In Memory of Mike Mentzer
By Rick Stahmann
One of the most respected and criticized men in bodybuilding passed away June 10th. As a memorial to Mike Mentzer, I would like to share what I view as this man's greatest contribution to bodybuilding.
Opponents to Mentzer's controversial theories on HIT will be pleased to learn that it is not his training ideas I find most significant or wish to discuss.
Instead, I feel Mentzer's greatest gift to bodybuilding and the world is his personal integrity. Having the courage and self-confidence to be true to oneself is a rare trait, especially, perhaps amongst bodybuilders. Why? People who are insecure often think that changing their outer appearance will bring them happiness. The problem is, true happiness lies within.
The genius of Mike Mentzer is that he approached bodybuilding from within. His focus was on the origin of all our actions--how we think. He wanted us to think rationally and logically for ourselves--to put a stop to the blind leading the blind. He never asked us to believe in his ideas; instead, he forced us to begin to think for ourselves. He searched for truths and he challenged us to do the same. In other words, he tried to build us up from the inside out.
His insightful approach and unique theories created much friction. As a consequence he made many enemies... and many friends. Often, his ideas and character have been viciously attacked. In spite of it all, for thirty-plus years he persisted with consistancy and honesty.
As the success of Mentzer's work continues to unfold, some people have and will continue to try to repackage his ideas and sell them off without giving credit where credit is due. Mike Mentzer is the founder of HIT; hopefully, this will never be forgotten.
But what can never be forgotten--and won't--is that Mike Mentzer is a true hero. He is a man who was true to himself. It is people like him who give courage to the rest of us to do the same.