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Old 05-03-2014, 02:28 PM   #1
Call_Me_Ishmael
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Default Steve Reeves: Building the Classic Physique, The Natural Way



Just finished this book and I have to say it's an excellent read. It's a breath of fresh air really.

It gave me some perspective on the thought process of the old-school bodybuilders.

I'd questioned whether or not Reeves was really natural, but after reading this book (and some additional homework) I'm beyond convinced that he was 100 percent natural.

Why?

Well one big reason is that he remained active to the day he died and he aged very well.



The top right photo is Reeves at age 60. He looks to be around the same age in the photo where he's power walking.

In the book he talks about weight training at age 70.

Based on what I've read, the drug using lifters simply do not age very well, which is one big reasons that I'm convinced of his drug-free status.

This is also one of the big reasons I'm giving a closer look to training methods/ practices of the guys from Reeves' era: longevity.

I'm 41 years old and I'm thinking more about the big picture. I still want to be active 20 years from now. I don't want to be 50 years old with my joints shot and with no energy.

Reeves at 60 years old is a sharp contrast to people like Larry Scott who suffered long-term, chronic health problems before he died, or Mike Mentzer who died relatively young (pretty sure both of those guys used steroids).

And just from reading some of his responses to questions, he was clearly very anti-steroids.

Some highlights from the book:
Question: Your routine has me in the gym only three days a week. Why do you recommend such a short amount of training time when most champions I read about spend up to six days a week in the gym?
Reeves: Well, don't forget that most of the "champions" you read about today are full of anabolic steroids and other such growth-enhancing drugs which make their training programs useless to the natural bodybuilder- which is the only type of bodybuiding I care about And to this end, people should try to maximize their benefit and minimize their time. If they're going to put in two hours, they should get two hours worth of growth stimulation.
He was asked about the length of his training sessions, but he says with the proper recovery time (four days) it was doable.
Question: Did you ever find that performing nine sets per body part, two and one-half hours per workout, three times a week... left you feeling over trained or tired?

Reeves: Never. The reason is that I got a total of four days rest each week. In other words, I was training maybe seven hours a week....
His diet and nutrition advice are also interesting.

You never see phrases like "caloric surplus." There was no "bulking and cutting" with Reeves. (No I'm not knocking caloric surpluses or bulking and cutting, just noting some clear differences in overall thought process).

Basically, he just recommended basic, balanced nutrition.

The overall mindset is very different from anything I read these days. The mindset was clearly based around training for health. Yes, it was all about building muscle, but only insofar as it was health-promoting.

Also, I find that today's fitness authors tend to write in a "preachy," if somewhat condescending tone, but there's none of that here.

It's a great book and has given me a very different perspective on things. I recommend it highly.

I bought my copy from the Steve Reeves International society website. It's also available on Amazon, but mostly from second- hand sellers at a somewhat ridiculous markup price.

Last edited by Call_Me_Ishmael; 05-03-2014 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 05-03-2014, 10:49 PM   #2
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Sounds like a great read! how much did you pick it up for? As a beginner in weight training I was given a lot of "bro" advice and disliked it. My views line up a lot with the old school way of doing things especially with nutrition (whole foods, limited supplements, and eating until satisfied not for calories). Anything else stand out in the book to you?
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Old 05-03-2014, 11:03 PM   #3
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Sounds like a great read! how much did you pick it up for? As a beginner in weight training I was given a lot of "bro" advice and disliked it. My views line up a lot with the old school way of doing things especially with nutrition (whole foods, limited supplements, and eating until satisfied not for calories). Anything else stand out in the book to you?
I ordered it for $24.95 from the Steve Reeves international society. Link is here.

Not all "bro" advice is bad though, for the record.

You can be successful on a split routine, but I've just developed a personal fascination with old school lifters and their methods (usually full body routines). I've done a split for quite a while now with some success, but the body adapts.

I just thought that this was a good time to try something different and explore different methods.

Reeves was just an interesting guy in general. Not just the training methods, but his overall attitude is just so different.

The ego-maniacal attitude you often see with body builders these days (from the pros all the way down to your average gym rat) is nowhere to be found here.

I discovered a person who was inspirational not just as a bodybuilder but as a human being.
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Old 05-03-2014, 11:10 PM   #4
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I ordered it for $24.95 from the Steve Reeves international society. Link is here.

Not all "bro" advice is bad though, for the record.

You can be successful on a split routine, but I've just developed a personal fascination with old school lifters and their methods (usually full body routines). I've done a split for quite a while now with some success, but the body adapts.

I just thought that this was a good time to try something different and explore different methods.

Reeves was just an interesting guy in general. Not just the training methods, but his overall attitude is just so different.

The ego-maniacal attitude you often see with body builders these days (from the pros all the way down to your average gym rat) is nowhere to be found here.

I discovered a person who was inspirational not just as a bodybuilder but as a human being.
Couldn't agree more with you! I didn't mean all bro advice was bad just that a lot of it is sometimes unnecessary and a lot of people just regurgitate information they've been told by another person rather than understanding the information and then explaining it to you.

Reeves is definitely interesting. His physique was great. In my opinion, physiques like his are what a lot of people who want to be aesthetic should aim for. He was not as freakishly large as a lot of other lifters and his proportions were excellent.

I really used to like splits because I thought you needed the specification but after really learning about lifting I just like the total body workouts better. From a personal standpoint I just think they are better for time. I only have to schedule 2 hours a day 3x a week rather than 3-5 45min - 1 hour sessions per week. Add this to commute times and etc. It is way more time than I want to spend in the gym as a college student ( have to focus on academics hahaha).

Have you ever done a fullbody workout before this? or is this your first encounter with them?
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Old 05-03-2014, 11:42 PM   #5
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.

Have you ever done a fullbody workout before this? or is this your first encounter with them?
Yes and no.

I did them in Jr. High basically because I didn't know any better.

I joined the local health club and the guy gave me the guided tour telling me which machines worked which parts.

I'd just assumed that I was supposed to use them all in the same day.

I worked out with a guy in college who introduced me to splits.

His split was absolutely insane (five days a week, 1 1/2 to two hours a day), but it got him results and yeah he was natural.

However, there's was a pattern with him which was

A. Work out for a few years at a time and then
B. Lay off for months, years at a time.

It's people like him, as well as others that I have trained with, that caused me to question the long-term sustainability of such splits.

It often seems like that, over the long- term, more days in the gym often increases the likelihood of burnout.

I'm not saying that this is always the case but it's something that I've wondered about.

Yeah I know. Someone reading this has worked out five days a week without missing a day in 10 years.

I get it.
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Old 05-03-2014, 11:53 PM   #6
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Yes and no.

Yeah I know. Someone reading this has worked out five days a week without missing a day in 10 years.

I get it.
without a doubt I agree with you. Longevity is definitely important in lifting. I'm only 19 so I can definitely get away with things now but setting myself up for long term success is way more important than short term success.

I understand that the book comes with a beginner routine. Could you give a brief run through? Just curious to the volume that he recommends for a beginner.
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Old 05-04-2014, 12:36 AM   #7
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without a doubt I agree with you. Longevity is definitely important in lifting. I'm only 19 so I can definitely get away with things now but setting myself up for long term success is way more important than short term success.

I understand that the book comes with a beginner routine. Could you give a brief run through? Just curious to the volume that he recommends for a beginner.
Actually this book doesn't come with a beginner routine, per se. There's a bunch of exercises listed and the actual routine he does give is a but much for me personally. Muscle and brawn has (what is supposed to be) an intermediate workout here.

I've basically been following this routine.


This article gives some good basic guideline for full body routines.

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Old 05-04-2014, 01:09 PM   #8
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Actually this book doesn't come with a beginner routine, per se. There's a bunch of exercises listed and the actual routine he does give is a but much for me personally. Muscle and brawn has (what is supposed to be) an intermediate workout here.

I've basically been following this routine.


This article gives some good basic guideline for full body routines.
Those workouts look tough. No wonder Steve Reeves never really counted calories. With 2-3 hour long workouts 3 days a week, your body would need a ton of food to perform and recover well.

How has your program been treating you?
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Old 05-04-2014, 01:44 PM   #9
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CMI: You'd probably enjoy the material of Brooks Kubik....he's a student and collector of all things old-school lifting and he boils it down into a easily implemented set of concepts.

check out DINOSAUR TRAINING and GRAY HAIR, BLACK IRON among others
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Old 05-04-2014, 02:14 PM   #10
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Those workouts look tough. No wonder Steve Reeves never really counted calories. With 2-3 hour long workouts 3 days a week, your body would need a ton of food to perform and recover well.
Fullbody training is definitely not just a beginners type of training. It is far more complicated in it's application than most people take the time to realize. You don't just blindly work the program, you have to be an active participant in working a program during the week. You need to make informed tweaks during the week from time to time.

I find I don't get bored in the least working this way.
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