Sunday, September 22, 2013

Generation Iron Review

I have been hooked on bodybuilding forever, since the mid 1970's.

My first muscle magazines featured Arnold, Mentzer, Platz, and the Barbarian Brothers.

My Dad would take me to Dynamo Barbell in College Park, Maryland to buy the latest mags with my allowance that I received for cleaning the breakfast table, feeding the birds, mowing the lawn and weed eating and shovelling dirt. Of course he made fun of me because I was so gung ho about the bodybuilders. Definitely strange to people from that generation. Hell, its strange to a lot of people now. I don't care.

I loved reading about the workouts and the suffering and I yearned to be like those guys. Well,I wanted to be Randy White, Mike Webster and those guys.

I memorized Pumping Iron. What a great movie.

So when I heard that Generation Iron was coming out, I bought tickets right away. The previews? I watched them over and over. It looked great.

And it is very, very, good.

It tells the story of a group of bodybuilders vying for the Mr. Olympia title, following them through the trials and tribulations of getting prepared for the greatest contest in the world.

It touches on the drug issue and handles it maturely and honestly.

And the characters? Wow. These guys are dedicated to their craft. The meals, the training, the family stuff, jail terms(immigration), the disappointments, the triumphs.

It is never a solo sport/activity either. The movie shows that all of these guys have a support network that they have to have around them to succeed.

Its too bad that Jay Cutler was injured and didn't really take part, he would have been an added bonus.

I ended up enjoying Kai Greene the most, I think. Whenever I watched his stuff on YouTube, he always came across as cheesy as hell. But in the movie, he was sincere, bright and hard working.

Branch Warren? NUTS. The hardest trainer EVER. Its a wonder that he is still put together. My impression of him is that he pushed so hard to reach his maximum potential. He has pushed and pushed and ripped stuff off of his body, but it is like he had to to reach that level of muscularity.

Phil Heath. He buts his ass too. I have watched enough of his video's to know it. The movie portrays him as a genetic freak who doesn't have to train that hard to get  to be the best. Oh, but he does,. He just trains smart and in control. Calculated.

Ben Pakulski's segment was even more fascinating. He goes to a lab and trains and gets his bloods done and the scientists push him to reach failure and beyond. That was the segment that piqued my interest the most. What if you could always train like that , with no guesswork whatsoever? Maybe Branch is doing too much? Maybe they all are! To find out, okay, that's enough, any more and you will just be making inroads into your recovery??? That is optimal.

Roelly Winklaar. He is trained by an older lady, "Grandma", who takes care of him, like a mother/son relationship. He needs to qualify for the Olympia, and the tension is there. Will he or won't he? She really cares for him and you can see that their whole lives are wrapped  up in it.

Hidetada Yamagishi.   He lives away from his family, who are in Japan. He leads a solitary existence, and wants to be Mr. Olympia badly. It's what he was meant to do, he believes, to be a pro bodybuilder. This cat trains hard, and he gets ripped. Genetically, though, It is tough for him to go against the mass monsters.

The training scenes were a little short for my taste. But that may have been done to appeal to a wider audience, to focus on the personal side of the competitors.

Basically, the film comes down to Kai versus Phil, hard work vs. genetics. But really, both of them have great genetics and they both have a great work ethic- but that was the plot in a nutshell, the conflict of the whole thing.

I enjoyed the movie immensely, and will see it again. The Bas Barbell rating? On a scale of 1-10 reps, I give it a 8. Very well done, a little more depth regarding the training and dieting was needed, but overall, pretty darn good.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.