Bodybuilders aren’t strong? Watch Tom Platz squat 500 pounds (227.5 kilos) for 23 reps

Here’s some footage from what I personally consider to be the golden era of bodybuilding. One of the real bodybuilding icons of the eighties, Tom Platz, was an absolute monster when it came to both leg strength and size. Watch him complete 23 reps with 500 pounds on the bar:

Tom Platz – also known as The Golden Eagle – never won any of the absolute biggest titles in bodybuilding (probably due to the fact that he never had the most symmetrical build out there), but for someone like me, who got into the sport in the eighties, his still remains one of the key bodybuilding names of all time – much having to do with his rather insane leg mass, of course. He did come quite close to taking the biggest bodybuilding trophy of all home with him in 1981, though, when he placed third in that years Mr Olympia contest. He also won an honorary Mr America title in 1995. In 1978, he also took home the Amateur World Championship title. Tom Platz retired from bodybuilding in 1987, and has since done loads of different stuff, including acting and – some say – worked as a private investigator (I’d like to have that confirmed, but no luck as of yet). No doubt an all time bodybuilding great and living legend, Tom Platz is currently a Professor and Director of Bodybuilding Sciences at the International Sports Sciences Association. He lives with wife Cha (whom he married in September 2000) in Scottsdale Arizona. If I’m ever there, I’ll be sure to look him up and shake his hand – he is one of my original bodybuilding inspirations, and more than anyone he certainly inspired me to give it all on the leg press machine when I first started lifting back around the time he retired from the sport (I had yet to realized the superiority of squats, but hey, I’ll never forget how that leg press machine made me feel!)

BSN Syntha-6 reviewed!

When it was decided that we do a review of BSN’s popular protein supplement Syntha-6, it was clear that I had to be the one to do it. After all, it is no secret that BSN heavily targets the MMA market with the advertising and sponsoring, and I kinda tend to keep track of what goes on in that world. As a long time MMA junkie (I’ve been a fan and practitioner of the sport since UFC 2) I’m usually up to date with what’s going on. And with my involvement with this site, I tend to, ahem, feel obligated to make sure the MMA crowd aren’t offered a load of crap supplement wise. For that reason, I’m happy to state that BSN Syntha-6 seems like a fine product.

It’s certainly a fine tasting product. Syntha-6 tastes very, very nice indeed, and for me that’s key when choosing a protein supplement. If a can of protein doesn’t taste nice I’m probably not going to keep taking it. And if anything keeps me from taking Syntha 6, it’s certainly not the taste. The banana flavor was lovely, as was the strawberry one – both of them sufficiently so to make me want to check out the chocolate flavored version as well, which I will as soon as it arrives in the mail (and yes, you’ll see this article updated then). I’m pretty big on fruit and berry flavored protein and meal replacement drinks, so I’ve tried these ones first as usual (sorry, chocoloate lovers). They taste great, though. The product comes in a host of different flavors (Banana, Chocolate Milkshake, Chocolate Mint, Caramel Latte, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cookies & Cream, Mocachino, Vanilla Ice Cream and Strawberry Milkshake) so there should be something for everyone, considering the emphasis they seem to have placed on making this a great tasting product.

Taste aside, is the product actually any good for you? Will Syntha-6 help you put on muscle mass, gain strength or whatever it is you want it to do for you? Let’s take a look at the ingredients and the nutritional values of BSN’s Syntha-6 and see if we can learn anything from those:

Syntha-6 contains: Protein Matrix Comprised Of (Whey Protein Concentrate [Milk], Whey Protein Isolate [Milk], Calcium Caseinate [Milk], Micellar Casein [Milk], Milk Protein Isolate [Milk], And Egg Albumin [Egg]), Glutamine Peptides [Wheat], Richmix Sunflower Powder Consisting Of (Sunflower Oil, Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate [Milk], Mono- & Diglycerides, Dipotassium Phosphate, Tricalcium Phosphate, Lecithin [Soy], And Tocopherols), Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder, Polydextrose, Natural & Artificial Flavors [Soy & Milk], Nutrisperse MCT Powder Consisting Of (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Non-Fat Dry Milk, Disodium Phosphate, And Silicon Dioxide), Cellulose Gum, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, A²Zorb (Papain And Bromelain).

I’m glad to note that there is no Aspartame in this product. The product does contain, however, both Sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium – artificial sweeteners that some may object to for various reasons. The use of two different sweeteners is something we see in a lot of products these days, and the reason (from talking to manufacturers) is usually the “rounder” taste you get from going this route as opposed to just using one type of sweetener. We really would like to see more manufacturers use Stevia flavored protein supplements, though (like the awesome Jay Robb Whey Protein products). I’d also like to add that I’m not a huge fan of Calcium Caseinate in protein supplements due to the alleged possible neurotoxic effects of that substance.

BSN recommend 1-2 scoops (1 if you’re a lady) up to four times a day mixed with cold water or your favorite beverage (unless that’s beer – surprisingly, even the best tasting protein supplements don’t go that well with beer for some reason). I prefer milk – as I usually do. Besides, some of that good old fashioned casein in milk might help make my protein drinks even more effective.

One 44 g scoop of BSN Syntha-6 will give you approximately 22 grams of protein, 6 grams of fat, and 14 grams of carbohydrate (including 2 grams of sugar). In other words, this is hardly the protein supplement that gives you the most protein per gram. 6 grams of fat is quite a bit, and 14 grams of carbohydrates… Well, you can certainly get protein supplements that are more “pure protein” and less fats and carbs. Then again, this product does taste very, very nice – obviously due in part to the relatively high concentration of fats and carbs in here as opposed to protein. For someone on a diet, there may be other choices that will be a better suit, and if you’re looking to get the most grams of protein per dollar you’d also be advised to check out a few of the other products we’ve reviewd on this site. Still, I have no problem understanding why this is such a popular product nowadays (besides the intense marketing BSN does): Syntha-6 tastes awesome, and comes with a range of ingredients that can support your athletic / muscle building efforts. Do order a can today and check it out – it’s a treat!

14 Bodybuilding tips for beginners

If you’re starting out in bodybuilding, there’s one thing you need to get clear before almost anything else: You probably have a lot to learn if you want to be truly successful. Don’t get me wrong; bodybuilding isn’t necessarily complicated and you don’t need a university degree to do this stuff right, but there’s probably a lot more to this stuff than you think, and if you haven’t yet started acquiring good knowledge on the subject, now is the time to do so. To set you off on a good start, we have compiled a bunch of tips especially targeted at beginners (and in many cases equally applicable to people who have been at it for a long tim). Enjoy!

  1. Rome was not built in a day. Bodybuilding takes time – a very long time, in fact. A Beverly Hills mansion usually takes a lot shorter time to build than a great body. If you want to succeed at this stuff, put in the work day in a day out, week after week, month after month and year after year, and don’t worry so much about how long it takes. If you’re just starting out you’ll see measurable results in a short time, and if you keep doing things right you’ll get GREAT results somewhere down the road. Be patient. It’s worth it, trust me.
  2. Make injury prevention one of your primary concerns. Seriously. Don’t trivialize that stuff – you’ll regret it sooner than you think, and perhaps for a lot longer than you think too. If you train in a way that will get you injured, remember that you probably will NOT be able to train properly – or at all – when you ARE injured. Injuries are going to mess with the results you get. Train safely and correctly – at ALL times.
  3. Focus your training on becoming stronger in the big exercises. Many, if not most, of today’s top bodybuilders started out lifting for strength and power. A program like 5×5 can be absolutely fantastic for beginners, helping them gain strength and mass and giving them a solid foundation for even more mass down the road. Besides, it’s fun to lift more than others at the gym, and that will probably motivate you to keep going there! Focus on the major exercises like bench presses, bent over rows, standing presses, squats and deadlifts. Get super strong in those while eating like a mad man, and you WILL get bigger.
  4. Free weights is the way to go, not machines. Free weights offer a range of advantages of machines, so focus your training around free weight exercises. Sometimes, beginners are adviced to use machines “because they are safer than free weights.” That kind of advice is stupid. Start using free weights from day one, and you’re LESS likely to get injured down the road than if you start out using just machines.
  5. Learn how to perform every exercise perfectly. This will not only help you stay injury free, but will also help you get faster and better results from your efforts. Have someone at the gym help you learn the exercises properly – someone who is NOT a fellow beginner.
  6. Oftentimes, less is more. Doing more won’t always help you get more. For instance, many find that when they reduce their training load, they get better results. Shorter workouts are generally much better than long ones – I usually spend around 45 minutes in the gym at a time, and never 90-120 minutes like I sometimes did in the past.
  7. A whole body routine three times per week will be better than most split routines. For beginners (and in many cases more experienced bodybuilders too) a whole body routine done three times per week will be hard to beat. When you’re starting out, you don’t need to blast your muscles with tons of sets to get results. Perform as little as 2-3 sets per body part, and you’ll be able to hit the gym again 48 hours later – which is actually ideal given what we know about protein synthesis as a response to exercise.
  8. The kitchen is as important as the gym! What happens in the kitchen is of crucial concern to your bodybuilding success. You have to eat correctly – and probably eat a lot too – if you want to get big and muscular. Simply put: that means getting ample amounts of protein throughout the day, sufficient amounts of ALL vital nutrients (yes, even the “boring” vitamins and minerals need to be watched!), plenty of clean food, and lots of carbs (particularly after training) and good fats. Typical bodybuilding food includes clean meat, fish, protein supplements, rice, various vegetables, fruits, eggs, nuts and seeds and on. Make an effort to learn all you can about food, and apply it. Correct eating is vital to your success.
  9. Sleep and rest – get plenty of both. Your muscles do not grow in the gym (even though it may seem that way when you have a great “pump”), they grow when you rest and sleep. Get at least 8 hours of quality sleep every night (in fact, make great sleep one of you your priorities in life, it’ll do you good in more ways than you can count) and make sure you get plenty of sleep
  10. Keep a training journal from day one – or, at least, from today! Keeping track of what you’re doing is going to be of immense help down the road. Write down everything you do in the gym, and – if you have the time for it (I must admit, I sometimes don’t) – everything else that’s relevant, like diet, what’s going on in your life right now (stress etc), number of hours slept, any illnesses and so on.
  11. Understand that the best advice rarely come from the biggest guy at the gym. Many beginners make the mistake of assuming that the biggest (or most well trained) person at the gym automatically also knows the most about training and nutrition and everything else that relates to bodybuilding. In our experience, that is rarely the case. There are plenty of reasons why someone would get absolutely huge without being qualified to help you do the same, and these include – but are not limited to – a superb genetic make up, drug use and so on. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should ask some Woody Allen lookalike for help either, even if they claim to be an expert on the subject. Instead, get a feel for who knows their stuff by looking both at the results they’re getting AND their reputation as a good source of information.
  12. Keep a relaxed attitude towards sports supplements. Many bodybuilders focus WAY too much on supplements, something which probably does more harm than good. After all, supplements can only give you so much, and if you focus too much on something that doesn’t matter all that much, it probably means that some other area is going to suffer because it gets too little focus. Sure, use some supplements like multi vitamins and protein powders and whatever else you may need or be deficient in, but don’t go overboard on the stuff – there’s no need to, and it probably won’t help much either, at least not at this point.
  13. Don’t train like the pros. One crucial mistake many beginners make is to try and emulate what the pros do in the gym – which doesn’t work very well at all. You may think you’re doing something smart, but instead you’re going to look like a complete clown to anyone who has a clue, and your results will suffer too. Pros can train the way they do because they have years and decades of training behind them, absolutely exceptional genes, and probably a helpful pharmacist as well. This is probably not the case with you, so your training probably needs to be different from most of the dudes on the cover of Flex Magazine.
  14. Get a good training partner. Having a good training partner can be a fantastic aid to your bodybuilding success. Find someone who is (ideally) more experienced than you, positive, dependable (if they miss a workout, chances of you missing one may increase substantially) knowledgeable and willing to push you on a consistent basis so that you reach your goals.