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Gym Stories About Pros from the 80's & 90's

lookslikesausage

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Let's go back to a time when before cell phones and social media existed. Let's hear about insane lifts, guys who looked incredible but didn't train hard at all, guys who trained insane, guys who trained shockingly light, who had great form/poor form, guys who did bizarre shit, maybe a guy who inspired the shit out of you, or anything noteworthy...Let's hear em all.

And before anyone says to watch the BFTO vids, thank you but i have seen them. I'd like to read some firsthand accounts.
 

thethinker48

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Some of the ones I heard:

- Casey Viator was fucking nuts in the gym

- Jeep Swenson beat Tom Platz up and down the golds parking lot for sleeping with his wife lol

- Barbarian brothers regularly threw up chocolate milk

- Joe Gold once kicked out Lou Ferrigno from the gym for dropping weights; Lou was deaf so that apparently didn't help Joe's pet peeve of dropping weights.

- There was a lot of potential among the amateur BBing crowd of the 70s and 80s but many of these guys were mentally unstable and constantly doing time in prison for things outside the gym.

- Serge Nubret trained with pretty light weights for the look that he obtained

- Mike Matarazzo hated stuck up guys in the gym and would bully them

There's a lot of stories out there. Would love to hear from some of the vets who saw them personally.

Sources: Gregg Valentino, Lee Priest, Old MD mags...god bless the internet [emoji846]

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

jeroendebleser

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The Intensity or Insanity workouts of Steve Michalik and John Defendis are legendary with their 60 or more sets per bodypart all done to failure.
 

FK86

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Some of the ones I heard:

- Jeep Swenson beat Tom Platz up and down the golds parking lot for sleeping with his wife lol

- Joe Gold once kicked out Lou Ferrigno from the gym for dropping weights; Lou was deaf so that apparently didn't help Joe's pet peeve of dropping weights.

- Mike Matarazzo hated stuck up guys in the gym and would bully them

If that's true about Platz I have a low opinion of him now.

I would have gotten along great with Joe Gold.

Strange to hear that about Matarazzo. He acts like such a meathead in the videos I've seen. I guess it was just for the camera.

The Intensity or Insanity workouts of Steve Michalik and John Defendis are legendary with their 60 or more sets per bodypart all done to failure.

I'd really like to hear an eyewitness account of this one. The term failure gets thrown around so much it's hard to believe they did that. I don't doubt they did up to 100 sets per bodypart, but like we discussed in the other thread, Yates' workouts were exaggerated in the magazines.

***

Bertil Fox had shitty form.
 

LATS

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Back in late 1990s I would venture out to venice beach .. stay for a week or so which I have mentioned many times.. I saw many of the great ones then train... but the heaviest trainer was tom prince.. especially on pressing movements.. he was roughly 5'8 and close to 300 pounds then in the off season. He always stayed pretty covered up but his width was impossible to hide. He trained mainly in the middle range of the movement.. no lockout no stretch.. very nice guy..

One guy who was amazingly strong that you wouldn't think was Aaron Baker.. his form was impeccable.. slow negative and steady positive. . He used mainly machines from what i saw but once saw him use the incline Smith set a bit higher in the 45 to 55 degree range... he did 405 for a very precise 7 or 8. . And could have eekked one more. .

Dillet trained heavy to not intense.. no failure. Just multiple sets of a weight then move on..

If you listen to muscle minds podcast I talk about spotting Bertil fox when I was 17.. almost killed him lol
 

little slice

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i was training at a gym in LA and Shawn Ray was there


he was like 'hey LS fuk u'



and i was like 'no fuk u'





crazy
 

thethinker48

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If that's true about Platz I have a low opinion of him now.

I would have gotten along great with Joe Gold.

Strange to hear that about Matarazzo. He acts like such a meathead in the videos I've seen. I guess it was just for the camera.



I'd really like to hear an eyewitness account of this one. The term failure gets thrown around so much it's hard to believe they did that. I don't doubt they did up to 100 sets per bodypart, but like we discussed in the other thread, Yates' workouts were exaggerated in the magazines.

***

Bertil Fox had shitty form.
Well, the source is Gregg Valentino and John Romano, and Jeep was known to be pretty unstable...I really don't want to spread any false rumors about Tom Platz. A person whose passion and intensity is something every single bodybuilder dreams of having.

Tom is the definition of an intelligent bodybuilder; the way he carried and presented himself certainly took bodybuilders away from that dumb meathead stereotype. One of the many reasons he was more loved than more accomplished bodybuilders of the time...

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk
 

LATS

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Well, the source is Gregg Valentino and John Romano, and Jeep was known to be pretty unstable...I really don't want to spread any false rumors about Tom Platz. A person whose passion and intensity is something every single bodybuilder dreams of having.

Tom is the definition of an intelligent bodybuilder; the way he carried and presented himself certainly took bodybuilders away from that dumb meathead stereotype. One of the many reasons he was more loved than more accomplished bodybuilders of the time...

Sent from my Pixel XL using Tapatalk

Venice golds had its share of drama.. Mike Christian punching out a barbarian brother.. Titus punching Melvin anthony.. Titus punching craig licker.. Lots of drama back then but lots of camaraderie also..
 

thethinker48

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Venice golds had its share of drama.. Mike Christian punching out a barbarian brother.. Titus punching Melvin anthony.. Titus punching craig licker.. Lots of drama back then but lots of camaraderie also..
Your bertil fox story on MM was hilarious...that guy must of had ligaments made from titanium to be able to train the way he did...

Supposedly Lyle Alzado wanted to kill both the barbarian brothers for trashing his house...Alzado wasn't someone to mess with back in the day according to many in Golds

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Fa Seeshus

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I guess we need some east coast witness accounts....
When he looked his best Kevin Levrone did not train superheavy for all his workouts... He would train at a brisk pace and incorporate supersets and other volume techniques. In his latest comeback he gave the impression that he always had trained like a powerlifter. Anyone from MD in the 90's and early 2000's knows that isn't totally true. I think he would have looked better in the last comeback if he has incorporated that training variety.
 

lookslikesausage

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The Intensity or Insanity workouts of Steve Michalik and John Defendis are legendary with their 60 or more sets per bodypart all done to failure.

Yes, i've read and heard about both of them. Michalik is a bit of legend and was a real harass supposedly and took no shit from gym members when he owned one. Also, SUPPOSEDLY was one of the first guys experimenting with cadaver growth, but who knows if that's even true but it is a long-standing rumor.

Defendis is still around and has been a successful personal trainer for a few decades i believe, even having a few famous clients. I want to say he's in Florida but that could be totally wrong. I think there's some recent stuff of him floating around on Youtubes or the net. Michalik passed about five years ago and publicly denounced PEDs at the end. Seems like he struggled a lot with depression in his later years.
 

jeroendebleser

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If that's true about Platz I have a low opinion of him now.

I would have gotten along great with Joe Gold.

Strange to hear that about Matarazzo. He acts like such a meathead in the videos I've seen. I guess it was just for the camera.



I'd really like to hear an eyewitness account of this one. The term failure gets thrown around so much it's hard to believe they did that. I don't doubt they did up to 100 sets per bodypart, but like we discussed in the other thread, Yates' workouts were exaggerated in the magazines.

***

Bertil Fox had shitty form.

I know it's hard to believe but there are stories of other people who trained with one of them floating around on the net and they seem to confirm they really did just that. Obviously you can't say it didn't work for them but I do think they would have been quite a bit bigger if they had toned it down a notch or two because that would constitute some serious overtraining.

I totally agree on Yates' workouts being exaggerated. He likes to portray himself as the hardest trainer of them all but he wasn't.
 

nothuman

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Back when bodybuilding gossip was fun and exciting.

Now, all the drama is about who Bostin Lloyd is talking shit about on social media
 

Rogue

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Lyle Alzado got in a fight with the barbarians and all 3 got thrown out of Golds that day.
Samir Bannout threw a punch at one of the barbarian over something petty and ended up with a torn triceps.
Mike Matarazzo had the biggest calves I have ever seen, first time I saw him, he was training calves early afternoon I did not know who he was as he had just moved out from Boston to train for the USA, I thought he was Franco Santoriello on some new drug (Thats what I really thought).
Jim Quinn was ALWAYS irritated, even with us...his friends.
Tom Platz was the hardest training MF of that period even after stepping out of the limelight
Lou Ferigno making his comeback would make ALL kinds of noise training and would have to be reminded... he was deaf as someone said.
FLEX training with CC Could handle the 180 dumbbells on incline for reps like no one I had seen pre USA
Arnold used to flirt with all the ladies at Worlds Gym until Maria started training at the same time...lol After that he started training with Arty Zeller in the morning then drop the kids at school.
Some old memories...
 

gungalunga

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Lyle Alzado got in a fight with the barbarians and all 3 got thrown out of Golds that day.
Samir Bannout threw a punch at one of the barbarian over something petty and ended up with a torn triceps.
Mike Matarazzo had the biggest calves I have ever seen, first time I saw him, he was training calves early afternoon I did not know who he was as he had just moved out from Boston to train for the USA, I thought he was Franco Santoriello on some new drug (Thats what I really thought).
Jim Quinn was ALWAYS irritated, even with us...his friends.
Tom Platz was the hardest training MF of that period even after stepping out of the limelight
Lou Ferigno making his comeback would make ALL kinds of noise training and would have to be reminded... he was deaf as someone said.
FLEX training with CC Could handle the 180 dumbbells on incline for reps like no one I had seen pre USA
Arnold used to flirt with all the ladies at Worlds Gym until Maria started training at the same time...lol After that he started training with Arty Zeller in the morning then drop the kids at school.
Some old memories...

Come on now....we all know Franco Santoriello got big and ripped by using Cybergenics.....:rolleyes:
 

lookslikesausage

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Lyle Alzado got in a fight with the barbarians and all 3 got thrown out of Golds that day.
Samir Bannout threw a punch at one of the barbarian over something petty and ended up with a torn triceps.
Mike Matarazzo had the biggest calves I have ever seen, first time I saw him, he was training calves early afternoon I did not know who he was as he had just moved out from Boston to train for the USA, I thought he was Franco Santoriello on some new drug (Thats what I really thought).
Jim Quinn was ALWAYS irritated, even with us...his friends.
Tom Platz was the hardest training MF of that period even after stepping out of the limelight
Lou Ferigno making his comeback would make ALL kinds of noise training and would have to be reminded... he was deaf as someone said.
FLEX training with CC Could handle the 180 dumbbells on incline for reps like no one I had seen pre USA
Arnold used to flirt with all the ladies at Worlds Gym until Maria started training at the same time...lol After that he started training with Arty Zeller in the morning then drop the kids at school.
Some old memories...
What did Samir's training look like?

did everyone get into a fight with the Barbarian Bros at one point or another? sounds like those two pissed off a lot of people.

I think the guy Jim Quinn trained with at one time (Billy Smith) had the reputation of being incredibly strong. Did Jim Quinn retire after the WBF went bust?
 

alfresco

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apologies about the re-post

I posted this on 12-07-2011, 02:45 PM. I probably have other posts relating to the topic, but
this was the first one I found. It is not gossip, sorry.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I think it is fair to say that when I saw my first real bodybuilder (Arnold at Gold’s, Venice Beach)
I was totally unprepared mentally, was blown away by his size and shape. And generally speaking,
was also in total disbelief by their “loose” form and the amount of weight they used, which to my
thinking and from what I read and saw in the magazines at the time, was far less then I had anticipated.
That is not to say they were not strong, they were; far stronger that I was or would ever be. I
just anticipated, was led to believe the weights to be more in-line with their size. Silly me.

I also observed that they did not train as hard as I thought they would (or should?), which is also
to say, to muscular failure, though there were a few exceptions, which I will get to later. They all
seemed to have this innate ability to know just how hard to push themselves. Not too much and
not too little. And all appeared to have the ability to “connect” with their muscles while training,
knowing just what part of the movement produced the desired effect.

Arnold Schwarzenegger like I said above, was my first encounter and he was everything and
more than what I expected. He was very friendly and nice and trained with total concentration
and focus. I also attended one of seminars in Chicago, spent a day with him and a few other
people, and trained with him, with him critiquing. Special. Lance Dreher was in the gym at the
time and I watched him train also. Franco Columbo was very strong for his size. I did not talk
with him much. (Did not talk to any of the bodybuilders when they were training, only before
or after.) I seem to remember a language barrier or he was just not interested in talking to me.
Irvin 'Zabo' Koszewski was there too, doing his endless ab crunches. That is all I saw him do.

Tom Platz was a total animal in the gym. Probably one of the hardest training bodybuilders I
have ever seen. Unfortunately I did not get to see him do a leg workout. Serge Nubret was
probably one of the most “beautiful” physiques I have ever seen. Just stunning. I saw him train
many times, always doing many many “light” sets, never to failure, always pumping it seems.
Danny Padilla was one of the most impressive; densely packed, thickly muscled, with full and
round muscles, almost ridiculously so. Hard to believe anybody could have that much muscle
on their frame.

Charles Glass, very friendly and knowledge, sharing and working in with other bodybuilders. Peter
Grymkowski was another monster (with very bad skin). I met him when he worked / owned Gold’s
Gym in Santa Monica. David Johns I met while standing in line at the Mr. Universe contest in LA. Nice
guy, very friendly with huge arms which he had no problem displaying. The Pumping Iron film crew
was there, outside, filming all the people in line. I landed on the cutting room floor (the story of my
life, hahahah) as did the entire scene if memory serves. Ray Mentzer I saw training and was surprised
at the number of sets he did per body-part and lack of intensity in his training as I was led to believe
otherwise by his writings. Got a foto of him and my adorable female cousin, have been trying for
ages to get that from her. Oh well. Also attended one of Mike’s training seminars in Oakland, CA.

Casey Viator was another monster who trained very hard and very strictly. (There is foto of me
with him in Florida on this board somewhere if I haven’t deleted it. Standing next him I look like a
stick man, which I was as I had just returned from Africa, where I had been working of a game
preserve, having lost ~ 20lbs) Unfortunately I did not get to see Arthur put him through a workout,
which is what I was hoping for . . . now that would have been something to see! Ellington
Darden I met in Florida many times, he was never interested in talking bodybuilding, at least to me.

Bob Birdsong did the exact same forearm routine as outlined in a muscle magazine I had just read.
Wonder of all wonders . . . just as advertised! C F Smith another high intensity, low frequency training
guy with very impressive results. Nice guy. Very open and honest. Watched him train a couple of times.
He did an interview with Bill Reynolds when I was there. I read a copy of the interview later and he did
what he said he did training wise. Then there was Steve Davis (who I forgot to mention) who was then
known for his “transformation” from fat to muscular, which at the time was really something. A friend
and I spent an afternoon with him at a (his?) gym up in the Valley. He was remarkably open and honest
about drug usage and diet such as it was back the day . . . Lou Ferrigno, just a huge man is all physical
regards. Don’t think he was in his prime, maybe “Hulk” condition. Greg “Rocky” DeFerro, another very
hard trainer. I think he has since passed away.

Frank Zane, I attended one of his seminars in Oakland CA. He would get lost in a crowd in his street clothes,
but when they came off . . . wow! Robby Robinson was super impressive. The Barbarian Brothers (David
and Peter Paul) were crazy strong. Never saw any skin, they were always covered up, looked like monster
construction workers. Vince Gironda, met him at his gym, was friendly and nice contrary to what I had
expected. Met Dennis Tenerino there also though did not see him train, just talked with him and Vince.

Mike Dayton I met at bodybuilding show in Oakland where he guest posed and then gave a strength demo,
breaking a pair of police handcuffs. I then hunted him down, introduced him to my Karate instructor who
was somebody I told him he had to meet. They went on to become good friends, eventually taking Karate
lessons from him. I met Mike a year or so later at a Christmas party at my Sensei’s house where he proce-
eded to hang himself, literally, from his neck with a regulation noose, from a second story hand railing, a
demonstration of how strong his neck was, dangling among a crowd of onlookers. Amazing.

Chris Dickerson I saw train very briefly at Gold’s (after hours, he had a key, liked to train alone I guess) when
I stopped there to get a ride to a Tom Platz, pre-Olympia posing exhibition. Ron Teufel looked very young.
Ed Corney was super nice. Manual Perry I think had won the Mr. America when I was there. Tim Belknap,
just wow!, Roger Callard, movie star good looks with a great body. Ken Waller, very strong and a no non-
sense guy. Kent Kuehn, friendly and funny. Tony Pearson, great taper, no calves. Roy Callendar used sponges
in his hands for gripping, what’s up with that?

All were friendly and nice. I don’t know what the bodybuilding environment is like now a days, if the top dogs
are even approachable. Some are some aren’t like most people in life I suppose, but I don’t think we have
the same comradery or the same concentration of bodybuilders in same place at the same as it was back in
day.

My training “takeaways”, based upon my conversations and observations is this . . . they all trained hard, some
harder than others. Most all used a volume based routine, multiple sets, multiple exercises, with moderate reps.
All one would consider very strong. Their style of training would be considered “loose”, not perfect form (Casey,
Mentzer, and C F Smith being exceptions) but not sloppy or stupid. They all knew what worked for them, felt
right for them, and they did it with total and absolute concentration, a real mind / body connection.
 

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