March 25, 2002
The Better, the
Worse, and the Uglier
just returned home from a week in L.A. Take South Beach in
Miami out of the equation, and no place on earth is more tuned
into fitness than Southern Cal. I had the opportunity to spend
a good amount of time with my friend and mentor, Joe Weider.
I feel a great kinship with Joe and while his company has
grown into a mammoth organization, his deep-rooted personal
driving force to spread the word of health and fitness throughout
the world is unchanged. He's a true fitness leader, a legend,
and a man who most definitely walks the talk. As always, he
taught me and inspired me. His passion has certainly rubbed
off on me, thus, I'd like to pick up where the last
Update left off providing new and valuable information
that can only make you a better informed fitness consumer,
and can help you take a step toward achieving whatever fitness
goals you've set out to achieve . . . oh . . . and then allow
me to share some of my recent conversation with a female bodybuilder.
In the last update I discussed,
"The Good, The Bad, and
The Ugly" of the current fitness marketplace. My
trip to L.A. revealed, the good got better, the bad became
worse, and the ugly is now even uglier! Let me explain . .
update I shared the value of a not-so-new but growing-in-popularity
exercise aid called the Stability Ball. I explained how valuable
a tool the Stability Ball can be for exercise directed at
improving real world performance and function. I've always
found the trainers in Southern California to be a step ahead
when it comes to trends and innovations. Spending some time
at both LA Fitness in Woodland Hills and Gold's Gym in Redondo
Beach, I was thrilled to see a small army of trainers using
core boards, stability balls, medicine balls, and full body
integrated movements to train their clients. Why was I thrilled?
Because finally a trendy fitness ideology based on sound science
rather than hype and nonsense is finding its footing, and
through that footing greater numbers of people will experience
the benefits of Core Training. I've always believed the truly
Professional Trainers (who make up a small percentage of the
sea of individuals that carry business cards that read "Personal
Fitness Trainer") to be the ground army, and finally
this army appears to have some new weaponry that people are
actually buying into.
training asks you to perform movements during which the muscles
interplay just as they do in real world movement. We rarely
if ever actually perform our daily functions by sitting against
a back support and pulling or pushing as exercise machines
ask us to do. Reach up to grab a cup from your cupboard. Notice
how the body moves. You reach, you twist, you balance, and
you move the hands in movements that are not predetermined
(not guided by the arm of an exercise machine). Bend from
a standing position to tie your shoe. Are you using abdominal
muscles? Yup. Back muscles? Quads? Uh-huh. Are you moving
in a single plane, or in several planes? Do the arms move
independently allowing full movement at the wrist? When you
begin to notice the intricacies of real world movement, you'll
come to understand the limitations of exercise machines.
of the great thing about core training finding its place is
. . . you don't need expensive equipment. "Core boards"
or "wobble boards" allow you to do standing movements,
pushups, and a variety of exercises that require balance and
stabilization far more than conventional health club movements.
You can get your own wobble board for under $50. Combine that
with a couple of medicine balls of varied poundages, a few
sets of dumbbells, and a stability ball and you've got a great
home gym for under $150. And if you don't want to even invest
that much . . . take some of the air out of the old basketball
you have in the garage and perform pushups with one hand on
the ball . . . and eventually, both hands. Do your standing
overhead presses standing on one leg. Expand the one arm shoulder
press to a full body movement that brings the dumbbell from
the floor to the overhead position for repetitions. These
all ask the body to perform as it does in daily life and can
all improve upon posture, form, and musculature, body composition,
Last Update I spoke about ephedrine
and how it's hidden in products. Now there's a new marketing
trend. Some clever companies are replicating pharmaceutical
packaging and advertising, patenting formulas and trademarking
names in order to sell ephedrine products under names not
readily identified. They patent a brand name, and promote
by omitting from their ads what the actual ingredients are,
making this patented brand appear to be a new discovery. The
marketing is powerful, the products are expensive, and the
risks of blood pressure irregularities, heart arrythmias,
and circulatory problems are no less prevalent. In fact, many
of these products add other stimulants into their patented
formulas. While L-Tyrosine, an amino acid, is sold as a mood
enhancer and altertness aid, it does have stimulant properties
and when "stacked" with caffeine and ephedrine increases
the power of the buzz. Add yohimbe into the mix, which is
marketed primarily as a male sexual performance enhancer,
and the stimulant effect is perpetuated further. I know there
are many bodybuilders who are willing to take risks, and are
used to stacking drugs (more on that to come) . . . but hopefully
most of them are making informed decisions. When a label shares
a product name that appears to be "a new breakthrough,"
and that product is actually a mix of herbal stimulants being
sold as a fat burner or metabolism booster, consumers are
clearly being misled, or at the very least under-informed.
I won't name any brands . . . at least not right now . . .
as I believe my description of the marketing ploy will help
you to identify these products . . . but I would urge you
to carefully peruse ingredient labels of any supplements you're
considering, and to identify the potential risks of everything
I'd actually thought I'd seen it all when it comes to bodybuilding
and drugs . . . but I must admit, even I was taken aback during
a recent conversation.
I met a female bodybuilder who
seriously looked like a very very muscular man wearing women's
workout clothes. For now I'll keep her identity private, but
I am trying to get her to speak honestly of her experience
on my radio show. From her calves to her lats she is massive
and veins protrude proudly from every extremity. I don't mean
to cast judgement by in any way insinuating she she's "ugly,"
although she plainly confesses her physique is not what she
aspired to create. I do, however, find the situation that
she described to me to be grotesque. She read this before
it was posted and gave me the green light . . . in the hope
her story might prevent some people from sharing her experiences.
massive bodybuilder told me she started with an 8-week cycle
of the anabolic steroid primobolan and was told it would enhance
her muscularity. After that cycle she competed and placed
in the top three in her first amateur bodybuilding show. She
was hooked. That cycle led to another, and another, and with
each steroid cycle her dosages increased. As she grew, she
needed more to grow further, and she wound up taking excessive
dosages of drugs that are extremely hard core and can permanently
alter female characteristics. She started using Growth Hormone,
first 1 i.u. a day, then she doubled her dosages, and ultimately
quadrupled them, using anadrol, a very powerful steroid with
serious potential for side effects, to "maximize"
the effect of the GH. So why did this shock me so greatly?
I guess the shock effect started when she showed me her high
school picture. She had been a beautiful feminine girl. She
had been a gymnast and had a petite and lean body. I've seen
physique transformations, but this was a change I'd never
seen before. Today her skin is riddled with acne scars, her
voice is gruff and deep, she goes for painful electrolysis
to try to control the hair growth on her face, her abdominal
region is completely distended to the point that it looks
like she has a basketball in there, and she discussed a few
sexual changes that I believe remain better left unsaid. She
feels that she can no longer win bodybuilding competitions
because her body is permanently disfigured due to the abdominal
distension. She has radical mood swings ranging from suicidal
depression to uncontrollable anger. She trains in the gym
2 hours in the morning, trains clients as a personal trainer
(although she doesn't hold a certification) in the mid-afternoon,
and returns to the gym for another 60 minute workout at night.
She earns a good amount of money "training" clients,
although she admits many of her "training sessions"
are outside of the gym and very unconventional. She's developed
arthritis in her joints and takes a very high dosage of prescription
pain medication to get through her workouts. The worst part
of all is . . . despite her income, she's over $40,000 in
debt, she's unhappy with her appearance, but (here comes the
shocking part) . . . she refuses to stop taking the drugs!
know many young men and women who get into improving their
bodies are swayed toward steroids, and I continually hear
. . . "but they're not addictive." The promises
most first time steroid users make almost always include,
"I'll only do one cycle." I share this experience
only because I want to point out that although there may not
be a chemical addiction, there's no question in my mind this
woman has a serious addiction run out of control. Steroids
alter body chemistry, and while I can certainly understand
the reasoning behind professional athletes and bodybuilders
who earn their living going to extremes facing the risks in
hope of a greater reward, I can't justify "recreational"
use of anabolic steroids. The drugs being transported and
sold on the black market . . . not to professional athletes
who earn their livelihood through their physiques . . . but
to high school and college students, weight trainers who believe
it's a shortcut to excuse their poor dietary habits, and .
. . to women . . . is honestly one of the ugliest issues I've
personally come across in an industry founded on such noble
ideals as health and fitness.
So back to Joe Weider . . . his
mission is noble. Sure his magazines are crammed with ads
for products, some of which are questionable at best . . .
but that's how magazines make money. That's how magazines
stay in business. If you would pull the advertising out of
every Muscle & Fitness magazine, you'd be left with some
highly valuable lessons in kinesiology, exercise program design,
nutrition, and biochemical science. Just as this female bodybuilders
growth led her to a point where her physique exceeded her
initial goals and ran out of control, when a company starts
with a noble mission and experiences phenomenal growth because
of the passion behind that mission . . . it's understandable
that the company takes on a life of its own. Don't allow your
perceptions of "the company" to sway your understanding
of "the man." Joe Weider has brought fitness into
the mainstream. His magazines have been the initial training
resource for many of today's fitness leaders. He greets everyday,
even now, in his eighth decade, with the pursuit of his mission
. . . to spread the word of health and fitness. I intend to
pursue that mission . . . teaching people to achieve bodies
that not only look great, but perform exceptionally well .
. . without the use of drugs . . . without a reliance on addictive
and potentially harmful supplements, without offering quick
fixes, miracle solutions, or amazing new product releases.
I'll continue with the mission to empower people, to spread
a message of fitness truth, and to help people rise up to
. . . the Best They've Ever Been.
And if You Live
in South Florida, or Want to Take a Trip in May . . .
It's your last chance! The last
seminar I'm doing in South Florida this year is only weeks
away! We have attenders registered from all over the country
and it promises to be the most life-changing seminar event
I've ever conducted. Ever!
The "Best" Seminar,
entitled "Breakthroughs" is taking place May 16,
2002 at the 17th Street Marina Marriott in Fort Lauderdale
and it will deliver all the hard hitting fitness honesty of
my previous seminars, but with entirely new material. Not
only will you learn how to shed fat once and for all, not
only will I cover core training principles anyone can apply,
not only will you learn how to totally reshape your body virtually
any way you want to, not only will you learn how to see through
all of the food label fraud and deception, not only will you
develop complete clarity about what you should eat, but you'll
The real story behind low-fat,
low-carb, and low-calorie diets and the shocking alternative
that offers a guaranteed path to long term weight loss
What five supplements have
value for those seeking fat loss and/or muscle gain
How a nutritional concept
called the Caloric Stagger can fire up fat burning
How two concepts, Cycle Training
and Linear Periodization give you control over the amount
of muscle and lean body mass you develop
Secrets of the top fitness
How supplement companies blatantly
lie and why some popular products may prove life threatening
Now that's a lot of promise for
3 hours, isn't it? Well, after 20 years of conducting and
perfecting my seminars, I'm 100% comfortable making the promise.
I'll even go as far as to say the topics I promised here don't
even begin to scratch the surface of the material covered
in this 3-hour event. I'll help you steer clear of "The
Bad and The Worse," teach you how to integrate all that's
"Good and Better." I'll even expose the little known
realities behind "The Ugly and the Uglier." Why
should you attend? Because you're tired of not loving the
body you're in. Because you deserve to look and feel exactly
as you wish you could. Because the daily tasks that prove
challenging can and should be simple and enjoyable. Because
you and optimal health should walk hand in hand. Because you
want to be in control of your energy levels, your metabolism,
and your mood. Because you no longer want to be tricked and
fooled by unscrupulous product marketers. Because it's time
for you to be . . . regardless of your present age or physical
condition . . . The Best You've Ever Been!
Don't put it off. Get on the path
toward being the Best You've
Ever Been. Commit to being there!
This one's open to 1,000 people, but it will sell out. I'll
be talking it up on my radio show, on ZETA, and during all
of my appearances between now and then, so our posting of
the words "Sold Out" is only a matter of time. You
can call Holly in my office to reserve your seats (which will
be $75 but are still avaiable for only $39.99) or register
online. Don't miss out. Register
And if you Don't
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Find info and ordering details
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Of Interest to Fitness Professionals:
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