Muscular Development Review – October 2015


Steve Blechman’s opening editorial showers Cutler in praise this month – an interesting cover choice considering the bulk of this month’s issue is dedicated to whether Phil can pull a 5th win or not. Blechman’s infamous slash and burn mentality towards his regular contributors is a growing sign that the death knell of muscle magazine is nigh, but this opening homage seems like a game of compare and contrast towards the current Mr O and his flagging popularity. Some of the quotes seem like quiet digs towards the current champ who is infamous for his public relations gaffes and lack of savoir faire

“The Cutler era was a little more colorful than the world we know today.”

“His good friend Phil Heath has a large fan base, but Phil has some distance to travel before reaching the popularity of the legend who once occupied his throne”

“Equally important, Jay is a class act and a magnificent ambassador for bodybuilding, because of his iron-willed focus to get the job done and the professional way that he conducts himself and his desire to interact with all the fans! Jay Cutler has done more for the sport than anyone else.”

Amazing pic of the former champ at his peak.
Amazing pic of the former champ at his peak.

 This month’s articles open with a question to the reigning pro commentators  (Ray, Levrone and Dorian) “Can Heath be Beaten?” Recent Olympias have shown that it’s been Phil’s show to lose by presenting a gradually deteriorating package unrecognisable of his winning 2011 form. If not for an equally substandard pack of fellow competitors, I could see Phil’s glory days long gone. Ramy can’t get into shape, Wolf is shitty in the lats and calves department, and Kai’s a veritable nutcase. Added to that, most of the guys in top contention are now hitting their twilight years, Phil’s “monarchy of mediocrity” could conceivably continue on for a few more years unless someone like McCarver or Compton start seriously bringing it. I really did think it was Dexter’s year again though….

A second article fires another subtle broadside at Heath’s reign with a comparison of the “likeability” between him and Cutler. The argument made is that Jay’s struggle to the top created a sense of endearment among the fans which contrasts Heath’s meteoric and somewhat arrogant, rise in the sport. I think it’s more a case that Jay didn’t have to deal with the legions of dickheads who populate the internet and defend against every verbal tirade directed his way. I know social media is a fact of marketing life these days, but creating scarcity of presence in Phil’s case is probably the best offence. He doesn’t have the charisma to carry out the social media game – people already despise those that appear to achieve things easier than others and tend to lionise those that had to struggle from the bottom to reach the pinnacle. Perhaps taking a note of out of predecessor Yates book; acting less like the Gift and more like the Shadow would help him out here.  Anyway, last time I checked, it was a physique contest not a popularity show.

The unwanted GiftThe unwanted Gift

Bob Cicherillo in the FIFTH article on Heath’s Olympia chances pronounces The fact that Phil was less than 100 percent and STILL managed to beat them all, is tantamount to what makes him so much better.” showing that once again he is the IFBB’s chief monkeyboy when it comes to ass kissing. If the champ is off, then he should be judged as such. People are sick of these contests being won by guys coming in substandard and yet still receiving high honours. Schwarzenegger in 80… Columbo in 81…Yates in 94…Yates in 97 etc etc.

Training research snippets from this month –

From Schoenfeld – whole body workouts practiced 3 times per week were superior in results to splits when it comes to hypertrophy – the caveat being the subjects were untrained college students.

A new device called Focus aims to condition the brain for sport by helping people harness brainpower to focus better, tolerate pain and fatigue, and control emotions. I’m interested in that because of some recent readings in a book called “Faster, Higher, Stronger” that mentioned fatigue and pain are primarily controlled by the brain and can be overcome (more effectively) through better mental conditioning.  I couldn’t find any information about the Focus from a google search other than a device called “Upgraded Focus Brain Trainer” from the Bulletproof guru, Dave Ass-prey, so right now I’m steering well clear of it.

Non motorised treadmills are making a comeback whereby people have to move the belt by moving their feet making the difficulty of Facebooking, drinking a latte, chatting to the opposite sex and getting some decent cardio 30% harder.

Whey protein shakes have no effect on satiety – hmmm I wonder how they possibly determined a drink with the consistency of chocolate flavoured water to have no effect on blunting appetite?

The jury continues to remain undecided when it comes to the effectiveness of HIIT for fat loss. Another study shows it’s great for building aerobic capacity rapidly, “but should be complemented with regular aerobic activity for optimal fat-loss. Scandinavian Journal Medicine Science Sports, 25: e59-e69, 2015)

Dan Gwartney writes in his Dieter’s Dilemma article about the two categories of dieters when it comes to calorie intake, fat mass and energy expenditure as being either “savers” or “spenders” The “saver” or “thrifty” phenotype is characterised by those poor bastards whose metabolisms ramp down as soon as a cut in calories occurs below maintenance, or whose weight rapidly rebounds once calories are reintroduced. Although these types of people aren’t necessarily doomed, they have to be more aggressive and astute when playing the weight loss game because they’re battling that ever present stubborn bitch a.k.a genetics.

An article on multivitamins speculates on the problems associated with many brand formulations in the market loaded with inflammatory inducing minerals (calcium, iron, copper, manganese. Taken over the long term, the effects on one’s health could be deleterious.

centrumTime released poisons?

Thinking of taking metformin to increase insulin sensitivity and increase fat loss? You might want to think again based on the negative effects on testosterone in healthy young male subjects who used the drug.


Brad Schoenfeld weighs in on the oft debated topic of training to failure. Looking at the research and anecdotal evidence, it doesn’t appear to make much of a difference when training with heavier loads in the 80% range, whereas training with lighter loads, trainees could benefit from squeezing out that final rep. As a training strategy however, failure training is best used as a tool in the toolkit of options and not relied on exclusively as a single training philosophy.

HIT - Perfectly suited for urine swilling, methamphetamine addicted Ayn Rand devotees and Holocaust denialists.

Jay is uncannily accurate in his 2015 predictions, nailing the top 4 (except for the inclusion of Kai Greene) and accurately sums up each athlete’s strengths and weaknesses in light of the recently passed Olympia.

Dexter is just an anomaly. He is just one of these guys who you can overlook and then he shows up and you are like, shit, I forgot about Dexter. I spend a bit of time in Venice these days and see Dexter regularly, and he is the biggest I have ever seen him. I would not be shocked if Dexter Jackson placed second at this Olympia. He is the closest one to Phil’s physique as far as knockout-quality muscle.  I will go on record to say that Dexter Jackson is probably the most dangerous guy besides Phil Heath in the lineup. Do not count the guy out. I do not see the guy fading.

DJ bearing witness to Mass with Class.

Why do you think Phil hasn’t repeated that 2011 look?

“Because he keeps getting bigger. We all fall victim to it. In 2005, my physique was better than it was in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011 when I was bigger. I do not want to say 2009, because I actually was at a lighter weight at around 255 pounds, which is where I needed to be. I got bigger and I was not better. I went for more size because I felt I needed to overwhelm the other guys. You get caught up in the weight increase and eating syndrome.

You start eating more and more, and it really does not benefit you. Bodybuilding has changed. The standards change. The whole protocol has changed. I could feel that as the years went by. We tend to overdo it. We want to be bigger than everyone else is. We want to train heavier. We want to work and build our bodies to bigger proportions, but at the same time, it does not help with the waist and pristine conditioning. I was pressing 200-pound dumbbells and squatting and deadlifting like crazy to make body parts grow. But that is not bodybuilding.

Phil stays away from those crazy heavy weights, but he is eating more, I believe, to be bigger and bring in a bigger physique, and I don’t think it is helping him. He is still the best guy up there, but at this point I feel he is packing on more than his frame can carry. “

The devolution of Phil.

An article aptly titled “Is Time Running Out For Kai?”, assess whether Kai still has a legitimate shot at this or any future years Olympia? After the shit this clown’s pulled over the last few years, it’s a wonder he hasn’t been relegated to the New York Subway posing for nickels and dimes ranks. With all the fan-boy vitriol directed at Heath, Kai cock-riders need to start looking at their boy as the one disrespecting the fans with his constant antics, half-truths and an insulting to the eye physique.

The Olympians weigh in with their favourite training secrets – aka a pointless foray into how the genetically elite train their best and most gifted bodyparts.  

Dexter trains between 8-12 reps – never lower or higher and has been injury free throughout his long career by avoiding training through niggles and even stopping a workout if something doesn’t feel right.

Dexter Jackson

Cedric likes DC Training inspired rest-pause – once  hitting failure he will rack the weight for 15 seconds – do another 4-5 reps, rest another 15 seconds and then try for another 2-3.

And fuck you Victor Martinez –

I was training arms twice a week, and they didn’t budge for many months,” he says. “Finally I realized that wasn’t working, and went back to hitting them once a week, but they still didn’t grow. Finally I got frustrated and pissed off, and only worked arms once every other week. That’s when they finally grew. They were just overtrained that whole time.”


An article by Gwartney on the PED related deaths in bodybuilding, particularly those cardiac related in men of young age should be of concern to those undertaking the anabolic plunge who already possess preexisting conditions as well as the typical reckless abandon of the very young. A high BMI among those who’ve died seems to be a leading indicator.

Mass monsters like the re-emerging Russian, Federov are prime candidates for an early exit.

Can wearing compression clothing boost recovery? Seems so in an article by Michael J.Rudolph, Ph.D who claims that compression garments can enhance performance while engaging in high intensity sports due to their ability to remove lactic acid from muscle tissue thereby promoting promoting a longer duration of muscular function. Other recovery benefits stem from compression clothing’s ability to reduce levels of swelling, soreness and muscle damage particularly when worn one or two days after the activity is engaged in.  

Compression clothing - thing to be encouraged.

A meta analysis published in the journal of Molecular Neurobiology examines the association between low testosterone levels and Alzheimer’s. The numbers are statistically significant indicating a 48% greater chance of having the disease when exhibiting low testosterone levels, not to mention that low test levels in general are shown to be a risk factor for worse cognitive performance.

Another study published in Scientific Reports looks at the effect of testosterone levels on the actions and decisions made by those trading on a simulated stock market. Subjects were given either cortisol, a placebo or testosterone. Higher hormone levels led “traders” to make riskier decisions and less likely to stick with stable options.

Lewellyn measures the effectiveness of oral anabolics to decide that Anadrol is the king of mass builders with Dbol coming in a close second.

How hard do you train? Think about….now how hard do you really train? Some pros are asked about their craziest workouts in an article “Extreme Workouts – what was I thinking?” and the replies are some pretty brutal sessions. Sometimes you have to take it to the limit to make progress.

Lee Haney shares his peaking techniques he uses at the end of his prep phases in order to nail his condition. Doing these things allowed him to hit his best condition without risky last minute gambits and compete feeling healthy and happy.

  • uses B-6 (a natural diuretic) along with hot tea with lemon.
  • trains with a sauna suit two weeks before a contest to sweat out subcutaneous water all the way up till the carb up.
  • He would lower his carbs from Monday to Wednesday of contest week from 500-400 a day (!!!!) down to 100 to flush out more water.
  • Carb loaded on Thursday taking in 600 grams and 800 on Friday.
  • high volume circuits for all body parts on the final week to glycogen deplete the muscles, with no more training from Thursday onwards.
  • He eschews sodium loading because he said it never works.

The 6th and final article speculating on whether Phil can “drive for five” is yet another breakdown comparing the reigning champ’s physical attributes to his competition. Harris’ views are always interesting, but at this stage, these articles are kind of redundant.

Coleman’s Q&A – if you don’t like vegetables “you can get all the nutrients they provide from supplements”.….that’s a new one.

And I’ll close it out with another pic of this year’s rightfully uncrowned Olympia, Dexter Jackson.


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