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Old Bb's vs. New
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bobbyandtara

Florida, USA

I hear alot of talk about the differences between todays and yesterdays physiques. Todays bodybuilders are definitely bigger and in some cases more grotesque. They also make it very difficult for alot of future bb champs to go forward because of the almost unattainable levels that one would need to reach. However....

The old physiques while very admirable, were totally attainable. Todays bb's have turned into more like cartoon characters, but it is a natural progression when there are more training routines, more supplements, more diet information,... and of course more drugs.

I do feel that the bodybuilders of today are much more dedicated and disciplined. It takes more than drugs to reach such levels. Who really wants to go to a bb show where the biggest guy weighs 215lbs. and has a physique that I could attain in just a few short years or less.

Yes John Grimek and Steeve Reeves were great but would they turn a head now? NO. Bodybuilding in order to be a major sport needs the larger than life heroes. Would you as a kid read a Superman comic book if he was in pretty good shape. Of course not, we love the fact that he is big, strong, and ripped.

If bb stayed the same as it was 40-50 years ago, I don't think anyone could be a pro bb and pay his/her bills.
Let's keep things in perspective!!!!
Ronnie Coleman is a freak but he turns heads when he walks down the streets. Steeve Reeves, just a guy in great shape. Think about it.

Maybe Superman can compete in the Mr.O.
Just ask Casey Viator and some of the bb's from the 70's and 80's what they think about todays bb's. For the most part they love em'.
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Rich Fitter

New Jersey, USA

When the discussion of bodybuilders comes up most of the names mentioned today are IFBB Pros compared to the NABBA Pros of the past 5 or 6 decades. I think some of the natural pros today should be considered a more fair comparison to the bodybuilders of the 40s-60s. The mass and conditioning of the top naturals today is impressive. Guys like Rodney Hellaire and Jim Cordova compare favorably with bodybuilders of any era.
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logicbdj

Ontario, CAN

I have talked to Viator, Oliva, Zane and others about this, and for the most part they do not love 'em. The more drugs you take, the more you lose your individuality (unique shapes and overall appearance). Bodybuilders of yester-year all had uniqueness about their physiques, and this mostly is gone.
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Rich Fitter

New Jersey, USA

I agree about yesteryear. Some of the pictures of Scott, Howorth and Ortiz at Vince's are classic. You could add Chet Yorton in there too.
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M Lipowski

New York, USA

Rich Fitter wrote:
When the discussion of bodybuilders comes up most of the names mentioned today are IFBB Pros compared to the NABBA Pros of the past 5 or 6 decades. I think some of the natural pros today should be considered a more fair comparison to the bodybuilders of the 40s-60s. The mass and conditioning of the top naturals today is impressive. Guys like Rodney Hellaire and Jim Cordova compare favorably with bodybuilders of any era.


Well I'm certainly with you 100% on this one. Also folks, Rich can add his own name to the list of Natural Pro's that are compareable to the bodybuilders of old. He can certainly hold his own and then some.

Rodney Helaire is an absolute freak as is Bill Tennesen, Rob Hope, and of course Dave Goodin. Jon Harris is a personal favorite of mine...I love seeing those "smaller" guys who can take down the giants.

I would venture to say that the physiques of many of the top naturals today exceed those bodybuilders of the 50's,60's, and even the early 70's when steroids were prevalent (obviously not to the degree they are today but they were being widely used).


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Rich Fitter

New Jersey, USA

M Lipowski wrote:
Rich Fitter wrote:
When the discussion of bodybuilders comes up most of the names mentioned today are IFBB Pros compared to the NABBA Pros of the past 5 or 6 decades. I think some of the natural pros today should be considered a more fair comparison to the bodybuilders of the 40s-60s. The mass and conditioning of the top naturals today is impressive. Guys like Rodney Hellaire and Jim Cordova compare favorably with bodybuilders of any era.

Well I'm certainly with you 100% on this one. Also folks, Rich can add his own name to the list of Natural Pro's that are compareable to the bodybuilders of old. He can certainly hold his own and then some.

Rodney Helaire is an absolute freak as is Bill Tennesen, Rob Hope, and of course Dave Goodin. Jon Harris is a personal favorite of mine...I love seeing those "smaller" guys who can take down the giants.

I would venture to say that the physiques of many of the top naturals today exceed those bodybuilders of the 50's,60's, and even the early 70's when steroids were prevalent (obviously not to the degree they are today but they were being widely used).




Wow....Thanks Mike. I had the pleasure of being backstage pumping up next to Jon Harris at last years Worlds. Great guy! Humble, polite and will offer advice to anyone who asks.

Great combination of size, shape and proportion. A classic physique. Ben's a monster and a really nice guy also. Both of those guys on stage at the same time would be a modern day Park/ Reeves comparison.
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Robert Francis

New York, USA

logicbdj wrote:
The more drugs you take, the more you lose your individuality (unique shapes and overall appearance). Bodybuilders of yester-year all had uniqueness about their physiques, and this mostly is gone.


Brian's really got a gift for understatement. All these steroid bodybuilders today have the exact same physique. Either that or they are photoshopped into the same body. Black, white and otherwise they all look so alike I wonder what the appeal of those ridiculous magazines could be. Zane's physique circa 1968-70 was fantastic and so was Larry Scott.

But there were some really admirable different builds in those days. Chuck Sipes, the Blond Bomber and a guy called Charles Fautz who fronted alot of Weiders ads. All had great development, however each had a different BUILD.

If you ever get a chance to see some old vintage stuff, the posedown between Freddie Ortiz and Harold Poole for the 1968 Mr. Universe generated some mind blowing photos and Arnold was not on the scene yet.

zand....

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Rich Fitter

New Jersey, USA

zanderinst wrote:
logicbdj wrote:
The more drugs you take, the more you lose your individuality (unique shapes and overall appearance). Bodybuilders of yester-year all had uniqueness about their physiques, and this mostly is gone.

Brian's really got a gift for understatement. All these steroid bodybuilders today have the exact same physique. Either that or they are photoshopped into the same body. Black, white and otherwise they all look so alike I wonder what the appeal of those ridiculous magazines could be. Zane's physique circa 1968-70 was fantastic and so was Larry Scott.

But there were some really admirable different builds in those days. Chuck Sipes, the Blond Bomber and a guy called Charles Fautz who fronted alot of Weiders ads. All had great development, however each had a different BUILD.

If you ever get a chance to see some old vintage stuff, the posedown between Freddie Ortiz and Harold Poole for the 1968 Mr. Universe generated some mind blowing photos and Arnold was not on the scene yet.

zand....

I love the shot of Ortiz and Scott outside of Vince's. Great arms on both. And Poole's crab shot was ahead of it's time.

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JimBryan

Florida, USA

My feeling is that Steve Reeves or John Grimek would turn heads in any era. They both had Classic Physiques. The bigger bloated look of today just doesn't look good or healthy.

Back in the 60's and 70's when Ell and I were doing the BB Contests there were individual physiques and I don't remember anyone looking the same. We were all after the small waist and some really did it.

Sure drugs were involved then but I don't remember anyone barely able to make to the stage because they were so poorly conditioned. I don't follow BB anymore. I can't see shortening your life for a trophy.
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jack32

jim,
couldn't agree more w/ your comments.
also, to say a reeves, grimek, clancy ross, jack delineger, gironda, etc.. wouldn't turn heads is ridiculous.
B & W photos of these guys certainly don't do justice to their physiques.
the shock value of today's "gargoyles" just don't excite me.

also, a guy like gironda, for instance, had to have an incredible attention to detail and dedication to his training and nutrition, as he DID IT NATURALLY.
jack
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Crotalus

also, a guy like gironda, for instance, had to have an incredible attention to detail and dedication to his training and nutrition, as he DID IT NATURALLY.
jack


---------

I liked Gironda too but I think his diets and insane amount of supplements he advised was nuts. At one time I didn't - I did his 18 eggs a day, 50 liver tabs and heavy cream drinks and feel like a fool to this day about it.

18 fuckin' eggs a day and those huge jugs of liver tablets me and my buddy used to split, LOL ... I don't believe I did all that ....

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medici

Spain

JimBryan wrote:
My feeling is that Steve Reeves or John Grimek would turn heads in any era. They both had Classic Physiques. The bigger bloated look of today just doesn't look good or healthy.


Ironman Magazine conducted a reader poll a year or two ago, each reader voting on their all time favorite bodybuilder. 26% voted for Frank Zane, 25% for Steve Reeves; the remain 49% was divided among ten or more persons none of whom received as much as ten percent. That says 51% preferred the classic look, certainly turning both heads as well as reader imaginations for what they deem physical perfection.

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medici

Spain

M Lipowski wrote:

Rodney Helaire is an absolute freak as is Bill Tennesen, Rob Hope, and of course Dave Goodin. Jon Harris is a personal favorite of mine...I love seeing those "smaller" guys who can take down the giants.

I would venture to say that the physiques of many of the top naturals today exceed those bodybuilders of the 50's,60's, and even the early 70's when steroids were prevalent (obviously not to the degree they are today but they were being widely used).


Dave is incredible, although you can pass him on the street without notice of his physique unless he's wearing a t-shirt or tank top; in Hyde Park Gym, it's a different deal - he stands out. In tip top shape he's less than 175 lbs at about 5'7" or so tall. For more information on Dave see my article in last September's Ironman Magazine, the one that got him banned by Steve Downs due to the organization's policies of literary censorship and monopoly.

Having been to the past two year's Texas Shredder pro/am natural contest along with reading the natural bodybuilding magazine, I'd have to express less than certainity that today's naturals surpass those of the Golden Era. Past 1962 or so it's anybody's guess who was natural versus who was lying, while before 1960 we have pretty great certainity of drug free status. Before 1960 protein meant gas inducing soy products unfit for human consumption, so the nutritional angle differs from today. Nevertheless, there were some amazing physiques in that era, a good number of them Mr Americas (AAU, not Weedy) and Mr Universes (NABBA, not Weedy). (Harry Paschal, a York writer and originator of the strongman Bosco cartoons used to call Weider by the name "Weedy").

My comparisons come from having attended many AAU bodybuilding, powerlifting, and Olympic contests in the early 60s as well as some natural, drug-free competitions of late. In the drug free camp most prize winners I've seen would have possibly placed in contests back then, but hardly taken titles. And that was on a local level in the San Francisco Bay area or on a California state wide basis.

My training partner in the early 60s was a guy named Bob Kemper. Bob created the last heavyweight (242 lb class) Pan Am record in the press in 1971 with 418, doubtless on roids by then. But up to 21 or so he was drug free with arms in excess of 19 inches, winning or placing in physique contests along with winning lifting trophies. Placing with paper thin skin, immense size, all natural - so you can imagine how much more awesome the winners must have been. I've not seen the 50s/60s caliber yet in the natural camp. That's not to decry the natural approach so much as to wonder if those with greater genetic potential and ability to train confidently with great intensity don't migrate to pharmaceutical bodybuilding. I can't answer that so I'm throwing it out as a question for speculation and your views.
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catalyst

bobbyandtara wrote:
I hear alot of talk about the differences between todays and yesterdays physiques. Todays bodybuilders are definitely bigger and in some cases more grotesque. They also make it very difficult for alot of future bb champs to go forward because of the almost unattainable levels that one would need to reach. However....

The old physiques while very admirable, were totally attainable. Todays bb's have turned into more like cartoon characters, but it is a natural progression when there are more training routines, more supplements, more diet information,... and of course more drugs.

I do feel that the bodybuilders of today are much more dedicated and disciplined. It takes more than drugs to reach such levels. Who really wants to go to a bb show where the biggest guy weighs 215lbs. and has a physique that I could attain in just a few short years or less.

Yes John Grimek and Steeve Reeves were great but would they turn a head now? NO. Bodybuilding in order to be a major sport needs the larger than life heroes. Would you as a kid read a Superman comic book if he was in pretty good shape. Of course not, we love the fact that he is big, strong, and ripped.

If bb stayed the same as it was 40-50 years ago, I don't think anyone could be a pro bb and pay his/her bills.

Let's keep things in perspective!!!!
Ronnie Coleman is a freak but he turns heads when he walks down the streets. Steeve Reeves, just a guy in great shape. Think about it.

Maybe Superman can compete in the Mr.O.
Just ask Casey Viator and some of the bb's from the 70's and 80's what they think about todays bb's. For the most part they love em'.


The reason that Dr. D and others who visit his site enjoy the physiques of old is because they look GOOD. Which would you rather look like? This question is highly individual, but I'm more after looking aesthetically pleasing to the eye, rather than just a big bloated mass monster.

There are plenty of guys doing well in BBing who have great physiques and do not look like Ronnie or Jay.

This is a highly individual thing, but I do not believe that the future of bodybuilding should consist of using Ronnie as an archtypal.

Just my two cents.
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Acerimmer1

Rather than bring back weight classes I think their should be 2 different titles at the prenier Physique competition which I guess is the Olympia one for shape and another for Muscularity, rather like there used to be under and over 200lbs.

Then they can face off for the overall title which should be decided via an internet vote. Since there is no right or wrong opinion the prevailing opinion should make the choice between apples and oranges.

Personally I think both physique types have merits though I think that I would not want a destended stomach, a big giant Coleman sized butt or bitch tits no matter what.
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Zenontheterrible

I have one rule for the new body builders.

Upon winning anything they will then be tested for every drug known to man.
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Crotalus

Zenontheterrible wrote:
I have one rule for the new body builders.

Upon winning anything they will then be tested for every drug known to man.


----

Yeah ... and then what ?

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Rich Fitter

New Jersey, USA

kayo wrote:
M Lipowski wrote:

Rodney Helaire is an absolute freak as is Bill Tennesen, Rob Hope, and of course Dave Goodin. Jon Harris is a personal favorite of mine...I love seeing those "smaller" guys who can take down the giants.

I would venture to say that the physiques of many of the top naturals today exceed those bodybuilders of the 50's,60's, and even the early 70's when steroids were prevalent (obviously not to the degree they are today but they were being widely used).

Dave is incredible, although you can pass him on the street without notice of his physique unless he's wearing a t-shirt or tank top; in Hyde Park Gym, it's a different deal - he stands out. In tip top shape he's less than 175 lbs at about 5'7" or so tall. For more information on Dave see my article in last September's Ironman Magazine, the one that got him banned by Steve Downs due to the organization's policies of literary censorship and monopoly.

Having been to the past two year's Texas Shredder pro/am natural contest along with reading the natural bodybuilding magazine, I'd have to express less than certainity that today's naturals surpass those of the Golden Era. Past 1962 or so it's anybody's guess who was natural versus who was lying, while before 1960 we have pretty great certainity of drug free status. Before 1960 protein meant gas inducing soy products unfit for human consumption, so the nutritional angle differs from today. Nevertheless, there were some amazing physiques in that era, a good number of them Mr Americas (AAU, not Weedy) and Mr Universes (NABBA, not Weedy). (Harry Paschal, a York writer and originator of the strongman Bosco cartoons used to call Weider by the name "Weedy").

My comparisons come from having attended many AAU bodybuilding, powerlifting, and Olympic contests in the early 60s as well as some natural, drug-free competitions of late. In the drug free camp most prize winners I've seen would have possibly placed in contests back then, but hardly taken titles. And that was on a local level in the San Francisco Bay area or on a California state wide basis.

My training partner in the early 60s was a guy named Bob Kemper. Bob created the last heavyweight (242 lb class) Pan Am record in the press in 1971 with 418, doubtless on roids by then. But up to 21 or so he was drug free with arms in excess of 19 inches, winning or placing in physique contests along with winning lifting trophies. Placing with paper thin skin, immense size, all natural - so you can imagine how much more awesome the winners must have been. I've not seen the 50s/60s caliber yet in the natural camp. That's not to decry the natural approach so much as to wonder if those with greater genetic potential and ability to train confidently with great intensity don't migrate to pharmaceutical bodybuilding. I can't answer that so I'm throwing it out as a question for speculation and your views.


First off, I respect your opinions and wealth of the sport's history. I find your posts informative and enlightening. The article you did on Dave Goodin was well written and positive. I do take exception to the ntionnot only with this post but on other sites as well that Steve Downs was responsible for Dave's suspension and the WNBF policies being too restrictive.

I like and respect Dave as a person and competitor and his legacy in bodybuilding is secure. However Dave, having made more money in the WNBF than anyone knew the rules. Those rules do not allow him to appear in other media without permission. The organization has these guidelines in place to ensure the athletes are not portrayed among non natural bodybuilders.

Steve Downs has done a tremendous amount of positive work in natural bodybuilding and he doesnt deserve the criticism he recieved from the Goodin situation. Had he not enforced the rules he would have been accused of playing favorites as Dave was a very popular athlete.

Whether someone agrees with the WNBF rules or not, Dave Goodin knowingly broke them. And as the all time money winner, he followed them as long as it worked for him, when he decided to accept another offer those rules no longer were to hi liking and he made the decision to go elsewhere. He knew the consequences and made his choice.

No disrespect to you or Dave, I wish him well and I enjoy your writing.
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marcrph

Portugal

With the exceptions of Reeves, Grimek, and Gironda, all the other BB's mentioned most likely used steriods.

Respectfully,

Marc
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HSDAD

I think after the '70s, things went a little crazy in body-building. Back in the old days, the bodybuilders looked great in and out of competition. They were thickly muscled guys and it doesn't appear as though their body fat was less than 5 to 8 % even for competitions.

Old shots of Grimek, Ross and Reeves show only hints at cuts and striations. I don't say that as a criticism. On the contrary, I far prefer that. Even up to Casey Viator's early '70s heyday, unless the pictures are deceiving, he wasn't nearly as cut as guys are today.

I think Mentzer might be the last (and in my opinion, greatest overall) classic physique. I don't say that as a raving Mentzerite. I think his ideas on training were bunk and am suspicious of anyone who doesn't realize that Rand was a loony. But his short torso, long legs, narrow waist and top to bottom combination of thickness and symetry would be tough to beat in any era.

Looking at Ronnie Coleman or Jay cutler, these guys look huge in competition, but they are even bigger out of competition. Their level of muscular bulk is so great, that even 6% bodyfat has them looking like the Michelin tire guy. They look bloated and ridiculous out of competition. They only look good for short periods surrounding competitions. Other than that, they look ungainly and ridiculous.

I looked at some of the natural bodybuilders mentioned earlier in this post, and personally I think they look awful. They combine the size of the "classics" along with a grotesque level of "conditioning" (a misnomer if ever I heard one). They look gaunt, unhealthy and skinny. To a man, they appeared to me as though they could stand to put on some weight. Not muscle, but fat. What looks good @ 5'8" and 240lb., looks gaunt and kind of silly @ 5'8" and 175.

Regardless of what the judges demand in the way of "conditioning" (a synonym for dehydration and a dangerously low % of bodyfat that compromises the immune system and stops menstruation in women) to this layman, 5 - 10 % bodyfat on a normally muscular man is much more aesthetically pleasing.
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Grizzlyjay

Looking at pictures of the old (and better) bodybuilders i'd say that the current generation could never compete with them.Grimek and Reeves are timeless. i'd say they had the best physiques (in my opinion)and both were different. none of the bodybuilders today could even touch either of them. the old bodybuilders were all about hard training, pride, respect. but with current bodybuilders its all about what drugs and supplements they take in.

Jason
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Zenontheterrible

Crotalus wrote:
Zenontheterrible wrote:
I have one rule for the new body builders.

Upon winning anything they will then be tested for every drug known to man.

----

Yeah ... and then what ?



same as the olympics... pass or disqualify.
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Zenontheterrible

marcrph wrote:
With the exceptions of Reeves, Grimek, and Gironda, all the other BB's mentioned most likely used steriods.

Respectfully,

Marc


yes i agree.
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medici

Spain

marcrph wrote:
With the exceptions of Reeves, Grimek, and Gironda, all the other BB's mentioned most likely used steriods.

Respectfully,

Marc


Finding the dividing line for steroid use isn't all that difficult, while determing who was and who wasn't using in the earlier sixties is a big difficult.

Muscletown USA tells the whole story in detail, of Dr John Zeigler convincing Bob Hoffman that to be on an even playing field with Soviet Olympic lifters meant starting to use the kind of testosterone the Soviets had in the mid 1950s. By around 1960 York has its roids.

But instead of telling the truth, Hoffman alledged that isometrics accounted for the sudden strength surges and record breaking - isometrics done either in an isometric rack or a power rack. The first commercial power rack came about from York then.

Word travelled fast. By 62 Northern California was abuzz with news of roids. And they were legal since there were neither AAU rules against them nor were they controlled substances. Many resisted using them.

The transformation in physique development at that time - added bulk and the smooth somewhat bloated look spells steroids. Dianobol was mean stuff - short term use could run havoc with livers.

It was rumored that Larry Scott's sudden departure from bodybuilding, alledged in those days to be due to jaundice, was dianobol related - a side effect of dianobol was jaundice anyway. Big Pat Casey's high blood pressure forcing retirement? Sounds like D-ball again.

All in all, I didn't see the quantum leap in development. Instead we witnessed persons of lesser potential somewhat catching up with those of tremendous potential. The Golden Age rules!
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M Lipowski

New York, USA

HSDAD wrote:

I looked at some of the natural bodybuilders mentioned earlier in this post, and personally I think they look awful. They combine the size of the "classics" along with a grotesque level of "conditioning" (a misnomer if ever I heard one). They look gaunt, unhealthy and skinny. To a man, they appeared to me as though they could stand to put on some weight. Not muscle, but fat. What looks good @ 5'8" and 240lb., looks gaunt and kind of silly @ 5'8" and 175.



I realize that we all have our own opinion of what looks good and bodybuilding is easily the most subjective sport there is.

However I'd have to say that these comments are COMPLETELY off. First, if you've ever met any of these men in person I doubt you would venture to call them "skinny" unless you yourself are 6 feet 320 lbs. Since when is anyone who is in the range of 3-5% BF standing 5'8" @ 175 "skinny, gaunt, or silly"? That's purely ridiculous.

Also a person who is 5'8" @ 240 is fat! Not "in shape" or "fit" but F-A-T. I know someone who is 240 and around 6'2", and in no way would anyone envy his appearance, especially someone who appreciate bodybuilding or fitness.




Regardless of what the judges demand in the way of "conditioning" (a synonym for dehydration and a dangerously low % of bodyfat that compromises the immune system and stops menstruation in women) to this layman, 5 - 10 % bodyfat on a normally muscular man is much more aesthetically pleasing.


Anyone 'in the know' knows conditioning is NOT a synonym for dehydration. In fact it's the exact opposite...superhydration, ala Dr. Darden. I'll put down money that none of those natural competitors dehydrated themselves to achieve that conditioning.

Does maintaining a very low BF% for long periods of time compromise the immune system? Yes, but so does being overweight. The difference between the natural competitor and that guy you think looks good (you know...the one who's 5'8" and 240 lbs) is that the competitor is only in that condition for a very short period of time while the other one lives that way every day.

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