T Nation

How Times Have Changed!

this is a great thread. i love all the stories.

i remeber lifting in my bedroom when i was 14, with an old DP (diversified products) cement weight set and bench. i would work out m w f, total body, do deadlifts, hang cleans, overhead presses, and bench press. also would push my dads old pickup around the block while he steered in neutral for xtra leg work.

3 sets of 6-10 on everything. if i could not get 6 reps, i used less weight, if i got 10 reps, i added weight.


speaking of old school training and nutrition, everybody here should get a subscription to MILO magazine. they have a lot of articles and pictorials on pre steroid and M&F lifting. i like to model my training after these guys. they were big muscular and could lift real weights.

squat pull and press, eat, rest, repeat. good stuff.

[quote]visbuffed wrote:
Here’s a throwback for you:

How many of you remember the old Flex TV show on ESPN with Shawn Ray and Boyer Coe? I also remember the days of watching Cory Everson on Bodyshaping.[/quote]

Hey when I was very young I remember watching the Jack LaLane show! Now there is a true T-Man.

The first “real” gym I belonged to, holds special memories for me. It was the typical dungeon of the times. In the basement of a warehous, unpainted cinderblock walls, concrete flaws, insulation hanging from the ceiling. The owner, manager, trainer, and cleaner was this huge mean mother, that had this 17 yo crapping his pants. No customer relations training here! All the people who trained here were hardcore. The only “machine” was a leg extension stuck in the corner. After I was training for a couple of months, and the crew figured I wasn’t going away, a couple of the guys started helping me with form and putting together a program. That was over 30 years ago, and I still basically train the way these guys taught me.

I remember seeing these “old guys” training. They were thick with muscle density only possible after years of training. Their faces and grey in the hair put them somewhere in their 40’s early 50’s. They all had this look in the eyes that said “I’ve been there and I’ve seen it all”. Today, I often look around the gym with all the fancy machines, shiny weights, carpets and all the other “amenities” and long for my old dungeon. Every once and awhile, I’ll look in the mirror at the gym and see myself. I chuckle, and wonder if the young kids are looking at me the same way I looked at the “old guys” in my day.

Great memories…


[quote]foglifter wrote:
I had a gizmo called a “Bullworker” when I first started. I just did a search and they still sell the damn things. THEN I "moved up"to the plastic weights…[/quote]

Holy crap! I not only remember the “Bullworker”, but had one, LOL. Matter of fact, it might still be in my mom’s basement somehwere tucked away with all that other nostalgic stuff!

Back in '77 in Rock Springs, Wyoming, my best friend through junior high and high school was a boxer and his dad made him lift weights. I was skinny as hell and so was he. He had the archetypal DP Orbatron concrete weight set and a bench.

Bill would fire up the gas heater and then we would lift. Bill was actually pretty strong for being 5’10" and 135 at 16. I was already 6’2" and all of 155 at 16. Bill could smoke me on bench and I hated to bench because of that.

I mostly did arms, rows, and leg extensions. I remember one workout when I kind of dropped the barbell on the concrete floor and it put a hairline crack in the floor. We could hear it cracking. Bill thought he was going to get his ass kicked. We really didn’t know what we were doing, but we kept doing it, three times a week.

Summer of of 78, I dislocated my shoulder three times. I was out of commission for a year, until I had it operated on.

By then I was in college and I really started hitting it hard. By 1982 in Montana, it was volume without logic. 20 sets of bench three times a week was typical by this time. Endless quantities of dorm food. Hell, I was working out so much, I could not possibly gain weight or get stronger.

I weighed 190 and my bench was stuck at 265. Man, I was shredded back then, even on dorm food. Weak, big arms, and shredded.

No supplements except this god-awful dessicated liver stuff. I couldn’t get through the can. And a Weider Anabolic Megapack that mysteriously made my joints hurt.

There was one guy who was getting into the juice game and was going to give us stuff for free, maybe as advertising. I never took him up on it. I never knew what happened to the guy. He was one of the first really big guys I had seen outside of a magazine.

Basically, I haven’t missed more than three weeks of lifting since 1986. I know a lot more, but I still tend to train until I jack something up. I outweigh my buddy Bill by about 120 pounds, at least the last time I saw him, but he doesn’t care, so it doesn’t matter. I know alot more about nutrition but I am no longer anywhere near shredded. Go figure.

[quote]sawadeekrob wrote:
having sex as often as possible. Result . . .motorcycle accident with 2 cracked back vertebrae and a fused L5S1 disk.

That is some pretty extreme sex. I bet that even Push and Ragoo cant match that one!!

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

I had the Sears version of plastic weights They said “lift for life” on them and were in Kilos and Lbs… I used to do bench presses on a slant board that my mom had for doing situps. I broke it.
My first real bench came from Sears also. The uprights were narrow, so you had to be careful loading/unloading the bar. I had to brace it with wood.
My dad had the rubber chest expander that he used once or twice and some 5 lb dumbells that I started my lifting career with. I still have those dumbells. When my dad died, they were all I wanted to inherit.
I actually had a Charles Atlas brochure that I got my excercises from. One of them was d-flyes done lying a stool, crossing your arms over instead of stopping at the top of the movement. Another was dumbell pullovers done lying on the floor, moving the bells from behind your head to down by your thighs…It’s a wonder I didn’t get more injuries.

The best workout gadget I ever saw, bar none, was a thing a girlfriend of mine bought (around 1978) that were called “vacuum pants”. These were vinyl pants that you put on and attached a vacuum cleaner to via a hose. The idea, I guess, was to work up a sweat and the vacuum suction would , eh, suck out the flab ?

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

I remember when I first got my plastic weider 110 set. Mine came with a little booklet of exercises that had the JEFFERSON LIFT in it. I actually did those for a few weeks. What I do remember as a young 13 year old was doing cleans and presses, squats, floor presses, curls and pullups from anything I could hang from. I also did alot of odd object lifting, logs, rocks, cinder blocks and anything else I could find.

One thing that I remember motovating me to train was that old show on ESPN that had Shawn Ray on it and the Met-RX commercials. Good ole times indeed…

[quote]waltny wrote:
I remember when I first got my plastic weider 110 set. Mine came with a little booklet of exercises that had the JEFFERSON LIFT in it. I actually did those for a few weeks. What I do remember as a young 13 year old was doing cleans and presses, squats, floor presses, curls and pullups from anything I could hang from. I also did alot of odd object lifting, logs, rocks, cinder blocks and anything else I could find.

One thing that I remember motovating me to train was that old show on ESPN that had Shawn Ray on it and the Met-RX commercials. Good ole times indeed…[/quote]

yeah waaay back like 10 years ago, i used to um, work out, with those shows on espn. the best one was called “fitness beach” or something. back in the day i’d get in like 4 or 5 workouts in half an hour. which isn’t bad considering the only supps available then were made by companies like jergens and ponds. a few times i sponged some high-end imported gear, neutrogena i think, off my sister. but it didn’t seem to do anything the cheaper stuff didn’t.

I had the York plastic weights, used to work out in my room. The book that you used to get with the York weight sets was pretty funny, used to warn you about how eating pies and candy would limit your process and you could smoke and drink tea and coffee but only a bit.

But it did say, ‘an advanced barbell man can eat anything without regrets’.

Used to hear these words in my head everytime I ate a loaf of crap and thought I would not get fat.

I started back before Pumping Iron was a movie (it was only a book). Back then, the magazines talked about workouts for Bombing, Blasting or Blitzing a bodypart (I still don’t know the difference). A hard workout was a Bomb Session. 20 sets per bodypart was not unheard of, or even 30 sets for a large muscle group. Little did I know that these workouts were designed for guys using steroids, and not the average 15 year old. Hey, if it worked for Arnold…

I remember getting a cannister of protein powder that was made out of beef, fish, bone meal, and other similar stuff. I used up half of it (!!!) I was trying to be hard core LOL. It was awful!

A good protein drink had raw eggs in it, and you would try to drink up to a half gallon or even a whole gallon of milk a day (!!!) A quart of milk was a good snack. One time I drank a half gallon of milk in one sitting, and I thought I was going to burst!!!

Brewer’s Yeast tabs and Dessicated Liver tabs were a must… dozens at a time.

I’m glad i got into it during the Peary Rader Iron Man years, when there was still a big emphasis on bodybuilding being a healthy lifestyle. Some of that was lost in the 80s and 90s and I met several guys who would start taking steroids after only a couple of months of training, during this time… guys who would take steroids and also hit the bars and nightclubs hard, smoke cigarettes etc.

I have been training now for 31 years (currently 48 years old). I am so surprised with all of the great equipment and excellent information that is available how people are so ill-informed!

About the good old days…I started out lifting at a local WMCA in Detroit and then started training at a gym called “Armenos” or something like that. The gym was home to Tom Platz. Platz won the Michigan State title in 1975 (my first year of lifting) and would watch him do reps of 25 with 315 for squats multiple sets.

Pretty much everything in the gym was “homemade” or hand-welded. Yes, there was a “Universal Machine” around, but the cooler stuff was built and designed by the guys who owned the gym. I was also a member of “Vic Tanny” for a day. I signed a contract (I was only 17 at the time). When I came home and showed the contract to my father (it was for 3 years) and the cost, he had a shit-fit and told me to quit. Since I was underage (I lied to them about being 17 at the time), I was able to get out of the contract. Their facility was in Dearborn and I remember hanging out in the parking lot (on woman’s days) in my '71 Duster and checking out the chicks as they were coming in and out.

Their were only a couple “health food” stores where you could buy supplements. Hoffman stuff was available and then in 1970’s, their was this awful shit called “Liquid Protein”. It was partially digested gelatin protein that tasted like shit. A bunch of people back then were living on this stuff and dying of heart attacks, so they pulled off the market. Eating a steak along with 8 to 10 eggs was “normal” (Atkins before Atkins existed), however, you would consume carbs as well.

Training info came from Ironman and Muscle Builder magazines. I remember when Arnold had his “comeback” in the '80 Olympia and standing around seeing the pictures (in the Weider mag) and everyone saying that the contest was fixed!

Dumbbells and other equipment was crude back then. A lot of times they place were not air conditioned, so you would have brown marks on your back if squated, since the bars would have rust on them! Imagine that now.

I do not long for the old days. I travel for my job and get a chance to workout in almost every city. My favorite gym is in Denver, CO., a place called “Better Bodies”. Huge, 30,000 facility and it is never crowded. Gold’s in Venice is cool and reminds me a bit of the old days, but it’s also a freak show.

In the late 60’s early seventies my father was “BIG”. He taught biology and coached football and the weight events for the track team. AT 6’4" he weighed a fairly lean 255. He was benching 440 for reps, Cleaned and pressed 305, squatted 560 and strict curled 195 pounds for reps. Just prior to the end of the school year 1973(I was 14, my brother was 12), my father started us on the workouts from John McCallums’s Keys to Progress series in Strength and Health magazine circa 1970 or so.

My brother and I worked 10-12 hours a day baling hay or some other manual labor and spent 90% of our cash on Weider’s Crash Weight gain #7, Super Pro 101(yyeeeccchhh) and ate Hoffman’s protein tablets(Carob flavor)by the ass ton, we went through about 20 gallons of milk a week between the 3 of us.

We both made great progress the 1st 2 years we trained, my brother was a freak. He grew 2 inches taller and gained 40 plus pounds in his 9th grade year.

Then the drugstore in town(population 374) started carrying Weider’s Muscle Builder/Power magazine. We both changed from the fairly straight forward sensible training that S&H and my dad advocated to the 6 day a week double split crap in the Weider mags. ALL progress came to a screeching halt. It took us another couple years to un-do all the damage we had inflicted on ourselves with 20-40 sets a bodypart, each bodypart 3 times a week. But I’d give my left nut to go back and be able to do it again.

[quote]grey wrote:
Damn. You guys are bringing tears to my eyes. Sniff sniff. I loved those old plastic weights in my basement. Me and Jerry used to load up the bar with those 10’s and 5’s. We used to think we were the shit. Curling for 3 sets of 8 and seated behind the neck presses cause the basement was too low to do them standing.
Do you remember how narrow the uprights were on the bench? I remember when working out by myself at times racking the weight and having it go bouncing around on the hooks. And the bench wobbling around on the little screws like a drunk old man. They tightened with a screwdriver…

Oh, I remember the bench with the narrow uprights- but for a different reason! I remember getting mad at my brother and pulling off “my” weights off one side of the bar in a fit of anger and having the bar fly up and nail me in the chops!

When I was about 14 I bought a routine by Charles Atlas called Dynamic Tension. You did’nt use any weights. Basically pushing and pulling at the same time with differnt movements. Probably why I did’nt stick to it.

I started screwing around with weights when I was 10 years old. My uncle, who inspired me throughout my childhood and early adulthood on many levels, would sneak me down into his basement (he was still living at home with my grandparents) and he would let me “lift” with him. He had all of the old school “DP fit for life” horseshit hollow bars and cement filled weights, remember the biggest “plate” was 22 pounds and it was like huge. He would throw me on a makeshift bench and let me have at it while he used his olympic set. He had the ye 'ol weider arm blaster and a whole shit load of home made (welded) lat machine attachments.

He snuck one of those hollow bars into my parents house and into my room with a couple 22 pound plates a few dimes and nickels and all I did were squats, upright rows, bent over rows, curls, and overhead triceps extensions…all in my bedroom.

My parents didn’t actually let me have my own weights or accept the fact that he was sneaking me in his parents basement for workouts (maybe once a week if i was lucky) until I was 12. At 12 my parents finally let me have my uncles old shit out of his basement and my grandpa built me a homemade lat machine.

My uncle had pictures of Frank Zane, Arnold, Mike Christian, Gaspari, Hany up on the walls of the basement. An old used Quad’s gym stringer also hung from the ceiling. He had one mirror down there where of course we would watch ourselves curl. The basement was relatively clean, not finished, cement floor, cinder block walls but clean. He had a chalkboard and a boombox where we listened to whatever the fuck we wanted to while we lifted (those of you who are stuck in a commercial gym like me learn to appreciate the true value of music while lifting).

I took no protein powder until I was about 13, then it was Hot Stuff. Remember that shit, you needed an industrial strength blender to mix that shit without having powder bombs.

By the time I hit 15 I was given my first gym membership at a powerhouse gym, even there things were relatively hardcore compared to the pussified gyms we have now.

I did my first and unfortunately last bodybuilding show at age 17, the AAU Illinois, won my age class (5’9" 189 on stage) but got smoked bad in the overall teen division by a kid (19) that was 30 pounds lighter than me, he had a sick lump(gyno)under his left nipple also, not that it mattered he was ripped to shreds.

The old powerhouse gym closed down almost 10 years ago now and all that equipment from my grandparents basement is in my uncle’s garage. Funny everytime I go over to his house to hang out and happen to be in his garage, all I have to do is grip that old bar and the memories come back in a flash.

Ahhhh, the old days…and there are so many stories of the different cliques in that first gym I went to along with the 12-13 other gyms I have frequented over the past fifteen years.

Great thread…

[quote]professsorpump wrote:
Eating a steak along with 8 to 10 eggs was “normal” (Atkins before Atkins existed), however, you would consume carbs as well. [/quote]

Actually Atkins promoted “Atkins” back then also. He was thought of some quack and didn’t get much attention back then.