Dedication in training can have a positive effect on everything you tackle in life if you apply the same focus and energy. I always felt that if I had one dollar for every hour I spent training hard over the past 45 years, I’d be a millionaire.

In the early 1960’s I began working out at the local YMCA in a very small town. You might say that I was odd, weird or eccentric – as my friends thought – but in reality, I was way ahead of my time. I knew then at 16, I wanted to develop my body and nothing was going to stand in my way.

I was playing lead guitar in a very popular Rock Band and good enough that I was offered a recording contract with Capital Records. I dedicated myself to being the best at the time and it paid off. But, that just wasn’t enough for me and I was hungry for more. I wanted to look my best, and at 150 lbs. that wasn’t the look that I wanted. It may have been normal to others, but I didn’t want to be normal.

I began reading some of the Muscle Magazines, copying diets, routines and applying them to my workouts at the gym. The YMCA back then was a maze of bent bars, broken weights strewn all over the floor, one cable machine that had wires on the cable sticking out, plus a calf machine that would swing weights and bruise my shins. There were also young kids running all around in and out of the place which was really distracting. Through all of that, I kept my focus and I was extremely dedicated to this sport of bodybuilding. My body weight started rising to 175, then 190 and again to 205. I was excited and inspired to go farther.

My school friends around me would snicker and tell me that one day all that muscle would turn to fat. That was the conception back then. No one had the knowledge that muscle and fat are two different things. I just laughed it off and trained even harder. I hit the gym every day after school without fail when other friends were out having fun. Many times I worked out late on Friday nights and passed on the local clubs and parties. I’d get my training done first and then I’d go out. When you put something first like this, you can’t help but succeed.

There wasn’t a lot of knowledge about diet back then and the basics were meat and milk. I had a power lifting background from the start so this diet gave me a lot of strength. I even added powdered milk to my regular milk for more protein as there weren’t any good protein powders available at the time. I also added dehydrated fish powder with water that tasted like vomit but it was the purest source of protein. Ugh!! I would go to any extreme to make gains. I might add that there were no anabolics available back then so the gains I made, stayed with me.

I developed myself so well that by the time I was 20, I was asked by some Pro Wrestlers to come join their world of professional wrestling. I had an interest in it since my childhood and at that point had won a few bodybuilding contests. The trophies were dust collectors and I wanted my body to make money not trophies. If my friends felt that I was eccentric before, then this would really drive them over the edge as they were conditioned to have the 8 to 5 job and be happy with that. That was something, which was just not in the cards for me.

Learning to be dedicated in one field would just apply somewhere else in life so I took the challenge and started training with women’s wrestling champion Mae Young upstairs in the famous Grand Olympic Auditorium. I trained 5 days a week, driving 120 miles each way from home. I trained 2 hours in the ring, suffering sprains, a broken nose, a pulled groin and masses of bruises and mat burns. I’d drive home 120 miles and go right to the gym and train with weights for another 2 hours. Sure, I was tired, sore and beat, but I had to get my workout in. Having a good body is what got me noticed and I couldn’t let that slack.

Not only did I do all that but I also worked at the gym, and played guitar in the band on weekends at the school dances. If you ask about social life, yes, I did manage to fit a girlfriend in there as well. This is what dedication is about. You just have to divide your time and make each thing work for you.

The training for wrestling brought on a lot of different injuries. I also had to learn various wrestling styles including American, Mexican, Japanese and Shoot for actual submissions, which is not taught today except by me.

I increased my protein by adding more eggs and cottage cheese along with the meat, and added more calories with rice and oatmeal. If I hadn’t done that, I would have most likely been back down to the 150 lbs where I started. I had to do this because I was burning up so many calories between both training sessions.

In time, I adjusted to both training sessions, but some of the people who started wrestling at the same time I did, dropped out and went back to their day jobs. I believe that I was the only one at that time who followed through and started wrestling on TV within the first six months.

Over the years of training and moving to Venice Gold’s in 1969, I increased my knowledge of training methods by hanging out with Arnold and Joe Weider, along with varied training programs that were basic but worked. The key to it all was commitment and dedication.

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