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We at Testosterone aren't an overly sentimental bunch.
Sure, we occasionally might catch ourselves looking back fondly at some of the cool things that we've been a part of:
Like the coaches we've plucked from relative obscurity that have gone on to achieve incredible success; the diet and training super-programs we worked tirelessly on before unleashing them onto our army of Testosterone lab rabbits; and the Testosterone forum, which came into this world as a single, clunky category before evolving before our very eyes into the multi-headed Hydra of rants, reactions, ramblings, and ass-worshipping threads we all enjoy today.
Finally, I'd be lying if I said none of us get a little choked up when the annual defrosting of the Biotest kitchen fridge turns up a few frosty bottles of MAG-10 and MD-6.
(Why oh why, does the good Lord always take the best ones away so young?)
But while we all might experience the odd moment of eye-welling nostalgia, it never lasts long, simply because we always like to look forward.
If the last twelve years has taught us anything it's that to be leaders in the field you have to constantly be pushing the envelope. A weight-training program posted in a simple text article might have done the job five years ago, but that just isn't good enough for us anymore, nor is it for our readers. A fully interactive, scalable, multimedia super program complete with HD videos of every set and rep? Now, that's more our speed.
That's 2010 speed.
Still, over the last dozen or so years a lot of rock-solid articles about bodybuilding, strength training, nutrition, and unabashed opinion have been posted at Testosterone. So much so, it would be a crying shame to just let it all fall into cyber-obscurity.
That's why we're going to run a new series called Must Reads: The Testosterone Files. Each installment will cover what we consider to be the best, most thought-provoking articles of that year, starting with our inaugural year, 1998.
Although it's the Testosterone way to not look back, we still believe that to know your future, you must know your past.
Year One: 1998
1998 featured many articles penned by TC, reflective of the skeleton crew the good ship Testosterone first set sail with: Captain Tim Patterson, Navigator TC Luoma, and First Mate Sybil, the nickname TC gave the dozen or so pseudonyms that he wrote training articles under.
As the magazine grew over the years and welcomed more contributors into the fold, TC/Sybil's byline would be seen less and less, much to the dismay of bra & panty aficionados worldwide.
The Mad Monk of Power Lifting: An Interview With Louie Simmons
by Nelson Montana
To say that Testosterone readers have some love for powerlifting giant Dave Tate and EliteFTS would be an understatement. But it's Louie Simmons, Tate's former mentor, who is truly the Godfather of modern powerlifting.
Louis Simmons' Westside Barbell Club is famous for cranking out human bulldozers capable of moving inconceivable amounts of weight. Louie was among the first to popularize the importance of lifting fast, and his Maximum Effort/Dynamic Effort model has changed the way powerlifters around the world approach their training.
In this rare interview, Louie sits down for a second to discuss his methodology.
"Louie owns and works out at the Westside Barbell in Ohio. This is not your ordinary health club. It's more akin to a dark and dank torture chamber. Its members are warriors. A squadron of strength with one ultimate quest: lifting more weight. Nowhere in sight are there treadmills, neon lights, or even a leg extension machine.
Only iron, and lots of it. It's a safe bet you won't see too many of its inhabitants flexing their calves in the mirror. This is a place where only the most serious of elite strength-training athletes come to push the boundaries beyond what any mortal man (and woman) would consider unfathomable."
Variations on a Theme: The Top Seven Biceps Movements
by Charles Poliquin
For 100 years, bodybuilders did direct arm work. This eventually infuriated Lesbienesus, the Goddess of Functional Training, who laid a curse upon the egomaniacal strength coaches in 1999: they could not recommend direct arm work for the next 10 years, even to bodybuilders.
Oh, what a dark decade it was.
This classic 1998 biceps article by Mr. Elbow Flexors himself, Charles Poliquin, just squeaked in before the curse. It's a great mix of old school biceps favorites with a few surprises thrown in for good measure and it was immensely popular; much to Lesbienesus' immortal chagrin.
Fortunately for arm-challenged bodybuilding enthusiasts everywhere, Lesbienesus has since lifted her ban on training bis and tris and retired to the Greater San Francisco area with her longtime companion, Fran, the Patron Saint of CrossFit Carpet Munching.
The Nausea Workout: A Quad-Building Routine
by Charles Poliquin
To get big legs, you just need three things: Squats, milk, and someone to give you better programming advice than to just do squats and drink milk.
This routine by Poliquin is a take on the classic Pre-Exhaustion training system made popular my Nautilus founder Arthur Jones. Rather than go from the easiest exercises to the hardest as classic Pre-Exhaustion recommends, Poliquin places the most demanding exercises first #8212; which is a nice adjustment, as it helps to be sitting comfortably in the leg extension machine when you're hurling up your pre-workout supplements.
Pay close attention to the rest intervals and especially the varying tempos and hit this routine once every 5 or 6 days. Enjoy the soreness. Your stubborn legs will grow so fast you just may swear off squats & milk for good.
by TC Luoma
Every so often, a strength coach starts talking about the nervous system and the important role it plays in strength training and bodybuilding.
These days, even the most recreational lifter seems to be deathly afraid of "cooking their CNS", as if those 3 sets of pec deck flyes they cranked out last week has their nervous system as fried as the late Dennis Hopper's synapses.
In this informative article, microbiologist turned porn set fluffer turned editor-in-chief TC Luoma takes the very complicated subject of the nervous system and explains it at a level that even the most thickheaded bodybuilder can wrap their protein-soaked brain around. He even gives a few nervous system tricks you can show off to your friends at parties, along with some tips to help keep your nervous system running at tiptop shape.
If you want to learn more about the forgotten component of strength training, you should really read this one.
Next time there's a track and field event in your area, drop by and hang out by the winner's circle. The long distance competitors will invariably be thin, have little muscle mass, and have all the vitality of a vegan prison inmate on a 4-week hunger strike. But the sprinters? Are you sure this isn't really a bodybuilding contest?
TC Luoma opines that the best butt and hamstring development on the block doesn't belong to bodybuilders but to sprinters, whom he describes as the "spiritual cousins of bodybuilders." While many bodybuilders have showy quads but glutes so droopy they resemble a bloodhound's jowls, sprinters are posterior chain specimens, thanks in part to the explosive training they do.
But you don't have to cancel your gym membership and hire a track coach if you want to get your backside up to snuff. TC has a dandy little sprinting routine you can perform in place of your regular lower body weight training session that's sure to hit your glutes and hammies in a way that those three sets of leg curls never could.
Speed Demons: The Domination of Sport by Blacks
by Jose Antonio, PhD and Chris Street, MS
At some point, everyone has likely found themselves in one of these no-win kind of conversations:
"Yeah, well, sports have always been easy for him. He's black."
"If I was black, I could've been a starting point guard, too."
"Dorian and Jay are that much more impressive because they're white guys and they still were able to win the Olympia."
"If Arnold and Willis weren't black, they never would've been adopted by Mr. Drummond. Instead, they get to live on Park Avenue and watch their sexy half-sister Kimberly shower every day. It's racism man. Race-ism."
In arguably the most talked about article of that year, Dr. Jose Antonio and Chris Street take an objective, scientific look at whether black athletes are genetically superior to whites.
Do they have a superior ratio of fast twitch to slow twitch muscle fibers? Do they possess naturally higher Testosterone levels? Do blacks really have a superior sense of rhythm or do white people deliberately dance to the lyrics? Just be warned, if you're a closeted bigot, this article is going to piss you off more than the last presidential campaign.
Chanko: A Lesson From the Sumos
by TC Luoma
Remember when that once-great bodybuilding mag turned into a giant glorified advertisement for a Physique Transformation contest?
Yeah, we were trying to forget about that, too. Sorry.
Say what you want about the validity of those contests, but many ordinary folks made some pretty amazing transformations. What did they all have in common? Well, it wasn't the Men's Fitness workout routine or the magic MRP's now sold in the discount aisle at Wal-Mart. What all these successful competitors did was eat five or six small meals a day.
Many nutritionists scoff at the perceived magical qualities of five or six small meals day, but it's been proven time and time again to work. The logic is simple: provide the body with protein and carbs at regular intervals to stay on the right side of the anabolism/catabolism curve, but not so much that the digestive tract becomes overloaded.
The consistent feedings also helps mitigate the occurrence of accidental overeating, like when you go four hours without food and wind up destroying your four-year-old's Buzz Lightyear birthday cake.
TC's Chanko plan is simple: have a few "Chanko" meals a day consisting of the bodybuilder standby of tuna, rice, and corn. Toss in a few MRP's between meals. Round out the day with another solid meal for good measure. Done and done.
You can easily improve upon this plan by including smart peri-workout nutrition or the Anaconda protocol. Or you can just be a big stick in the mud and leave the damn diet the way it is. Now get off my lawn!
Sex, Lies, and Muscle In the World of Bodybuilding and Fitness
by Rash Riprock
Rumors of bodybuilders engaging in deviant sexual behavior have been around since the day Joe and Betty Weider first did the horizontal fox trot. If you've ever had the pleasure of working in the fitness and bodybuilding industry for any length of time you'll likely agree that adultery, promiscuity, and perversion are all just par for the course, like fake boobs and one-sided conversations. Perhaps Jan-Tana and protein farts are aphrodisiacs to the genetically gifted? Who knows.
In this article, our insider describes the depraved sexual behaviors of a number of anonymous top bodybuilding stars circa-1998. If you like sordid tales of gang-bangs, rough sex, S&M exploits, gay for pay, and endless accounts of infidelity, this article is up your alley like Ricky Martin.
Extra bonus: back in the day, some readers were able to connect the dots as to who the anonymous bodybuilders were. But that was 12 years ago. Fancy yourself somewhat of a bodybuilding historian? This article may test your meathead mettle.
An Interview with Mike Mentzer (Not Really, But It Could Have Been)
by Hacksaw Hawkins
This cheeky little number, penned again by Sybil, ran in the very first issue and served to inform readers that this new, mean-looking website with the hardcore name and "in-yo-face" yellow font didn't really take itself too seriously.
After reading this article, those familiar with Mike Mentzer and his obsession with author Ayn Rand might've chuckled and moved on, as did we...until Mentzer's passing a few later, when a satirically challenged writer for the LA Times quoted the most ridiculous portions of the mock interview for Mentzer's obituary.
The fact that this fooled a trained journalist, writing for a supposedly respected major newspaper is perhaps the most notable thing about this article:
"Yes, it's true that I admire Ayn Rand, but I am slightly discouraged that she doesn't answer my mail or return my calls. Yes, she's been dead about sixteen years, but that seems to me to be a poor excuse for ignoring someone who is her intellectual equivalent. My biceps are considerably larger too, but I suspect that she, despite her inestimable intelligence, was a chronic overtrainer."
This article made the list due to the simple fact than it got more attention than Mel Gibson at a Jewish Defence League luncheon.
For most newbies, Poliquin's training programs appear so complex that they make the average "Three Sets of Fun" Men's Fitness workout seem like it was drawn up on an Etch & Sketch. Yet those in the know will tell you that Poliquin's methods are all firmly rooted in a number of basic, essential training principles.
Understand these key principles, young Patawan, and the bounty of training riches you'll receive will be endless as you'll basically be able to MacGyver your own set of Poliquin-esque training programs; not to mention know twice as much about building muscle as the typical trainer at Planet Fitness.
That's it for 1998. See you next time, when we party like it's 1999!