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“CAN’T FLEX IT, DON’T WEAR IT!”
This is one of the sayings I garnered on my way to becoming Mr. Olympia. It’s also a saying I used to push Rich “Fat Boy” Gaspari to the next level in becoming one of the greatest competitors in bodybuilding.
My wife, Shirley, and I moved to California in the spring of 1983, making our home in Woodland Hills in the San Fernando Valley. Shirley worked at Weider, while I spent my days training at Gold’s Gym 10 minutes from home. It was there that I met legends like Bertil Fox, Albert Beckles, and Ricky Wayne. The Gold’s I trained at was owned by Hollywood Western star Don Peterson. Don had an awesome physique and welcomed all of us with open arms.
It was there one afternoon, as I recall, when a young, puffy bodybuilder who worked at the gym introduced himself to me.
“My name is Rich Gaspari,” he said. We exchanged handshakes and began a friendship. As we got to know each other better, we would share training ideas.
Of course, Rich was the student at this point. I had already won the NPC Nationals, Atlantic City Grand Prix, and Night Of Champions. While preparing for a workout one day, Rich approached me to ask my honest opinion of his physique.
“Yeah, fat!” I replied. “How can you measure true muscle when it’s hidden? Get rid of the fat so you can see your quality muscle development.”
To my surprise, Rich took my advice. He got rid of the excess body fat and ripped the hearts out of the would-be contenders in the 1984 NPC Nationals. The Dragon Slayer was born!
Rich listened. Man, did he listen. Maybe
I told him a little too much! Rich got it right and never looked back. He became the most vicious training partner I ever had, even foaming at the mouth at times—just what I needed to win my first Mr. Olympia crown in 1984. And as history records, he placed second to me three times (1986-88). What a nasty competitor, my friend Rich the Itch!
Listen up, amateurs: Keep the body fat low in the off-season. This will allow you to avoid living on tuna fish and green beans leading up to a show. If you can’t flex it, don’t wear it!