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This is Steve Reeves. Steve Reeves was a bodybuilder and actor from
what some would call the “Golden Age” of bodybuilding. He was born in
1926, and by the time he was in high school in the late 1930s he had
developed an interest in bodybuilding. By 1958 he was playing Hercules
on the big screen and was widely considered the first “famous
bodybuilder.” He was one of Arnold’s idols.
Looking at him, can you guess at his protein preference? Would you
venture to say casein or whey? I wonder what brand of creatine he
used to put on all that mass. Maybe he supplemented with thermogenics
to lose fat. If you were to ask him that, he’d give you a funny look
while wondering what the hell you were babbling about. He’d wonder why
we give billions of dollars to snake oil salesmen whom we know are
full of shit. He’d ask why we don’t invest all this time and money into actual
training rather than chugging sugary flavored water.
We all know the supplement junkie, his stack is always cutting edge.
If you don’t, then venture over to any bodybuilding forums and you will see
young, out of shape men standing in front of mountains of protein tubs
of all kinds and flavors, creatine, BCAAS, fat burners, energy boosters and every type of supplement somebody conceived of and renamed 30 different times.
It’s nothing new for us humans to try to find answers and attempt to innovate. A lot of those buying into the supplement craze are well-intentioned people who do seek to maximize their results. But the innovations in training and nutrition happen in Olympic gyms and places of real training, not in FLEX magazine. Athletes of the highest caliber do not even waste their time browsing the latest issue of Men’s Health looking for the latest secrets for sprouting 30 in biceps and 12 pack abs. They go to their coach who has had decades of experience. Real training happens with real weights and real nutrition happens with real food, and unless Muscletech opens a Costco franchise you won’t hear them tout that message.
This cognitive push is what separates The Swole from the rest:
individuals who looked at the challenge head-on and decided to stand
strong and not fall back on gimmicks. The moment the training rears
its ugly head they don’t go scramble to re-arrange their stacks and
‘programs’. They understand that the supplement industry wants to keep
individuals in limbo, after all, if you had the answer for free what would you
People like Steve and the generations of strongmen and bodybuilders
before him understood that. Their desire came from the same place as
everyone else’s, but they decided early on that they were going to
suffer and struggle to get what they wanted. No doubt it was easier to
arrive at that decision back then; they had little choice. There
wasn’t an entire industry preying on their vanity like there is today.
While certain supplements do have a place in the cupboard of the modern
athlete or the bodybuilder who has money to throw on anything, and his
life and livelihood hinging on an improvement of .04 seconds or cm, for
almost everyone, training harder and more consistently will pay back
So the next time someone gives you their personal testimonial about their
favorite new supp after hitting a killer set of 15 lb. hammer curls,
do yourself a favor. Smile, nod and then go back to lifting because
there is nothing you can do for that person. It’s only when you
succeed and someone, mind-boggled, asks you how, and you reply ‘with my own hands’.