Have your upper body workouts become a bit mundane? Have you been doing the same, tired chest and arms workout routine day in and day out only to experience stagnating results after a matter of a few months or even weeks? If so, we’ve got something special for you.
In the following workout routine, we’re going to blast your chest and arms with a variety of high-intensity training protocols. You’ll notice that the rest periods are aggressive and short, and the volume is ultra high. If your upper body has been lagging and you’re looking for a challenge, this is the chest and arms workout to leave you in a pile on the floor.
Not everyone is going to be able to finish, and be warned that if you do, you may need help brushing your teeth later that night. Keep the rest periods honest with the timer on your phone or a stop watch. It will also help to have a good workout partner to help spot when you’re nearing the end of a set. As fatigue sets in, you’ll want to focus on form to keep the right muscles engaged and stay safe.
1. Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 sets / 15 reps
Superset with Push-ups: 3 sets / 20 reps / 90 sec. rest
2. Heavy Weighted Dip:* 3-4 sets / 8-12 reps
Superset with Incline Dumbbell Flye: 3-4 sets / 12 reps / 90 sec. rest
3. Cable Crossover Ladder: 5** sets / 8-20**reps
4. Cable Pressdown: 120***
*If you don’t have a weight belt for dips, hold a dumbbell between your feet.
**Rep counts for the five sets are as follows: 8, 10, 12, 14, 20; start heavy and drop the weight 10 pounds on each side on every set.
***Do 120 reps in the fewest number of sets possible. Pick a weight that you can initially do for 20 reps, but no more, and rep out, resting when necessary, until you reach 120 reps. Focus on squeezing each repetition at lockout and controlling the weight on the way down each time.
Jim Smith is a highly respected, world-renowned strength and conditioning coach. A member of the LIVESTRONG.com Fitness Advisory Board, Jim has been called one of the most “innovative strength coaches” in the fitness industry. Training athletes, fitness enthusiasts and weekend warriors, Jim has dedicated himself to helping them reach “beyond their potential.” He is also the owner of Diesel Strength & Conditioning in Elmira, NY.
In March, as the coronavirus sent all of us into quarantine, Sara and her husband’s business was hit hard. As everything came to a standstill Sara was faced with the same mounting stress that many of us felt at the time.
Eating is a way many of us cope with stress; especially while much of the country was shut down. “When quarantine started, where I live in Maine pretty much shut down and I couldn’t go to work because we had no business. And that’s right when your challenge started.”
I said I can either be miserable during quarantine and stay home and eat my sorrows away or I can get my butt moving, take on this challenge and feel better at the end of it.
Sara set a goal to lose 50 pounds as she entered the Trifecta 90 Day Challenge. She signed up Trifecta Paleo meal plan and began tracking her macros.” Portion control is a big one. You don’t realize until you’re shown. When I started getting the meals I was surprised they were so filling. But just seeing what an actual portion is is important.”
Sara had never tried tracking macros before; she had tried different dieting programs, but had never tracked her progress for 90 days straight. Making the decision to track “even when it hurts” was what Sara felt made the difference for her. Having the visual of her progress at the end of everyday made it easier to keep moving towards her goal.
“During the 90 Day Challenge, I lost over 30 pounds and reshaped my body composition. I won the challenge for my discipline, sharing my journey online and my incredible transformation. But my greatest victory is noticed closer to home. My husband, he’s so proud of me, he could scream and he just said, ‘You know, it’s just been so cool to watch you because you’re just so much more positive.’”
As we all go into this new year, Sara’s journey shows that you are only 90 days away from being in the best health of your life. The Trifecta Challenge begins on January 11. If you are ready to make the shift and make this year Your Year join the community and take on the challenge!
Micronutrients play important roles in supporting your performance. They can directly affect your energy levels for output, muscle recovery and maintenance, and potentially reduce your risk of illness or injury (1). While all nutrients are important, here are the top micro you should be paying attention to when it comes to fitness:
Let’s face it when it comes down to the reality of what it actually takes to make that body, most people feel overwhelmed when they realize that just eliminating sugar and tagging on an extra cardio session won’t cut it if you want that eye-catching figure. Luckily, even the most seasoned fitness pros know that adding a little ammo to your arsenal can elevate your look to the next level. Insert the fat burner, your not-so-secret weapon to helping your body achieve that truly hard body appearance when it seems diet and exercise are falling short.
Staying ahead of the game is key if you want that “to die for look…”, insert the Top 10, the best of the best diet support supplements when it comes to reducing fat, loosing weight and starting your summer shred. That is why it is our pleasure to present to you The Top 10 Fat Buners for 2021.
5 years straight at No. 1, according to customers Alpha Lean-7 delivers. Reviews and repurchases for this potent fat burner keep pouring in. Feedback shows that Alpha Lean-7 is the best all-around fat burner with its thermogenic effects, appetite suppression and extreme energy. Alpha Lean-7 has made a big impact by providing strong results that have reshaped users bodies and the industry as a whole.
The Muscle Sculptor holds strong again at the #2 spot, providing its users a 2-in-1 supplement that is both a potent fat burner and fully dosed natural anabolic. Users report hardened muscle mass as well as a reduction in body fat. A solid combination with increases in energy, muscle and metabolism puts The Muscle Sculptor on top of many customers’ list.
Fit Throid takes the 3rd position by providing a stim free way to increase your metabolism, curb your appetite, and activate thermogenesis. It does this due to its formula, which mimics the thyroid hormone. Many customers use this standalone and some stack it with other stimulated fat burners to take their results to the next level.
Cort-Combat helps to reduce the stress hormone Cortisol which causes increased fat storage and muscle loss when left unchecked. For those who are dieting and training intensely but still not getting the results they want, Corti Combat may be the missing ingredient to your fat loss goal. User feedback and repurchases show that its users are enjoying its benefits.
Exotherm provides fat burning and estrogen reduction transdermally. In fact its the only transdermal fat burner in the Top 10. Due to estrogenic effects, it’s suggested only men use this product. User feedback has been strong and many have reported improved workout performance, water shedding and fat loss.
Lean Xtreme has been a consistent customer go to for years now and it is highly effective at stimulant free fat burning. Many have reported that it performs especially well when it comes to stubborn belly fat. Repurchases and product loyalty are up year over year for the #6 position holder.
Assass1nate is a stim free fat burner that contains a potent weight loss formula. Assass1nate helps to reduce appetite, prevent the storage of new body fat, and stimulates your metabolism. It also doubles as a glucose disposal agent, which helps to utilize the food you eat instead of storing it as fat. Repurchases are up and people are happy with its results.
New to the Top 10 is Kanna Rush by Psycho Pharma, with solid repurchases and great user feedback, Kanna Rush solidifies the #8 position. Kanna Rush utilizes a highly calculated dose of the potent herb Kanna and then backs it all up with a formula that promotes increased energy, focus, and thermogenic fat loss.
Trojan Horse tricks your body into using much more energy than it actually needs to assist in the production of your muscle fuel (ATP) resulting in more calories burned and more fat burned. Another plus is that it can be taken throughout the day and will not cause issues when it is time to sleep.
For the Love of Pete. For Pete’s Sake. Give Pete a Chance. In a perfect world, this memorial would be titled with a McGoughian pun, but then, in a perfect world, Peter McGough would still be alive, joking, writing, editing, mentoring, laughing. After a valiant seven-year battle with cancer, Peter, the giant of bodybuilding journalism, died on Dec. 29 at age 71. And so we celebrate a remarkable life and career.
Peter McGough was born in Corby, England, on Aug. 24, 1949, the son of Scottish immigrants and the middle of three children. The family moved frequently around central England as his parents held numerous jobs (his dad was also an amateur fiction writer). Peter was the quiet child. Of his father, a World War II combat veteran with an indelible work ethic and contagious sense of humor, Peter said: “I idolized him. Growing up, I admit that in his presence I retreated into myself, unable to compete with the strength of his personality….I started work at 15 in Nottingham, and the company had a Christmas get-together for staff and family. True to form, my dad started amusing some of my workmates, and they told him, ‘We see where Peter got his humor from; he’s just about the funniest guy in the building.’ He was surprised because he never saw me thrusting myself forward in a crowd to crack a joke. Later, I learned he worried about my shyness. But how could I compete with him?”
In his vivid prose, Peter recalled a seminal event: “I know we all remember that first moment, that first recognition that the iron bug had bit and the course of our life had changed forever. It’s similar to the first time you…well, never mind. My first entry into a gym for a bona-fide workout, was in July 1969, in my hometown of Nottingham, England. I was 19 and my mentor was Big John Courtney, who was two years older than me….He’d long tried to persuade me to have a workout, but I declined; soccer was my game. I didn’t want to be musclebound—such were the times. But I’d got into reading Joe Weider’s Muscle Builder/Power, and, increasingly, I wanted to give the weights a shot. Thinking that I’d be looked down upon by all the gym habitués, I trained for a few weeks in my bedroom using five-gallon paint cans as dumbbells. Holding the cans, I’d do curls, squats, lateral raises, overhead presses, two-arm extensions, and one-arm rows. Jeez, I was the MacGyver of working out.
Came the day for my gym debut, it was a hot Saturday afternoon as John took me into the labyrinth of an old terrace house that was Lake Street Gym. It was a broken-down, rundown, smelly, no-shower of a place above an electrician’s shop. Despite my former fears, surprisingly, all the assorted muscular brutes in there were remarkably friendly to a newcomer. You learned very quickly the empathy of gym rats: No matter how big they got, they always remembered their first time, as well. John put me through a 40-minute workout in which I trained every body part with two or three sets of an exercise. I distinctly remember doing seated behind-the-neck presses on a power rack as Steppenwolf’s Born To Be Wild blared out of a beat-up transistor radio….It was Thursday before I could properly straighten my limbs and the muscle soreness had gone. But that night—a wiser and less ambitious man—I was back in the gym training to John’s beat. The bug had bitten, and the infection would last for life….I came to love bodybuilding and bodybuilders, and I would devourthe mags, little knowing that that’s where my future lay. As John Lennon so rightly sang, ‘Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.’ And so it goes.”
Wasting no time, Peter saw his first bodybuilding contest merely two weeks after that initial workout, and he met the namesake of that show, the legendary Mr. Universe and cinematic Hercules, Reg Park. And, just like that, the neophyte weight-trainer became a bodybuilding fan. Just a few months later, he attended a seminar by a young phenom then taking the muscle world by storm, Arnold Schwarzenegger. At the 1971 Mr. Universe in London, he was shouting when Bill Pearl defeated Sergio Oliva (and Reg Park and Frank Zane). He was witnessing, up close and personal, bodybuilding’s first golden age.
Like Joe Weider, another working-class overachiever, Peter gave himself a “college education.” He read history, philosophy, and fiction (Colin Wilson and Hermann Hesse were favorites) along with muscle mags. Long wanting to be a journalist, he sold articles in the ’70s while toiling in other jobs in Nottingham. He ran marathons and played soccer. In 1980, he began fulfilling his future foretold, combining his affinity for both words and weights by freelance writing for muscle magazines, first in the U.K. and, beginning in 1984, for MuscleMag and FLEX in North America. One small paycheck at a time, he honed his skills. Just after midnight on March 31, 1985, he met Anne Byron, his future wife and constant companion for the second half of his life. He later said his only regret was he didn’t meet her sooner. From 1985 to 1989, Peter co-published the British magazine Muscle & Co. and wrote its best articles, such as the one that chronicled him spotting Tom Platz for what seemed like a thousand forced reps during a ludicrously intense, midnight, back workout.
In 1991 in Nottingham, Peter and Anne launched Pumping Press, a monthly tabloid newspaper that called itself “The True Voice of Bodybuilding” and came with a warning label on every cover: “DANGER: If you like your bodybuilding sweet and innocent—this publication is not for you!” It scooped the competition with news and gossip, showcased Peter’s pun-tastic sense of humor, and rushed out contest results and photos in only a week in that pre-internet dark age when fans waited two months for news in magazines. Pumping Press lasted only nine issues, but that’s because its greatest accomplishment was impressing Joe Weider, whose job offers relocated Peter and Anne to Southern California in 1992.
Peter, a senior writer at FLEX, was used to doing things his own irreverent way in England, and he initially struggled to find his place in the Weider conglomerate. Even the museum-like office building awed him (it always would). One evening, Joe Weider saw Peter dejected at his desk and asked what was wrong. Peter told him. “I brought you here for your sarcasm,” Joe replied. “Wow, it’s great to feel wanted,” Peter quipped. But that conversation was the genesis of Hard Times, FLEX’s pun-laden news and gossip section that allowed Peter to expand upon Pumping Press’s promise. The ’90s were the second golden age of bodybuilding, and the decade found its greatest chronicler in Peter McGough. From fan’s-eye contest reports to the Temple tales of fellow Englishman Dorian Yates (Peter also authored Yates’ first book), Peter penned many of FLEX’s best articles. He was justly proud of his superb 1995 profile of Mike Mentzer, which captured the highs and desperate lows of a very troubled champion.
In 1997, Peter was named editor-in-chief of FLEX and further expanded the magazine’s dominance over the competition. “This was the job of a lifetime,” he remembered. “That was my baby. I couldn’t do enough for that magazine. We had a great team. Back then, in terms of publishing, it was now or never. People weren’t getting their news from 100 different sources. They were relying on us for new and different information. I wanted to take the readers where they couldn’t go. They could see so much from images, but there’s a story behind everything. There should be a beginning, a middle, and an end. I used the magazine to narrate the bodybuilding stories.” In addition to his editing, design, and writing duties, he was a mentor to and advocate for a generation of writers, photographers, and bodybuilders too numerous to mention. Many of us saw him as a surrogate father in the same way he (and Arnold) saw Joe Weider. Of Joe he said, “He would call me from his office twenty yards from mine, and in that much-imitated voice would ask, ‘Can you spare me a few minutes?’ Can I spare Zeus a few minutes? The teenage backstreet kid still lurking inside me would think: Are You kidding me? It was always longer than a few minutes as I sat in his office listening to his stories, and he never ceased to amaze me.”
In 2006, Peter was elevated to editorial director of Muscle & Fitness and Muscle & Fitness Hers in addition to FLEX. The shy but scrappy kid from Nottingham had climbed his way to the summit of bodybuilding journalism. Governor Schwarzenegger was on speed-dial. That said, he admitted later that editor-in-chief of FLEX (“my baby”) was as high as he ever wanted to rise, and, when long days were overtaken by budgeting meetings, advertiser calls, and managerial matters, he missed the simpler times when he could focus just on writing and when he traveled to more contests. In this way, he was also similar to Joe Weider. He stepped down from his high perch in late 2008 and left the company the following year.
Relocating with Anne to Florida, Peter initially wrote again for MuscleMag. He was, from 2012 to 2017, a senior writer for Muscular Development, where he penned some 450 articles, often recounting his own amazing experiences. He also did numerous video and audio interviews, on both sides of the microphone, and performed contest commentary. And all the while, from 2013 on, he was battling stage four cancer. “I know this to be true,” he wrote five years ago. “If you have a fight on your hands—be it physical, mental, spiritual, medical, or whatever—don’t step back. Step forward and give it all you’ve got. If you have to go down, go down swinging. Otherwise, you’ll always regret that you didn’t give it your best shot.”
In his final years, fighting all the while, Peter returned to write again for FLEX and Muscle & Fitness. Sometimes, in our long conversations, he spoke wistfully about younger, healthier times when he was first a writer at FLEX or when, a few years later, he was running that mag, all the top Olympia finalists were Weider athletes, and FLEX was the one publication every serious bodybuilder around the world had to read. “We make the stars,” Peter said in editorial meetings. It wasn’t a boast. It was a recognition of the power “his baby” had in the ’90s and ’00s before social media. “We got to work with guys like Flex Wheeler, Ronnie Coleman, and Jay Cutler, and we told their stories. We went to their homes; we went to their gyms. At contests, we took you into their hotel rooms and backstage. We built on their personas. With Dorian [Yates], I nicknamed him ‘The Shadow’ and built on that, this sense of mystery. We cultivated all the drama, conflict, and controversies, and their personalities, which made things more exciting.”
Back then, he was happiest in a gym, like Temple in 1993 at a workout photo shoot when Dorian Yates (in black socks) revealed a level of jaw-dropping mass never encountered before, or in a dark press pit (where his snowy hair was always a beacon) on those rare occasions when even he was wowed (example: Phil Heath, 2008 Ironman Pro), or in the Weider headquarters—bodybuilding’s museum—when he took the latest, wide-eyed phenom—say, Flex Lewis—on a tour that ended in Joe Weider’s ornate office and Peter, as always, felt the same thrill they did. And he was happiest, too, when the first box of the latest issue arrived at the office. “The great thing about making a magazine,” he said, “is I’m able to hold it in my hands. After creating something brand new every month, you see it born.” He wouldn’t inform cover models of the honor they were receiving, and, before their issue hit newsstands, he’d overnight them a box of the magazines with a personalized note he’d written—a blissful surprise package that could literally launch a career. He had a preternatural ability to recall the issues and even the pages that articles or particular photos appeared on years earlier, because he could remember the way each issue was carefully constructed, and because he just cared, as he’d say, so bloody much. Peter, like Joe Weider, before him knew from personal experiences that for some readers, a muscle magazine was a portal to a previously mystical world, and it was a blueprint for fulfilling their dreams.
The past fades, but the memories of Peter McGough will persist. Because I lost my father when I was young, it doesn’t take a therapist to tell me why I found a father figure in him. But I shared that feeling with many others, including more than one Mr. Olympia, most of whom have dads but thought of Peter as their second one. Whether a muscle journalist, a pro bodybuilder, a contest promoter, or, over four decades, a reader of his prose, we all benefited immensely from his advice, his advocacy, his humor, and his insights. He was the keen-eyed observer, the giant of bodybuilding journalism, forever searching for the scoop, the next big thing, the awe-inspiring photo, the perfect pun, the angle or insight no one else could see, or, if they could, they couldn’t translate it into words the way he could. He made bodybuilding funnier, smarter, kinder, better. FLEX sends its condolences to Anne but also to the entire bodybuilding world. Some of us lost a surrogate father, and all of us lost a truly great friend.
Finally, 2020 is officially in the history books. Needless to say, the past year has been challenging for just about everyone. With a global pandemic changing our way of life in profound ways, just making it through that year felt like an accomplishment.
Unfortunately, the start of 2021 is showing no signs of letting up. Covid-19 continues to ravage our communities and most folks are under some type of stay-at-home order. But just because our conditions have not changed, we still have the power to change our mindset.
Instead of moping around and falling into the same bad habits, decide to make the most of a bad situation. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by focusing on your physical health. If you fell off the health wagon in 2020––you wouldn’t be the only one––now is the perfect time to get back into shape.
A simple cardio routine is a great way to get back into working out. These three cardio workouts will not only blast your gut, but can be done anywhere and require no equipment. A strong and healthy year awaits, all you need to do is get moving.
Peter McGough, a legendary bodybuilding journalist and former Flex editor-in-chief who was admired by many in the industry, died on Dec. 30 following an eight year battle with cancer.
“He was initially only given a few years to live by his doctors, but in typical stubborn Peter fashion, he took off his watch and exchanged blows with cancer in a manner only a gritty Britt like him could, and hung in clear through the end of 2020,” David Baye, Muscle & Fitness’s social media director, said in an Instagram post. Baye called McGough his “friend, mentor, and partner in crime.”
Dan Solomon, chief Olympia officer, said McGough was an artist and the page his canvas. “The greatest storyteller I’ve ever known,” Solomon wrote. “He was a mentor and a genius, a discovery of Joe Weider, but more importantly, he was my friend….and I’ll miss him so much.”
McGough was intertwined with the fitness industry for more than 40 years, writing for more than seven publications during his long spanning tenure. He wrote for this website up until a few weeks ago, reflecting on the careers of Dexter Jackson, Lee Labrada, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He wrote in a way that allowed the reader to transport themselves back in time.
Within the industry, his humor and humbleness made him beloved by those on stage and behind the scene.
He joined Weider Publications in 1992 as a senior writer for Flex, before being appointed the publication’s editor-in-chief in 1997. His interest in fitness began in 1969 with his first workout.
This article was written by Bill Dobbins, and appeared in Muscle & Fitness magazine, in the February 1981 issue. With the Ms. Olympia now a standard tradition, it is interesting to note how it was started, and how the way of thinking in 1980 was.
“My God,” said the young man, looking in the door to watch the contestants as they signed in before the prejudging at the Ms. Olympia contest, “I can’t believe how beautiful they all are!”
It was a comment that said a lot about the first Olympia for women, as well as the current state of bodybuilding for women in general.
And, indeed, they were beautiful. In street clothes, high heels, makeup, coiffed and resplendent, it was difficult to image that these same women have so often been accused of being masculine, androgynous, or even grotesque. They were none of those things. They were gorgeous.
Patsy Chapman, with the cheekbones of a superstar model; Carmen Lusko, possessing the world’s most engaging smile; Rachel McLish, with the long ,lean lines of a race horse; Auby Paulick, charm and energy in equal proportions; April Micotra, Stacey Bentley, Georgia Miller, Lynn Conkwright and more – the top professionals, the best of the breed, assembled together to choose the champion of champions, the first Ms. Olympia.
Of course, in one sense, this was not yet an Olympia at all. You can’t just call something on Olympia and automatically have an event with the prestige and tradition of the men’s Olympia contest. Traditions take time to develop. But you have to start somewhere, and this was an auspicious beginning. Those who claimed it was no more than “George Snyder’s women’s contest with a new name,” were simply missing the point.
And beautiful as these young women were, they knew full well they were not here for a beauty contest. Facial beauty matters in bodybuilding, for men as well as for women. It certainly never hurt Steve Reeves. But bodybuilding is more than just aesthetics; it has to do with muscles and physical development, and nobody was more aware of that than the Ms. Olympia competitors in Philadelphia. They had worked long and hard for this contest, And they were ready.
Actually, the contest was only one aspect of an entire weekend devoted to bodybuilding. The Association, in the persons of George Snyder, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Franco Columbu and Bill Drake, had planned two days of seminars (featuring such stars as Arnold, Franco, Frank Zane, Mike Mentzer and Danny Padilla), a display of some of the latest developments in exercise equipment and health industry products, and a huge banquet preceding the finals of the contest.
“The turnout is fantastic,” George Snyder told me the afternoon of the contest. “I have had to turn away almost 1,000 people. And more request keep coming in!”
George had expected a good turnout, but this was something else. Actually, the underestimation of audience interest led to the only problem of the weekend – the prejudging was held without an audience, since George did not think that enough people would be interested to justify selling tickets. But the crowd of fans, hanging outside the hall proved him wrong.
“What happened,” George explained, “is that we wanted to use the main auditorium for the seminars, so we decided to use a smaller room upstairs for the prejudging. I had no idea so many people would want to see it, Believe me, next you we are going to make sure that tickets to the prejudging are available. As far as I am concerned, if bodybuilding fans want something, they ought to get it. That’s what makes good shows, and good shows are what we are interested in producing.”
And so the women stood before the judges and the prejudging began. Dressed in posing costumes, their full muscularity revealed to the eye, there was no doubt now that these women were, indeed, bodybuilders. They were lean and hard, and the shapeliness of their bodies came from the fullness of muscle rather than the padding of fat.
There were 21 contestants in all. Only a handful were not in top shape, and there was one competitor who had no business being in that contest. But Snyder, recognizing the nature of the contest he was presenting, had decided to be lenient in accepting entries.
“The original idea,” he said “was that an Olympia should only have contestants who had won national titles. But when I looked into it, I realized that a lot of the so-called ‘national’ titles some of the women had won were really just local competitions with big names – and that some of the best women bodybuilders around might be left out if we tried to be too rigid about the whole thing.”
Instead, it was decided to open up the contest to professional women bodybuilders who had won a legitimate competition, and to gradually narrow the qualifications year by year as bodybuilding for women grew and contests proliferated.
“Doing it this way,” Snyder went on, “is better for bodybuilding, for the women and especially for the audience, since it gives them a better show. And, let’s face it, if we don’t have an audience, women’s bodybuilding is going nowhere. The fans are what makes the whole thing possible.”
As Christine Zane, Valerie Coe, Sven-Ole Thorson, Harold Poole, Dan Howard, Mike Katz and Doris Barrilleaux began their long day’s work as judges, the seminars were getting underway downstairs. Arnold led off, discussing the psychology of bodybuilding, and was followed by Franco on injuries, Zane talking about nutrition, John Balik answering questions about steroids, and Dr. Anita Columbu discussing women’s training.
When Arnold stood up to address the audience, it was immediately apparent how much bigger he had become, and that he must be back in serious training, But there was as yet no hint of his plans for a comeback.
Upstairs, the prejudging was proceeding according to the normal IFBB rules, identical to those used in the Mr.Olympia. There were three rounds in the afternoon:
Standing relaxed, viewed from all four sides;
Compulsory poses, six in all: two front poses, two back, arms over the head in one, lowered in the other; and two side shots, one from each side.
Free posing (the individual’s own posing routine).
In the evening, there would be another round of free posing, and a posedown, in which each judge would pick one competitor as the winner. For each first place vote received, a competitor would have one point added to her overall score.
Rachel McLish appeared to be the immediate front runner. This was only her third contest, but she had won impressively in the Atlantic City competition earlier in the year, did well in the Zane contest, and now looked even better in Philadelphia. It was by no means a sure thing, but there was no doubt that she was the one to beat.
Some of the best known women were, unfortunately, not in their best shape. Patsy Chapman displayed beautiful shape and proportion as usual, but she was way too smooth. Stacey Bentley was also not as cut up as she had been at the Zane contest. “I guess I’ve just tried to enter too many contests in a row, do too many exhibitions, and stay in training too long,” she admitted later. “I’ve seen it happen to the men, and now I know it can happen to me, too.” A quiet, unobtrusive photographer, armed only with two very small, old fashioned Leicas, took shots continuously This was George Butler, who had shot the photographs for the book version of Pumping Iron. At Philadelphia, he was taking pictures for an updated version that will include woman’s bodybuilding.
When the prejudging concluded, it was pretty clear how the battle for first was shaping up. Rachel McLish, no doubt, was a a top contender. But she was getting some close competition from a petite blond dynamo named Auby Paulick, who was experiencing her first national level contest. That night, the auditorium of the Sheraton in Philadelphia filled up early for the banquet. Among the hundreds of diners, the competitors say and (most) ate sparingly. In a short time, they would be called backstage to get ready and the show would begin.
After dinner, the audience was treated to a number of guest posers. Ron Teufel got a warm welcome, and came out looking perhaps a little better than he would at the Mr. America a week later. Mike Mentzer appeared, thick as a house. Frank Zane looked somewhat drawn and tired, a result of a training accident in early August.
The high point of the exhibitions was, to my mind, the dual posing routine of Boyer and Valerie Coe. For one thing, Boyer was in phenomenal shape, keeping to his timetable that called for him to peak for the Mr. Olympia. But more than that, there was the excellence of the routine itself: a combination of athletic and aesthetic elements that few men and women teams have achieved. It was like a pairs skating routine, with Boyer displaying power and athleticism in a number of well executed lifts, and Valerie flowing with his movements as if she were unconfined by gravity.
Now it was time for the show itself. Back in the small dressing rooms, unlike at the men’s events, the women were cheerful and bubbling. No drawn faces and withdrawn personalities here. Just some nervous anticipation, a lot of excitement, and competitors pitching in to apply oil to the nearest back.
Second competitor out was Anniqa Fors, a beautiful blonde Danish girl and discovered by Sven-Ole Thorsen. Anniqa is really just a beginner at bodybuilding but she showed enormous potential. Later we saw Corinne Machado, who showed such quality of development that it was certain she would place well; and then there was Auby Paulick.
Auby took the stage the way Patton took Sicily. She sent beams of energy into the audience, and the people responded with by far the most enthusiasm of the evening. Auby, it turns out, had had considerable experience as a professional dancer back in her native Michigan, and she is no stranger to playing to crowds. If the contest were to have been decided purely on the basis of audience response to this last round, she would have emerged the clear winner.
It was almost unfair to ask Lynn Conkwright to follow such an act, but if somebody had to do it, she was a good choice. Lynn has such enormous strength and control of her body, she’s able to do things in her posing routine that many other cannot, and the audience quickly caught on and gave her their arrival.
Then Rachel McLish came out. Her routine was careful and precise, well though out, but it lacked something – perhaps a certain dynamism, the right kind of energy. It seemed a bit too “ladylike.” But at the same time, the quality of her physique was unmistakable, so perhaps the routine served its purpose. “What a thoroughbred!” Mike Mentzer said in admiration, and that about sums it up.
After all the contestants had completed their posing routines, the top five were called out for a posedown: Rachel McLish, Auby Paulick, Lynn Conkwright, Corinne Machado and Stacey Bentley. If the contest was close, this was a chance for the competitors to make up the difference, and they worked as hard as any lineup of male professionals. And then we got the judge’s decision. The winner was Rachel, followed by Auby, Lynn, Corinne and Stacey. It was over. The first Ms. Olympia had been awarded.
Many in the audience were surprised that Auby Paulick hadn’t won. After all the spectators hadn’t seen the prejudging, so they could only go on what had happened onstage during the evening show. And Auby had clearly dominated that aspect of the show as far as the crowd as concerned. But if we take a closer look at the scoring for all three rounds i becomes apparent what happened. The scoring in the prejudging for Rachel and Auby went like this:
Once again, Auby tied Rachel, but she was too far behind to win even if all seven judges had voted for her. but the question in the audience would have asked is why Auby, who got such a great response from the crowd, didn’t score higher than Rachel?
“Auby did a fantastic job of entertaining the audience”, one judge told me (a judge, incidentally, who gave Auby one of her first place votes), “but we weren’t there to judge a popularity contest. A lot of what she did onstage had nothing to do with bodybuilding. But, as far as presenting her physique was concerned, I thought she did well and I scored her pretty high. Although Rachel didn’t come on to the audience the way Auby did, she also presented her physique well, and I scored her high, too.”
Rachel, it seemed, showed an attachment to her ballet training, and may have approached her posing from somewhat too conservative an angle. But this was only her third contest, so she will no doubt develop new routines in the future.
Auby had admittedly not been training very long, and has never trained consistently heavy enough to develop a full muscular shape like Rachel. But the development she has already achieved indicates she had extraordinary potential. If she keeps it up, she had a great future in bodybuilding.
Rachel and Auby are both attractive, charismatic, and are good representatives of the sport. But it speaks well for the Ms. Olympia contest, the judges involved and women’s bodybuilding as a whole that, when it came down to the wire, the best physique won the day.
When that happens, everybody wins; when it doesn’t, we all lose.