I overheard some young guys — around 20 to 23 years old — talking about training. They were very enthusiastic and were seemingly sharing “insider knowledge”. One of them talked about a specific type of protein he bought from GNC, how it was good for “building”, and how he would transition into another kind in order to “maintain”. The other referenced his “older brother” and how “he said” that another product was very good, and that he only uses that brand. Then he talked about his older brother went and talked with people at GNC and Gold’s Gym for, “like, half an hour” to learn about working out and stuff. “He’s insane,” he said.
Most of you saw the words “GNC”, guffawed, and knew where this was going. The truth is, we were all there at one point. I remember carrying around a couple issues of Muscle and Fitness for reference (I was 17). One in particular was an barbell-only program. It was actually pretty useful at the time, because it was a poor, haggard man’s strength program that used barbells. Weird, huh?
There are thousands, possibly millions of guys like this. They are young, alarmingly skinny or small, yet enthusiastic. Those “conventional fitness” resources that they read may help them get a bit more muscular, but they’ll be horribly inefficient. A strength program with compound, systemically stressful movements with appropriate rest and caloric intake will work much faster. If they wanted to squat, bench, press, and row for sets of 8 to 12 reps, they will be able to use more weight if they were stronger. Getting stronger will result in bigger muscles. It’s a pretty simple formula that isn’t really preached by the alleged “experts”.
I wanted to intervene in the conversation. I wanted to say, “Look, do three sessions a week of a squat, a press, and a pull, eat over a pound of meat a day, and get a good night’s rest. That’ll be exponentially more beneficial than buying shitty protein powders and talking to weirdos with sea shell necklaces and shaved chests.”
But I didn’t. They never listen to a stranger. Before I started 70’s Big, I remember telling some high school football players in a Gold’s Gym, “Stop playing with these dumbbells and go over there and squat every time you come in here.” They didn’t squat that day. Fuck me, right?
I hate when people write critiques of training programs, methodologies, or how stupid people are without some sort of solution to the problem. For example, I talk about how much I hate hipsters, or vegetarians, or society’s notion that females should be starving and men should be shorn waifs, so my Revolution articles end with proposed action.
In this case, young and dumb kids may not listen to what you have to say, but maybe we should try? Maybe you can help them in one small way by suggesting they squat more often, eat meat instead of powders, or stop worrying about “body parts” and get stronger. But, your words will mean much more if you are a big, jacked, strong guy instead of merely being decently strong and kind of fat.
Eat clean food, jack fucking steel around, and don’t be as douchey as the roiding tanned weirdo who smashes sets of incline bench to pre-exaust his pecs and you might have a chance at reaching these kids. But it starts with you and your success.