Written by Ron Kosloff.
What Will You Choose?
When endeavoring to gain bulk and size we naturally have to look at the two distinct roads to attain it.
The first road is steroids and the second road inevitably is to do it the natural way.
You as a bodybuilder and as a pursuer of bulk and size are going to have to make this decision. I personally hope that you make the right decision...naturally!
I’ve seen throughout my bodybuilding tenure and the ten years I owned Powerhouse Gym in Centerline, Michigan, that 15% of the bodybuilders were natural and the other 85% were not.
So let me talk about some of my observations in order to help you make up your mind.
By now, you should know the horrendous pitfalls of steroids compared to the natural way.
I don’t intend to elaborate too much, but just want to touch on what I see as the basics of steroid use both positive and negative. In most cases, once you are on the juice, you will never get off.
Let’s face it, as a fact they are progressively physically and psychologically addictive substances. It’s as if you are entering a drug den, once you are in there again, in most cases, you’ll never really escape their lure and appeal.
Of course, we know people have died using steroids. It’s an extremely easy way to attain bulk and size, but observe and embrace the law of physics that states, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Only then can we realize the negatives and pitfalls of steroid use.
Being unnatural, your testicles, within time, will atrophy. Sooner or later, they then die, and you will be forced to take synthetic steroids for the rest of your life. I’ve observed this repeatedly over the past decades.
We know that the negatives are also kidney failure, liver toxicity and so we are quite well aware of other multiple dangers! The addictive aspects and the aggression of the tremendously high unnatural hormone levels should frighten you. Steroids age your organs tremendously. In my ten years owning a Powerhouse, I’ve seen all the negatives of steroids that you wouldn’t believe. But everybody seems content to sell their soul to the devil for minimum/maximum gains and a short-lived bodybuilding career (although you might just win a fifty dollar trophy).
In using steroids there is no discipline. I’ve observed people training very minimally and yet attain a terrific physique just from the ingestion of steroids! However, as you and I have observed, one of the negatives is that you atrophy and shrink like a prune, once you abstain from them.
So this is the physical and mental aspect of steroid use. You don’t have to be ignorant to know that they are just not healthy. Some people, especially the young, seem to care little. There is an assumption of mine that there are exactly zero positives to steroids.
By the way, do you know why so many steroid users hated Vince? Because he called them f***ing phonies, that’s why!
The Natural Way
The other road you can travel down is the natural one.
As Hippocrates said, the natural way is the only way, there is no other way.
Vince Gironda and I have always said, your body, when built the natural way, can and will maintain this type of physique for the rest of your life. For example, I took the natural road and I look pretty good for my age. I probably only lost about 10%-15% compared to when I was at my best.
I very seldom train any longer to improve but simply to maintain my physique and health.
If you are familiar with me and my writings, it is extremely impossible and difficult for me to write anything concerning bodybuilding without including Vince Gironda into the mix. If you are not aware by now that he is the most creative mind bodybuilding has ever seen and will ever see again, do your research.
The master’s influence is stamped all over me and for good reason, not to just abide by blind faith. An analogy of his concepts is that Vince Gironda is like Nicholai Tesla to electricity, Henry Ford to mass production, and Albert Einstein to physics. Don’t expect me logically to advocate anyone else’s methods because in my lifetime I’ve tried them all and they failed miserably.
As I repeat, on my first encounter with Vince I spent six weeks at his gym and I gained 11 or 12 pounds using his 6-week bulk course and that made me a convert and a disciple. My opinion of Vince’s physique at the age of 43 is that he attained the best natural physique of anyone in the history of bodybuilding. His shape was phenomenal and his aesthetics and definition incredible. He reached the ultimate state of definition that no-one had ever attained. I had the occasion years later to see Vince with his shirt off at 60 years old and let me tell you right now, I’ve never seen anybody look that good at 60, he was just phenomenal.
Note: No one has ever accused him of ever using steroids. They know better!
Old-School Vs. Modern-Day Bodybuilders
Now I will agree with you that he was not genetically as blessed as his favorite bodybuilder, Steve Reeves. Seeing Steve Reeves when I was young impressed me too. I had never seen a physique at that time like his.
I believe I’ve told the story of meeting him at the old Yacko’s Gym in Detroit and I made the statement that he was the most beautiful man, if a man could be categorized as beautiful, that I had ever encountered in my lifetime.
He really wasn’t that big but he looked phenomenally huge because he possessed wide shoulders and a wasp waist. Like Vince has always said, “Who says something beautiful always has to be big?” It doesn’t.
Of course, there was Don Howorth, Dave Draper, and Bob Gayda who happen to be my three favorite bodybuilders. I speak with Don periodically and to me, his genetics were better than Steve Reeves; He also wasn’t really that big. He didn’t look like the freaks of today and he told me he retired from bodybuilding because he couldn’t take excess steroids as they did at that time because they would make him sick. So I am happy for that reason that he retired.
Vince’s vision of bodybuilding was shape, shape, shape, definition, and symmetry. If you compare Vince with Arnold who was admittedly a drug user, I don’t think Arnold is in that great of shape any longer. I have a picture on my wall of Arnold that the paparazzi took a couple of years ago and, if you want my honest opinion, I think he just looks horrible.
That brings to mind an old girlfriend of mine who I trained. She got into the best shape of her life with Vince’s methods and she would always kid me, “All you talk about is Vince, Vince, Vince...and now I love it”.
My Experiences In The Gym
Of course, being the owner of The Powerhouse Gym for as many years as I did, I’ve seen many so-called huge men, but when they removed their shirts or just had some posing trunks on, they had no shape, no definition but their muscles were big.
The ladies that worked out at the gym detested drug physiques, loved Vince’s, Steve Reeves’ and Don Howorth’s physique and there was really no contest when it came to what women liked best, something that looked natural and normal, not a gorilla freaky type physique.
When you have wide shoulders, big delts, and a small waist you automatically look twice as big and that’s the benefit of pursuing natural size. You can create one hell of an illusion, as Vince said, if you know what you are doing. That’s why when I train someone with small shoulders I work their lateral head, de-emphasize the traps, de-emphasize the squats (because squats make you look wider at the hips, push your stomach out, and of course make your rear end look like a woman’s).
Like Reeves, Vince, Howorth, Dave Draper, or Larry Scott, they all had small hips, small glutes, and small waists. Of course, Vince was the one that absolutely proved without a doubt that you can gain size without gaining a lot of weight. Most people are obsessed with gaining weight, regardless of what kind! Most people endeavor to gain 10 pounds and they are really not concerned with shape and definition, they just want to be 10 pounds heavier. They don’t look any better, whatsoever, just bigger.
Then of course if you abstain from ab work, you are going to be far better off creating the illusion of size.
I remember the third year I owned the gym, I trained a kid that had tremendous shoulders but possessed a large waist. Of course, he was rather fleshy from eating excess carbohydrates so I put him on my colon cleansing kit and he shrunk his stomach. Then I told him not to do any stomach work, sit-ups, leg raises, twists or side bends. He lost a tremendous amount, about 8 inches in his waist circumference. When he lost that 8 inches he looked 8 inches larger in his shoulders. This made him look extremely big, despite the fact he wasn’t that big.
Now, let’s get to natural bodybuilding to gain size and bulk...
Fact: Hard work in life is what eventually separates the real men from the boys.
Natural bodybuilding is extremely difficult, the discipline, the nutrition, the training, and the rest is monumental. But the fact is, as I stated before, with either steroids or nature, one of the laws of physics is that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
With steroids, they are all negative. But with the natural way, the opposite reaction is that you’ve achieved something that nobody can ever take away from you and will endure. You’ve built an impressive physique and proven that you can do it and did it. My God, the discipline and the character that natural bodybuilding creates is just the most wonderful achievement and feeling that you can ever attain. Anything that you earn in life is so monumentally rewarding that it’s almost euphoric.
Of course, steroid users never have that feeling because they are always looking for the easy way.
I always tell people, “When you train, make the exercise as difficult as you can, not as easy as you can, it’s like cheating on a test. Who are you cheating? Yourself!”
As you get older you will reap the benefits of natural bodybuilding because once you attain a natural physique it is just phenomenally easy to maintain. And that’s the attractive part of it.
Then, when you eat good foods and practice great nutritional principles, you are not only going to have a great physique you’re going to be healthy. Now let’s be serious here, isn’t that what we all want to possess, a great physique and to be healthy. What else is there to ask for in life?
The old adage is, a healthy man is a wealthy man!
Your self-respect is precious and so is the respect from other people that you did it naturally.
How To Train Properly For Size
I have kids and people come into my office all of the time and most are trying to do it the natural way. They state, I train, I train, I train and I eat and I eat and I eat and I never make any progress. So I ask them how many exercises they do per muscle, and they reply, four or five, as if they’ve achieved something meaningful! I say, “Well if you do more than one exercise per muscle, you are overtraining”.
I ask them, “How much weight can you lift in a dumbbell curl?” They say 40 or 50 pounds and I ask them if they think they could do eight reps with 20 pounds?
They respond, “Of course”.
Then when I prove to them that when they isolate the muscle and do it Vince’s way, they can’t do it.
If you can do eight sets of eight reps for any body part with 15 seconds rest in between each set, your cardiovascular will be stimulated and your muscle will be so pumped and fried that you won’t be able to do anything else.
But most people have never attained what Vince used to call “The Pump.” They don’t even know what “The Pump” is. It’s what you want to attain. That’s why you want to work out the Gironda way. The most amount of work in the least amount of time. So, you employ a four day schedule initially to start the gaining process.
German scientists demonstrated that any more exercise than roughly one half hour four times a week can and will be detrimental to your health. This is over training as your hormone levels will diminish and you’ll gain nothing.
The second question I ask my students is, “Do you belch, do you burp, do you fart, do you bloat, do you feel uncomfortable when you eat?” The most common reply is, “Oh, all the time!”. Well then, you are not digesting your food!
Vince always talked about, and was an advocate of proper food digestion. Because if you don’t digest your food, you will not build one ounce of muscle tissue. Your prospective and future muscle tissue will be flushed down the toilet.
Stronger Mind = Bigger Muscles
These principals take discipline and everybody is in a hurry. But if you are in a hurry, then you are going to suffer from zero gains.
The mental aspect of training is also a principal you are going to have to employ.
Vince was always fond of stating, “I can get in shape by just deciding to do so”.
Nobody, as far as I’m concerned, except 10%-15% of the people I observed at any gym have any idea what the mental aspect of body building is. That’s why Vince wrote the book, ‘Why Champions Muscles Look Different’.
He did so to prove that concentration and application of your mental prowess is just as much a key to success as nutrition and training.
The mind dictates what the body will do, not the reverse.
Of course, that’s the thing that American’s don’t process any longer, if you look closely and be an observer like Vince used to say, “They’ve lost that mental discipline.” Americans are extremely lazy. They desire everything the easy way. If you want to be natural and want things the easy way, I don’t think you’re going to be successful, I really don’t! I think you are just wasting your time and fooling yourself.
But, it’s easy to fool yourself mentally, that’s the easiest thing to do is lie to yourself but the end result is that your progress will be zero to none or none to zero. The most successful people that I’ve ever encountered in business, life or bodybuilding were the people that applied themselves mentally.
That toughness that they had, you could sense that nothing was going to interfere to stop them from reaching their goal and nothing will stop you from reaching your goal if you apply yourself mentally and use all of Vince’s techniques of nutrition and his training principles.
My Bulk Training Routine
As I stated earlier, I initially trained four days per week, doing six sets of six reps, or eight sets of eight reps with 15 seconds of rest between each set.
On Monday and Thursday work your biceps, triceps, delts, chest and back.
On Tuesday and Friday you do your forearms, calves, inner thigh, thigh and hamstrings.
Study Vince’s theories on abdominal work, which is never to do any abdominal work at all when you are trying to gain size. He proved, working the solar plexus will attack the nervous system, your hormone levels will drop and you will gain absolutely nothing (the solar plexus is the second brain).
When Vince announced that to the bodybuilding world, they really thought he was insane, but as usual Vince proved them wrong again.
If you digest your food, consume proteins and good fats and some vegetables, as Vince advocated, you will be a success.
Overtraining is absolutely the most horrendous thing you can do. I told everybody I have ever trained, “Listen, if you do everything I tell you to do I will make you look 90% better doing 90% less work in 90 days”.
The ones that applied themselves were the ones that were successful. They’d always say to me, “You were absolutely right!”
Over-enthusiasm always enters the picture, it just seems to engulf you. You think, if some is good, then more must be better, which is the great American pitfall. Then all of the sudden you slap yourself in the face and say, “Vince was right again”.
The key is to do less, but with intensity.
Then we all, as Vince stated, come to the point where even when you use his methods, you will be overtraining to some degree.
That’s why he advocated, and I follow to the tee to this day, the three weeks on and one week off, especially as you get older, because your body understands the importance of rest.
I always give an example to people who have dogs in reference to overtraining. If you have a dog, when was the last time your dog wanted to go out and run five miles a day? When I lived at home, my dog Toby loved to chase a stick and retrieve it but only for about fifteen minutes. After that, that was it. He wanted to drink a little water, get a little food and lie down and rest.
Again, I happen to think that animals are smarter than people. So don’t practice, ‘If some is good, more must be better’, or you will fail.
Six Week Bulk Course
Now, I’m going to recommend to you the absolute most phenomenal bulk up routine that bodybuilding has ever seen that Vince called his ‘Six Week Bulk Course’.
Believe me it works, if you can apply yourself, if you have enough discipline, both physical and mental, it is hands down the most brilliant bulk course and size gainer ever.
The course is simply six weeks of training, force feeding of nutrition up to 36 eggs a day, digested of course, which puts your body into positive nitrogen balance and plenty of rest.
Your body is only capable of enduring this for six weeks, no more, so you must prepare yourself mentally with ultimate discipline. It’s difficult but the rewards will be phenomenal.
You’re going to train each muscle individually, and will be doing four different exercises for each muscle, 12 reps each, resting 15 seconds in between each set.
You’ll train your upper body one day and your lower body the next, and continue this for six full weeks! Some people can tolerate it and some people can’t. I tell them if they can’t handle it then take one day a week off, like Sunday and totally rest that day. Do nothing but watch television, read, maybe sleep all day if you can, but rest!
This is going to be a progressive regimen of training, eating, sleeping, nutrition and that’s about it. You are going to eat, breathe and live bodybuilding for six weeks.
But oh boy, will you be satisfied and gratified with what you will achieve. To the thousands of people who have done it, the results are priceless. You can employ this routine one to three times per year if you desire.
Remember to mentally prepare yourself and inform your wife or girlfriend of your plans, then proceed!
Before You Get Started...
Before you get started on the Six Week Bulk Course, there's a couple of things you can do to prepare your body, which can help you attain maximum results from the program.
Vince stressed the importance of the thyroid gland and colon health. When I do personal training or nutritional consulting, I always muscle test the thyroid to see if it is healthy or not. In most cases the thyroid function is low. In the USA thyroid problems are so common, I made a natural iodine supplement for thyroid health.
I recommend (as Vince did) to my clients that they clean their colon.
Again, as with the thyroid, most U.S. citizens have unhealthy colons due to over processed and refined foods.
When I put people on a weight loss program and I deal with their thyroid and they use the Ab-Trim Kit, I tell them, you are going to have to prepare yourself mentally that you will not be eating for five days but my Ab-Trim Kit is not a starvation fast because you are using amino acids and vitamins, mineral tablets and drinking juices all day long. So it is not a starvation fast.
As a matter of a fact on the second day people tell me, I’m not even hungry. I tell them yes, you have no idea how little food you can get along on. I know I’m only talking to 15% of the bodybuilding fraternity that wants to do it naturally, but if you use the Six Week Bulk Program and using steroids your gains would be phenomenal and more than you ever dreamed of.
I make (NSP) a colon cleanse product called the Ab-Trim 5 day colon cleansing kit. It’s not uncommon to see a five to ten pound weight loss and two to eight inch reduction in the circumference of your waist from cleansing the colon.
But the fact is that as I stated, the negative side of steroids is physical and mental addiction.
Usually I’ve seen that once people are on them they can really never get off. So let me reiterate, you do your upper body on Monday, do you lower body on Tuesday, do you upper body on Wednesday, lower body on Thursday and lower body on Friday and lower body on Saturday.
If you want to continue into Sunday and then continue for six weeks you can.
I wasn’t that strong, it took its toll on me so I had to take one day off during the week as sort of a rejuvenator, but if you can go straight through, if you have to take a pit stop for that one day, I’m certain it’s not going to hurt you.
Again, let me tell you how absolutely devastating overtraining can be to the human body. I’ve seen people overtraining all my life and these people never, never gain anything. They felt that they were going to wake up one morning and all of a sudden right in front of the mirror is going to be Mr. America.
As Vince said, if you don’t make any progress in two to three months, you are doing something wrong.
Thanks for reading,