Use only that which works...
In the world of bodybuilding there are countless examples of freaks who defy logic. Take Ronnie Coleman as the perfect example. I believe no one in history delivered more muscle lines with more authority than the former policeman from Arlington, Texas. Ronnie man-handled weights that could have blown out his knees and reduced his Mr. Olympia ambitions to zero, but he dominated the line-ups for years with his style of training, which can best be described as relentless. Sure, Big Ron is now paying the price with consecutive back surgeries, but he will always be considered an absolute freak by bodybuilders all over the world.
Another example of an unorthodox champion is Franco Columbu, Arnold’s loyal friend and confidante. Although slightly bow legged, the Sardinian strongman nevertheless snatched a Sandow from under the noses of worthy competitors in 1976, and then again in 1981 in what was arguably one of the most controversial Mr. Olympia comebacks of all time. In that year five different judges picked five different competitors for the number one spot. Franco won the Olympia title after severely injuring his knee while he was running with a refrigerator strapped to his back during the World’s Strongest Man contest. Doctors told Columbu that his career was over, but he trained like a man possessed and made a successful comeback.
Jay Cutler, regarded by many as one of the sport’s greatest champions ever, only managed 14th place in his first outing on the Olympia stage.
Another example of an unlikely champion is Branch Warren, who was frowned upon by many for his sloppy reps in the gym. He beat men of much greater stature at the Arnold Classic, though.
These competitors defy everything when it comes to how we view the best of the best. They basically, through trial and error, discovered what worked for them to achieve success. When people discuss science-based approaches to bodybuilding and strength training, they often do so in black and white terms: something is either evidence-based or not, and most analytical thinkers view this information in absolute terms. While studies can definitely support a particular finding, bodybuilding is hard to rigorously scrutinise in a controlled setting. We are all different and react differently to training and dieting. If the theory is sound and it has been tested in the trenches it can be something you can consider adding to your regimen. However, keep in mind that some claims are so far fetched that they are on the farthest end of the bullshit spectrum!
Bodybuilding, in a never-ending quest for the perfect physique, is constantly evolving. The freaks only showcase some missing pieces of the big puzzle so that we can gain further insight on how success is achieved.
In an endeavour such as bodybuilding where mere seconds on stage can make a difference between winning and losing, any small advantage can help you conquer the ultimate prize. It is not just about the anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and the adaptive possibility of the human body, but the ability to achieve goals as best as possible, regardless of what may be standing in your way.
As Bruce Lee was once quoted as saying: “Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.”
The time comes for all of us when a change has to be made in the way we view training, nutrition and supplementation. It is not a matter of being forced into a specific position, but rather seeing an opportunity and viewing it as an awesome possibility.