T Nation

RT_Nomad, How Do You Train?

Let me back up in the time frame to describe my final dealings with the politics surrounding the NPC as I saw it. Please note that I believe most everything the NPC did, resulted in a better NPC organization for the athletes. My problem is that I saw it transpiring from the athlete’s point of view. The view that the organization (from the rule book of the National Physique Committee of the AAU) was for the athlete and by the athlete was on trial in my mind. For most all aspects of life, I tend not to believe that the “ends” justify the “means.”

If you recall I was attempting to have the conflict of interest addressed and remedied that the NPC Region Chairman was using to decide that he was the selected promoter of the Mr Florida year after year. Every time I was judging a national show I had addressed the situation with the NPC National Chairman. That was on three separate occasions that I recall. As I said said, he listened to my concern and affirmed that I was correct, but ultimately it seemed nothing changed.

I cannot recall the exact year (maybe 1984), but there was a yearly meeting in Las Vegas (that year) of NPC to elect officials, and in particular the National Chairman (or president). The current chairman was being challenged from another man, who made it known he was for the athlete first. There were rumors and concerns that the votes of the athletes might unseat the current chairman. Please note that the athletes elected the chairman.

The concerns were so great that the Board of Governors had a meeting the night before the election and changed the rules of the election such that the athletes had no vote, but was elected of votes by Association Chairmen and Region Chairmen. The result was that the current chairman was reelected. IMO, he was far better capable of leading the NPC going forward, but the “means” to assure this greatly bothered me.

The following year I was dating a girl and we were taking a week vacation in the Smokey Mountains and on the return home we went to a national show being held in Atlanta. At the show’s pre-judging we were down close behind the judges. The Region Chairman, that I have been referring, turned around and addressed me. He said that I better chose between the NPC and the AAU. My comment back was, “I sure know who the jealous bitch is!”

From that day going forward I totally removed myself from all the politics and never used my NPC National Judge again.

The above is how I perceived the events. And I could have misinterpreted some of the details.

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I suppose now is as good of a time as any to discuss my approach to protein supplementation.
About a year after I had been lifting weights and reading Hoffman and Weider magazines I saw the need to supplement my protein intake. My discretionary funds were at a minimum (in college), considering I had a few dollars a week earmarked for the minimum beer and alcohol requirement. So I looked for an inexpensive protein source. It became tuna fish and Carnation evaporated dry milk. Some I ate tuna between meals and made a protein shake of milk and evaporated milk to double the protein. All of the Hoffman and Weider protein powders were too expensive at the time.

Eventually I ventured into Hoffman protein tablets, which I bought at health food stores. I never bought any Weider products. The Hoffman products that I most purchased were their Protein-by-the-Sea, where I chewed about 10 to 20 tablets a day and their liver tablets which I swallowed 20 tablets once a day. All the other protein powders were soy protein, and it made no sense to me at that time to pay for vegetable protein.

By the early 1970’s it was considered that meat and eggs made the best protein sources. Almost everyone got all their protein from food. I was beginning to phase out my liver tablets and by 1975 I was no longer using them. I ate 7 eggs (whole) every morning., a can of tuna at 10:00am, some meat source at lunch, another can of tuna at 2:00pm, a dinner comprised of a meat protein, and some meat leftover from dinner around 9:00pm. If someone from the gym would ask if I was hungry enough to eat all those meals, My comment was, “If I am ever hungry, I am doing something wrong.” I never ate because I was hungry. I ate because it was time to eat.
(Because I ate tuna fish so often, at my work the employees nicknamed me Tuna Man.) This eating pattern remained the case up to the late 1980’s, with the occasional purchase of Rheo Blair milk and egg protein, which was considered the only protein powder worth using, but it was very pricey.

Sometime in the late 1980’s Bill Phillips began offering Met-Rx (in two containers). I gave it a try and felt it was a good product. [Also shortly after that (early 1990’s) Phillips offered creatine, which I also purchased through him. I have taken creatine every day since except for a short period of time (about 18 months), which I will explain later.]

So, my protein meals remained the same except for my post workout meal included Met-Rx and my last meal before bedtime was Met-Rx. I stayed on this protein regime through 1997. After 1997 I was forced out of competition for health issues and have tried numerous protein supplements.

Today much has changed as the nutrition available has greatly improved. At this moment I am using Biotest Plasma pre-during-post workout. Though currently using a GNC Sustained Blend in the morning in addition to 2 eggs, I will be purchasing Biotest Metabolic Drive to replace the GNC product.

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From a previous post I mentioned that I had a very poor squat form. I hadn’t mentioned nearly as much, but my bent over barbell row was poor as well. When I turned 40, I finally cured both.

It had always been my belief that to get your quads to grow and not widen your hips, you had to do narrow stance squats. I am leg-long and torso-short. To squat narrow and get parallel, I found that I was bending a lot at the waist, nearly approximating a good morning. The first thing to move up was my hips. My legs began to straighten before the bar moved. I am guessing the inside of my heels were about 12 inches apart, with my toes pointed straight ahead.

Then someone asked if I had ever tried a wider stance. I said no, but I’ll give it a try. I widened to about 18 to 20 inches between the inside of my heels, and my knees following my toes, which were about 20 degrees from the perpendicular. Before the squats were over that day, I began to feel a groove, that I had never felt before. That day I stayed at 225lbs for sets of 10 reps. I was very pleased and optimistic that progress was upon me.

I started doing 5 sets of 5 reps, progressing every week. (I had been doing legs once a week, and continued doing so.) It wasn’t three months that I was at 455lbs for 5 sets of 5 reps. I eventually got to 495lbs. I decided that I might be at the limit my patella tendons could take, and worked up to 2 sets of 10 reps with 495lbs, maybe a couple reps short of failure on the second set. I never used knee wraps, but always used knee sleeves.

My leg workout consisted of squats, leg presses, leg extensions (not too heavy weight), and leg curls, which I best liked doing on a bench with a dumbbell held between my feet.
My squats required a slow warmup because my patella tendon hurt a little the entire warmup. I started just the bar, then 135lbs for 3 or 4 reps, then 185lbs, then 225lbs, then 275lbs… until I got to 495lbs. A total of 9 warmup sets until I got to the 2 working sets of 10 reps.

I next did leg presses with less weight than I would have if I didn’t do squats. Another leg press I did after working up to 2 heavy sets for 10 reps (I always did 10 rep leg presses) was a wide leg press where my toes were pointed 180 degrees apart and my knees followed over my toes. I used much lighter weight. I was working my abductors with a compound movement. I account it for my inner thigh development, and possibly my sartorius development.

When I was 10 weeks out from a contest I added walking lunges at the end of my thigh workout with two 25lb dumbbells. I was trying to chisel my glutes here. Also, I flexed my legs often in the mirror almost every day, regardless of leg day or not.

This is a picture of my thighs from 1992, when I was 43 years old. ( I have posted before)

[I’ll explain the bent over rows and back routine in the next post]

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I’m surprised that your power lifting friends didn’t try to talk you into using a wider stance earlier in your career.

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Remember that I was powerlifting to help my bodybuilding. That was the primary focus of my weight lifting. I thought that wider squats widened the hips. At that time I thought narrow hips were most important, plus the narrow squats targeted the quads. I now believe I was wrong on both counts.

And yes, most everyone else squated with a wider stance than I did. None of the powerlifters had any aspirations to compete in bodybuilding. Why would I care what they thought?

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I copied this from another thread:

An additional note to the above barbell row. We had two 50kg (110lb) plates. This (265lbs) is the starting weight we did for barbell rows (after a 135lb warmup). Every other week I would do a drop set on the last set of 405lb barbell row. I put two 35lb plates on both sides of the bar and my workout partners would pull off a 35lb plate, for two drop sets immediately after my 8th rep with 405lbs, and then 335lbs, to finish with 265lbs.

I need to add that we always did bent over rows before deadlifts, because we were all bodybuilders. We did not want a tired lower back to inhibit any amount of weight we could use on rows. Plus we were just doing deadlifts to get 10 reps with more in the tank. All deadlifts were done without rounding the back, that can occur to get the last few reps.

We only did one back workout once a week. It was a killer. After back we went to chest for a relatively light chest workout. We did a heavier chest day later that week.

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So, I am 40 years old and qualify for the master’s class and have my first shot at the 1989 Master’s Nationals. As I had said I had been off all AAS’s in order to compete in drug tested shows. Immediately after the last drug tested show I was back on AAS’s and getting some volume back onto my delts and traps. Things were going okay. If I recall correctly the 1989 show was in Ft Lauderdale that year. I wasn’t as sharp as would like to have been and failed to place in the heavyweight class.

A couple months later they had the Master’s USA in New York, where I managed to come in 3rd in the heavyweight class. That was the last year they held a Master’s USA, if I am correct.

So going forward the only national Masters contest was the Master’s Nationals. If I recall correctly they were held the next three years in Ft Lauderdale. I seemed to have made myself comfortable with 3rd place as that is what I was in 1990 and 1991.

It was during this period of time that I added three staples to my AAS contest regime. I continued my primary 12 week contest AAS regime which I had been doing for years, and it was:

  • 200mg/wk Testosterone C
  • 100 to 200mg/wk of an injectable anabolic ( I might stack an additional injectable 7 weeks out)
  • 20mg/day of an oral anabolic (“wet” for 7 weeks, then “dry” for almost 5 weeks)

The three additions were:

  1. GH (as much as I could afford, but not more than 2i.u. every other day)
  2. Clenbuterol: weeks 8 and 9, off one week, then week 11 and 12
  3. 100mg Testosterone Suspension starting 10 days out and taking the last injection the morning of the prejudging.

My hope was that the GH would help with some muscle growth (though I cannot say it did.) The Clenbuterol was a definite benefit. And I felt that the test suspension made me harder without the water retention.

I usually weighed 240lbs 12 weeks out from the show, and usually competed between 215 to 218lbs. I had 4 metrics, one of which is subjective.

  1. The scale: my weight
  2. My strength: a few exercises to test loss of muscle (bench press and my back routine)
  3. Skin calipers: to empirically assess fat loss
  4. The mirror: was I looking better?

After a few contests I grew to find out the only place I needed to do a skinfold test was my upper back. That is where most of my my last to lose fat resided. I would get to basically fatless skin pinches everywhere but my upper back the last two weeks. I did the nine point test.

I should add and I believe this is important. Percent body fat calculations don’t mean a damn thing if it doesn’t translate to the stage, beach, photo shoot, or the mirror. I was never looking for an accurate bodyfat percentage, and didn’t care. It is not a “bragging rights” number if I lose on stage. For what it’s worth, and means nothing to me, but I usually skinfold tested in the upper 5% one week out from the show.

I know skinfold bodyfat percentages are not accurate. But I was not looking for accuracy. I was looking for a drop in bodyfat percentage. I had a good skinfold measurer and it is repeatable (to the extent of the skill of the measurer). I would never recommend the impedance test, as it is not repeatable IMO. And as far as I know all other bodyfat tests are costly and probably inconvenient. Finally, if you are looking to monitor progress in losing bodyfat, the skinfold is by far the best.

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Makes sense if you don’t really care about the number, just the delta of numbers over time.

But isn’t that all that really matters?

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Since you competed in florida…did you compete against a fella name Dave Marinelli?

Not, it would seem, to the people who create the ‘What’s my bodyfat percent?’ posts that show up multiple times/week.

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Ah, but there is some comfort in knowing that they’ll be asked to hold a shoe when they do post.

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The name sounds familiar, but I don’t know one way or the other.
Where was he from? And about how old is he?

He is from Stuart Florida and in his 70s…Mr. Florida 4x

I found a little on David Marinelli. He is in musclememory.com. He is about 8 years younger than me and seems to have started competing rather late in life. Musclememory shows him winning the Light-heavyweight Class of the 1991 Southern States.
I would have never been in his class the years I competed, so I am less likely to have had much opportunity around him. Since I was no longer involved in judging I missed that opportunity to see him too. Plus I dropped totally off the bodybuilding map after I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 1997, until now when I joined T Nation.

I don’t understand Mr. Florida 4x. What does 4x mean? If it’s 4 times Mr Florida, that makes no sense, because you could only win the title once by the time I started competing in the state contest. Back in the old, old days things were a little different.

Yeah, I never understood how you could win it 4 times either

He also competed and won in local contests even after his Mr. Florida wins…I did not think that could be done…the local competitors were upset about it mainly because he was a Mr. Florida competing in a local event

I never competed, so I would not know the details of competing from national to state to local competition

I could not find what year David Marinelli won the Mr Florida.

As for the contests qualifications for contestants I will go by my distant memory.
There were 5 levels for contests:

  • Level 1: local shows restricted to competitors from one county
  • Level 2: area shows comprised of a group of counties that would make up a general regional area restricted to competitors that lived in those counties.
  • Level 3: these were open shows that had no restrictions on who could enter
  • Level 4: these were open shows that served as national qualifiers.
  • Level 5: these are the national shows that were open to all competitors who are qualified to enter

Generally, if the competitor meets the requirements of entry they can enter. It would seem odd that a state title champion would enter a Level 1 or 2 show.

But do know that once a promoter has an open show, they are looking for some good competitors to enter their show. They will not turn away a very successful competitor.

A state champion might need to enter a Level 4 show to qualify for a national show, especially if it has been a couple years since he won the title.

I suppose the 1992 Masters Nationals was the most interesting Master’s contest I entered. When talking about my Mixed Pairs competition, I mentioned that Jeff and Cory Everson won the IFBB North American Mixed Pairs that my ex-wife and I got 3rd Place. A few months before the 1992 Masters Nationals I got word that Jeff Everson would be coming from California to compete for the title. He was definitely going to be difficult to beat. (Masters Nationals was held in Ft Lauderdale)

Jeff Everson had become pretty much the spokes person for Met-Rx and I had incorporated Met-Rx as a major part of my contest diet strategy. As the contest approached I stayed on Met-Rx right through the show. I saw that it was rather low in sodium and that it had a nice balance of potassium and sodium. I thought it wouldn’t pose a water retention concern, so I felt it safe to use right up to stage time.

I talked briefly with Jeff before the pre-judging and asked if he stayed on Met-Rx through the show, or got off of it for the show. He said he dropped Met-Rx the last two weeks before the show.

Jeff Everson and I were both in the Heavyweight Class. I felt that I was a fair amount sharper than him, but he did win my class and the overall. I came in 2nd, which I was okay with, though I would have liked to win, and saw a slight possibility that I might do so. I have one photo from Doris Barrilleaux of the comparisons during pre-judging. I am in the middle and Jeff is on the far right. (That side triceps had been my favorite pose for as long as I had competed, though through the years I had a few that I thought accentuated my strong points better than the side triceps.)

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1993 was a year to remember. I thought my chances of winning my class at the next Master’s Nationals were okay and my training headed in that direction. It was to be held in Raleigh, NC that year. My training was going real well. My back and legs were stronger than ever.

My last heavy leg day before the Master’s Nationals was the Wednesday, a week before the show. I was at a very low % bodyfat, and hadn’t lost any strength to speak of. I had done my squats and was doing my leg presses. It was an angled leg press machine that had 5 different angle positions. I warmed up to 7 plates at the lowest angle, to do a set of 10 reps. next set I moved the angle one step steeper while adding a plate to both sides and did 10 reps. The 3rd working set was one step steeper angle and another plate… continuing to the steepest angle and 11 plates for 10 reps. Each steeper angle incorporated a better position for greater hip involvement, making an additional plate seem about as heavy as the lower angle. On the way back down, where I dropped an angle position and removed a plate… with 2 sets remaining I positioned myself for another 10 reps. When I went to push the 5th rep, I felt my right arm twitch out and then in, and my bicep hurt greatly. I locked out the rep and got off the machine. You should know that this is the same bicep that I had hurt over a decade ago. Today was reaping time.

I need to clarify how I held on the leg press machine. When I gripped the handles my arms were slightly flexed. You should know that I am pulling on the handles as I press with my hips and thighs, and I mean an intense pull. Had I been able to find a grip where my arms were straight I would not have injured my bicep. Remember when in the gym I was trying to move as much weight as possible. I was not going through the motions, or seeking a pump.

I looked at my bicep and when flexed it was flat, without peaking at all. (It turns out that most of the tendon broke, but enough was left that my bicep did not roll up to my shoulder. I immediately went to the emergency room. (which was a total waste of time and money.) They took a X-ray and said nothing was broken. I showed the doctor that my bicep would not peak when flexed. She didn’t seem concerned about that, even when I showed her my left bicep. I went home.

The next morning I looked for an orthopedic surgeon, and saw him. He sent me to get an MRI in one of those god forsaken tubes. I went there to do that and they stuck me into the tube. After about 15 minutes (or two weeks, I can’t recall) I was told my bodyfat was too low for the machine to calibrate and they could not get a good reading, yet they charged me about $1,000 that my insurance didn’t cover. I went in search of another surgeon. A friend told me about Dr Paul Suhey.

For all you Penn State and Chicago Bears football fans, Paul Suhey’s brother Matt Suhey was a much more successful football player than he was. Both played for Penn State. Dr. Paul Suhey became an orthopedic surgeon.

After seeing Dr. Suhey he scheduled surgery a couple days later. He reattached the torn tendons back with the few that stayed intact. I was cut inside the elbow and a little ways down the back of my forearm, where there are now telltale scars.

Tomorrow I will discuss my recovery efforts.

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When I am discharged from the hospital my arm is a plastic brace in a 90 degrees bend and not in a sling. I had joined a gym near my house where I had been doing leg day or back day every so often for the last couple years. They had some unusual gym equipment. So for the next 6 months I worked out at the gym close to my house.

I don’t recall the various time frames for time in the brace, physical therapy, etc. The surgery was in early to mid June if I recall properly. I started back to the gym the Monday after I got discharged. What exercises could I do? I decided to not do any left side only upper body exercises. I could do most of my leg exercises except for squats. Of course, it meant doing leg presses without holding in tight, so the weight had to drop a little. I always did 10 reps on all machine leg exercises except leg curls.

For upper body exercises I had to think a little outside the box. Right away I started doing shrugs on the standing calf raise machine. That has a nice controlled feel. (I occasionally did them when I was completely healed when I wanted to concentrate on the contraction.) As you can guess with my right arm in the brace, I didn’t do any arm specialization work.

I found an odd machine that I haven’t seen in any other gym to this date. I’ll attempt to describe it verbally, but it will be difficult. It was used to work your hips and thighs while standing in front of it. There was a padded bar protruding perpendicular to a circular disc which could be positioned in many locations of the 360 degrees. The shape of the padded bar was like the leg extension or leg curl bar. It was a unilateral machine, as you could only work one leg at a time. I positioned myself such that I could push with the back of the lower half of my upper arm and execute a rowing motion. I had to work one arm at a time. They also had a Cybex pullover machine that I did with rather light weight, being cautious of my bicep

It was too soon to attempt to use their pec deck machine.

I was able to keep most of my strength in my legs and upper back, while I waited to heal enough to get the brace off. It seems like it was removed between 6 and 8 weeks after surgery. The first arm usage I felt safe trying was behind the neck press. About a week later I added bench press. (This is all barbell work. I felt unsafe with balancing or getting into place with dumbbells.)

About the same time I began squatting again, but now placing my hands to the collars with an open hands placement to relax my bicep from possibly flexing. And I figured out how to brace myself in the leg press machine with my arms straight. And I started deadlifting again. I also could use the pec deck without issue.

A couple weeks later I added bent over rows and the remainder of my back exercises. For all my back exercises that require my arms to flex I always use straps. I never use straps on deadlifts.

By September I was doing all of my workout with the exception of curls (of any kind. I did not do curl grip pulldowns, or any kind of curl grip pull)

There was an Over 35 or Over 40 contest held in Orlando coming in November that I was determined to enter. Training was getting back to normal. My squats were back to 2 sets 0f 10 reps with 495lbs and I was bent over rowing 2 sets of 10 reps with 405lbs. But I did no curls or direct biceps work at all. I decided that I would not try to peak for the show, but would enter a little larger at 225lbs, so as to minimize any muscle loss from extreme dieting. I won the heavyweight class and lost the overall to a guy who was sharper than I was. I did what I came to do.

Next was to set my sights on 1994…

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