INSIDE MIKE MENTZER
by Dave Sears
Editor and Publisher of Muscles in Minutes
Since my last article, "How Brief is Brief Enough?", many people have written to me to say: "It was my dream to be personally trained by Mike… what was he like in-person?" Well, you'll be happy to know that Mike was as spirited in-person as he was in print.
In October of 2000, I planned a trip to see Mike - to firm up a few details on the publishing of Muscles in Minutes and to discuss a new broad-reach program we wanted to initiate to "tell the world" about Mike's time-saving (and result-producing) programs. This was to be one day after my 39th birthday, and I was happy to spend it visiting with Mike.
A few days before I arrived, I thought of a fun birthday present for myself - an exotic car rental for my weekend in L.A. I called Mike and asked his preference: "...a red Ferrari or a black Mercedes convertible?" "The Ferrari!" was Mike's answer - instantly settling my internal debate.
After arriving in L.A. and taking delivery of a one-year old red F355 convertible, I drove to Marina Del Rey to pick up Mike. He gave me a big bear hug (nearly crushing me), took one look at the car and shouted: "Let's go for a ride!" We had no set plans for the day, so off we went.
We toured the California coastline for hours - stopping at particularly attractive vistas (Mike's preferred spots) along the way. We drove from Malibu to Santa Monica to Beverly Hills to other places I can't remember - all were beautiful. We drove by the house Mike wished to own someday - a 2 story blue house with dark-stained railings on the balconies. Stopping at Mike's favorite Santa Monica coffee shop, we attracted attention to ourselves for both the automobile and our spirited debate about religion (Mike was an atheist, I am Catholic). We solidified the final details regarding Muscles in Minutes and expressed how excited we both were about its release.
We later ended up at the Santa Monica mall - people watching and listening to musicians and entertainers that had set up in the courtyard. According to Mike, this was the perfect place to just "watch." We finally left when our hunger got the best of us and we decided on a restaurant. "Do you want nice, casual, or real nice?" Mike asked. "Real nice." I answered - my trip from Boston had been long and I figured I could justify just one more birthday present for myself.
Mike chose The Palm in West Hollywood for our eating pleasure. However, he was wearing shorts (contrary to the dress code for this Saturday-night hotspot) and had to borrow pants from the host. I laughed at Mike - indicating that no "off-the-shelf" pants were going to fit the famous Mentzer thighs! Somehow he squeezed into them, and we were seated.
When the waiter arrived to take our order, Mike ordered an Orange Stoli and a 6 LB. LOBSTER! I went for the Filet Mignon and a diet coke - dumbfounded as to how anyone (even Mike Mentzer) could eat 6 lbs. of lobster! After a half hour, I was staring at empty lobster shells - with no meat in sight. During our meal, we discussed Joe Weider, Arnold, Corey Everson, Bill Phillips, Ray (whom Mike loved and admired), and a host of other bodybuilding stars with the "insider" advantage of Mike's first-hand experience.
On the drive home, Mike encouraged me to "open her up, Dave… I want to hear how this Ferrari sounds!" Being a car enthusiast, I didn't need any more prompting and gladly complied. Once the Italian race-bred motor reached its perfect pitch, Mike would say: "Ahhhh… that's it… I love the way that sounds!" By the time I dropped Mike off it was almost 1:00 in the morning, but he was as clear and vibrant as always.
The next morning, Mike was at my hotel bright and early to talk business and to have me follow him to meet with his latest training client, Gary Busey. We spent a few hours at Gary's Malibu home - with Gary and his two training partners. It was great (but not unusual) fun to see them thrilled with their continued progress under Mike's guidance.
We ended up parting company at a traffic light in Malibu - me taking a left and roaring off in my rented car for the airport, and Mike taking a right to pursue what he did every day… continue to test and perfect the best bodybuilding system the world has ever seen.