T Nation

Stop Using Sandow as a Measuring Stick



STOP USING SANDOW AS A MEASURING STICK!!! 120 years ago natural test levels would have been closer to enhanced levels than today’s true natty levels. On top of that Sandow was most likely a genetic outlier in that time of much higher levels. (At the age of 22 he became the worlds strongest man at his first competition.)

The “Fitness” industry loves using Sandow as a measuring stick. It allows them to have an unattainable physique which leads to the perpetual selling of more supplements and gimmick training. Also it adds validation to their fake natty models since supplement and training sciences have come sooooo far since Sandow.

SANDOW’S TRAINING AND SUPPLEMENT GAME WAS THE BEST THAT EITHER HAS EVER BEEN!!! He ate whole unprocessed foods, slept 8 hours a night and lifted heavy things using his entire body. He didn’t use machines or take fake supplements clogging up the works.


Should I Realistically Take Steroids?

Sandow was 5’8" at about 180 lbs. Nothing unreasonable about that measuring stick.


Not entirely true. He frequently wrote about drinking “Plasmon”, which was basically an egg white powder. He also later developed and sold “Sandow Heath and Strength Cocoa”, which was a similar early protein powder.

x2. In what world is this “an unattainable physique” for anyone with some consistency and the tools/methods/info available in the 21st century:


what are you basing this on? Do you have any evidence to support this? There weren’t blood tests to measure this 120 years ago.


Nice to let it all out OP however claiming test levels, back in the early 20th century, were comparable to roids is just fucking outrageous.


Yeah, I keep seeing that statement floating around, “test levels aren’t what they used to be.”

I think it started with that radio commercial for that bogus testosterone booster supplement.


Sandow was listed at 202lbs.

A study done 15 years ago over a 17-20 year span showed a decrease in test levels of about 80ng/dL. Over this last 15 years they have probably fallen off even more as I doubt that test levels have fallen off in a linear fashion, more likely some degree of exponential. So, I doubt that test levels today are even close to what they were in 1900.

Slight difference between dried egg whites with cocoa powder and what is being sold today wouldn’t you say?


Your reasoning or evidence supporting this?


What a bunch of garbage. First, I’d love to see a link to the study. Second, anything you’re presupposing outside of the confines of the study is a complete guess. There’s no evidence of ANYTHING you just said, particularly that nonsense about linear/exponential changes. I don’t see any reason at all to assume test levels from 1900 weren’t at least in the ballpark of today.


This has been debated for some time…sources vary.


[quote=“BOTSLAYER, post:7, topic:224390”]
Slight difference between dried egg whites with cocoa powder and what is being sold today wouldn’t you say?[/quote]
Seeing as how some companies today still sell egg white protein powder, no, not a whole lot of difference. It’s not hydrolyzed casein, but the underlying idea is the same. Sandow was a bro who curled and used protein powder.


Mods can we move this to Facebook? That’s where this post belongs.


I will look more impressive than that within the next 5 years, and I’m as natural as peanut butter at whole foods. If that’s unobtainable, I’m happy to have goals that others struggle to dream of.


It would just be awful if, in the pursuit of greatness, we set unreasonably high goals and ended up achieving our max potential.

The Flame-Free Confession Thread

guys cut this dude a break lol some of these comments though… :joy:


I look worse than Sandow and I’ve used steroids.

I’d love to see the evidence for the supraphysiological testosterone levels from 120 years ago. If we extrapolate that, are we to believe that the ancient Egyptians had test levels of like ten billion?


as a slight aside, when do you think our fascination with massive pecs started? These old timey muscle men never seem to have much chest, relative to the rest of them.

I get that they loved the overhead press, but you’d think from a physique perspective they’d have done more chest stuff.


three posts in a row: bad form, Yogi. Bad form.

I don’t really see why we’re all so concerned with our test levels anyway? I can imagine my test levels are probably less than my grandfather’s because he didn’t drink rum or eat fast food as much as I do, but if you don’t have some kind of dysfunction (hypogonadism, primary or secondary) then what does it matter? My test levels might not be as high as grandpapa but they seem pretty adequate to me.

I dunno. Just seems weird how much people, particularly young dudes, obsess over their test levels when there doesn’t seem to be any reason to do so.


Well this is a good fucking laugh for the day!!!


I posit right around the time the bench press came into fashion.