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      FITNESS TIPS FOR 6/12/2001                  


Mike Mentzer Death

Mike Mentzer of  Heavy Duty / High Intensity Training Fame 
was found dead Monday morning by his brother Ray.

I got to meet Mike and wortkout with him 2 years ago, and
found him to be a great trainer and teacher.

Mike was one of the first to teach bodybuilders to think 
for themselves rather then follow blindly the advice of 

This issue I am reprinting one of Mike's Articles, to pay
tribute to Mike Mentzer: The Thinking Man's Bodybuilder!

By Mike Mentzer

To become a massively developed bodybuilder takes time, 
a number of years in most cases. I do believe, however, 
that the amount of time it would take any person to 
develop to his fullest potential would be reduced 
dramatically if he were to keep a training journal from the 
day he began training.

In very few arenas of human endeavor will you find anyone 
who finds the most direct route from objective A to objective 
B at the outset. All learning and moving ahead is 
accomplished by trial and error. Usually we begin by 
making a trial, missing the mark, note the error, and make
the proper adjustments and then proceed to our target or goal.

I have come to view my own training career as something 
of a journey, whose destination is the fulfillment of my 
physical potential. As it is with any long journey along an 
uncharted path, I am bound to the inevitable detour. It is 
vital that if I am ever going to reach my destination I must
avoid hitting the same blind alley, the same detours twice; 
otherwise I will end up like a rat caught forever in a maze, 
frantically seeking the one proper path that will lead me
to success.

Keeping a training journal is like making a map of your 
journey. You must make a record of every proper turn as 
well as every wrong one. The road to building a great 
physique is just too long to remember all the mistakes.

I began keeping a training journal back in June of 1978 just 
as I was beginning my preparation for the USA vs. World 
challenge match in Los Angeles. Since then I have recorded 
preparations for six other competitions and now I have 
begun to record my workouts and diet in the off-season.

My journal has evolved somewhat since those first recorded 
observations back in June of '78. At first my journal served 
merely as a record of my diet and my workouts while 
preparing for a contest. With each succeeding contest, 
however, I grew increasingly aware of how my journal
would serve me in the future for bigger contests. As time 
went on I began keeping a record of my bodyweight before 
each workout, other physical activities, as well as detailed 
analyses after each contest. Recently I have begun to keep 
charts which compare my fluctuating bodyweight with calorie 
intake and activity level so that when preparing for a 
contest in the future I will know exactly what I have to eat 
and how active I must be each day to reach a certain condition
or peak in an allotted period of time.

In addition I have begun recording mental and emotional 
patterns that attend contest training and, while I haven't had 
the time to fully analyze this particular aspect fully, I have 
made certain preliminary observations that suggest definite 
patterns to motivation, emotional ups and downs, as well as 
to progress. I now am beginning to understand much better 
my limits as well as my strengths. For instance, in the 
beginning of 1979 I turned professional and was anxious to 
enter every show possible as I had looked forward to the 
prospect of turning pro for some time. Recorded during the 
preparation of my first pro show, the Southern Pro Cup, were 
words and phrases that revealed an almost unbridled 
enthusiasm and desire "to prevail." I did prevail and won 
that first pro contest.

As the year proceeded, however, my contest preparation 
was disrupted by a lot of traveling for seminars and 
exhibitions as well as new responsibilities, like writing a 
book for a major New York publisher. Each new responsibility 
merely added to the stress I was under and my progress 
began to suffer. The continuing presence of these and other 
diversions caused me to place second in my second pro 
show, the Night of Champions in Pittsburgh on April 19, 1978. 
I found stress to be additive, and the stress of training and 
dieting continuously for four continuous months along with 
other life stresses we invariably encounter, caused me to 
approach my preparations for the New York pro show in 
May of 1978 with little enthusiasm. Even more notable 
from reviewing my journal, was the obvious fact that while 
my preparation for this show was essentially the same as 
that for the first two, my body was not responding the way 
it did for the first two. I placed a dismal third in that contest 
and recorded in my analysis of it:

"I should not have entered this contest. I could see as long 
as two weeks preceding the show that my body was not 
responding to the training and diet as it had previously. The 
physical and mental stress associated with preparing for 
three shows in as many months, along with certain
emotional stresses resulting from family crisis 
ended up to too much. I guess it just proves once
again Selye's notions about stress, especially that we 
have a limited capacity to resist and adapt before we 
reach exhaustion and must deviate, or rest..."

In addition, then, to just recording training poundages and 
diet information, patterns to progress can also be detected. 
I learned that I could not peak for three shows in a row, at 
least while attempting to live a life full of other 
responsibilities and commitments. I put this information to
use later in the year as I began my preparation for the 
Mr. Olympia. Aware that too many other outside 
commitments such as seminars and exhibitions tend to 
deflect me off course, I accepted no such commitments 
during the entire two and one half months of my 
preparation and, as a result, ended up in my lifetime 
best condition.

Reprinted with permission of Exercise Protocol Magazine. 

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