I cringe when I hear it. The voice is familiar yet somehow different. I wipe grease from my hands and lift my head from where it was resting on the ground. (According to the Mentzer training philosophies, I guess that could constitute my abdominal work for the week.) “Over here, kid. I’m putting this machine back together. What’s so darned important?”
“You helped my older brother Grant with protein powders a few months ago. He said you were surprisingly smart about this stuff and if I could stay awake through the long-winded stories, your advice was right on the money!”
“Grant? That was the charmer with the horned rim glasses and smug attitude?” I said, immediately realizing where I recognized the nasal tone in this kid’s voice. “You’d have thought your parents would have learned after one.”
“Anyway, Grant got really good results with the proteins you recommended him, you know, the ones with the palm trees. I’ve been following the same program and had some questions…”
“Yeah,” I conceded, “I have to admit over the months he actually started to look as though his t-shirt wasn’t still on the hanger. If he could develop some work ethic, he might actually fill out that skeleton of his.”
“Well, I’ve made good gains on the proteins you recommended Grant. We both used Muscle Provider after working out. He liked Ultra Size for his slower-absorbing protein but I switched over to Ultimate Muscle Protein to make it more obvious if I catch him dipping into my supply.”
“Sounds like a regular Cain and Able scenario over there, kid. So why are you bothering me with all this?” I say, my attention drifting back to the classic Nautilus Pullover machine I am trying to reassemble.
“Well, I’ve put on some good muscle in the past few months. I’ve trained consistently and can tell the shakes made a difference but what can I do to take things to the next level? I want to be able to beat Grant at things.”
Despite myself, I kind of liked this kid. Sure he had a nasally voice that made my stomach want to wretch but, after meeting his older brother, I could see that was a genetic affliction. And I have to admit, the thought of his brother being beaten (preferably with a stick) appealed to me.
“Okay, kid. I’ll help you out… but before I do you have to understand something. I don’t just share my advice with anyone. I’m used to working only with the best, the elite. My services are sought out by Hollywood celebs, super-models, Olympia competitors and foreign dignitaries. Me giving my time to just an average kid is a pretty unprecedented event!”
Now his eyes were wide and his speech picked up from its normal sleepy pace. “Like who have you worked with? What kind of celebs?”
“Well, lets see. There was Casey Kerwin, the weekend weather man for channel 17…” I could see his eyes start to lose their starry glimmer. “Hollywood types are very particular about their privacy. I really shouldn’t mention names.” I could see I was starting to lose him fast.
“Do you know who Dorian Yates is?” I asked.
“The Shadow? Six-time Mr. Olympia? You worked with him?!?”
“Pretty much,” I said, realizing I could very easily end up painting myself in a corner on this one. It wasn’t entirely a lie though. There was one guy whose last name was Yates whose deadlift form I had critiqued. Could have been Dorian’s brother. I think he even had a British accent (or maybe it was Australian?).
“Anyway, kid. My time is valuable, if I am going to impart you with any of my pearls of wisdom, we need to get started.” Glancing back at the misshapen metal monstrosity to my left, I add, “Also, you need to hand me that wrench so I can get this cam back in place while we talk.”
“You said you’ve been training hard and drinking your Beverly shakes, but have you been eating enough healthy REAL food,” I ask, expecting to uncover a grocery list of Hot Pockets, Pop Tarts and Captain Crunch.
“Just like Grant said you told him…” the kid says, swelling his chest with pride. “I’ve been eating three servings of lean beef, chicken, fish, eggs or turkey every day, as well as my shakes.”
“At least Brant passed that info along correctly,” I said, continuing my inquiry. And what else, for carbs?”
“Clean carbs, like oatmeal, yams and rice. No simple sugars, pasta or breads. Also lots of fibrous carbs like salad and steamed veggies. I’ve been taking my daily vitamin pack and healthy fats. Oh yeah, and I try to drink a gallon of pure water a day!” He seemed to spring up on his toes as he said this, as though he had just pulled Excalibur from the stone in front of the entire village.
“Okay, then. It looks like you’ve covered all the basics, which explains why you’ve enjoyed good progress over the past few months, and I, of course, can’t help but take credit for that. I think you may actually be ready for the next step,”
“Ohhhhhhhh… but I don’t know…”
“No! No! I’m ready! I’m ready! Just tell me…”
“Okay, but these are some secret strategies I’m going to share with you. Something you’re not likely to see any of the pros reveal in any of the newsstand muscle rags. I know dozens of champion bodybuilders that swear by this two-part secret strategy.”
Now the kid was leaning forward from his perch atop of my toolbox, almost salivating about the mysteries that I was about to reveal to him.
“Like I said, this is a two-product muscle-building attack! An assault on catabolism that rivals the Allied forces invasion on Normandy! A strategy that is so deceptively simple that it cannot help but force your body to coat itself in a new layer of muscle. On second thought… this is like revealing the formula for nuclear fusion to a Neanderthal.”
“Spill it! I really need to know. What the first part of the super weapon?”
“Okay, okay… Your body needs protein to build muscle and you seem to be doing a good job providing that but research tells us something pretty exciting. Studies have shown that by taking in even more protein, the body’s muscle building mechanisms crank up to an even higher level. By providing more of the essential amino acids throughout the day, you trigger growth mechanisms in the body that increase nitrogen retention. Since you are wanting to move up to a more advanced level, you need to provide essential amino acids in a more readily available form.”
“This is a two-product muscle-building attack! An assault on catabolism that rivals the Allied forces invasion on Normandy! A strategy that is so deceptively simple that it cannot help but force your body to coat itself in a new layer of muscle.”
“Peptide-bonded protein hydrolysates.”
“What the heck are those?”
“Watch the foul-mouth, kid. This is a temple of muscle building. Hydrolyzation is a process for gently breaking down proteins into smaller, more easily absorbed chains of amino acids. A peptide-bond has been shown to be the form that is most easily absorbed.”
“So I just need to find a cheap peptic-bind hydrolyzit?”
“Peptide-bond hydrolysate! And to process them correctly isn’t a cheap thing. So if you try to buy a cheap version, chances are they aren’t going to really contain what they say, at least not in the concentration of a top-notch formula.”
“The palm tree guys again?”
“Yeah, Beverly has products that have been shown to work. So their Mass Amino Acids are the only product you should even consider.”
“So if these peptide-bond aminos are so great why don’t they just use them in Ultra Size, Ultimate Muscle Protein and all of their other powders?”
“Good question, kid. I can see that there are at least a few live brain cells fighting for air in that gourd of yours. First off, I wasn’t kidding when I said these medical-grade hydrolysates are expensive. Would you be able to afford a $200 tub of protein?”
“No, if I had one I would be licking the blender clean after each shake.”
“Taste is another issue. These aminos are incredibly effective but in a shake form they wouldn’t exactly go down like ice cream. That’s why we take them in tablet format. These are absorbed fast and bolster the existing amino acid pool in your muscle tissue. Not only are they a great source of essential amino acids but a couple of these with each meal will dramatically improve the protein quality of the other foods you are eating.
At this point, local legend and all-around nice guy Eddie McBride walks by, tanned brow and beaded with sweat. “Hey Rusty! Think you’re going to get that thing back together in time for my lat day?”
“Just fine-tuning it champ. Did you try that pre-workout warm-up technique I was telling you about?”
“Sure did. I’ll try tips from anybody… I mean, anybody with your ummmm… extensive background and experience,” Eddie says with his eyes averted to one side.
“I think you’ll notice increased reps on most of your exercises. Mark my word!” As he heads off to the leg area, Eddie turns over his shoulder, beams one of his bright smiles and says, “I’ll let you know how it goes!”
“So what did you tell him that going to help him get more reps,” the kid asks, the look of awe returning to his face.
“Sorry, kid. It is an advanced technique. I call it the Increased Viscosity Training Principle.”
“Decreased viscosity?” the kid asks, one eyebrow raising in skepticism. “So you mean you recently oiled the machines”
“…That and lubed the pulleys and guide rods. It had been a few months since they’d seen any maintenance. The whole thing is complicated; leverage, movement dynamics, biomechanics… it would be difficult to put into layman’s terms for you. But back to your problem. You may find that the second thing we are going to add your program may increase your reps regardless of how poorly maintained the machines may be.”
“So what is it? I can’t imagine anything that could be as effective as the Mass Aminos sound.”
“Well part two of our advanced muscle-building strategy is probably Beverly’s most universally-revered product. This stuff seems to get positive feedback from everyone who tries it.”
“Enough build up! Tell me what is it?” an edge of impatience revealing itself in the kid’s voice.
“Introduccccinggggg… Ultra 40 Desiccated Liver!”
“Liver?” the kid spits out, enthusiasm drained from his face. Didn’t they use that stuff back in the forties?”
“Not the forties, kid… but desiccated liver did become popular with top bodybuilders of the late sixties and seventies. Great bodybuilders like Larry Scott, Dave Draper and Frank Zane swore by it. It worked then and it works today!”
“Desiccated Liver is like this Nautilus Pullover machine. Its simple and its been around for decades but its effective and it works (or it will work when I figure where these extra gears are supposed to go.) Is that cam upside down?”
“But what’s it supposed to do?”
“It isolates your lats with a full-range rotary motion so that you can…”
“No, the liver. What’s the liver do?”
“Desiccated Liver is a potent extract… a concentrate of the many positive bodybuilding components of liver. For starters, its very high in usable protein, two grams per tablet, containing all of the essential amino acids. It contains heme iron which helps keep your blood rich with oxygen. In addition, Ultra 40 tabs are packed with B vitamins, niacin, vitamins A, C and D, important minerals like selenium, phosphorous, copper, zinc and GTF chromium. It’s an amazing health and muscle-promoting product.”
“I think I read something about a study done on rats swimming…”
“Yeah they did a study in which three groups of rats with almost identical diets were forced to tread water until drowning. The first group had the base diet with added vitamins and minerals. The second group ate the base diet with brewer’s yeast and B vitamins added. The final group ate the base diet with desiccated liver added. The first two groups drowned at little over thirteen minutes but the rats that had been fed the desiccated liver were still swimming two hours later. One of them set a new record in the 40 meter freestyle stroke.”
“But I’m not trying to swim better.”
“You’re missing the point. The rats had more energy and muscle endurance. It makes a difference in the gym too. In fact, bodybuilders that use Ultra 40 regularly notice a difference in energy levels. Those that have used it for a while can also tell the difference if they run out. To me, that’s really saying something. Why don’t you give your brother Brent a call and we will see if we can replicate that study with human subjects?”
“Okay, I’m psyched to try this Mass and Ultra 40 combo. How much of each of these should I take? What kind of cycling protocol do I use?”
“Okay kid, here’s the good part. This is so simple and affordable that it’s basically a no-brainer, which is ideal in your case. All I want you to do is take four Ultra 40 and four Mass Amino tablets with each of your four food meals. They come in big 500 tablet size bottles so they will last you awhile. This time next year we may have to increase that to five tablets of each with every meal since odds are good you will be noticeably bigger. Just keep a bottle of each next to your fridge and you’re all set.”
“So there you go kid. Everything you need to kick things up a notch. Now only if I could put this cursed pullover machine together so easily!”