Physique Metamorphosis by John Little n the six years since Joanne Sharkey asked me to do phone consultations for her on Mike Mentzer’s Heavy Duty training system, the most common question we’ve received is, What did Mike mean when he said, “As the body changes, training requirements change”? Does it mean that everybody’s different? Does it mean that there could be a time when someone could (or should) perform more volume—or even high volume—in one’s training? The answer to the last two questions is no. The answer to the first is what we’re talking about in this installment. 198 SEPTEMBER 2007 \ www.ironmanmagazine.com
To begin with, everybody is not different. As Mike accurately pointed out years ago: “We aren’t all that different physiologically. We’re all unique as individuals, but when a young man or a young woman goes to medical school and studies muscle physiology, whose physiology is he or she studying? Everybody’s. “We all have the same muscle physiology. The biochemical changes leading to muscle growth in Mike Mentzer are the same as the ones leading to muscle growth in you. It follows that the specific stimulus required to induce the biochemical changes leading to muscle growth in you and me is the same. What is that stimulus? High-intensity muscular contraction!” That’s why nobody ever put an inch on an arm as a result of washing dishes—the intensity of muscular contraction involved in that activity is far too low. As Mike also pointed out: “We all grow at different rates of speed. I might grow faster as a result of high-intensity training, but
we’ll all grow faster when each of us trains more intensely. If you’re not gaining fast now or if you’re not gaining at all, you’ll gain faster when you train more intensely. Anybody will gain more rapidly when he trains more intensely. He may not gain as rapidly as me. Then again, he might gain more rapidly than I do because of innate adaptability. We all have different innate adaptabilities to exercise—age, physical condition, motivation, a lot of different factors. The underlying muscle physiology, however, is the same. “The people who say we all have different training requirements are entirely wrong. They’re ignorant of the basic facts regarding muscle physiology. If we all had different physiologies, medical science could not exist. A doctor would have to study each individual as a separate physiological entity and then learn all the intricacies of that physiology and devise medicine around them. The very fact that the basic principles of physiology apply to the whole human race is what makes medical science a viable discipline.”
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Bigger, stronger muscles expend more energy, so the larger you become, the more quickly you become exhausted.
The bigger and stronger you are, the more stress you can impose on your body in any given set.
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As an individual’s muscles grow bigger, they also grow stronger.
As for the issue of whether highvolume training makes sense, the answer is that a high volume of training and a high intensity of training are mutually exclusive. The body requires high-intensity muscular contractions to produce the biochemical reactions that result in muscle growth. Low-intensity contractions, which let you carry on a particular activity for a longer period of time, do very little to stimulate much, if any, growth at all. Again, try washing dishes for a couple of hours and let me know when you’ve put two inches on your arm. Let’s hear from Mike Mentzer on the issue: “Does anybody here think that growth comes easily? Has anybody grown ‘too fast’ this year? No, we all know that growth doesn’t come easily. You literally have to force growth. Now, tell me how you can force growth with light weights, mild exertion, easy workouts. You can’t. The harder you train, the faster you grow. The harder you train, the less time you can spend training, just as the faster you run, the less distance you can run.” Given the above facts, we are brought back to square one. So what did Mike mean when he said that as the body changes, training requirements change? Simply this: That as an individual’s muscles grow bigger, they also grow stronger. Consequently, the energy expended in one’s workout from a given muscle group
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increases dramatically. That causes you to grow exhausted more quickly and to take longer to recover from the workout. That should be evident to anyone who’s trained in a truly all-out manner. The harder the effort, the more quickly exhaustion intervenes; when your gas tank has been emptied, in other words, the workout is over. Your gas tank gets emptied very quickly when you are exerting yourself to the max. As you expend more energy in lifting heavier weights—300 pounds for 15 repetitions in the squat vs. only 120 pounds for 10 repetitions in the squat—it takes the body longer to replenish a greater energy debt than it does a lesser one. Or, as Mike put it: “As you grow stronger—that is, as the weights grow progressively
greater—the stress on your body becomes progressively greater and must be compensated for. Perhaps the easiest way to understand that phenomenon is to observe the stresses on your body when performing a warmup set of squats compared to what happens during the actual work set to failure. On the heavier work set you immediately recognize the much greater stress on the bones than you get on the warmup set. The same goes for the much greater demands on the cardiorespiratory system and so forth. “Now simply extrapolate that over time, as you lift progressively more weight from workout to workout. As the stresses grow progressively greater, they’ll eventually add up to overtraining. The first symptom will be a slowdown in progress, and if you continue with the same
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Within two to three weeks of embarking on a high-intensitytraining program, you should begin inserting an extra rest day or even two into your schedule.
volume and frequency, the stresses will cause complete cessation of progress. That’s typically referred to as a ‘sticking point.’ You need never experience a slowdown in progress, let alone a sticking point, if you bear in mind all the while that you must compensate for them.” Within two to three weeks of embarking on a Heavy Duty, high-intensity training program, you should begin adding an extra
rest day or even two at random so that you’re giving yourself sufficient time to recover from your workouts. Do that with increasing regularity until you’re training once every seven days or so. According to Mike: “The implication here is that if the individual trains again before the body’s growth production process is completed, it will be short-circuited and less than 100
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units of possible progress will be realized. Once the individual is training once every seven days, I suggest a reduction in the volume of training, as outlined in my books, along the lines of the Consolidation Program. [Editor’s note: Please see The Wisdom of Mike Mentzer or High Intensity Training The Mike Mentzer Way for a detailed presentation of Mentzer’s Consolidation Program.] CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE
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If you train before recovery is complete, you short-circuit the growth process.
“With a consolidation routine, there’s a decided shift in emphasis to predominately compound exercises—that is, ones that involve multiple muscle groups, such as squats, dips and deadlifts. A workout consisting of compound exercises still works all of the major muscle groups but with fewer total sets, making for minimum inroads into recovery ability. “Following the above advice, 204 SEPTEMBER 2007 \ www.ironmanmagazine.com
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Compound exercises are best for efficient mass-building workouts.
you’ll never hit a sticking point. You’ll experience unbreached progress with your training. As I’ve written before, if scientists can send a man to the moon and bring him back safely each time, we should be able to succeed with every one of our
missions to the gym here on earth. Building bigger muscles should be a cakewalk compared to a moon walk.” In other words, anytime you increase the intensity of a workout—by lifting heavier weights,
206 SEPTEMBER 2007 \ www.ironmanmagazine.com
performing more reps—you’ve increased the stress on your body. You must account for that both in the length (or volume) of your workouts and in the extra time that will be required between workouts in order for you to fully recover and adapt
Your muscle mass is influenced by two critical factors—your rate of anabolism, which increases your muscle mass, and your rate of catabolism, which tears it to shreds. The two functions are continuous bodily processes. A recent study found that whey protein is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing an anabolic action—sadly, these effects are short-lived. In order to get the maximum anabolic and anticatabolic action, you need to ingest whey protein combined with precisely measured amounts of casein to achieve
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the techniques, workouts, and personal philosophy of bodybuilding legend - Mike Mentzer Whatever your level of fitness, you can kick your muscles— and your mind—into high gear with the legendary training philosophies and advanced bodybuilding techniques of Mike Mentzer - the first bodybuilder to ever garner a perfect score of 300 in the 1978 Mr. Universe competition. The thinking man’s bodybuilder, Mentzer revolutionized the art of training with his Heavy Duty™ system, proving that “less is more” when it comes to making great gains. But some of his most advanced ideas have never been revealed—until now. The Wisdom of Mike Mentzer provides readers with a unique insight into the world of Mike Mentzer. It is truly a book that is chock-full of wisdom and is the distillation of Mike Mentzer’s exceptional insights and enduring legacy. This publication provides readers with a unique passkey into the world of Mike Mentzer – the man, the philosopher, and the legend.
The Wisdom of Mike Mentzer gives you an insider’s look at his most intense and in-depth lessons. Inside these pages you will learn all the fundamentals of: • H.U.N.G.E.R. - the code of integrity for building character while you build your body • Consolidation Training - a lightning-quick workout of two sets (total) performed just once a week • Advanced Heavy Duty Techniques, such as: • Omni-Contraction - for getting maximum effort on every contraction • Infitonic Training - to make the most of negative reps • Rest-Pause - a high-intensity way to shred your muscles to exhaustion • PLUS: The workout that worked like magic for Mr. Universe himself, including tips on how to fire up your guns for competition.
Visit the official Mike Mentzer web site at www.mikementzer.com for additional information about this book and other authentic Mike Mentzer books and products.
More-isolated finishing exercises should be used infrequently.
HIGH-INTENSITY TRAINING THE MIKE MENTZER WAY – In his final written book, Mike Mentzer shares his proven, ground-breaking approach to Bodybuilding, based upon scientific research and sound thinking. More than any other bodybuilding writer or authority, Mike has single-handedly changed the way bodybuilders have looked at exercise. He reveals the 7 basic fundamental principles of high-intensity training and why these principles, if applied properly, are the core of his proven successful HEAVY DUTY™ training system. His method of short, intense training sessions will develop your muscles to their genetic potential faster and more efficiently than any other program out there. This is THE definitive book on the exacting science of building muscle fast. HEAVY DUTY - The book that started a revolution! Mike reveals how you too can reach your greatest bodybuilding potential in the shortest amount of time, while training less than one hour a week! Mike reveals the role of genetics in bodybuilding, psychological/motivational factors, unique dietary considerations, high-intensity training principles, training to failure and places bodybuilding into a completely unique perspective.
HEAVY DUTY II -
Mike Mentzer’s “magnum opus,” his final evolution of the theory of highintensity training. New and ground-breaking insights into recovery ability, briefer workouts, consolidated training, when to use advanced principles, such as forced reps and negatives to maximum effect, plus insights into corruption in bodybuilding and the power of human reason to discern truth from falsehood. It’s more than a bodybuilding book – it’s a training partner! THIS REVOLUTIONARY BOOK IS STILL A SOUGHT-AFTER BOOK ALMOST A DECADE LATER! MUSCLES IN MINUTES - No, this is not Heavy Duty III. Entitled “MUSCLES IN MINUTES”, this book serves perfectly as a primer on the subject of HIT. It will introduce those who are new to highintensity training to the fundamentals of exercise science and their interrelationships, without all the philosophy and technicalities of Mike’s previous works. Includes routines for the Beginner, Intermediate, advanced/athletic bodybuilder, while it is great for those seeking “total fitness”. The extensive descriptions of all the recommended exercises and definitions will prove helpful. Also beneficial to be used as a quick reference guide along with any other Mentzer book
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