New 2010 Tributes and Testimonials to Mike and Ray
(Note: We will continue to add more tributes and testimonials to this celebration, and if you
sent one in that did not get posted, send Joanne Sharkey a "nudging" email reminder.
ON THE SHOULDERS OF A GIANT -- Posted 6/9/10
By Rich Fitter
Editorial Director for Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness magazine, Chairman of the WNBF, and former Pro Natural Bodybuilder
Much of the success that I have enjoyed in my career, I owe to Mike Mentzer. I never met the man, nor spoke to him personally, but his writings inspired me to follow my dreams of becoming a bodybuilder and writer. It has been more than 30 years since I read my first Heavy Duty training column and an article entitled "Breaking the Pain Barrier" in an issue of Muscle Builder. I was in Junior High and at that moment I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be able to inspire others to push themselves to reach their bodybuilding goal, as Mike's words had inspired me.
While most of my workout buddies were performing marathon workouts, I heeded Mike's advice and reduced my training volume and experienced progress like never before. Hungry for more HEAVY DUTY™ high-intensity knowledge, I purchased his mail-order courses and saw even greater progress. As I have stated many times over the years, Mike Mentzer made me (and many others) stop and think about what I was doing in the gym. To me, bringing logic and reason to a chaotic sport of blind faith will always be his greatest contribution to the world of bodybuilding.
I competed in drug-free bodybuilding for several years and became a Pro Natural Bodybuilder with the WNBF. I competed in two Mr. Universe competitions and three Pro World Championships while using high-intensity training methods. Since retiring from competition, I have assumed the role of Editorial Director for Natural Bodybuilding & Fitness magazine and Chairman of the WNBF. One of my greatest regrets is that I never had the chance to thank Mike for his inspiration. I doubt that I would have succeeded in doing what I love without it!
-- Rich Fitter
THANKS TO MIKE’S TRAINING – I WON THE TITLE!!! -- Posted 6/10/10
By John Heart
2001 Natural Mr. Universe Tall Class Winner
The following is my personal testimony and tribute to Mike Mentzer regarding personal training sessions with Mike using his HEAVY DUTY™ training system.
In March 1994, I had the good fortune of coming across some articles that Mike Mentzer had written regarding the phenomenal progress his clients were making, since he had adjusted their training routines from that mentioned in his Heavy Duty© book (also known as HEAVY DUTY 1) to the ones mentioned in Heavy Duty II: Mind and Body© book. Upon reading how he had most of his clients gaining 10-20 lbs. within the first month, I dialed the phone number given at the end of the article to inquire about Mike training me one-on-one in the gym, and I left a voice mail message asking for a return call. (At the time I was competing successfully in the NPC local/regional level in the Southern California area).
Much like Mike’s earlier stories regarding Arthur Jones, what I got was much greater than a secretary returning my call - I received a late night return call from Mike Mentzer himself! This wasn’t just a phone call about scheduling a time to meet for training. No, no, no! Within minutes Mike had quickly introduced himself, asked me about my goals, then moved onto the principles and philosophy behind his upcoming book Heavy Duty II: Mind and Body©. What should have been a 2-minute call regarding scheduling turned into a 2-hour (!) call wherein we began a friendship.
Within the next week, I found myself face to face with “Mr. Heavy Duty” himself at Gold’s Gym/Venice. Honestly, I expected to see my boyhood idol standing in front of me, but what I saw was a middle aged man who looked to be in better shape than most in our population (Mike’s professional career had ended some 15 years earlier, and as he had stated many times, having huge muscles were no longer a priority to him, but helping others to get them was!) Nevertheless, I committed to learning everything this man had to teach. I became a sponge, so to speak, absorbing everything I could, and of course, training balls-to-the-walls!
During that first workout, we trained legs. 15 minutes after the initial warm-up sets, it was all over. As a matter of fact, we trained once every 5th day for approximately the same amount of time, give or take a couple of minutes, and then he’d offer to buy me lunch (yes, I took him up on it every time!) His new Heavy Duty workouts were phenomenal and delivered progress as promised. I walked in the gym that first day weighing 219 lean off-season lbs at a height of 5 ft 11.5 inches, and 3 months later I weighed 250 lbs. My body fat had risen only slightly (I gained 1 inch in the waist), yet my new suit of muscles required all new clothes - several sizes larger!!! Mike trained me with 1-2 intense sessions per week, none of which lasted longer than 17 minutes, and I had gained exactly 31 lbs. within 12-weeks!!! I was VERY happy with the results and have never gone back to volume training since then. As a matter of fact, I became so inspired that I began to train clients using Heavy Duty™ training, and I continue to do so to this very day.
Had I ever reached such a high muscular bodyweight before? No, not even close! The highest muscular weight I had ever achieved was a fat 235 lbs. This 3-month period with Mike brought the growth of a NEW, never before achieved, 15 lbs of muscle. Muscle memory had nothing to do with it. Seven (7) years would pass before I would step on stage again to compete. I had not incurred any injury. I simply chose to prioritize my personal training business and continued to train because I love bodybuilding.
In 2001, I returned to competitive bodybuilding. A former class winner in the Natural Mr. Universe observed me training at Gold’s Gym/Venice and upon hearing that I was NOT using anabolics, told me I could win my class at the Natural Mr. Universe. After several conversations with him, I decided to go for it........and I won the title on November 9, 2001!
The tragedy is that Mike would die just 5 months prior to my win at that show and Mike would never see the result of his HEAVY DUTY™ training/teachings.
I continue to teach the HEAVY DUTY™ principles to all my clients and those that want to know the truth about bodybuilding science!
At the request of Joanne “Jo” Sharkey, I have included a photo of myself from the 2001 Natural Mr. Universe.
God Bless you, Jo, for continuing to carry on the legacy Mike left behind!
Natural Mr. Universe Tall Class Winner 2001
LOST OVER 20 KG (44 LB) OF FAT IN 8 MONTHS! -- Posted 6/9/10
By Mark Musumeci
G'day from Australia! I have lost over 20kg (44lb) of fat using the HEAVY DUTY™ principles developed and pioneered by Mike Mentzer.
Before reading Heavy Duty I & II, as well as Mike's other books and writings, I was obese, unhealthy, unhappy and lacked direction in all aspects of my life (from weight training, to fat loss, work, happiness, you name it!).
Through Mike's writings and philosophy of Objectivism, I found the guidance and inspiration to "be the best I can be" in all aspects of my life (not just bodybuilding). My mind and body are at the best level of achievement so far in my life, thanks to Mike.
I started by commencing with the HEAVY DUTY™ Consolidation Routine (once every 7 days) and implemented a well balanced diet, eventually lowered down to around 1200-1400 calories daily. I used Consolidation as I knew that on a reduced calorie diet, my body's recuperative abilities would be significantly hampered, so I needed a routine with maximal intensity and minimal overlap to allow for full recovery - so as to at least retain my existing muscle mass/strength. When my fat loss started to slow down, because I still had a lot more bodyfat to lose, I started inserting Cardio work (running/jogging, cycling, etc), eventually increasing the amount as time went by.
I have maintained strength in all exercises. Using this approach over the past 8 months, I have gone from 106kg (233.2lb) down to 84kg (184.8lb)....a total loss of 22kg (48.4lb)!! Most of the fat has come off in the last 3 months, as my knowledge of Balanced Diet/Calorie control and training techniques increased, so did my efficiency to lose fat.
My goal is to lower my bodyfat level to under 10%, at which point I will go on a slightly positive calorie intake and discontinue my cardio work in the quest for maximum muscle mass.
It is hard to find words that will do justice to the impact Mike Mentzer and his research/experience/books/training/philosophy have had on my life. Suffice to say that I would not be as healthy, as happy, as productive, or as determined/goal-orientated.
Mike has given me a new excellence to strive for in life; my own excellence where I make the choices, where I set my goals and achieve them, where I am not a follower of the herd or a believer of blind assumptions or shabby irrational theories based on tradition and truth-by-consensus, but rather a productive and informed individual who can discern truth from falsehood, good from evil, and make my decisions based on facts, scientific research, logic and Objective principles.....and maybe one day, a Hero. If only all of mankind followed such a rich and complete philosophy of life, all men (and women) could realise their true potential.
And an enormous thank you to Joanne Sharkey for keeping Mike's legacy alive and kicking, you're one of a kind - - 'nuf said. I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.
[ED. The photo did not arrive in time and will be inserted when it is received.]
--Mark Musumeci - AUSTRALIA
MIKE MENTZER'S IMPACT ON MY LIFE -- Posted 6/9/10
By James Spella
East Herkimer, New York
Joanne, it has been some time since I last spoke to you. I would like to relate to you the absolute importance of you keeping Mike’s and Ray’s ideas alive through this website.
Two years ago, I reached an all time best condition at a body weight of 222 lbs. @ 9% body fat. At that time, emboldened by my progress, I slipped by increasing my caloric intake and ignoring the feedback I was receiving from my tanita scale and through my own vision. Since then, I have reduced my weight very gradually; I now weigh 203 lbs. @ 9.5% body fat. My idea was just to maintain.
Recently I have decided to put some lean body weight on, and I consulted with a renowned trainer before proceeding. I listened, jotted down some notes, and the next day thought about his ideas. Then I realized that through all of Mike’s writings, in his books, and on this website, that all the ideas necessary to reach my goals are within my reach in his books! All the reader needs to do is to be able to integrate those principles into their training! If the reader needs help in doing so, I can vouch that the Heavy Duty phone consultations that you make available will help the bodybuilder do just that – and he WILL make progress. The HD phone consultations helped me by answering the questions and/or confusion that I had in making adjustments properly.
I have come across an individual writing vile things about Mike (and John Little) on the internet. I replied to this individual, and thus far, have not seen him make any more negative references to Mike. If I ever see him, or anyone else for that matter, doing more of the same, I will reply in like fashion. I encourage anyone who is reading this to do the same, because Mike gave us so much – and he continues to do so through his works in print.
I was speaking with a friend recently and related to him the story of how I first came across Mike Mentzer and what an outstanding person he really was. Through Muscle Builder and Power, later to become Muscle and Fitness, I read a couple of Mike’s articles and instantly realized that something about Mike was different. His obvious intelligence struck me, as well as his statement that he didn't expect you to blindly follow his ideas based on the fact that he won a few titles. He wanted the reader to focus on the ideas and theories, judge them logically, and decide for themselves. That statement in itself I find to be very empowering.
Then I saw an advertisement placed by Mike for his HEAVY DUTY courses. Because of the impression he made on me with his articles in Muscle Builder, I ordered them. When I opened the first booklet, I realized immediately that I didn't possess the inherent traits to look like mike. He stressed the importance of education, family, and love, as well as other worthwhile pursuits in life. But he also placed emphasis on the importance of high intensity exercise for health, confidence, virility, stress control, and psychological well being. As mike said, "you never know how far you might have gotten, unless you try." Unless you try!! Think about that for a moment. To me, that little inclusion is very motivational.
I related to you and to John Little that I would not even be the same person if it wasn’t for Mike Mentzer and the impact that his teachings and philosophy have had on me. He was the first to impress upon me the value of acquiring an intellect. he was the first to really strike an independent bone in my body, to encourage me to think for myself and not be subject to blindly follow the ideas of someone else, even his! Through his writings he also introduced me to the writings of Ayn Rand, Hans Selye, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and others. I don't even care to speculate what would have become of me if not for the influence of Mike Mentzer.
I never spoke to Mike, but he speaks to ME every day - through his books, this website, tapes, and just in my thoughts of him. Please know, Joanne, just how important your work is to us and know how appreciated you are.
Your friend and loyal Mentzerite,
-- James Spella
HELLO FROM GERMANY! -- Posted 6/9/10
By Hans Kueller
My name is Hans, and I will tell you how I came to HEAVY DUTY™ high-intensity training. I started with bodybuilding in September 1992, and I was using my classic volume training – 6 days per week for 1½ to 2 hours each time, and 4-5 sets for each exercise. After 6 months, my coach told me some things about Mike Mentzer and his HEAVY DUTY™ training . My coach’s opinion was I was training too much and too often, but I was not really interested at that time. My fault!!!
The next years, I thought about Heavy Duty sometimes, but I never began using it. Well on March 2008, I had my second blackout while using my high-volume training program, and I had to pause from my training for 6 weeks. Why? Well this blackout had a gift for me...a broken rib.
After 7 days, I missed training so much and I went to my Fitness Center. This was not a happy surprise for my coach and the staff, but they thought it was typical for me. But, after a few exercises, I had to end my workout - it was senseless to keep trying. Two weeks passed and I felt like I was stronger and that my muscles began to grow like at my beginning with Bodybuilding.
At this point, Mike and Ray Mentzer and Heavy Duty came back in my mind. So in August 2008 I bought the book High-Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way. I read the book, and it was very, very interesting. I was impressed about the whole work from Mike. I bought the DVD´s and other books from Mikementzer.com. I studied it all, and I began to reduce slowly my volume training in sets, exercises and times per week till December 2008. After that I made a pause for 1 or 2 weeks.
My first HEAVY DUTY™ workout started on December 18, 2008. And what can I say, but that HEAVY DUTY works! It is not a theory...it´s a hard fact, truth and knowledge. But it is important to read the books and re-read and re-read and re-read to fully learn all you can.
My progress continues! I made HEAVY DUTY a part of my life, and I think every day of Mike and Ray. I collect all that I can buy about or by Mike and Ray. It was a sad experience for me when the Mentzer Brothers died. This hurts me because it’s tragic that these fine and intelligent guys died so young. They were an enrichment personality and contributed much for the sport of bodybuilding. I wish I could say "thank you for everything" and to show them my successes with their lifetime works. My training partner feels and think the same. At every workout we speak about Mike and Ray. They live in our hearts, and we will never forget Mike and Ray!
I will never stop using HEAVY DUTY, because for me it’s the ONLY training system. I will do all I can to introduce HEAVY DUTY to other bodybuilders here in Germany and hope that I can get it into their heads that it is the right training system to use!
I’m also happy that I found Joanne Sharkey. She is a very fine person and she has been a great help to me with my training. Joanne’s work to keep on with Mike´s legacy is great and appreciated by us.
-- Hans Kueller - GERMANY
STOP WASTING YOUR TIME LIKE I DID! -- Posted 6/9/10
By David Lackey
My name is David Lackey. Like many guys, I lifted weights off and on for many years. I had limited success with many sticking points, but I always stuck with that training.
I first heard about Mike Mentzer’s HEAVY DUTY™ training about 10 years ago, but I misunderstood what it was really all about. I read Mike's last book, “High-Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way” back in 2003, and I started using the Ideal Routine from October of 2003 until about May of the same year. I gave up on it because I didn’t think it was working for me, and I went back to what I would call a “medium-volume” approach. I stayed kind of muscular but was always plagued by back aches and constant sore bodyparts. For some reason, I continued to go to Mike's web site and then I read Mike's last book. Even though I thought that I might be too old to do the HEAVY DUTY Ideal Routine, in late Jan 2009, I decided to go back to the Ideal Routine once again. This time I did it correctly according to Mike’s book. I even inserted more rest days shortly after restarting the routine.
Currently, I rest 6 days between workouts, and I find that I am only sore for a couple of days after working out. But he good news is that I am much stronger now and I am referred to as “Big Dave” by some people.
I went from doing a 315 lb. leg press to currently 550 lbs for 14 reps – a 235 pound strength gain in the Leg Presses!! I haven’t directly worked forearms in over a year, but the routine is so intense that it indirectly works them. At my age of 52 years, this is the best routine I’ve ever used, and my gains are proof that Mike was on target with the theory of doing only what you need to do in the gym, then get out and let your body heal. I plan on following Mike’s HEAVY DUTY™ 7 basic fundamental principles for the rest of my life.
I say to other weight lifters not on Mike’s program - stop wasting your time with worthless training methods that are out there and and get started on Mike Mentzer’s HEAVY DUTY high-intensity training program NOW!!. You will be amazed at how fit and strong you will become if you use HEAVY DUTY correctly.
-- David Lackey - Millington, Tenn
"SKINNY BONES" IS NOT MY NICKNAME NOW!!! -- Posted 6/9/10
By Darryl Williams
I was 175 lbs soaking wet, standing 6’4” and a senior in high school. Tired of being called “skin and bones”, “skinny”, and all the nicknames that go along with being tall and thin, I finally got to the point of deciding to lift weights, and the iron bug had me ever since. That being said, I gained over 100 lbs in 4 years. Not all muscle though. I tried every type of bodybuilding style imaginable to gain mass. After putting my body through hell, literally, I decided to take a week off and noticed something during this time that would change my life and destiny…..forever. I felt worn out and exhausted the entire week of rest. My job wasn’t that strenuous, I did not do anything physical really, so this baffled and bothered me.
I began researching and studying on my own about recovery, and I knew I was severely over training, but I still searched for something that could shed light on this topic. Also, I always seemed to be in search of - as I am sure all of you have - for the “Perfect” workout program. I found that no matter what program I tried, progress was short-lived and I’d have to change to the next new training program attempting to continue growing and building muscle.
It was during my searching that I found The Wisdom of Mike Mentzer book (co-authored with Joanne Sharkey and John Little) and it peaked my interest. Let me tell you my fellow Mentzerians, this book changed my life! I knew my search for that “Perfect” program had ended now that I found Mike Mentzer’s HEAVY DUTY program!
FINALLY, the “holy grail” I thought! Every word made complete sense. My friend, Bill, and I started using HEAVY DUTY and found success. So as not to make this testimonial too long, following is just a couple of the exercises with our gains, hoping it will inspire you:
Mine: Dumbbell Flyes 50 lbs X 6 reps
Bill’s: Leg Extensions 140 lbs X 10 reps
Superset w/ Leg Presses 200 lbs
AFTER - HEAVY DUTY
75 lbs X 10 reps (each hand) 4 workouts
Leg Extensions 200 lbs X 20 reps
Superset w/Leg Presses 425 lbs X 9 reps
in 1½ months!
Keep in mind that Bill was doing a Leg workout only once every four to seven days!
These are just some of the results have allowed me to reach new heights in not only my bodybuilding, but also in my entire life’s situations. I am currently 6’4” and 300 lbs. (Not Fat!).
To me, Mike was, and is, the Bruce Lee of bodybuilding. Both ridiculed for their beliefs, training styles, and philosophies, yet they have become legends and both men were far ahead of their times. Thanks to Mike Mentzer I no longer have to workout 5 to 6 days a week for an hour or more each session, and I know that with each workout I will continue to stimulate the growth mechanism, gain in strength, and ultimately if I take sufficient rest days to be fully recovered, I will continue to grow muscle mass. Learning from Mike Mentzer that giving enough rest days before my next work out is equally as important – if not more important for continued gains. As Mike said, “You have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.” By properly using HEAVY DUTY™ high-intensity training as Mike detailed for us, you can proceed as a logical intelligent human being and not just “sling weights” around as a mindless brute so to speak, and you can reach your genetic potential.
I am proud to train Heavy Duty style, and I give 150% each and every workout and will continue to advocate Mike's Training Techniques and Philosophy. (I also am becoming quite an Objectivist, thanks to Mike.)
"I had the torch held high and all the others continued to crawl backwards away from the light into the darkness” Mike Mentzer said decades back, but in many ways a large number of bodybuilders are still training in an age of darkness, yet Mentzer’s training is the “light” that shines brighter than ever. May we all carry on in our own way, his legend, his legacy, his teachings, his training, his torch and reach “Intellectual Certainty.”
Thank you Mike and Ray Mentzer and to Joanne Sharkey for all you have done, what you currently do, and what you will do in the future. Thank you so much for this wonderful honor and opportunity to post my tribute testimonial to Mikementzer.com.
-- Darryl Williams, Victoria, TX
Read A Celebration of Life by Joanne Sharkey
Read New Tribute Articles to Mike and Ray
Hear a Special Audio Interview of Top Bodybuilders Discussing Mike's Legacy
This audio is used with permission from Dan Solomon