T Nation

The Day Mr. Universe Surprised Me

I thought I’d post this short, true story.

In 1985 the reigning (1984) Mr. Universe did an IFBB sponsored month long seminar tour of the UK. The owner of my gym was (and still is) the UK Chairman of the IFBB, so 1984 Mr. U spent an awful lot of time being in the gym between gigs.

Me and my training partner were excited to see him and learn “the secrets.” Everyone in the gym was. We all had tickets to his seminar. Even though me and my gym buddy were using high intensity strength training and “only” in the gym 3 times a week I still expected to catch sight of him doing something. Sadly I didn’t see him train. Not once. That’s because he didn’t. Not once. Fair enough. Maybe he needed a break. Every night we were there he would look out of the gym office window and watch us all working out.

After about 3 weeks he stopped me as we were leaving. He gave us both a puzzled look. Then he looked me in the eyes. “You guys don’t train much” he said, “but you’re pretty big. What’cha doing?” I think we were both taken aback. Mr. Universe asking me!? “Erm… we train full body, three times a week” I stuttered, somewhat embarrassed and breathless. “Mentzer stuff” (which it was). “Yeah!” he exclaimed with a grin. “That sounds real good. That makes real sense. I’m gonna try that when I get home!”

SO WHAT…? I can hear you thinking it. Read Arthur Jones’ material. Read Dr. Darden’s. Give it a try. A REAL try. If a world class bodybuilder is asking me what to do and then goes away to try it himself, then it tells you something - take what they say with a pinch of salt. Better still - do the exact opposite. You will make more progress.

Cool story. Got any pictures from back in your prime?



I believe there was a back double biceps shot in another thread too. Dude isn’t unaccomplished.

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Thanks :smiley:

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There’s clearly something to be learned from someone who can achieve this. If Planet Healh (sp) had produced photos like this, he might not have been laughed off the site.



Great story and thanks for posting the pictures!


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It would, if it happened. Maybe the guy was being nice, and actually said that to you. But I doubt it. And if anyone thinks that a reigning IFBB Mr Universe would actually change his training based on two nobodies getting some measure of “Never going to be on stage” success in lifting, they need to put away the crack pipe. Not a lot of sense in going overboard with a marketing scheme masquerading as a training protocol.


And if anyone is wondering, yes I am calling BS on yet another ridiculous post from the new group. I got tired of this kind of stupidity a long time ago, and I was optimistic that the temple of nonsense had finally closed it’s doors, but the multi-level marketing has resurfaced here of all places and I’m not bothered to call it out.

It’s also interesting that no name was mentioned, and the year is oddly differentiated. Lee Haney was the reigning Mr. O, and that didn’t change. He won from 1984-1991. I wonder if he changed? LOL.

Thanks for your interest. I posted this on Dr. Darden’s site. The mods moved it here. The Mr. U title was won in 1984. He did the tour in 1985. It was not Mr. O. You can easily find who it was. BTW: He never changed his training. Perhaps he was being nice.

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I have essentially zero interest in bodybuilding, and I did look it up. I couldn’t have had a remote chance of making a guess. The Reigning Mr O from 1984-1991 was Lee Haney, for the IFBB.


In 1980, Schwarzenegger came out of retirement to win the Olympia yet again, after a five-year hiatus. Schwarzenegger (who was supposedly training for his “Conan” movie) had been a late entry into the competition, and his competitors did not know of his intentions to compete. This seventh victory was especially controversial, as most fellow competitors and observers felt that he lacked both muscle mass and conditioning, and shouldn’t have won over Chris Dickerson or Mike Mentzer. Several athletes vowed to boycott the contest the following year, and Mentzer retired for good.[3]

The following year, Franco Columbu was victorious for the second time. Chris Dickerson won his only title in 1982, and Samir Bannout won his only title in 1983. Then in 1984 Lee Haney won the first of 8 straight Mr. Olympia titles.

Mr. Universe not Mr. Olympia

Mr Universe is NABBA, not IFBB. Per Wikipedia.

The IFBB also held their own version of the Mr Universe

Please also refer to the youtube clip I’ve attached

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I had Robert Oberst tell me he had the same pair of Chuck Taylors as me and that he liked my tattoo before he no repped me on some deads because the bar drifted and it ended up being a semi sumo pull.

So I got that going for me.

Which is nice.


Great story .
Also interesting and I say this purely in the context of your own training at the time Jeff. is that despite promoting split routines in the Weider mags , that Mentzer trained in the summer of 1980 for the Olympia using the same type of routine (whole body 3 times a week) with great results.

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Except in size 32

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