Heavy Duty Testimonials
from Around the World



Hello everybody,

I am 23 years old, and I've been doing bodybuilding for approximately 3 years now. When I first saw a picture of Mike Mentzer, I didn't really know him. I just noticed he had a German name and his muscles looked impressive. When I read his books, Heavy Duty I and Heavy Duty II, they were so interesting that I read through them in only one night.

Mike was the first bodybuilder who really explained how things work, and it all made sense to me. There are plenty of workout instructions on the market, but none of them could definitely establish why I should do 4 sets with 8 reps and not 5 set with 6 reps.

Therefore, I began using the HEAVY DUTY high-intensity training program, and all I can say is that It Works! Although I started my training journal late, my strength gains look something like this: (Currently, I can't do squats with heavy weights due to my hip injury.)

Also of importance is that Mike wiped out the assumption and prejudice that all bodybuilders are clueless airheads who have no intelligence or meaningful thoughts. Mike Mentzer proved the opposite! He taught us not to launch things without a plan, and that weight training should not be the essence of our lives, because there are so many things much more crucial in our lives besides a "pump up"... Have you ever heard of this from another bodybuilder???

I really feel honored and very pleased to have my testimonial and tribute posted at Mikementzer.com in memory of Mike Mentzer!! This is awesome! Thank you Joanne Sharkey for everything you are doing to keep his legacy going. I don't know how to pack my tremendous gratitude into words…I'm just so grateful.

Max Bauer
Munich, Germany


Greetings from Club Heatstroke, otherwise known as Al-Udeid Air Base located in wonderful, yet blistering, Qatar. My name is Paul A. Schulte, and I'm an aircraft mechanic with the West Virginia Air National Guard's 130th Airlift Wing. Although I'm now on active duty orders, I'm normally a part-time guardsman (weekend warrior).

I'm writing today about the astounding effect that Mike Mentzer has had on my life. Instead of mourning Mike's passing, I'd rather reflect on the positive consequences associated with studying and applying his works. Mine may be a story similar to others. However, since we're all individuals on this rock, mine goes something like this:

Like many others, I started lifting weights in my early teens to prepare for high school sports. Those first days were spent lifting plastic-coated cement weights in a friend's basement with Night Ranger blaring away in the background. We graduated from the basement to the high school weight-room, sometimes wondering if it was possible that Mr. America wasn't telling us something about what he really did do to look that way, and suspecting that the coaches' training programs were marred just as much as Mr. America's. "Ten sets of 10 reps" was a favorite phrase uttered by the coaches during those days, and supposedly 100 reps was the key to greatness.

During those teen years, I developed a passion for powerlifting. Ultimately I gave up the sport because my progress halted. I had no idea that I was overtrained - much less what it meant. Furthermore, like Mr. America, my peers wouldn't reveal what made them perform the way they did. Ten years later and a lot of money wasted on supplements and muscle magazines, I was fed up with the stagnation - and even regression - of my training. That's when I read a Mike Mentzer article in Ironman Magazine, about doing less sets and working out less often for better results. I suspected that Mike was onto something: not only did he talk about weight training, he talked about philosophy, and about one philosopher in particular, Ayn Rand. I promptly ordered Heavy Duty, and purchased Ms. Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness from a local bookstore.

BAM!!! Everything changed after reading those two books. It was as if the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders, because everything made perfectly good sense. The only philosophy I'd ever been exposed to was that of "listen to the priest, work at a job you loathe, and question nothing you've been told." Ayn Rand helped me see that this was wrong, and Mike Mentzer helped me get back to the gym to begin working out correctly.

When I told my friends about this awesome new way to train, my efforts met some stiff resistance, to say the least. Since I was essentially paraphrasing Mike, I couldn't understand why others couldn't understand the same words. Ten years have passed, and only one person out of dozens understood it and put it into practice. Coincidentally, he and I are still close friends to this day. Often, when discussing Heavy Duty, I also discuss Objectivism, for I find it difficult to separate the two. Most of the feedback about Heavy Duty has been negative, while the comments about Objectivism have been downright vicious. Therefore, I mostly keep the comments about weight training and philosophy to myself, though I do tend to have those days when I find it hard to hold back.

I don't have access to the training data I kept, because my old journals are in storage back in the USA at the present time. But I can say one thing for certain: whenever I've strayed from the basic tenets of Heavy Duty, my progress has stalled and sometimes regressed. In other words, adding extra sets and working out more frequently is counterproductive.

I've recently started back after a four-month layoff. Currently I'm following a consolidation routine consisting of three exercises: dips, front pull-downs and shoulder presses. One workout consists of one set of one exercise taken to positive, static and negative failure. I'm currently taking 4 days off in between workouts. For example, in 4 workouts I've added 15 pounds to dips, along with 20 pounds to front pull-downs and 30 pounds to the shoulder press. I do plan on adding squats, deadlifts, and calf-raises in the near future.

I'd say my two biggest regrets are not discovering Mike Mentzer and Ayn Rand sooner, and straying from the basic Heavy Duty principles over the years. I'm grateful that I've gained the knowledge needed to continue on the path Mike Mentzer and Ayn Rand suggest.


A Testimonial to Mike Mentzer and Heavy Duty -- Posted 6/29/03

I've written before that I met Mike Mentzer twice. To repeat, I met him once as a nervous 20 year old when queuing for an autograph in London, England at the height of his fame as a bodybuilder in 1980 and once 21 years later, 10 days before his death, outside Golds Gym in Santa Monica, California where he took me through a Heavy Duty workout. I did not know the man well personally, but I did know him.

Others have written about Mike, the value of Heavy Duty when compared to different training methods, Mike's infamous consolidation routine and the lack of a clear definition for the philosophy of Heavy Duty. I make my own rational and logical decisions on all of these debates just as I believe Mike would have wanted me to. My only comments are that the basic tenets of Heavy Duty work for me. Other training methods do not.

This ability to make objective, rational and logical decisions has been reflected in my life outside the gym where I have learnt, and am still learning, to break through the conflicting information that so many throw around so frequently and in so many forums. Mike Mentzer opened my mind to this and I thank him for that.

Despite Mike's (and Ray's) death I will carry on using Heavy Duty training philosophy and Objectivism to develop both my body and my mind, not because I am concrete bound and close minded to anything else, but because I have rationally come to realise that it is the most effective methods for me.

I would urge others to give it a REAL try… then make your own informed decision. What have you got to lose?

Jeff Shaw
Leicester, England
26th January 2002

The Greatest Asset -- Posted 2/23/03

Thanks to Heavy Duty II: Mind and Body, my training has progressed in leaps and bounds over my previous "volume approach", which I had been blindly following. When HD2 arrived, I stayed up all night and read it from cover to cover. It was simply amazing. The first thing I realised about this book was that it just made sense - you knew it would work before you even tried it. I was so excited to get started on the HD2 program that I could hardly sleep! I have gained over 40 pounds on this program, and I owe it all to Mike Mentzer.

I would also like to thank Mike for not only changing my training beliefs but for changing my whole life. If I had never been able to change the way I looked at things, then I would still be left in the dark. My ability to look at everything in life logically and rationally now is without a doubt my greatest asset.

Thank you, Mike Mentzer.

Scott Tavener

Thank You for My Heavy Duty Accomplishments -- Posted 8/18/01

When I hear the name - Mike Mentzer, I can only reminisce on how much this man has changed my perception on bodybuilding and on thinking critically. When I began bodybuilding 9 years ago, I had absolutely NO CLUE on how to train correctly. Of course, all I did was ask friends, read Muscle and Fitness, and spiral into a mindless daze of what to do. One on one off Two on one off 5 sets per exercise, double splits, I tried almost everything. Thank the gods I was blessed with good genetics, because although I DID gain muscle size and strength, I wasn't gaining like I feel I COULD.

About 3 years ago, I began reading Mike Mentzer's articles in more depth, bought his first copy of Heavy Duty and started thinking about what he was saying. At first, I didn't like Heavy Duty to be honest, I was in the gym for such a short period of time and didn't "feel" like I did with my old volume approach. So after a few weeks, I gave up on Heavy Duty and went back to a one body part a day 5 days a week split. The gains were not spectacular to say the least. That's when I began to realize maybe I didn't give Heavy Duty the try I should have. So, I then came across his second book Heavy Duty II: Mind and Body. I studied that book, along with his first, and his Heavy Duty Journal with great intensity, I soaked in every word like a sponge. Needless to say, I told myself "f*,** it" and went into Heavy Duty full throttle.

I began Heavy Duty at 5'9, 190 pounds, and around 13% bodyfat. I am now still 5'9, of course, but I weigh 210 pounds and my bodyfat is down to 7% bodyfat!!! I have NEVER in my life been in this shape, and, oh yeah, I have NEVER in my life taken a physique enhancing drug EVER. But unfortunately, EVERY single one of my peers accuses me of such. My strength gains are absolutely ridiculous - I STILL go up in reps and weight, at least every other workout!

Here are some of the numbers I'm pushing:
dumbbell pullovers 170 pound dumbbell for almost 9
stiff legged deadlifts 455 pounds for 7
seated alternating dumbbell curls 80's for almost 9
low incline smith machine 425 pounds for 2
leg extensions 300 pounds for 9, etc., etc.

I take tremendous pride for the gains I have made thus far, and I have the Great Mike Mentzer to thank. His views are unbelievably brilliant! I am currently a Personal Trainer for Bally's and practice his Heavy Duty theories daily with ALL my clients. Their results are to say the least GREAT. The man was a pioneer, and he and his brother Ray had two of the most ungodly physiques for their time.

They both will be missed, and I hope their Legacies will live on forever. Thank you so much for allowing me to vent my accomplishments from Heavy Duty.

Joseph Ohrablo
Bay Shore NY

If They Only Knew! -- Posted 8/05/01

Dear Mike Mentzer Co.,

I would like to tell you a short story of my new progress. I started using Mike Mentzer's H.I.T. five weeks ago, and I am astounded! Previously, I had worked out for two years with no gains, until now. In five weeks I have gone from 179 to 187 (with no visible fat increase). I have NEVER before had strength gains or size gains.

Prior to using Mike Mentzer's H.I.T., I simply was overtraining. When I had no progress, I upped the set and reps and lost weight. One night, I read an article on the web about this Mike Mentzer... I bought his book Heavy Duty II: Mind & Body, and after reading it once, I started over and read it again. I was overjoyed and could not wait to train with this new found knowledge. I did take a short lay off period (as recommended by Mike), but when I started training with his program, I could not believe it.

For example my first leg workout I used 90 lb. for ten reps on leg extensions, and then today, five weeks later, I used 130 lb. for 23 reps! I don't even know how to choose my weight, because my strength keeps increasing. My arms starting were 13.75 and now measure 14.5. I know this is not huge, but I have never gained before, and this has happened in five weeks!

I have increased weight on all exercises, and I am very pleased. By the way, one of the best things is how I walk in the gym and twenty minutes later I walk out, and people just kind of look confused... like what was his purpose... If they only knew!

Thank You,

P.S. I will keep you updated on my gains.

Just Starting Out -- Posted 5/31/01


I am Victor and I am 21 years old. I am currently in Colorado attending college. I have always wanted to "lift weights", if you will, and I have always been afraid to because I was afraid of doing it wrong. In High School I never did. I had a roommate who had a father that used to bodybuild. Because of an injury, he has now had to sort of stop. I told him that I was going to take a weight training class and I asked him if he had any tips. He told me to buy your book Heavy Duty. I have just purchased Heavy Duty and Muscles in Min. He is also a doctor and that reassured me. I know this is just a bunch of babble but I wanted to let you know that I am serious about becoming healthier, physically fit, and feeling better about myself. I feel good but [my] health is not so good. I don't smoke and occasionally drink. I am serious about "lifting" but not only that, but doing it right. I have 3 months before I start classes again and I am looking foward to trying your HIT. I would like to hear from you if you have any suggestions, since I'm just starting out, and anything else I might need to know.

Thank You,


Overtraining and Injury -- Posted 5/27/01

Mr. Mentzer,

Just wanted to thank you for your insights into weight training and let you know that despite the human desire to do more, more, more... I will not again stray from your principles. Let me explain: Due to a change in military jobs, I found myself needing more cardiovascular and muscular (if there is such a thing) endurance. Well, in my zeal to acquire this endurance, I believe I trained my way into loss of strength, loss of flexibility, and loss of motivation. Moreover, I believe my over-training to be DIRECTLY responsible for a nagging shoulder injury (I have always had very sound, pain-free joints). Yes, I do have more endurance, but the increase in endurance is only a fraction of the increase in activity. In other words, the cost for the small increase was WAY too high. I will now approach the endurance/strength/longevity problem from a more logical and scientific angle-doing only as much as needed to achieve endurance and continue increasing strength.

Thank you again,


Heavy Duty -- Posted 5/16/01

Hello Mr. Mentzer,

I wanted to take the time to write you regarding my progress using your "Heavy Duty" system. While I've worked out for 15 years, I've never made great gains... a respectable 300 lb. bench, 475 lb. squat at my best. When I got to a sticking point, all I thought was "more reps, more workouts, more excercises"... eventually having to do involuntary periodization training due to joint injuries and other chronic overtraining symptoms. After a recent wrist injury, I was unable to workout at all for 8 weeks and faced with climbing that "train, overtrain, sick and injured" cycle again, I seriously considered simply not training any more.

As an alternative, I decided to give your program a try and I'm immensely happy with the results so far. I gained back most of the strength lost during my down time in just 3 workouts. Instead of blind guessing regarding a training protocol, you're program defines a no-nonsense progression strategy. How can I argue with seeing myself adding weight to every exercise every workout?

Looking at your seemingly endless critics, how many of them are truly unbiased and have the average Joe's betterment in mind and how many are just trying to sell magazines and marginally useful supplements?

Your books are the best money I've spent in years.


Greg Tasonis

Bodybuilding/Objectivism, Etc. -- Posted 5/10/01


Thanks for your reply. In response to your questions, I believe that the first time I heard of you was when I was a boy watching ABC's Wide World of Sports when you won the Universe beating out Kalman Szkalak. For decades, I had known that you advocated high intensity weight training. Unfortunately, I did not really understand this until approximately five years ago. I misguidedly applied high intensity in the form of forced reps etc. compiled on top of high volume training and therefore it never worked for me. I was successful building an impressive physique with the blind non-theoretical approach but only because I misguidedly turned to steroids. At a bodyweight of 216 I onced benched 520. Imagine if I had trained properly!

During my first two years of medical school, I competed in bodybuilding winning the 1985 Ottawa-Hull and Eastern Ontario Championships. In my final two years of med school I gave up competitive bodybuilding because to the enormous time commitment to my medical training. Of course, I was labouring under the delusion that I had to be in the gym up to two hours daily 5 days per week. If only I had known that 15 minutes per week was sufficient.

My physique is now much more modest. At age 42, I am 5 ft 9 inches and about 180 with quite low bodyfat. To be honest, I feel better about my current state knowing that what I have achieved is not a false accomplishment inflated by unhealthy drugs. Also, what I have achieved with my bodybuilding currently is within the context of a very busy career, marriage and family life. Bodybuilding is no longer the obsessive center of my life, but a hobby that enhances my life.

I have found that as I get older, I have a less obsessive relationship with my body and bodybuilding and I am moving the focus of my life more into the world of ideas. After reading Atlas Shrugged, I have a much keener insight into the events in my daily life and world wide current events. As I mentioned before, reading Atlas Shrugged in conjunction with my experiences working in socialized medicine, has prompted us to move to the U.S. (hopefully by fall). My public comments on socialism and medicare have resulting in media attention. To my surprise, I have become involved with the Progressive Conservative Party at their request. Because of the ideas that I have expressed at these functions, spawned by Ms. Rand, it has been suggested that I would make a good political candidate. I don't think that I am interested in that. Besides, I'm moving anyway. It is amazing to know that there are some people interested in truth.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to meet with our provincial Minister of Health. I expressed to him the reasons why I am leaving which is the basic lack of freedom in this country. I had the opportunity to talk with him both publicly and privately. Privately, this guy agrees with my ideas. Why can't these politicians have the strength to simply state the truth publicly? As you have said, the truth is everyone's friend whether you acknowledge this or not.

Clearly, my interest in both bodybuilding and Objectivism are very deep. I have not yet mastered all of the concepts of Objectivism and may need to re-read Ms. Rand material several times. Atlas Shrugged struck such a chord of truth within me, that it was literally traumatic to read. I actually had difficulty sleeping at night because of it. The parallels with my daily life are chilling. Socialism trickles down and affects every second of our lives in Canada. We don't have enough quality x-ray equipment, waiting lists are horrendous (a colleague of mine who is a cardiologist has a 2 year waiting list for an appointment), equipment malfunctions constantly and is years out of date, logistically the hospital is a mess, men are pitted against one another for resources, administration is the enemy of the medical staff because our delivery of care depletes their budget, everyone is stressed to the max trying to do more and more with less and less. The angst is such a system trickles down to the lowliest clerk. Such are the perils of Collectivism. I too have read material my Leonard Peikoff about Canadian medical care and things are far worse since he put out this material. Things are degenerating to a surrealistically bad level. Our regional hospitals emergency department has 180 shifts coming up this summer in which they cannot find doctors to fill. When I resign, my two colleagues will also resign, leaving no full-time radiologists in the hospital. Staffing will have to be entirely with locum tenens and I am sure that they will never be able to get enough.

Atlas Shrugged has given me profound clarity in my life. I shouldn't ramble on too long because I am sure that you are busy as am I. If we were ever to meet face to face, I am sure that we would have a wonderful conversation due to our strong mutuality of values.

Lee Kurisko

May Ironman -- Posted 5/3/01

Dear Mike,

Sorry to bother you but I have just purchased the May edition of Ironman and read the article on page 134/5 "Pump Up the Volume" and felt compelled to write!! Your words must have well and truly sunk into my brain because I am staggered at the author's supposed logic. The following paragraph says it all:

"I, for one, have been influenced by Mentzer's advice. I only train each bodypart once a week, and I always try to increase the intensity of each workout by using more weight or doing more reps with a heavy poundage. I also train only four days per week, and I make sure I take recuperation into consideration when planning a routine."

With that text and what follows in the article it is obvious the author has not even understood the basics of your advice. Put an average person on his routine and see what sort of progress they make - exactly none and worse...

Best regards

A Satisfied Customer -- Posted 4/28/01

Dear Mike,

I would just like to take the time to thank you and your sales department for an ultra fast delivery of my recent order.

I live in Adelaide, South Australia, and received my order within 1.5 weeks. I was expecting at least 6-8 weeks. I know the postal system plays an important role, but I notice from the invoice that the order was fulfilled immediately. Please thank those responsible.

I now have all your books, Heavy Duty 2 twice, as I have read my original copy so many times that it is literally falling apart! Congratulations on your new book Muscles in Minutes which I found totally engrossing and offered yet more excellent information.

Thank you,
Darren Murray

Better Late Than Never -- Posted 4/11/01

Dear Mike,

I have been following your career and reading your words of wisdom for more than 20 years now. Actually when I think about it that’s a scary thought - perhaps for both you and me - maybe for you because of the fact that you have strangers following your life so closely for so long and certainly for me because those 20 years have flown by so quickly. Where I was in my early twenties with the full promise of life ahead I am now in my mid forties with an altogether different perspective on life ahead.

Recently your words have taken on a different meaning for me and it is about this that I wanted to write to you. Like many I used to follow the volume training approach, even while at the same time thinking that your approach sounded very sensible and logical. Then for about 10 years, for a variety of reasons, including sheer frustration at the amount of time I used to spend in the gym and the wish to avoid that drained, tired feeling all day every day including the ability to pick up every cold and flu that breezed by me, I stopped training. About one year ago, at the age of 43, I started training seriously again, but this time with a significant difference, this time I actually put your advice into effect. I won’t bore you with details of increasing size and strength levels but I will simply say that I should have done this twenty years ago! The simple fact, the irrefutable truth is that everything you advocate is 100% correct. I won’t tell you that I look like the pictures in the muscle mags - I don’t - but then I never did and never will. But I do look better than I have ever have before and much better than most other people my age. I am stronger overall than I have ever been. I do look forward to training every time. I do not feel guilty about missing a training day. I do not get colds and flu at the drop of a hat. I do have a life outside the gym.

But Mike, the really exciting thing is not the progress of today at age 44 but what I can expect at age 55, 60 and beyond. You have used the words "total fitness" in your latest book (Muscles in Minutes) and that is what I expect to have in my forthcoming senior years. This is that different meaning that your words now have for me, the ability to balance strength, size, fitness and life moving into the second half of my life.

Following your advice my period of exercise activity has become much more intense, much shorter and less frequent and consequently my period of recovery has become much longer. Let’s see - bigger and stronger with less training, less illness, greater sense of well-being, more time for life - sounds like a recipe any right thinking person would want. Well I certainly want it!

In closing, on a different subject, I have to say that I am continually astounded that your approach is met with resistance (or even hostility) in many quarters - but after thinking about what happened to those who first suggested that the world was round I suppose it is not unexpected. Maybe we have a lot of "flat earth" people out there who feel threatened by your thinking. The other real possibility, of course, has to do with courage - high intensity training is very, as the word says, “intense” - it requires a great deal of effort (and indeed courage) the likes of which volume training cannot approach. Why? Because in my experience after a real high intensity set it is simply not possible to do any more - unbelievable to volume trainers but nevertheless true.

Thanks Mike and be assured that I will follow your career for another 20 years!!

Owen Dell

A=A -- Posted 4/11/01

Dear Mike,

Read an interview with you in the Swedish edition of Ironman (yes I'm from Sweden), and I must say it was a revolution for me. I've just started using your methods but I'm already making progress. Even though I wasn't really a high intensity guy, using your methods has made me feel better (I'm not tired all the time anymore), and stronger.

What really caught me was the fact that you quoted Ayn Rand. Since I'm more or less a Randian myself I realized that you were a no bull@#$% guy that really believed what you said, and never would lie about anything, and would always try to find out what's true.

So Mike, thanks a lot!!
Martin Karlsson

Save Time, Save Money! -- Posted 2/12/01


I've been using the HIT principles for just over a year now.  I can't believe all the progress I've made and all the extra free time I have. I'm 6 ft. tall, 26 years old and last year when I started training Heavy Duty style I weighed 225 pounds.  My regimen then was each body part once per week spread over three workouts at over an hour per workout. Currently, I only train on Saturdays (my friends call me the weekend warrior) and my bodyweight has gone up to 255 lbs.

Here are a few examples of my improved lifts:
Leg press 1230 lbs  x 9 reps.  Up from 980 lbs x 10 reps.
Leg extensions, stack x 16 reps.  Up from stack x 10 reps.
Flat dumbbell press 130 lbs x 5 reps. Up from 110 lbs x 7 reps.
Barbell curl 135 lbs x 6 reps. Up from 110 lbs x 8 reps.
Curl grip pull downs 250 lbs x 9 reps. Up from 230 x 7 reps.
Low pulley row 290 lbs x 6 reps.  Up from 240 lbs x 8 reps.
Triceps press down stack  x 16 reps. Up from stack x 9 reps.
Dumbbell shoulder press 100lbs x 5 reps. Up from 90 x 5 reps.

I train back and shoulders together, legs by themselves, and chest and arms together.

What used to take me a week to do now just about takes a month!  Since I'm in the gym only four times a month, it's cheaper for me just to pay for each visit. ($5.00 per visit x 4 visits = $20.00 vs. $30.00 membership fee)  So, not only do I save time and money, I get superior results.  *A message to all the gym-rats.  Do the math!!! Duh!

PS.  I just received your book Muscles in Minutes.  It's wonderful!  I'm planning on making some changes to my routine that should yield even better results.  I'll keep you posted.

L. Griego
New Mexico

Thanks, Mike! -- Posted 2/12/01

Dear Mr. Mike Mentzer,

My name is Abhay Mane. I am an Indian national and I have come to the United States to earn a Masters degree in Physical Education. I am studying at Eastern Illinois University, Charleston. I would like to work as a strength coach or as a Personal Trainer when I am done with my Masters program. I have worked as a Personal Trainer when I was in India. I have been in the US for the past 6 months.

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you how much I have been influenced with your training theories. I have tried them for myself and I think low-volume training works much better than high-volume training. I have also competed in a few bodybuilding competitions when I was in India. I know how frustrating it is when you are training really hard and not making any progress. I happened to read some of your articles in magazines like FLEX. I also visited your website several times and learnt more about your training principles. I was able to make progress in my training using the low-volume approach.

Unfortunately I have really not been able to train since coming to the U.S. I have a very tough schedule being a Masters student and I also do not have any kind of Assistantship. Hence I have to work on-campus to support myself. I would also like to tell you that once I complete my Masters program, I would like to come to California and meet you in person. I hope we will be able to meet sometime in the near future.

Once again, I would like to say thank you for doing so much for the sport of bodybuilding and also helping people like me and a lot of others realize their true physical potential. Thank You.

Abhay Mane

Paula SchafferPaula Still Moving Ahead -- Posted 1/24/01

Dear Mike,

Want to update you on our situation and thought you might find the information useful for your upcoming infomercial. After several years in the making, we've opened a strength and conditioning center. It's really our dream come true. We teach the realistic approach to strength training and credit much of our knowledge to your philosophy. Our clients are, without exception, successful. Of course, in varying degrees, according to the level of their own commitment and ability to work, but they know that. It's exciting to watch as, not only their bodies become stronger, but so do their minds. Mental toughness and the development of physical strength go hand in hand. Looking forward to working with you!

Stephen and Paula Schaffer

Your Most Content Phone Consultation Client -- Posted 1/23/01

Dear Mr. Mentzer,

Following your advice per our phone conversation, I have made consistent progress using the Consolidation routine outlined in Heavy Duty II.

During our recent phone consultation, I added the less stressful dumbbell shrugs in place of the deadlift, and added one superset of pec deck with a Cybex machine with the Cybex Incline bench press. My prior deadlift has sky rocketed from 355 lbs. to 375 lbs. in perfect form for 8 reps. My cybex dip however, went from 285 lbs. x 6 reps to 300 lbs. x 10 reps in just one workout!!!!!

Thank You!!!
Your Most Content Phone Consultation Client

Heavy Duty: For Athletes, Too -- Posted 1/23/01

Dear Mr. Mentzer,

I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S REALLY YOU !!! I have been a fan for many many years. I have your tape training program and I have just received your "Muscles in Minutes". I know that your system is the logical choice, yet I get a constant barrage of people who train both in the [martial] arts and in lifting who tell me that it will never work.

I am 5'11" at 217 lb and 18-19% Body fat. I wanted to lose some fat weight and I hate aerobics (and I like to eat). Just recently I began to train again for the martial arts and lifting (I took 4 months off due to broken ribs suffered while fighting in karate class). So I gained some fat weight, and I was about to begin circuit training three times a week to lose the fat when I received your book. Now I am totally confused. I was set to run 2 miles three times a week and circuit train three times a week. Just to lose the fat, but your book (and I re-picked up your tapes to listen again) made so much sense that now I will try your path. It just sounds so logical and methodical.

I just want to say that I am floored you would take the time to email back!!! It is not often at all that someone as famous as yourself would take the time to "talk" to someone who has questions and concerns. Thank you.


HIT Has Struck Again! -- Posted 1/21/01

Dear Mike,

My name is Travis. I am a 16 year old and would like to talk about how HIT has helped me.  I started lifting weights when I was 12. The first year I made great gains.  I began to be drawn in by all the glossy muscle mags and try their routines.  When I was thirteen I actually lost strength by the end of the year by toiling hours with the weights.  Also last year I "dropped" my volume down to a "low" 12 total sets.  I got your Heavy Duty book for Christmas and have read every word. With HIT I have gone to squat-185 for 6 to 305 for 18 in two months.  I am extremely happy and am probably the strongest person for my weight at my school.  I also can do pullups with 65 lbs. around my waist.  A few weeks ago I would add 10 lbs. to the squat each week.  Last week I added 20 with 3 more reps and this week 20 with 5 more reps.  I'll have to add thirty next week to try to decrease the reps!  So in conclusion thanks a lot!  Oh by the way, my workouts take 15 minutes!


Ruthless Objectivity -- Posted 12/30/00

Dear Mike,

It is with great pride that I write this letter to a Master of both the mind and body.  For years I've disregarded the hate-mail I read disputing your techniques of lifting and philosophy of life until recently.  Three months ago I began to look back into the articles you've wrote over the years and came up with a conclusion that was a bit startling.  Unwavering consistency!  It was at that point I decided to find out a little bit more about what I knew of you which (at the time) was nothing more than an individual robbed of his due glory in his day of physical supremacy.  I learned you advocate the teachings of the late Ayn Rand.  When I began researching the right or wrong, black or white- nothing but evil exists in between, rational, and logical philosophy - I was envious!  I wanted that kind of confidence.  I wanted your conviction, your ruthless ability to object to any circumstance at any given time and only armed with a simple tool of logic and rationalism.  This was not going to be an easy transition however.  At the time I considered myself (and am a bit embarrassed to say it) a christian.  In any event, I was willing to sacrifice and break away from the collective to the objective of which to this day I have found nothing but liberation.  Liberation from the tyranny of servitude, and self-sacrifice.

I say thank you as one who's maintained the courage to stand up for what is right.  I appreciate the fact your are a man made by your own volition. You deserve everything you have.  I believe, due to the lack of people like you that the logic you spoke of so effortlessly in magazines and audiotapes - that this cumulative effect was finally tearing down the 26 years of fear I had pent up inside.  I have been bodybuilding since the age of 13, I'm now 27 and for the first time I feel not only guiltless- but prideful of my accomplishments.

I'm looking into your supplement line.  I'm going to dissect your product through research, until it's proven irreducible by my standards.  At such a given time upon completion, provided it's everything you said it is I'll buy into it.  I am especially interested in the HGH.

Highest respect and warm regards,
Stephen Near

A Modern Day Aristotle -- Posted 11/30/00

Mike Mentzer is the Aristotle of bodybuilding who is bent on liberating the bodybuilder from the shackles of mysticism into the sunlit world of logic. His HIT program is the one valid scientific system that treats bodybuilding as a branch of exercise science rather than a swamp of myths which often drown out any semblance of rational thought. Mr. Mentzer applies Aristotelian logic in his writings, consultations and training sessions to prove that the greatest muscular growth is achieved through brief, intense training sessions of only a few minutes followed by necessary rest periods of several days (often 7 or more days). His theory is essentially a theory about stress whereby the body compensates for the added stress of lifting heavier weights by increasing muscle size. An increase in muscle size can only occur, however, if the body gets enough rest between bouts of the brief, intense workouts. In essence, the amount of rest is as important as the amount of exercise and must be carefully regulated.

What is ironic is that Mr. Mentzer has discovered through his own training sessions and in supervising his clients' sessions that most of the bodybuilding world has it all wrong: the greatest muscular growth does not occur with high-volume training and six day training schedules but rather with low-volume training that is intense but only occurs every 7 to 20 days. In fact, as one gets stronger, one must rest even more because of the greater demands being made on the body's recovery system which is finite like everything else in the universe (except perhaps stupidity which at least sometimes seems infinite). I urge anyone interested in understanding the principles of muscular growth to either purchase Mentzer's books on bodybuilding or call him for a consultation. His intellectual achievement in developing bodybuilding as a theory of exercise science surpasses even his physical accomplishments in the competitive world of bodybuilding.

Layman Summers
Carbondale, IL

He Got It! -- Posted 11/29/00

Dear Sir,

First of all, I would like to say that you are one of the most intelligent, thoughtful, and personable people I have had the honor of hearing! I just finished your 4 part tape series, "HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING PROGRAM"! Wow! what an insight and eye opening experience! As this is the first product of yours that I've ever been exposed to, you can only imagine my reaction to your theory on bodybuilding and exercise!

My name is Russell Love, and I suspect my story is like a countless many others. I am 32 years old, and have been involved in some way with exercise all my life. I have been involved with the martial arts, since age 8. My training involved of course, many hours in the dojo and gym. Like many of your clients, I too have not experienced any major improvements over the course of my training experience. Now that I've heard your priciples on training volume and frequency, I have to question all that I've been taught. The one part on your tape that really pushed my buttons, was the little story in which you asked, has the listener ever stopped training for longer than their usual rest period? only to return stronger than when he left? After hearing this thought provoking question, I jumped up from my seat, and yelled YES!! YES!, I did always seem to have an awesome workout after an extended rest period! Well, Well, I guess I just had one of those moments in my life where things seem to all come together and you "Get it"!

I too am from central PA, a little town called Pine Grove, not far from where you grew up. I hope someday I have the privilege of your consultation, but for now I will start training the way you suggest, Once every 4 days, with one all out intense set to failure!! Just as you said, "If you keep on doing what you've been doing, then you'll keep on getting what you've been getting"! Thanks Mike Mentzer, you're an inspiration to all!!!

Russell Love

Hit and Run: The Ironman Interview -- Posted 11/29/00

Dear Mike:

I was just reading the interview in the new Ironman magazine and I was somewhat angered by the publisher's comment "when Mike was winning the judges were the greatest; when he didn't win the contest was fixed." I know that they have their own interests and relations to look after, but that kind of wording was uncalled for as you have never said anything of the sort and anyone that has viewed that tape can clearly see your point.

I have been into bodybuilding for over 15 years and have read your books and articles all along and thanks to that I have never been a slave to the volume approach (maybe a little when I first started training). I am a Personal Trainer and my clients love their results and interestingly (with the lack of intelligent, thinking people out there), I have never met with a potential client that has not signed on for training with me. Although, I certainly have had my share of resistance, anger and opposition from people in the fitness industry, who think they know how to workout and that I should do things like everyone else does.

Bill Norman

Keep Up the Good Work -- Posted 11/29/00

Dear Mike:

As I certified strength coach and personal trainer for the past 20 years, I have always tried to keep an open mind. As I grow older (now in my 40's), I find that the HD philosophy is making more and more sense. I have been reading IronMan since 1976 and it is nice to see you back in its pages. While I have your "divided" attention, I would appreciate any help or advice you can offer on the following.

I am in the process of trying to equip a small space (9x17) at my police department. We are seeking just the basics: power rack (preferably with a hi/lo lat attachment), adjustable bench, 500 or more lb. of Oly. plates, an adjustable dumbbell system (like the PowerBlock) giving us the ability to go to at least 85 lb., etc. Our agency head is NOT into fitness so I cannot hope for even a very modest $5,000 with which to equip our facility. It was like pulling teeth just to get the space. We are a rural agency in western Colorado (right on I-70 - one of the largest drug corridors in the country) and I desperately need a place to train my colleagues. Of course, the "main course" will center on HD principles.

If you have any ideas for funding or equipment donations, I would appreciate it. Perhaps you could run this letter on your web site. Regardless, thanks and keep up the good work.

In Service,
Officer M.C. Williams
Silt P.D.

Inspiring -- Posted 11/20/00

Dear Mike:

This letter of thanks is about six and a half years overdue. I started training at age 15, and like you did as a youngster, I fell in love with body building. Having decent genetics, I gained about 30 ponds in my first two years of training. I was extremely fortunate to make those kind of gains, because I didn't have clue about proper training. During my senior year in college, after six years of no meaningful progress it became apparent to me, that I knew nothing of value about exercise. I began looking for a better way, and that's when I read an article that you had written for Muscle Media 2000, and the rest you could say is history. I didn't even need to try a Heavy Duty workout to be convinced. From the moment I started reading that first article, I knew Heavy Duty, high intensity training was the answer I'd been looking for.

You were the first writer, who ever made me think, and the only writer who didn't expect me to blindly follow your advice without questioning it first. Mike, it was as if your words came off the page, grabbed me by the throat and shook all the stupid ideas about training right out of my head. After that experience, I bought Heavy Duty I, and at the same time started my own personal training business. From day one I trained all of my clients with Heavy Duty high intensity exercise. For the first year and a half, I built my clientele, and my reputation in a small neighborhood health club. Then I opened my own studio, and the business has grown in leaps and bounds. Mike, I just wanted to let you know what a tremendous positive influence you've had on my life.

I wanted to share a story with you, about one of my favorite clients. A young man came to me back in the fall of 1996, after battling leukemia all summer. His name was Stephen Matheny, and all he cared about was playing hockey. His goal was to return to the ice for his junior season. I felt a lot of pressure because we only had about eight weeks until his first practice. Stephen's body had been ravaged by the leukemia. Before he got sick he weighed about 145 lbs., but when I met him, he was down to 110. I began training him using the suggested routine from HD2, and by the time hockey started, Stephen's body weight was up to 160 lbs., and he was the strongest he'd ever been in his life.

He trained a total of ten times in eight weeks, and gained 45 lbs. His next goal was to win a state championship, which he did that year. His next goal was to become the captain for his senior year, which he did. His next goal was to win another state championship, but unfortunately his cancer came back the night before the state tournament started. His next goal was to beat cancer again, but unfortunately Stephen Matheny passed away August 1st, 1998. I was proud to hear from his dad that Stephen went out in the same manner he did every one of his workouts.

He fought to the end with as much effort as humanly possible. I can't thank you enough Mike. Without the knowledge I gained from you, I would never have been able to help Stephen achieve his goals. You helped me make his year and a half in remission, the best year and a half of his young life. Thanks for everything.

Craig D. Huntington

Thank You -- Posted 11/14/00

Dear Mike

I am 32 years old and was a big fan of yours and Ray's in the early 80s. I started lifting weights in grade school and trained hard through early college. While the weights helped my football endeavors, my real desire was to become a competitive bodybuilder. I naively assumed that everyone was on the same playing field, and whoever worked the hardest would prevail. Thus, I worked out religiously, 2-3 hours a night, 6 nights a week, the amount prescribed by the magazines. While I made decent gains, I never achieved anywhere near the mass gains I desired or needed for competition. At 5'9, the biggest my arms have ever been is 16.5". Upon graduation from high school, I began to train at a local bodybuilding gym where I learned two very disappointing things: 1) we are not all on the same genetic playing field, and 2) most of the monsters are on drugs. After graduating college, I drifted in and out of various training regimens, but due to time constraints and general disillusionment, I never even got back to where I was in college.

However, about three months ago, I came across the Cyberpump website and your associated link. I had heard very little about this type of training, but the articles there made too much sense to be ignored. As I looked back on my training history, it all became clear. I now know why when I was playing football that I would make most of my gains from November through early spring, but then plateau for most of the rest of the off season. It also began to make sense why when I would usually come back stronger after an unscheduled layoff period. After studying the Cyberpump website, I devised my own program, keeping in mind that less is more.

Bench 1x6-8
Close Grip 1x1x6-8
Upright Row 1x8-10
Lat Pulldown 1x6-8
Cabe Curls 1x6-8
Shrugs 1x8-10
Neck Extension 1x8-10
Squats 1x10-12

Reps are 4 seconds down, two seconds up to total failure, then I strain on the bar for another ten seconds. I perform this every five days. If you had told me six months ago that I could work my whole body in eight sets and make any gains at all I would have totally dismissed the thought. However, three months after starting, I still am sore the day after the workout. I have put about a quarter of an inch on my arms, which are back to 16.5". I am anxious to see if I can actually get into new territory. I have already taken a one week layoff and am planing to take another one soon. For someone who went years with no real gains, I am more than happy to risk making slower gains by erring on the side of not working out enough than going into overtraining and making no gains at all. My goal is to have 18" arms with the body to match, although 19" would be nice. I should know in a few months if this is in my genetic cards.

I wanted to thank you for putting the information up on your website. I am finally enjoying training again...

Thank you again,
Bill Whiteside

You Are Right And Everyone Else is Wrong!! -- Posted 10/21/00

Dear Mike,

I've been training for about 20 years, not for ultimate size but for strength and conditioning for sports. During that time I have tried just about every type of training out there, except yours.

Heavy Duty training seemed too extreme, and also seemed to be in my opinion a "roid training system", where you need a little pharmaceutical help to make it work.

I was wrong about that. In fact, I've learned more about the correct way for me to train over the past 3 months than I learned the previous 20 years. I hate to say it, but based on my recent experience, I think you are right and everyone else is wrong!! It doesn't seem possible, and your training system seems too severe, but it certainly works, and oddly enough all my nagging training injuries from the past have also gone away. I had a bad shoulder and a bad hip and there are no traces whatsoever of either problem right now. The strength gains are huge, up 15% across the board, with no other diet or regimen changes. I did have to back off on the calories a little though, as I was used to burning a lot more in the gym 2 hours per day 5 days per week.

Keep up the good work. I look forward to future info.

Scott Rosenke

Mike Mentzer, the Hero -- Posted 10/21/00

Dear Mr. Mentzer,

I have just finished reading the article: "The Philosophical Foundations of Heroism" by Dr. Andrew Bernstein.  Throughout the article, I could not help but have the name "Mike Mentzer" pop into my mind as Dr. Bernstein described the attributes of a hero.  As Ayn Rand stated in The Romantic Manifesto, art is a re-creation of man's highest values, to be taken in and enjoyed, in order to give us temporary relief and encouragement in our struggles against adversity.  This was what she thought of when she developed characters such as Howard Roark and John Galt.  She attempted to, and succeeded at, develop a character to which one could refer back to when contemplating a moral decision.  So that one could say, "what would John Galt do in this situation."  These men were designed by her to be heroes, in the full sense and fully integrated as described by Dr. Bernstein's article. 

What I see in you, Mr. Mentzer, is the same type of embodiment of characteristics.  You, also, could be looked at when one wonders what to do when faced with a moral decision.  You have never compromised yourself in the face of adversity. You have remained fully consistent in your practice.  You have battled adversity of an enormous scale.  You have stood alone, with your mind as your highest value, to face all others in the realm of bodybuilding science. You do not deviate, you do not compromise for any man or group of men. You hold logic and reality as an absolute, even when all others try to fight you.  You, Mr. Mentzer, are a hero. 

With regards to the spectrum of intellectual heroism on one side, and physical heroism on the other, you have touched on both sides.  Intellectually, through the development of the only rational theory in bodybuilding science, and physically by your application of this theory both to yourself and to the thousands who have had the privilege of learning and applying your theory. 

You have achieved the four components of heroism stated in Mr. Bernstein's article. 1)Moral Greatness: achieved through your uncompromising dedication to the value of knowledge and logic.  2)Ability or Prowess: achieved by the successful development of the only rational theory for achieving superior muscular growth: Heavy Duty.  3)Action in the Face of Opposition: Achieved on countless occasions and still now on an ongoing basis (i.e. Mike Mentzer vs. the rest of the bodybuilding world)4)  Triumph in a Spiritual or Physical Form: Achieved as follows: Mike Mentzer, Ray Mentzer, Dorian Yates, Casey Viator, David Dearth etc...as well as countless other bodybuilders who have gone beyond what they would have achieved without Heavy Duty.  (Mike Mentzer vs. the rest of the bodybuilding world, and the winner is, with reality as the referee: Mike Mentzer!) 

As for what Dr. Bernstein states to be one of a heroes most salient characteristics, courage, well Mr. Mentzer, you must have ample courage to accomplish what you have.  You have faced adversity in many forms, from intellectual attacks, to the risk of financial hardships in the beginning of the development of your theories.  However, your courage shone through, and here you are able to stand today, as Mike Mentzer, the hero.  The man of accomplishment, and of uncompromising moral stature.  You, Mr. Mentzer, are the physical, living embodiement of man as he could and ought to be. However much I enjoy reading about Howard Roark and John Galt, knowing that there is someone who is out there and was created not directly by Any Rand's pen as her vision of man, but by the application of her philosophy to a living man, is even greater.

Mr. Mentzer, this is the only way in which I can thank you for what you have given me.  By recognizing that you are a hero, that is my payment to you.  I should hope one day to meet you.  Thank you.


Jason Cresswell

Heavy Duty: A Form of Cognitive Therapy -- Posted 10/21/00

Dear Mike,

I'm writing to you to express my deepest appeciation for not only teaching me how to build big muscles, but more importantly, for teaching me how to think logically and rationally. Since reading Heavy Duty 2, I have achieved great success in my training and even greater success in my life. For 2 years I struggled with chronic anxiety and panic attacks (as I recently spoke with you about over the phone). After seeing several so called "specialists", who did nothing but write prescriptions and make things worse, I knew that there had to be an answer somewhere out there. To be totally honest I sure as hell did not expect to find the answer from a bodybuilder. I originally bought your book for training advice, but as I read it not only did bodybuilding start to make sense, I started to realize that the answer to my personal problems lied within my own thinking. I'm now reading the book for the 4th time as I learn more every time I pick it up. There is so much confusion and fluff in the world simply because people just don't know how to think, and are too lazy to learn how to. I now can't help but think that overtraining contributed to my problem as well.

As far as my training goes, when I started using the consolidation program 3 months ago I was a soft and out of shape 210 pounds at 6'2". Today Oct. 22, 2000 I'm a much bigger and stronger 228 pounds, and although I'm not ripped I've lost a lot of body fat. I won't bore you by telling you all of the other ridiculous routines I've tried as you've heard it all before. THANK YOU MIKE FOR CHANGING MY PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE.

P.S I hope you are recovering well after your surgery.

Yours truly,
Jon Paris
Ontario, Canada

Top Quote -- Posted 10/17/00

Dear Mr. Mentzer:

I have personally benefited greatly from your discoveries concerning human physiology. However, my wife is the true benefactor and I believe you should be aware of the scope of your influence over her life, and concomitantly, mine.

I have lifted weights for many years. I have found great solace and sustained interest in the intimacy of moments alone with nothing but my will and a bar loaded with weight. I am not genetically gifted, I never intended to be a body builder and my reasons for lifting are more sensuous than sensible. I have never been particularly successful at weightlifting, either. Any objective review of my progress would reveal what you have already heard ad nauseum: declining strength, repetitive use injuries, and surgery. Such is the reward for 20 years of uncritical involvement.

I found your information about three years ago and was able to employ it for only two months before a catastrophic shoulder injury occurred while I was lifting weight. It took almost 18 months for recovery. It was however, a very interesting recovery. The surgery had enforced a prolonged cessation of physical exercise, and when I started lifting again using HIT methods, I noticed that I was actually increasing my strength and size. This had not occurred for many years. I followed your suggestions, and while observing my workouts carefully I continuously lowered the amount of exercise to where I am now. I work out once a week, alternating between squats, pulldowns and dips one week and shrugs, deadlifts, behind the neck press and calf raises the next. My progress is slow, but continuous. This is how I came to know that your methods worked.

My wife has been afflicted with severe rheumatoid arthritis for nearly 20 years. It was diagnosed about a year after we were married. She has the most virulent type of the disease, a form that never goes into remission and is always active. She has undergone numerous surgeries on her hands and feet. She has shrunk from 5'9" to 5'7" and has taken every drug and therapy. She has varied from total incapacity to marginal existence. She has been unable to walk or stand on her feet, grasp a doorknob or hold her children for years at a time.

Because of the extreme toxicity of the drugs available at the time, she suspended drug therapy for several years to have children. During this time, the disease progressed rapidly and she was in constant pain. Who says there aren't any heroes? But it is an indication of the type of person she is.

Recent advances in recombinant DNA based drugs have allowed her to finally believe that she will live long enough to see her children grow up. The effect of the new drugs has been to dramatically reduce the pain of joint swelling and degradation. Since I am intimately concerned with the health of this most important person in my life, I have cajoled, fought, comforted, sympathized with her to try and increase her ability to live a productive life. The new drugs have been the dawn of a great existence for both of us.

I had a thought that if resistance exercise helped stimulate bone growth at muscle attachment points, why not try that technique to see if we could mobilize her own hypertrophic response mechanisms to retard the progress of the disease? With that in mind, and the new drugs reducing the pain of joint movement, I started her on a resistance exercise program, utilizing your methods, at the beginning of this year.

The results have been profound. There is a dip machine at the local Gold's Gym. Six months ago, we started at 30 pounds to failure, which was 5 reps. Last week, she did 105 pounds to failure at 10 reps. My wife could not raise either arm to shoulder level six months ago. The muscle atrophy and joint degeneration in this area was so obvious that she took care to cover her shoulders at all times in public. Today, she has nearly normal muscle tissue covering her entire shoulder/triceps area, and in fact is significantly stronger than most of the women working out at the gym. She has progressed dramatically in every muscle group. Without personal knowledge of her, you will never fully grasp the extent of this change. A very close analogy would be the experience of a person confined to a wheelchair being able to walk again after years of disability.

Her doctors were horrified that I would even suggest such an experiment, but as so often happens with people who have no vested interest in intellectual curiosity, the doctors never conceived that the disease process and the human process were interrelated. We have been exceedingly careful about exercise dosage, types of exercises used, intensity versus pain index, distinguishing between types of pain, recovery times and the methodology of record keeping. We have varied the exercises to respond to differing symptom levels and she has participated with tremendous enthusiasm every step of the way.

It is with sincere, enduring gratitude that I extend the heartfelt thanks of my wife and myself for showing us how to use the tools you discovered. It has affected the lives of our entire family in the most positive way.

Perhaps our experience could be of some help to others similarly affected.


The Growth of HIT -- Posted 9/28/00

Dear Mr. Mentzer,

I have been a fan of yours since reading "Heavy Duty II" in 1996. Back then when I first read your ideas I considered them to be radical. No one, and I mean no one, had ever written about brief infrequent training or especially "one set". I can not overstate how unbelievably original your theories were compared to what was being written in Muscular Development and Muscle and Fitness (both garbage magazines in my opinion). I stopped reading bodybuilding magazines when you left Muscular Development. I suddenly started reading again when I happened to see you featured in IRONMAN (the first good magazine I've read). Even more surprisingly, your concepts and ideas are now very popular and mainstream. Almost all the articles in IRONMAN are geared towards a HIT perspective. Other magazines and even television shows are learning about and informing the public about HIT training. However, most people still don't go as far as you, especially with the "one set" idea. How do you feel about this new trend in the health industry? More specifically, how do feel about some of your contemporaries? Even more specifically Steve Holman, who also seems to be a student of Arthur Jones. I think your frank comments would be very interesting and long overdue.

Santiago Torres

Paula Schaffer Paula's Update -- Posted 9/21/00

Dear Mr. Mentzer,

Since you were so generous as to put my story on your website, I thought you might like an update...

Last Sat., May 27th., I won 1st place in Women's Open and the Over All in the INBF N.W. Natural Championships. Every competitor was drug tested. This win gave me my pro card! My next competitive goal is to find sponsors and WIN at the pro national level contest in Greensbourgh, NC on Aug. 5th and then the World Natural Championship in Alantic City on Nov. 4th. I've even been asked to guest pose at an NGA show on Sept. 9th. Not bad for a gramma of 6!

It takes sound scientific training principals and determination. I've been blessed with both! Being married to an awesome trainer helps too. I have to tell you that the best part for me is that everytime I'm seen in print, people surround me, wanting to know how I did it. When they find out a bit about my backround, (as printed on your website and in EP) I get to see their lights go on and hear their comments about how now, they believe they can improve their own level of fitness. Thank you so much for your committment, writing and giving me an avenue from which to speak to others. I've always been surprised to hear people say that because they've had babies, are getting older, had a bad childhood or whatever, they didn't think a fit life was for them. With scientific training techniques, determination and belief in themselves there are... NO MORE EXCUSES! If I can do it, so can THEY!

I have to tell you that after the contest, another competitor (a young man) asked me about my training methods. When I mentioned your name, he actually became very excited. He said that he'd been reading some of your work and was thinking about trying it. I told him that, "there is no try, only do." Yea, I stole it from Yoda but I'm sure that he's hard at work "doing" it right now! I also gave him your website address. It's great to be able to offer people your website. I love the feeling I get when I know that I've reached them. Most people are too busy or too lazy to buy AND read a book. A website makes sound training information easily accessible. Keep it going, we're listening.....THANK YOU!

Paula Schaffer

P.S. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know. I really believe in our training methods and principles and enjoy telling others about them!

Teaching Heavy Duty -- Posted 9/21/00

Mr. Mentzer,

I am a Floor Supervisor at 24 Hour Fitness in Las Vegas. I am in charge of making sure my trainers are using the best programs for their clients, amongst other things. The ideas you present on recovery ability and performing the least amount of work necessary are absolute Must Know information amongst my trainers. I encourage them to engage in scientific training and stray from "Traditional Programs". The impact you have made on my way of thinking about training has given me the ability to be one of the highest grossing, and most influential trainers in the 24 Hour Fitness Staff.

Thank you.

Sam Visnic

Thanks -- Posted 9/20/00

Mr. Mentzer,

I just wanted to send you a note stating my appreciation for the positive influence that you have had on my life. I first came across your books back in 1994 when I was a sophomore in college. By that time, I had already been working out for 4 years. My progress deteriorated over the 4 years and I thought I had hit the physical limits dictated by my genetics. After reading your book, everything suddenly became crystal clear. Looking back at those 4 years, I suddenly realized that every major progress that was made was the result of a cutback on the volume of my training. I also immediately realized why when I ran cross-country in high school, my times were better in the off-season when I wasn't training competitively. Obviously, my coach's one size fits all training prescription constituted overtraining for someone with my recovery ability and when my body got a break during the off-season it was finally able to complete its adaptive cycle.

In the process of learning Heavy Duty, I learned to value the importance of critical thinking. I learned to never again accept things stated as facts without first evaluating its validity for myself. Most importantly, I have learned to search for the truth in everything that I approach. As a result, I now have much greater appreciation and passion for my work, my life, and my future...

Once again, thank you for everything. Your accomplishments, your struggles, and your triumph have been the utmost inspiration.

Most sincerely,
Chen Chang

I Can Not Believe It! -- Posted 9/13/00

Mr. Mentzer,

I hope you can view this message as I wish to personally thank you for the extreme success that I am having using Suggested Routine 1 in your book HD2.

I have always enjoyed reading your articles, as I have never seen anyone hit the issues head on like you do. About 3 years ago, I thought that I had found the ultimate strength coach and his articles I thought made sense. I did make some reasonable progress (I use that term loosely) until this author started recommending that trainees start doing bench presses on a large basketball or whatever that thing is called. That is when logic gave me a wake up call and I decided to start reading your articles. I have always admired your physique, but the more I read your articles, the more excited I became about your system.

I do have to admit, that foolishly I started using a system that was just doing less than what the majority recommended. As you have said though, since the majority has not a clue, doing less is not good enough. So I started using your routine outlined in HD2. I do have to admit, I did not totally believe that 1 set was enough. After my first workout though, I knew that the way I felt, [with] the level of intensity used, that any more than 1 set would constitute overtraining. I just want to share a couple of quick stats on my progress. In about a week, my pec flyes were up 30 lbs. and 2 reps!! But more dramatically, in two workouts, my leg extensions are up 30 lbs., my leg presses are up 40 lbs. and 1 rep, and calf raises are up 45 lbs. and 3 reps!! I have never gained so quickly.

So, I would like to tell the ones that follow what the "experts" say, Heavy Duty is the definite valid scientific theory on training. Argue with all their so called "evidence", and then take a look at real life results like myself. Again, thank you so much Mr. Mentzer.

Kevin Coates

Refutation of Moral Relativism -- Posted 9/13/00

Dear Mr. Mentzer,

I met you backstage in 1977 at a weightlifting/bodybuilding show in Hayward, Ca. I was sixteen then and you asked me why I was a bodybuilder, upon which I had no reply. Twenty-three years later, I find myself an English professor at El Camino College in Torrance, teaching a book, The Refutation of Moral Relativism, by Peter Kreeft, which is relevant to your chronicle of intellectual growth, specifically, your rejection of the nebulous mystical for the power of reason. Kreeft's book is highly recommended.

Jeff McMahon
Redondo Beach, CA

Arthur Jones Autobiography and Progress Updates -- Posted 9/1/00

Dear Mr. Mentzer,

Just a note to let you know in case you were not aware, Elington Darden is selling Arthur Jones' Autobiography "...And God Laughs" at his website ClassicX.com. It's an e-book that is about 1320 pages and cannot be printed. It's $59.95.

What suprised me most was that I have heard literally nothing about it on any of the more popular websites on High-Intensity Training. I was made aware of it by a post to the IART board. I suspect (but may be mistaken) that Tim Patterson is involved in the sale as I believe that he is involved with the site and know that Darden sells the Biotest line of supplements through his site. Still, I was suprised that no other sites have mentioned the book, as though it doesn't exist.

I am at page 300 now, and I cannot think of anything to say other than, "unreal". Aside from his honesty (to the point of stating that Arnold Swarzen-whatever was a homosexual prostitute) which is more brutal and refreshing than I have seen or heard from most people, many of his conversations took place in a format that I see in much of Ayn Rand's writing. Jones is direct and to the point in talking to people. He literally seems like a fictional character. Close to either Howard Roark or Hank Rearden, or both. And his life seems to be too long, meaning that according to the book, he is about 71 years old. But he has done so much.

And for an update on my training, in the past six weeks I have gained .25" on both arms, .5" on my legs, 1" on my chest, 1" on my shoulders, .125" on my forearms and calves, and lost .25" from my midsection. And all of my exercises go up without fail. I'll tell you some of the accomplishments of a friend that I am working with. At present he is regaining muscle mass, and in the last six weeks, with a TOTAL training time of less than 2.5 hours he has gained 11 pounds of almost pure lean mass (he has I believe some more water retention from drinking beer as he is now 21). He has increased his bench press by 40 pounds, his dips by 30, his leg presses by over 100, and has gained 1.5" in his shoulders, 1" in his chest, .75" on both arms, 1.75" on both legs, .125" on his calves .5" on his forearms, and (unfortunately) gained 1.75" on his midsection. But I believe that is mostly from the alcohol and may be more water retention as his bodyfat tests have not gone up. This friend however is a highly respondent individual who without ever doing bench presses at 18 was able to put up 202lbs. when he had only been performing curls and overhead presses everyday for several months. Put in the last six weeks his strength gains have been phenomenol. And a woman where he works told him that one set training doesn't work. Yeah, I guess not huh?

Seth Spaner

Why Not to Practice HIT -- Posted 9/1/00

There is one good reason not to practice HIT: It works! That's right. If you train HIT style, you will get stronger and bigger. Is this really what you want? Do you dare to become bigger and stronger, or do you have an agenda of "looking" like you want to become bigger and stronger - of looking like you have the virtue of "putting in the effort"? I think many trainees today suffer from such contradictory values. They want to be seen as trying, but they do not want the actual results. For what does it entail to be strong - to have achieved strength? It means that you have the physical manifestation of someone who is capable of taking care of themselves. What does it entail merely to be "putting in the effort"? It means that you have the excuse not to be kicked out in the world to stand on your own two legs, because you need more time for preparation. It also means that you won't get there.

Are you ready to stand on your own legs? Can you take responsibility for your own decisions and your own values? Or do you harbor values which you would prefer not to practice? In the latter case, make sure you never feel like you can stand on your own two legs. Make sure you don't succeed in your weight training. Above all, don't practice HIT.

Svein Olav

Twenty Years Later... -- Posted 8/23/00

Dear Mr. Mike Mentzer,

I went into the Air Force back in 1976 and was stationed at Yokota AB, Japan until 1980. From the beginning of 1978 until I left Japan in 1980, I began weightlifting and contributed much of my knowledge about weightlifting to various publications which included many of your articles about Heavy Duty high intensity training. During those two years which were just an incredibly great time in my life, I remember often looking at your pictures with admiration and believe it or not, in some respects a hero. There was something admirably different about you from most all others in the weightlifting world that at the time I couldn't describe. I was never aware of the controversy surrounding your position compared to the pseudoscience presented by the Weider marketing machine and of course, I never pursued weightlifting to any significant level since. I also wasn't aware you were in the Air Force.

Over the course of the previous year I have been reading about the objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand which actually started after I picked up her novel Atlas Shrugged - read it too! My desire to apply and learn more of objectivist philosophy has led me to several web sites and your name was mentioned in an article on a web site at www.prodos.com. I wasn't sure if it was the same Mike Mentzer that I admired so much while in the Air Force back in the late 70's so, the other day after working out, I asked the owner of the gym where I go to look if he had any books/magazines on Mike Mentzer, and with that he pulled out your Heavy Duty book which he was gracious enough to allow me to take home to read. Sure enough there it was, your mentioning Ayn Rand and attributing your success to objectivist philosophy! I have since been to your web site - thus the email - and have read through your article about how Arthur Jones and Ayn Rand influenced your scientific approach to weightlifting and philosophy of life.

Twenty years later I'm brought back to Mike Mentzer not through weightlifting but because of such a truly profound honest way of living through the philosophy of Ayn Rand. What better way for me to now go to the gym (at 42 I still work out) to train with Ayn Rand's concept of hero worship and you as a living testament to that idea as my guide.

I want to express my gratitude and thanks for your work in the profession of weightlifting and health. I hope that life brings your way through honest objective reality the rewards and wonder that this world has for the diligent and wish you much continued success.

Best of regards,

Timothy R. Cowan

Comment On Your Philosophy -- Posted 8/23/00

Dear Mike Mentzer:

I have followed your career for several decades but only recently discovered your website. It contains very interesting information, but I have to admit that your philosophical bent is very different from my beliefs -- or at least what I assume are my beliefs. You could in fact call me a "Subjectivist". However, I find that in life I'm not getting to where I want to be. Being open-minded I have resolved to study the philosophical theories that you and others espouse. It will take some effort and diligence because I have a skeptical nature. Someday soon I will report on my experience which I hope will be a happy one. Wishing you all the best.


Ron Huybrechts
Toronto, Canada

Old School, My A#% -- Posted 8/11/00

Dear Mike,

I want to relay how much your philosophy has changed my life. Having post-secondary education and having trained for eight years, I thought I knew it all. My physique had gone from 150 lbs. to 230 lbs. Most of this was done drug free.

Over the past months however, I've started to reduce my frequency of training as recommended by you. The results have been great. Not only is my body fat down but my muscles constantly feel like they're ready to explode. I haven't had this kind of zest for training since I first started and I'm eating more then I ever did before.

I just wish the younger generation at the gyms today would adopt your philosophy. I was always taught that it is better to learn from someone else's mistakes rather than your own. Oh well, as long I'm getting results, I can't help them for being ignorant.

Thanx for everything Mike. You help to portray the bodybuilder as an intelligent man.

Jason Cormier
Toronto, Canada

Heavy Duty Heaven -- Posted 8/8/00

Hello Mike,

I am writing to you from the sprawling metropolis of Crosby, Texas. As a long time high volume/high intensity bodybuilder, I was somewhat skeptical with your brief, infrequent training protocol. But after reading your statement, "If what you're doing isn't working, it's not going to magically start working tomorrow", well, you needn't hit me over the head with a hammer. I have been training non-stop since January 1979. I started out a lean 170 lbs. at 5' 11" and progressed to 192 lbs. over the course of the first year. The workout was a 2 hour marathon consisting of only chest, back, and tricep work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The next year I paid lip service to legs, delts and biceps and grew to 208 lbs at around 12% bodyfat. As the mid 80's came along, being a big fan of the mass freaks in the Weider publications, I blindly followed the flavor of the week workouts. I spent many years on the Mon., Tues, Thur., Fri. program, working half the body twice a week with up to 20 sets per bodypart for the large muscle groups and 10 to 12 sets for the smaller. Always intense, every set to failure, forced reps, rest pause, pre-exhaustion, you name it, we tried it. Although I got as big and as strong as I'd ever been, I paid the price. Three shoulder operations to repair torn cartilage, torn rotator cuff, torn labrum, etc., due to the constant heavy bench pressing. My best was 315 lbs. on bench for 12 reps and 380 for a single at 198 lb. bodyweight. Typical chest workout was 1 hour long.

Needless to say, the heavy benching had to go. I was able to do dumbbells with far less shoulder pain and switched to them exclusively for years to come. The late 80's through late '98 found me continuing with the volume approach, making absolutely no gains whatsoever at a bodyweight of around 194 lbs. One day while in the local supplement establishment, I came across a magazine with the previously mentioned remark in it about non-productive training regimens. Well I cut back my training drastically and immediately gained 5 lbs. Then progress stopped due to overtraining, as I was still performing 4 to 6 sets per bodypart, twice a week.

Over the course of the next year or so I gradually cut back to close to what you were recommending. Each time I cut back I would experience a short period of strength increases, then another plateau. Please forgive me for being long winded, but I wanted to provide you with a little background.

In September '99, I purchased Heavy Duty II, after reading several of your articles in ANMD. When I spoke with you briefly on the day I ordered it, you told me you were busy and to call back at a later date and you would speak with me. I haven't made that call yet, but hope the offer still stands. I read your book twice, and was stunned to say the least, and I must admit, still somewhat skeptical.

So in January '99, myself and my training partner began our Heavy Duty experience. With a few small modifications. Still being somewhat hardheaded, and being reasonably intelligent, we thought that certainly you'd made a mistake by neglecting to do any direct hamstring work, or behind the neck presses... I think you get my drift. Well, strength gains were good at first and then a plateau, as we soon were overtraining again.

We messed about with different variations of your routine for much of '99. Everytime we cut back a bit, boom, we got stronger. Finally, after eradicating the last vestiges of volume training from my system, we began your routine on Oct. 18, '99, following it to the letter. Well the strength increases shot up dramatically. For instance:

Oct. 18, '99 Leg ext. 260 x 8 superset with leg press 400 for 9.
Mar. 7, '00 Leg ext. 300 x 9 superset with leg press 500 for 10.

Oct. 22, '99 Tricep pushdown 90 x 9 superset with weighted dips 45 x 5
Feb. 29, '00 Tricep pushdown 110 x 10 superset with weighted dips 70 x 5

These are only a couple of examples. I need mention that I also went from a bodyweight of 206 lbs. on January 15, '99 to 185 lbs. today. Bodyfat went from 12 to 13% down to around 7%. So, I experienced these significant strength increases, but alas, no real increase in size. But I look better than I ever have, if not somewhat smaller due to the 20 lb. decrease in bodyweight. I am totally pain free in my joints and never fatigued.

I would never have thought that I could experience these sort of strength gains this late in my bodybuilding life. I neglected to mention that when we dedicated ourselves to following your routine to the letter I had just reached 42 years of age. I am reasonably well built for a man of any age, but certainly take a small measure of pride for having attained this at my age. Many thanks to you for opening my eyes to the importance of recuperation. I am not continually fatigued with aching joints as in the old volume days. And I have a tremendous amount of time to pursue other interests.

On March 20 '00, we started the consolidation routine to "check out" the results of reducing volume and frequency even further. We work out on Monday and Friday one week, and on Tuesday the following week. Well, boom, here goes the strength again. Weighted dips have gone from 60 lbs. for 10 reps to 85 lbs. for 10 reps in 3 workouts. I've added another 20 lbs. to leg presses over 2 workouts also. I do deadlifts from the knees up and have gone from 450 lbs. for 5 reps to 500 lbs. for 5 reps over the course of 3 workouts.

I could go on, but your eyes are probably starting to bleed. Please forgive me for rambling on, but I get somewhat excited when discussing bodybuilding. Hell, I've been at it for 21 years and have no intention of ever quitting. I've finally come to realize that my genetics will never allow me to become a mass monster (and the fact that I won't use steroids) but I don't look too bad for an "old guy." Again, many thanks for dragging me kicking and screaming out of the dark ages of volume training for hours and days on end. The amount of free time I now experience is mind boggling, and allows me to spend far more of your time reading this than I should have. Please, if you have the time or the inclination to respond, I would very much appreciate your thoughts. Keep up the good fight.

Yours in good health,

David McMahon

Your Training Philosophy Was Different-- It Made Perfect Sense -- Posted 8/8/00

Dear Mike,

I am a 40 year-old bodybuilder who grew up in your era. I remember watching you for the first time against Kal Skalak for the Mr. Universe title. I liked the balance that you had to your physique, and I became a fan. You articles for Joe Weider's magazines were always well written, and I even thought your training Philosophy was different, it made perfect sense.

The 1980 Mr. Olympia, was a sad day in Bodybuilding History. Even though Arnold had done so much for the sport... he was NOT anywhere near his form of 1974, 1975. His legs lagged, as did even his famous chest. Mike, you have always had reason to dispute that competition, as you put your heart and soul into it... only to succumb to the Weiders' politics. However, I wish you hadn't retired, and still competed, a few more years.

Mike, I wish you the best in your life and training, and also if I may request an autograph from you, I would love to hang it in my gym.


Dennis L. Rima
Livonia, Michigan

High-Intensity for the Mind -- Posted 4/29/00

First, Mike, a quick note of appreciation for your website. Very informative and inspirational.

I am a psychologist teaching in a medical school department of psychiatry. I taught one of the first credit bearing university courses on Objectivism in the 70s and have been part of Objectivist groups ever since. My area of specialization is brief therapy: using techniques to accelerate emotional and behavioral change processes. I've published over 50 articles, book chapters, etc. in the area, including entries for standard reference works in the field.

So I know a little bit about how change occurs. And I must say that your work on bodybuilding shows more psychological insight than 99% of the psych texts that are written.

Brief therapy is really high intensity training for the mind. Most therapists conduct therapy week after week, sometimes for years, in a largely unfocused fashion. When therapy consists of talking "about" problems, it's like lifting 20 pound barbells. No emotional strength can develop, because there's no real need to dip into the reserves and extend them. Successful brief therapy is brief because it brings the problems to life right there in the sessions, requiring people to gradually and steadily face their most destructive patterns and worst fears. When I have a depressed person who is constantly rehashing their negative thinking, I have them get an image in their mind of the person in the world they most despise...and then imagine that person saying the very things they've been saying to themselves. Amazingly, the person who was depressed will suddenly burst with anger when the hated individual says "the exact same negative messages", standing up for themselves, and accessing their self esteem. Before long, they learn how to make their negative patterns into adversaries and use their anger to propel their development.

Your identification of the principles of high intensity is a major achievement, and applicable far beyond bodybuilding. Right now, I'm working on developing training techniques for individuals who trade the financial markets...the same principles apply. Human change is human change, whether it's developing physical strength, emotional resilience, or the ability to focus upon patterns in the markets.

I hope we cross paths sometime. Your work is truly inspirational.

Brett Steenbarger, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse

"In times of peace, the warlike man turns upon himself" - Friedrich Nietzsche

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