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Mike Mentzer Profile

Who was Mike Mentzer?
Back in the 1970’s Mentzer was considered to be one of the best bodybuilders in the world with his blend of size, shape and symmetry.  As a matter of fact, every single muscle on his body was developed to its fullest.  What's more, he also had the looks and the brains to go far.  However, it didn’t quite work out that way.  Instead, Mike Mentzer had, what many could call, a life and career engulfed in despair.

mike mentzer steroids

Fig 1. Mike Mentzer steroids

What was Mike Mentzer’s training philosophy?
Mentzer developed a style of training called “Heavy Duty,” which was a version of what bodybuilding author Arthur Jones advocated in those times as the proper training technique.  It consisted in training as little as possible with as much intensity as possible.  The thinking behind this training approach was that once the muscle is activated beyond what it’s been exposed to before, there’s no reason to train it any further.

Interestingly, it’s speculated that Mentzer, a follower of Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy, was attracted to this method because it was an intellectual premise.  Moreover, some say it was based more on academic theory than practical application.

Mike was also known to train with more volume when he was competing, but after retiring he claimed that his “Heavy Duty” principle was the only “sane” way to train.  Mentzer went as far as making it clear he thought that anyone who trained differently was simply ignorant.  Obviously, this created a heated debate within the bodybuilding community, which gave Mentzer a lot of attention, and enemies as well.

What made Mike Mentzer a powerful personality in the bodybuilding industry?
Mike had many beliefs that went against the grain.  He thought that carbohydrates should make up 60% of a bodybuilder's diet, and that a proper workout could consist of one warm up set and one set to maximum failure.  In fact, at times it seemed as if Mike loved controversy for the sake of controversy.  Most probably it had to do with his intellect, as he wanted to challenge convention, but at a certain point it got overly contentious and argumentative.  Furthermore, Mentzer went on to claim that the 1980 Mr. Olympia, where Arnold Schwarzenegger came out of retirement, was “fixed” for Arnold to win.  As a result, he became more and more obsessed with it, never relenting to the point of appearing paranoid.

Mike Mentzer steroid cycle
Mentzer spoke openly about steroid use and even played out his pre-contest steroid program in an issue of “Muscle and Fitness.”  In the article, he claimed to take only 400 milligrams (mgs) of Nandrolone a week along with 10 mgs of Dianabol per day.  However, those who knew Mike Mentzer closely said that those dosages were a far cry from the truth.

It's more likely he was using close to 2000mgs of nandrolone decanoate (deca durabolin) per week with around 100mgs of dbol per day.  Though, it's likely testosterone was also in the mix, but we don't know the dosages.  It's well accepted that his steroid regiment was around 5000mgs of different steroids per week.

mike mentzer steroid cycle

Fig 2. Mike Mentzer Posing

Mike Mentzer’s death
In his later years Mike continued to propose his method of Heavy Duty training, even though he did not follow it himself.  Moreover, Mike Mentzer stopped all exercise and fell completely out of shape.  As a consequence, he was just a shell of his once former self and at only 40 years old Mike looked frail and older than his years.  He was known to be on several medications and would smoke up to three packs of cigarettes a day.

Mike died at age 49 from heart complications, and his brother Ray, also a world class professional bodybuilder, died two days later.

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nelson montana
Written by
Nelson Montana is a classical bodybuilder and an industry expert. He was one of the first in the 1990s to write about bodybuilding. He's written for large magazines, like T-Nation and has been on multiple editorial boards. Nelson is a certified personal trainer, he has over 40 years of experience, and he's a senior bodybuilding champion, natural! He's over 60 and he looks amazing.

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