Mike Mentzer, the “man and steamer”, the multifacetedness of his talents, excelled in bodybuilding, business, philosophy and literature, was born on November 15, 1951 in a German town in Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). His childhood passed in the Euphrates, a small farm town in the same state.
Passion for sports began for Mike at the age of 11, when his attention was drawn to a magazine about bodybuilding. According to the athlete, then he just fell in love with this sport. At age 19, Mike began taking steroids, and in 1971 he first took part in bodybuilding competitions. Ambitious Mike set as his goal to get the title “Mr. America”, however, then the young man got only 10th place. In the same 1971, Mentzer met Arthur Jones, who literally turned his view on training. Another person who influenced the inner world of Mentzer was the writer Ein Rand. It was after reading of his works that Mike acquired categorical judgments, an unshakable certainty of his rightness and the habit of dividing everything around into black and white. From now on his principle was the connection of reason with reality. This principle became the original justification of Mike’s professed atheism. According to the athlete, if God really existed, he would have to live somewhere, but since the “place of his dwelling” has not yet been found, the very existence of God raises great doubts.
Interestingly, Mike never concealed that he was using steroids. According to the athlete, taking steroids has become for him a conscious choice, the result of long comparisons between risk and possible benefits. It is worth noting that this decision did not have any negative consequences for the health of Mentzer.
In 1979, Mike decided to test his strength in the competition, “Mr. Olympia.” He won in the heavyweight division, but lost in the absolute classification to Frank Zane. The athlete did not despair and again took part in Olympia in 1980. However, the unexpected return of Arnold Schwarzenegger prevented the implementation of his plans. Leaving the competition in 1975, Arnold took first place (already for the seventh time). Although it was rumored that the results were rigged, and that Arnold was in a much worse shape than in 1975, such rumors were a mild consolation for Mike, who took only 5th place. By the way, Mentzer himself repeatedly said that Olympia 1980 was “bought.”
After this tournament, Mike Mentzer stopped participating in competitions and took up coaching. One of his findings was a new system of training, which gave much more time for rest than was customary. The proof of the effectiveness of such a system was the career of Dorian Yates, who was coached by Mentzer. Dorian became six times Mister Olympia, despite the fact that bodybuilding began to get carried away at a rather late age (20 years). At the beginning of coaching practice, Mentzer tried to apply the theory of high-intensity training to Arthur Jones, but the expected progress did not follow. Mike concluded that the problem is more the overtraining of muscles than the lack of training. Arthur’s method said that training should be intense, short and infrequent. However, Mike decided that this system “sins with excesses.” According to Mentzer, his pupils managed to achieve maximum results when the number of sets was reduced to 2-4 times in 4-7 (and sometimes 10-14) days.
Mike‘s method has caused a lot of criticism, but the athlete himself said that all attacks are grounded by jealousy and personal hatred of the athlete himself. Using the terminology of her idol, writer Ein Rand, Mentzer says in an interview that we live in an era of envy and the only goal of many people is to defame others.
It is hardly an exaggeration to call Mentzer a real workaholic. In his own words, he enjoyed working 10 to 12 hours a day. For many years the main meaning of his life was work.
Relations with his brother Ray, Mike almost all of life were quite complex, but the joint health problems brought them very close. The brothers were very afraid of losing each other. Ray Mentzer had problems with kidneys and excessive blood coagulability, and Mike once experienced an operation on the cervical spine, pneumonia and the formation of blood clots in the lungs. However, despite all these difficulties, the brothers treated their problems philosophically and, relying on doctors, were optimistic about the changes for the better. Unexpected surprise for the Mentzers was the participation shown by Arnold Schwarzenegger. One day he called Ray, asked about his affairs and asked to call at any time if you need help. This call shocked Mike, because he always perceived Arnold as an outstanding personality, but did not suspect such “high human qualities” in this athlete.
Mike Mentzer passed away on June 10, 2001 from a heart attack. Apparently, the death of the athlete was a heavy blow to his brother Ray, who first discovered Mike. Ray Mentzer died two days after his brother’s death.