Tom Platz U.K. Seminar,
Presented by Rafik Caprelian of the Gold Star Health Club
Newcastle, England September 1993
Diet, Training, Supplements & Steroids
The DVD started off with some posing by Victor Richards and Tom Platz. Next Tom's presentation began and he started off by stating that he was there to answer any questions the audience might have about bodybuilding, supplements, steroids, and any other topic of interest. Tom said that he would answer the questions as honestly as possible and that steroids were part of many professional sports and he was up for giving honest answers to questions posed about them. He said it would be OK if a member of the audience asked him if Joe Weider was gay, since he didn't care about being politically correct. Right off the bat somebody asked if Joe Weider was gay (LOL). But Tom didn't answer the question because he said it wasn't a serious one and the audience had a chuckle.
The questions began shortly after Tom's introduction. Tom was asked when he began training and he stated he had been training since the age of 10. Tom spoke about his contest history and said that his career was based upon losing. Tom said that this started at the 1981 Mr. Olympia when he came second in that contest when he should have won. I agree that he should have won that contest and that Franco Columbu should not have won. Tom said that it was better for him financially to not be the crowned Mr. Olympia. He said he made the best of losing throughout his life.
Tom commented on his current age (38) and said that he would consider competing in the over 40 class starting June of 1995 when he would be turning 40. This is something he sadly never ended up doing. Tom said that there is supposed to be objectivity in bodybuilding judging but that in reality it is subjective and a matter of opinion. This is entirely the case as there have been many very debatable judging decisions. Tom said that the 1980 Mr. Olympia was not a deserved victory by Arnold (but not in those words). He said that in 1981 the judging was also poor (again, not in those words). He said that sometimes you don't win when you should and do win when you shouldn't have (for bodybuilders in general). This is definitely the case as seen time and time again. As Tom put it, his friends on the judging panel at the 1981 Olympia had a bad day!
The next topic of discussion was that of performance enhancing drugs in sport. He made it a point to emphasize that this was not something isolated just to bodybuilding. He talked about Dorian Yates and said that the loser should get $100,000 in prize money and that the winner should get 2.5 million - right now the winner gets $100,000. Dorian made that amount of prize money at the 1993 Mr. Olympia. Of course the reason why bodybuilders make so much less than other athletes is because there isn't as much public demand for bodybuilding as there is for other sports. This is simple economics 101. Tom mentioned the WBF bodybuilding organization and the importance of high production values in bodybuilding contests. Tom spoke of the importance of bodybuilders in realizing that they are products and need to be marketed in order to be successful. This is something I agree with Tom on and something that too few bodybuilders focus on. Bodybuilders need to be businessmen and women.
Some old GMV footage was then shown of Tom training at Venice beach at age 20. (Wayne of GMV was the first person to discover, film and publicize Tom when he saw him in Gold Gym in Santa Monica mid 70s). He looked incredible, especially for his age (huge chest). Tom said that he spoke with some doctors about steroids and they all basically said they were a bad idea - typical that most people are ignorant of their true effects and would speak as though they are death drugs. He said that he eventually spoke with some sports therapy doctors and got more scientifically credible advice about steroids (and not the media BS that most doctors will preach about).
Tom spoke about his diet next and said that he usually carries around 9-10% body fat and brings it down to 3% for a contest. This is smart thinking since it's easier for the bodybuilder to cut if they stay in shape year round. When a person goes up to a high body fat level, it requires a LOT of dieting and cutting supplements / drugs to reduce this fat. This can sometimes be dangerous depending on what planning is done on the part of the bodybuilder. Many bodybuilders have had problems with diuretics on contest day due to their misuse or lack of timing going into a show. As Tom said, too much of anything is bad (it's counterproductive).
Training was the topic of discussion next and Tom talked about the optimal training zone and how a person has to get there. Tom said that people should use instinct to their advantage. Tom went over the different body types and that most bodybuilders were one body type leaning into other body types. He said that Lee Haney was more of an ectomorph while Dorian Yates was more of a mesomorph. Tom talked about supplements and how certain supplements elicit particular effects that are desirable to bodybuilders. Tom talked about the supplement called OKG which was a new supplement in the scientific literature and he explained what it did and that it supposedly has effects that are similar to steroids. I find that hard to believe, but at the same time, there are some extremely good supplements out there, and I have never tried OKG so I wouldn't be able to comment on its effectiveness. He said it was just starting to get popular in the United States (1993). He spoke about another supplement called APL. He talked about how it is taken and what it is supposed to do (release growth hormone at the level of 700% of the normal output). Said to be the latest, hottest real thing. He said that as steroids become more controlled or illegal that people seek out effective supplements to replace them. My personal opinion on this is simple: it is MY body. I can put ANYTHING I want into it and that is nobody's choice but mine. Certainly if I wanted to use steroids I would. I have no respect or consideration for the law in this regard and would not let it stop me in the least. I am happy to report that many other intelligent adults have the same attitude. Nobody should not use steroids just because it is against the law. That is an unsound argument against them.
Tom said that a basic multi mineral supplement is important to take. He made the great point that supplements are meant to do exactly that - SUPPLEMENT the diet and not be the diet. This is something that a lot of people seem to forget at times (or all the time in some cases). Tom said that even on steroids, back in the day it would still take him 10 days to recover (!). That speaks for his intensity, which from everything that I've heard was probably the freakiest ever.
Tom talked about some of the mental visualization required to succeed in intense training. He also spoke about Dorian Yates and how much respect he has for him. Some posing footage of Dorian was shown and he looked freaky as hell. I'm not sure exactly what the posing footage was from but the background was red so it must have been from an English Grand Prix. Tom said that he likes animalistic training and that is what bodybuilding is about to him. In the clip of Yates posing his calves were so freaky it was hard to believe. Tom said that Haney has that natural shape and that even if Haney was fat he would still have a great shape. Tom said Dorian comes in like a truck driver and that if Dorian were to come in without nailing his conditioning he would be too heavy, shape wise and stomach wise. He said that Dorian was good at highlighting his strong points. Some posing footage of Flex Wheeler was shown and he also looked amazing. Tom said that Flex has an aesthetic physique and that Dorian has a freaky "muscles packed everywhere" type of physique. He said that this affects the music either bodybuilder will pose to as they each have to choose music that is suitable for their body type. He said it was up to the judges to decide which look to go for. He said that Dorian also had political momentum going into the show, which is true of every Mr. Olympia going into the next show (as they always win if the past 20 years has taught us anything!).
Tom said that bodybuilding is a lot mental and that if you eat wrong and train wrong but have the right mental attitude you can get results. I'm not entirely sure if I agree with this, but he is correct in saying that mental attitude goes a long way. To say it is more important than proper nutrition is perhaps a bit of a stretch though. Tom explained that bodybuilding was a need for him along the same lines as food and sex. Tom talked about Mohammad Benaziza and his death due to bodybuilding - specifically how diuretics killed him after he won the 1992 Dutch Grand Prix. Tom said that diuretics were not a good idea anyway since they make the muscles look less full and that there were other techniques to apply in order to nail proper contest preparation. Tom talked about water intake and what factors affect it. Tom said that Dorian Yates would still be on top with or without the drugs and that he would still be a top bodybuilder.
Tom talked about steroids saying that he did about four cycles a year but stopped taking steroids in 1987 shortly after his retirement. He felt that he didn't need to take these drugs since he was no longer competing. He said that steroids come with side effects, but that female birth control pills also have side effects, but they are legal because society deems them to be acceptable. He was suggesting that this is a double standard and I agree with this.
Tom talked about the FIBO Expo which GMV has frequently filmed in the past. Tom has been a star at FIBO on many occasions.
Some posing footage at FIBO of Victor Richards was shown next. He said that in the gym he appears to be the same calibre as some of the top pros today, and that he would like to see him compete. Victor is soon to be 42 (born in 1964), and so far has never been on a pro stage competing for real. From the posing footage shown he certainly did seem pro calibre and possibly even top six in the world.
Risk taking was the next topic of discussion and Tom said that those who take risks are more likely to become champions. Tom said that he would love to see the day that Dorian Yates was an international star and not just popular to bodybuilding fans. He said that Dorian won the Mr. Olympia in front of 5,000 people but could walk across the street to buy a hamburger and be completely unrecognized. LOL...sad but true unfortunately. Bodybuilding is a niche hobby and has a big fan base, but small relative to the fan bases of other sports.
Tom pulled down his pants and revealed hamstrings and calves close to contest shape as well as his trademark huge thighs. I for one believe him when he says that he was steroid free for all those years - he is clearly just a genetic freak. The credits rolled and Tom posed his legs some more, looking incredible as always.
Tom was the picture of professionalism at this seminar and it was very clear to me why he was booked solid for so many years for these seminars. He answered all questions very thoroughly and was open and honest about hot and controversial topics, including steroids. It was nice to see Tom's frankness. This is definitely a cool seminar for people who are interested in seeing somebody speak openly about all important topics related to bodybuilding. Check it out! The DVD picture and sound quality are also superb.
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