Mike Mentzer was one of those professional bodybuilders that inspired profound thought as much as – if not more than – jaw-dropping awe. He was the epitome of the cerebral strongman, in the same league as Frank Zane.
Mike was not just an awesome bodybuilder; he was a gifted writer, too. I loved reading his articles about High Intensity Training (read one here – Part I: Actualize Your Potential in One Year!, by Mike Mentzer).
Mike almost made it to the top of the professional bodybuilding mountain, coming in second in 1979 to Frank Zane and in fifth the following year to eventual winner, Arnold Schwarzenegger in a hotly-contested 1980 Mr Olympia competition. He retired from competition after the event at the age of 29.
Mike's greatest contribution to the sport was his High Intensity Training (HIT) philosophy, which prescribed low-volume, high effort workouts, using various bodybuilding methods like pre-exhaust, super sets, training to failure, negatives, and the like.
Sadly, Mike Mentzer died in 2001 at the young age of 49. In a strange chain of events, his twin brother, Ray Mentzer, who found Mike dead in their apartment, died two days later.
Mike Mentzer played an instrumental part in my development, not just in my bodybuilding but in my overall personal development. I salute him!