsules for $250. In today’s dollars that would be around $2,500. Needless to say, I never got around to trying them.
23. Q. Do you still take protein supplements? If so, how much do you take on a
A. I have always believed in the importance of an excellent protein product. I find that Rich Gaspari and Lee Labrada both produce to quality products, I have used them and highly recommend them. Recently a new company that I have recently learned about called Tru-Nutrition Sciences. They produce a whey isolate that is the best I have ever tired. I attempt to take in at least 1 gram of quality protein for every pound of bodyweight, I usually take in at least 210 to 220 grams of protein each day between food and protein supplement.
24. Q. Do you still use desiccated liver tablets? If so, why? If not, why don’t you
anymore? Would you still recommend them?
A. You go back along way bring up desiccated liver. I was a big proponent of this supplement. Some years ago there was a very serious article on the concern that liver would raise your cholesterol levels. So I had mine check and it was elevated, so I discontinued the product. Somewhere along the line it must have fallen out of favor because I never hear anything about it anymore. I felt it was an excellent supplement and certainly effective for increase energy