Joanne Sharkey

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Paul Skinner, who has used Mike Mentzer's Heavy Duty™ training program and has followed Mike's bodybuilding career since the 1970's. Paul, like many Mentzer fans, felt a great void of reasoning when Mike retired as a competitive bodybuilder. He felt (as Mike had) that there was not enough rational scientific teaching regarding exercise science or nutrition.

Today, Paul Skinner has a Master of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, and is a Registered and State Licensed Dietician. Paul has taught as a graduate assistant and instructor in college and university settings, teaching "basic nutrition," "advanced nutrition," and "medical nutrition therapy." Paul has been published twice in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association and currently holds two office positions at the state and local level in dietetics. He has worked in community nutrition, clinical nutrition, and currently, renal dialysis nutrition. Paul has worked for over 12 years in the field of nutrition and has reviewed as many as 25 research studies regarding the one-set to failure training.

Paul Skinner's main focus is working with weight loss, weight management, sports nutrition, and heart disease. In addition to all of the above, Paul is now preparing himself for three bodybuilding competitions this Spring.

I am very pleased that Paul Skinner has agreed to be a regular staff writer for His credentials and years of experience in the field of nutrition are impressive, and I know you will find his writings informative and interesting.

The following article written by Paul Skinner serves as a three-fold purpose: a tribute to Mike; a testimonial of Heavy Duty™ training; and a book review of "High-Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way." You can look forward to Paul's upcoming nutritional article, which will be posted soon ( Articles Link).

Joanne Sharkey
Mentzer-Sharkey Enterprises, Inc.


Paul Skinner, MS RD LD

When I first read about Mike Mentzer, I was a sixteen year-old teenager with a little over two years of training under my belt. It was at this point, however, that I hit the usual sticking point. Not only was it a sticking point, but a rather slow sink into quick sand. I, like Mike, made some good progress in the beginning with working out three times a week for 30 minutes. In fact, I did no triceps work and that part of my anatomy along with my legs are my best body parts. At 15, I decided to increase my workout volume, and of course, my progress began to slow to a snail's pace. I bought a "crash gain weight" supplement, which resulted in a roll of fat around my hips. I simply gorged myself with as much food as I could get my hands on but made no meaningful muscle or strength gains.

At age 16, I discovered Mike Mentzer's column in "Muscle & Fitness" (then Muscle Builder) and found it to be a sensible approach. I did not have a strong background in anatomy and physiology or biochemistry for that matter, but I knew what I was doing was yielding no results, causing me plaguing fatigue, and most of all, no muscle gains! So I followed Mike's advice not out of logic but out of faith (what Mike would call the antithesis of reason) for I think most teenagers are concrete thinkers and not the conceptual beings that Mike speaks of when he refers to the species - man.

When I began high-intensity training 4-days a week (and later 4 days every ten days), my progress was very good. During the remainder of the semester of my senior year, my bench-press increased 60 pounds, and I could bench press about 325 at a solid weight of 165 (lean versus the love handle look six months earlier). In fact, I placed third in the teenage division of the Quad City Bodybuilding Championship in 1981. This was shortly after Mike placed 5th in the 1980 Mr. Olympia and stopped competing.

It was also at this time that I found out, through a muscle magazine photographer, that all bodybuilders take steroids and would publicly lie to protect their reputations. I discovered this to be very true, when I competed in a contest the following year against men, since I was no longer a teenager, and witnessed bodybuilders no larger than 165-170 pounds balloon up to 200 pounds of cut, ripped muscle. I realized that I could not compete, unless I was willing to play the game. My love affair with bodybuilding ended, and I began other pursuits.

It was because of Mike and bodybuilding that I became a registered dietitian and graduated with a M.S. degree. I would occasionally workout on and off, and then go months, even years, at a time without touching a weight. I had not heard anything from Mike Mentzer for some time, but then in 1998, I looked him up on the Internet, and behold, I discovered his web page. I started working out again and informed Mike by email that I only worked out once a week and did not work my arms, doing only one-set in order to save time in the gym. I was astonished when he personally responded and thanked me for the "kind email".

After reading High-Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way, I was impressed on how Mike, with John Little, expressed his thoughts in a well-ordered fashion that appealed to the mainstream trainee, as well as, those individuals hungry for the Mr. Olympia crown. Mike laid out his principles as a road map to actualize one's genetic potential and even explained techniques and tools to use for proper training motivation. Mike realized that the mind was the driving force in contracting the muscles to 100% muscular failure and thus stimulating the growth mechanism. As Mike had mentioned in his Heavy Duty books, "bodybuilders are confused". He left no stone unturned in his explanation of intensity, duration, and frequency, and after reading his final work, the trainee will find that Mike's logical approach to training engenders confidence and eliminates confusion. I highly recommend this book as a means of learning the laws of exercise science, cultivating peace of mind toward training, and developing a lean healthy muscular physique.

I would like to discuss in upcoming articles the basic fundamentals of nutrition, behavior modification, biological and psychosocial reinforcement for persons in order to remain on a weight loss, weight management, or muscle growth program. Consuming a balanced diet and developing a support system to eat properly and staying consistent is paramount.

--- Paul Skinner, MS RD LD

Read an article by Paul Skinner entitled: Carbohydrates: Not the Enemy - Part I, By Paul Skinner, MS, RD, LD

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