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Muscle Magazines

People love to hate on the “muscle rag” mags. I know I’ve spent my fair share of time ripping on the content of some of these magazines. I do, of course, agree that many of the cover claims are ridiculous. We’ve all seen the title such as this:

GAIN 30 POUNDS of MUSCLE IN 15 DAYS!!

I understand why they do this, even if it is a bit disingenuous. Would you read a magazine with the title page proclaiming the truth, something akin to:

GAIN, PERHAPS, 5 POUNDS OF MUSCLE AND ONLY 2 POUNDS OF FAT WHILE PUTTING (POSSIBLY, WITH ENOUGH HARD WORK) 20 POUNDS ON YOUR LIFTS IN A MERE 6 MONTHS.

I probably wouldn’t pick up a copy. Despite my lack of interest in such a title, these are gains that wouldn’t disappoint me or most people past the beginner stages of strength and muscle development. It is these outrageous claims, stacked against the supposed “program of the pros” that will get you to the aforementioned goal, that most people lambaste, often stating that the magazines lead the young generation of new lifters astray and utterly cripple them into over-training with programs that only the most gassed up cheater steroid user could possibly handle.

I disagree. The program won’t deliver on it’s promise. No debate from me.

On the other hand, at least said young new lifter got started.

How many great iron athletes got started because of reading some muscle rag? How many guys have been motivated by the pictures of human mountains within the glossy pages? How many trainees DID find a program in a magazine that the stuck to and, lo and behold, DID make great gains?

I can’t speak for everyone but I know the latter certainly applies to me. Muscle and Fitness published a program written by Jim Stoppani and someone else who’s name escapes me. It was essentially a 12 week linear periodization program that had you training 6 days per week (gasp!) and hitting each muscle group 3 times per week (gasp! gasp!) on a 1. legs, back, biceps, calves 2. chest, shoulders, triceps, abs split where each of the three days used a different set/rep range, e.g. 3×12, 4×8, 5×5 or however it went. Each week you tried to add weight for each respective rep range. I started this program when I was 20 after 3 years of consistent (stupid) training. Though not advanced, or even intermediate, I was by no means a beginner at this point.

I didn’t over-train and die.

I didn’t need to take a bathtub full of PED’s to get through it.

I made some of the best strength and muscle gains as I have before or since.

Most importantly, I learned a TON and it lead me to seek out more advanced knowledge.

Yes, the magazines can lead some, or most, people astray. That’s fine. It’s better to lose the path for a time than to never start down it. Learn from the mistakes; progress and become better.

Though far from perfect, at the very least the magazines will tell you to squat.

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