Mr Olympia 2015

Published on: Sep 20, 2015 @ 01:16 AM EDST

1. Phil Heath (USA)

2. Dexter Jackson (USA)

3. Shawn Rhoden (USA)

4. Dennis Wolf (Germany)

5. Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay (Egypt)

6. Branch Warren (USA)

7. Roelly Winklaar (Curacao)

8. William Bonac (Netherlands)

9. Victor Martinez (Dominican Republic)

10. Essa Obaid (UAE)

You heard it here first!

Top four competitors Mr Olympia 2015

Top four competitors Mr Olympia 2015. From left: Dennis Wolf, Dexter Jackson, Shawn Rhoden and Phil Heath.

I wouldn’t have objected to any of the top four winning. My personal favorite was Dennis Wolf.

Kai Greene apparently got too big for his britches and ended up not competing. Wasn’t banned. Just misoverestimated the size of his dick and shot himself in the foot. Google it for the rumors and conspiracy theories.

Here’s his sob story.

For the record, my opinion only: The Big O has been rigged from the very beginning in 1965 (not that Larry Scott didn’t deserve his two titles). The IFBB is a corrupt organization. But it’s what we have.

My Professional Home Gym Is Finally Gone

Everything is gone, the entire home gym, save for the mirrors, and I have a semi-firm commitment from a guy that says he’ll come by and pick them up on Tuesday (election day, don’t forget!).

All the bars and bumper plates went to a guy who owns a strongman-themed gym in New London, CT. The power rack, leg press, large dumbbell set and other varia went to a male nurse (I think – not the maleness, I know the guy’s a dude, but him being a nurse) from Hartford, CT (you still need to pick up the rest of the dumbbells, Rob). The small dumbbell set and various plates went to a doctor from Shelton, CT. A cop from Massachusetts bought a pulldown/lat row machine. All the rest was just picked up by a Ghanese lawyer and his buddy currently living in MA who are buying up stuff left and right for a planned commercial gym in Accra, Ghana (I kid you not).

When all is said and done I figure I got the minimum I was willing to accept when I first advertised the home gym for sale back in August (not counting the damage to my garage caused by the Ghanese lawyer trying to back in a van that just wouldn’t fit), and I got figuratively raped on several occasions.

Thanks to everybody who came to my house whether you bought something or not, and to those who did, I hope the equipment will bring you joy and happiness and big muscles and stuff (a free banana for the first person who gets the reference). To those who made an appointment and never showed up: SUCK A BAG OF DICKS!

This marks the end of an era for me. At 54 (55 in a few weeks) I have abandoned all ambition of making any sort of comeback in the bodybuilding field. I’m just too fucking old and have too many injuries. Not to say that I’ll never work out again, but I have nothing left to prove. I’ll be content being a moderately fit senior citizen. There’s a new Edge Fitness location just a few miles down the road from where I live and I might just sign up. Even if I hate chain gyms.

Monster Sized Home Gym For The Serious Trainee For Sale

Due to old age, poor health and general lack of motivation, the following semi-pro/pro gym equipment is for sale. You would definitely have the most badass gym on your street, or you could supplement your professional/commercial gym.

  • Dumbbell set #1: 15 – 140 pounds in 5-pound increments. ***SOLD***
  • Dumbbell set #2: 3 – 60 pounds on 10-pound increments. ***SOLD***
  • Rack that fits all dumbbells. ***SOLD***
  • 10 (ten) 45-pound olympic bumpers. ***SOLD***
  • 24 (twenty-four) 45-pound olympic steel plates. ***SOLD***
  • 4 (four) 35-pound olympic steel plates. ***SOLD***
  • 4 (four) 25-pound olympic steel plates. ***SOLD***
  • 10 (ten) 10-pound olympic steel plates. ***SOLD***
  • 8 (eight) 5-pound olympic steel plates. ***SOLD***
  • 4 (four) 2.5-pound olympic steel plates. ***SOLD***
  • 4 (four) 1.25-pound magnetic disc plates. ***SOLD***
  • Power rack w/ various attachments (see photos). ***SOLD***
  • Angled, counter-balanced Smith Machine. ***SOLD***
  • Selectorized lat pulldown/seated row machine. ***SOLD***
  • Plate loaded lat pulldown/seated row machine. ***SOLD***
  • Plate loaded upper body/chest/triceps machine. ***SOLD***
  • Plate loaded seated shoulder press/side lateral combo machine. ***SOLD***
  • Heavy duty plate loaded leg press machine. ***SOLD***
  • Plate loaded leg extension/leg curl combo machine. ***SOLD***
  • Selectorized bicep curl machine. ***SOLD***
  • Selectorized internal/external shoulder rotator machine. ***SOLD***
  • Adjustable incline/flat/decline bench. ***SOLD***
  • Flat bench. ***SOLD***
  • Seated straight-back bench w/foot supports. ***SOLD***
  • Sit-up bench. ***SOLD***
  • 2 (two) olympic plate racks. ***SOLD***
  • 1 (one) 7-foot Ivanko olympic bar. ***SOLD***
  • 1 (one) 7-foot cambered safety olympic squat. ***SOLD***
  • 1 (one) 7-foor olympic EZ curl bar (fits on power rack). ***SOLD***

All plate loaded machines are for olympic plates.

Also:

  • 3 (three) 6′ x’4′ thick (1/4″) mirrors w/beveled edges. ***SOLD***
  • 2 (two) 5′ x’4′ thick (1/4″) mirrors w/beveled edges.

(I’ll probably list the mirrors separately elsewhere.)

I would VERY MUCH prefer to sell everything in one go (and will give a very good deal in such a case), but will consider splitting up. I will NOT, however, sell a few plates here and a couple of dumbbells there. “Logical” chunks only.

Please understand that I’ve been a gym rat my entire life and know the value of this equipment. I am, however, a gentle and reasonable man and will consider any reasonable and sincere offers. Time to haggle!

Local pickup only: Zip 06482

 

I Am A Cunt And So Can You

I have an Internet acquaintance that I’ve been chatting with on and off for the past few years via various forums, email, Facebook and the like. I’ve never met him in the physical realm, but he seems like a standup guy and I hold him in high regard. He recently mentioned to me that Sam Harris had written in his blog a book review, recommending it too atheists in need of arguments when debating the existence of a god with religious people. (For those of you who don’t know, Sam Harris is an author/philosopher/neuroscientist/the fourth horseman of the “neo-atheist” movement.)

I knew from previous exchanges with my friend, himself a student of philosophy (we’ve discussed various topics such as politics, philosophy, religion, atheism, guns, bodybuilding, illegal performance enhancing drugs and the widespread practice of male circumcision in America) how much he likes Sam Harris and enjoys his books. I was therefore a bit surprised when he told me that reading Harris’ blog and the book review in question specifically, had turned him against Harris, and stated quite emphatically that he didn’t know who would be the bigger cunt; the guy who wrote it, the guy who reviewed and recommended it, or those who read it.

I haven’t read the book in question nor Harris’ review of it, but any book that provides the atheist with valid ammunition in debates with theocrats and “people of faith” of any creed; creationists, intelligent designers, hardline Bible thumpers, Muslim jihadists, and even “moderate” non-literalist, cherry picking Christians and Reform Jews, is, in my opinion, a good book. The guy who wrote it, a good guy. The person who reviews and recommends it, also good. As is the person who reads it for the specific purpose of arming him/herself with arguments to debunk religious poppycock. If that makes me a cunt, then so be it. I’ll take it as a compliment.

Let me finish off by saying that the Bible is bullshit, the Koran is a lie, and the Baghavad Gita did not fall from the sky (credit Corporate Avenger), and the sooner we can rid society of the scourge of belief in ancient fairy tales, mythology and omnipotent, judgmental sky zombies, the better.

Bodybuilding Is A Beauty Contest For Macho Pretty Boys

I just had an epiphany that bodybuilding isn’t a sport, but a pageant in which you have to work hard as an athlete and take a lot of illegal, performance enhancing drugs to succeed. How profoundly deep is that?

I know, some of you will probably protest my use of “Macho” and “Boys” in the heading, implying I’m sexist, and you would be right. Girls/women shouldn’t be bodybuilders; it ain’t sexy.

female bodybuilder

Each to his own, but this doesn’t rock my boat.

What The Hell Happened To Bodybuilding?

I was browsing the Internet today and started comparing champs of yesteryear to the freakish monsters of today. Looking at the pictures it’s quite obvious that Arnold Schwarzenegger probably wouldn’t even qualify for the nationals today, and lining him up next to the alien monster freaks that currently grace the pro podiums, he looks like a ballet dancer. But he has something today’s champs don’t have: a waist that that doesn’t look like he’s eight months pregnant and shape and elegance; not just a massive chunk of veiny beef hooked up 24/7 to a Human Growth Hormone drip.

Here’s a pic of Arnold mid-to-late 70s.arnold schwarzenegger
Here’s Ronnie Coleman ca 2005(?).ronnie coleman

Who would you rather look like? In my not-so-humble opinion the sport has been ruined by excessive (I mean REALLY excessive) drug use, corporate exploitation and greed and going for grotesque size for the sake of grotesque size. The sport has taken a turn from being a sub-culture of physique perfection to a barely-human freak show. As much as I can’t help being blown away by the top names in the game today, it’s nothing I would ever pursue myself (not that I would have a chance anyway). The last Mr. Olympia that would qualify as a physique perfectionist and not a beef monster is Lee Haney.

Lee Haney, the last humanoid champ of a dead sport.lee haney
So there you have it. Like many things in life, the best of the best came out of the 70s. I know, I know; I can almost here you going “another old man yammering ‘everything was better when I was young'”. Well, it just so happens that sometimes it’s true. Personally (and it is my blog, so I can say whatever I want) I doubt I would include any pro after Lee Haney in my own private top-ten pantheon of all-time greats (although I admit to having irrational soft-spots for Dorian Yates and Markus Ruhl, perhaps because they’re so darn cute). It used to be that you had to win Mr Universe (World Championships today) to qualify for the Big O, but these days they seem to be handing out pro cards left and right. Without a steady flow of freaks, the business isn’t profitable.

Tom Platz – King Of Quads – Before And Now

From a bygone era before excessive drug use, corporate greed, chain gyms and “personal trainers” (give them a wiiide berth) ruined the sport. Yeah, “the good old days”, I said it! Nobody has even come close to Tom Platz in quad development. Nobody ever will. Major inspiration. Was then. Is now. Always will be.

Even though there always has been a little bit of doping in the sport, at least since the mid-sixties, it was still a genuine sport and culture of body perfection. Lee Haney was the last “real” Mr Olympia. Everything since has been chemical freakoids more suited for a zoo exhibition or a horror movie than a gym or a bodybuilding podium.

Tom Platz then and now.

The good old days. Picture credit: Google image search.

Bodybuilding For Beginners

My wife’s nephew contacted me today for some advice regarding weight training and nutritional supplements for the young, novice trainee who aspires to put on some clean weight without necessarily pursuing a career as a competitive bodybuilder. Rather than write him a long private message in reply, I’ve decided to make a post of it here on my Old Man Blog since I know a lot of younger guys are interested and it’s easy to get confused by all the advice and info out there from self-proclaimed experts, friends, coaches, magazines and advertisements for the latest wonder supplement. I also have some experience on the subject, am a recognized expert and an established Internet personality, and I also have a blog with a Bodybuilding & Fitness category in need of content, so it’s a win-win-win.

I’ll answer my wife’s nephew’s (let’s call him “Martin”, no, his name really is Martin) Martin’s questions specifically, but the answers are pretty universal and should apply to most anybody unless you suffer from a medical condition that would dictate otherwise, in which case consult with your doctor (for those of you lucky enough to have decent health care coverage) before getting into any kind of training/dietary regimen.

Martin is about 20 y/o I think and on the tall and gangly side (the last time I saw him he was short and chubby). He hasn’t given me any details about his training regimen, but claims to have put on 15 lbs. in the 2 weeks he’s been into it. I don’t know anything about his diet, but he supplements it with something called Horsepower X which a Google search revealed is a pre-workout concoction comprised of creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, l-citronella, torabolic and caffeine. Basically your run-of-the-mill pre-workout pump- and energy booster. He also takes creatine monohydrate, BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids) and a protein supplement separately.

Creatine, in all its forms is IMO a worthless product. All it does is force water into the muscle cells, bloating them up. No actual muscle tissue is added. As soon as you stop taking the creatine, the water, the weight, and the illusion of muscle gain disappears, literally pissing it down the toilet. A lot of people also get serious gastrointestinal discomfort from creatine.

The components in Horsepower X overlap the creatine you are already taking; the other ingredients are meant to give energy (caffeine) and improve your “pump“, that feeling of fullness and distendedness you have in a muscle after you’ve trained it due to increased nitric oxide retention in your blood. These ingredients might also cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some sensitive individuals. While a good pump is certainly a very satisfactory and desirable feeling, it is in no way necessarily an indicator of muscle growth, or the muscle growth inducing effect of a workout. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Horsepower X (and other similar products) should be more aptly named Horseshit X, but for the novice trainee I see little value in them. If you’ve got the spare change and it makes you feel good, by all means go for it, but don’t expect any particular benefits from it, and certainly nothing remotely like the ad claims. A real tight pump feels good, but it’s temporary, and, like I said, not necessarily indicative of permanent growth in size or gain in strength.

Arnold Schwarzenegger enjoying multiple orgasms while pumping iron.

I do believe BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids), more specifically leucine, isoleucine and valine have some value for the advanced trainee, but for the novice such as Martin there is so much to be gained by simpler methods, I wouldn’t recommend it. Remember, you are starting from scratch and can only go one way – up – and whatever marginal effect you might get from BCAAs wouldn’t be worth the money.

Now a good quality protein powder supplement is another story altogether. Don’t worry too much about what kind of protein it is (so long as it’s not just soy and a lot of sugar; caveat emptor; read the labels), whey, casein, egg, whatever; it’s all good and you should aim at getting 250-300 grams/day (including what you get from food). It’s a good rule of thumb to have a shake shortly after your workout (combined with some carb source) when your body is most in need of repair and receptive to the value of good supplementation and nutrition.

So in a nutshell, the only supplementation I would recommend for a newbie is a quality protein powder. Not even vitamin pills. If your diet is otherwise sound you just don’t need it. As for your 15 lbs weight gain in only 2 weeks, I’m sorry to disappoint you; I would almost with 100% certainty attribute that to water retention from the creatine. It is humanly impossible to put on that much muscle weight in that short amount of time (unless you have a friend who works at a pharmacy).

As far as training goes, the biggest mistake most beginners make is training too much and not getting enough rest. Remember, when you train, you are “breaking down” muscle tissue. The actual growth occurs in between workouts when you rest and eat. So keep your workouts brief, intense and infrequent. Three, max four, workouts/week not lasting more than one hour each. If you still feel like training after an hour you haven’t trained hard enough. Stick with compound exercises rather than isolation exercises. Lots of squats, deadlifts, shoulder presses and heavy rows. Five sets each, 8-12 reps/set. Two exercises for large muscle groups, one or none at all for smaller muscles since they assist in the larger, compound exercises anyway. Save the concentration curls and side laterals and other detail work for a year or two down the road. If you have a coach/trainer who knows his business, the power clean is IMO one of the best all-round exercises to pack on the beef. There’s a learning curve for most people, but it’s worth it.

Regarding diet I’m gonna keep this very short so as not to turn this into a novel. Stay away from the junk food and eat healthy, normal food supplemented with a good protein powder. Make every calorie count. Many small meals spread out over the day is better (much better!) than a few large meals. The principle of junk in, junk out applies here. You can have the best training regimen in the world, a personal trainer (would advise against it) and state of the art supplementation, even illegal performance enhancing drugs, but if you do most of your eating at McDonald’s, it won’t do shit for you.

Markus Ruhl before

Markus Ruh after.

German über champ Markus Ruhl before and after. No shit! It’s amazing what 20 years of dedicated training and lots and lots of testosterone, anabolic steroids and human growth hormone can do!

In A Cosmic Bubble Far, Far Away…

…I may be the guitar hero of my teenage dreams.

The foam universe theory is the theory that our universe is just a bubble in a foam of countless (I hesitate to use the word “infinite” even though it’s practically a synonym, for the simple reason that I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it, be it numerically, temporally and spatially) other universes (I’m reading Lawrence Krauss on and off at the moment, and he knows this stuff). Some of these universes may differ greatly from the one we inhabit, others only slightly or imperceptibly. Another term for this theory is the multi-verse theory.

Lars Dahl winning the inaugural Harald’s Gym club contest in Oslo, 1980. What a cocky little bastard he was!

Some of you may or may not know that I played guitar (not very well) in a band in my teenage years and dreamed of becoming a rock star. My first guitar was a Wilson copy of a Gibson SG stained deep mauve that I nagged my mother to sign off on for a payment plan. All of you should by now know that that dream didn’t turn out very well for me and I pursued other avenues in life (still searching, by the way). I discovered girls for one thing (ironically enough through my meager fame as a guitar player in a band), sold off all my music gear and bought a car, a Vauxhall Viva ca late 1960s with plenty of rust (which also proved very reliable as a pussy magnet), but it ran even though I didn’t have my license yet and by the time I was 20 all dreams of rock stardom were gone and I was hellbent on becoming the biggest, baddest bodybuilding motherfucker the world had ever seen (this didn’t come to fruition either, but that’s a different bag of spoiled shrimp.)

Most people have solidly established their preferences in music, art, food, literature, movies etc. in the formative teen years of their lives, hence, e.g., my love for classic 1970s rock music. There are very few new bands/musicians that I’ve really latched on to in a big way in later years. For me it’s always going to be Black Sabbath, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, Jethro Tull, AC/DC and so on and so forth. (I was also going to mention KISS, but I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I still like them. Quite a lot, actually.) With two very noticeable exceptions.

Steve Vai

Steve Vai

Around 1990 (I would have been 30-or-so years old), I discovered Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, and got hooked. I mean really hooked. Not a bad word about Jimi Hendrix (true and tragic trailblazer as he was), but these guys could have played circles around him, blindfolded and with one hand tied behind their backs, and it wasn’t just showing off either, guitar masturbation if you will. They create and play real music, wonderful music, unbelievable music where the guitar is the centerpiece and not just a tool that produces mind-numbing riffs for traditional heavy rock (still not taking anything away from the classics, understand; I mean, who can get the opening riffs of Rock & Roll, Smoke On The Water, School’s Out and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath out of their minds, even if they tried?). But if you really want to have your mind blown away and your socks knocked off at the same time, watch Steve Vai: Where the Wild Things Are in a live recording from Minneapolis in 2009. Like it or be square!

Joe Satriani

Joe Satriani

Imagine my surprise, then, as I surfed Wikipedia (as I often do when I’m bored; I find it to be a wonderful and surprisingly accurate source of all kinds of information (and I even recently made an edit to an article that got accepted)), and found out that there was very little that separated Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and yours truly, both temporally and spatially in our early years. Joe Satriani was born 1956 in Westbury, NY; Steve Vai in Carl Place, NY 1960; and myself in Oyster Bay, New York, 1959. Three small towns all located in Nassau County on Long Island. We were practically within pissing distance from each other; Steve Vai even took guitar lessons from Joe Satriani around 1970. Of course, by that time and in this universe, due to circumstance beyond my control, I had moved to Norway where I would spend the next 30 years of my life.

In a different bubble in the foam-verse it is entirely possible (or so Lawrence Krauss insists) that I might have hooked up with Joe and Steve and formed the most awesomest guitar based band in rock history, no matter which bubble we’re comparing with.

I still have a Fender Stratocaster and a small Marshall combo amp gathering dust somewhere in the house; haven’t touched it for years and I am just as untalented a guitarist as I was when I was 16. So I didn’t get to be a guitar hero in this life or universe, but I am still very happy that i discovered Joe and Steve. I even got to see Steve Vai in concert in Oslo, Norway, in the early 1990s; a small, but not insignificant experience in my life. I am forever grateful for their musical genius. Music is one of a very few things that bring joy to my life, and these guys deliver. Domo arigato, mio amigos!

And I can always dream that I’m performing with my could’ve-been–buddies Joe and Steve in any number of bubble-verses out there. Maybe I’ll even dust off my guitar some day and annoy the neighbors just for the heck of it.

Finally I’m not saying that good music isn’t made today (Shinedown would be a good example of a departure from my 1970s rule), and it would be unfair to contemporary bands anyway, to compare them to the legends of the 60s and 70s. First of all there is much more competition these days, and it’s my firm belief that the pool of truly inspired music and musicians making it bigtime (earning it through talent, hard work and sheer practice, rather than through corporate sponsorship and promotion) is very small. At the risk of sounding like my Mother, “it all sounds like they’re skinning a live cat”. I also doubt very strongly that 50 years from now people will be standing in line for days for tickets to a Justin Bieber or Britney Spears concert