When I was entering high school, I was literally the classic 99 pound weakling. I mean, if I sat sideways in class, the teacher would mark me absent! As a result, I got picked on a lot, made fun of a lot, and my self-esteem was very low. One day, one of my friends said to me, “why don’t you lift weights to get bigger?” This seemed at the time like a very odd thing for him to say, because the idea that people could get bigger by lifting weights was completely foreign to me.
Shortly after that, I was in a pharmacy one day with my mother, looking at magazines while she was shopping. Suddenly I noticed a picture of a guy with the biggest muscles I had ever seen! He looked like a super hero to me. He turned out to be a bodybuilder named Boyer Coe, and the magazine he was on was called Muscular Development. I grabbed the magazine and scanned through it with excitement. I felt like I had found the keys to the castle! Inside were tons of instructions on how to build up your body by lifting weights. I convinced my mother to buy me the magazine, and later convinced my father to buy me a weight set. I was on my way!
The next year I hooked up with a couple of older kids I knew from my high school wrestling team who were working out with weights at a local YMCA. One of the guys was a star wrestler on our team and really muscular. Of course, once we started working out together I started doing whatever he did, since he was older, bigger and more athletically successful than I was. We did several exercises for the upper body, 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each exercise, and nothing for the legs because “wrestlers weren’t supposed to have big legs”. (At the time, I never bothered to logically analyze what we were doing-I was just happy to be doing it). Throughout my high school years, I did get bigger and stronger, but nothing spectacular. In addition, I developed a keen interest in physical fitness and exercise, and decided to major in Physical Education in college.
Once in college, since I wasn’t on the wrestling team, I suddenly found myself with a lot more time on my hands. I continued to read the bodybuilding magazines, which at the time (in the 70′s) were pretty much the only source of training information available. Suddenly I had a brainstorm-if working out three days a week was producing good results, then working out six days a week should produce great results! After all, that’s what all the big bodybuilding stars in the magazines were doing, and everybody knows more is better, right? So I embarked on a 2-hours-a-day, 6-days-a-week program, and got excellent results-for a couple of months. Then, I suddenly found myself constantly tired, my motivation evaporated, and I actually started getting smaller and weaker! My body was simply unable to recover from my marathon workouts.
About that time I graduated from college and got a job managing a fitness center, working long hours 6 days a week. I knew I was facing a serious dilemma: I no longer had 12 hours a week to devote to exercise, yet as manager of the fitness center I had to continue working out and staying in good shape to set a good example. What was I going to do? I was totally frustrated. I was getting weaker instead of stronger, my muscles were getting smaller instead of bigger, I was exhausted all the time, and I had a fitness center to run.
Then I started noticing articles in the bodybuilding magazines about a new guy on the scene named Mike Mentzer. In addition to having an unbelievable physique, he was gaining notoriety for having a training system that was radically different than what everyone else was doing. His program was only 45 minutes a day, 4 days a week, but performed with a very high level of intensity. For me at that time, reading his articles was like a breath of fresh air! He backed up his techniques with a logical, well thought-out rationale that made perfect sense to me and reflected my own frustrating training experiences. I decided to buy his mail-order course and follow his program to the letter. I did exactly that and got into the best shape of my life, gaining 16 pounds of muscle in 16 weeks, while getting my body fat under 7 percent!
I found out that Mike Mentzer had learned the principles behind his system from a man named Arthur Jones, who was the inventor of Nautilus exercise equipment. I also discovered that there were a growing number of NFL and collegiate strength and conditioning coaches who were utilizing these principles in designing the training programs for their athletes. Eventually I was able to meet some of these coaches, learn from them, work with and for them, and have become good friends with many.
In 1992 I went back to school to study Physical Therapy, where I met my wife Patty. She was also frustrated with her workout routine; she was exercising every day, doing multiple sets with unchallenging weights. She had been doing that for a couple years with no progress and no visible results. She was also incredibly busy at the time, going to school full time and working two jobs, plus working out. When I asked her why she was training that way, she said it was because when she signed up at the gym, the guy working there told her to do it that way.
As we started dating, I invited her to my gym to try a workout my way with me. She immediately embraced the system, and the results were amazing! She completely transformed her body, losing 31 pounds and doubling her strength, while cutting her time in the gym by two thirds!
In the mid 1990′s I became a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant and began utilizing exercise to help people recover from injuries and debilitating medical conditions. During this time Patty and I formed our personal training company, Sports and Fitness Training Systems LLC. We started out marketing our business to the physical therapists and doctors we worked with on a daily basis, in an effort to get them to refer their former therapy patients to us for personal training. To our surprise (and delight), the medical professionals we were marketing to became interested in signing up for our services themselves!
These busy professionals quickly discovered that our brief, infrequent, and highly effective program was tailor-made for their busy lifestyles. They were able to get stronger, lose body fat, build shapely muscle, relieve stress and reduce aches and pains with very little time spent in the gym. After 10-plus years of continuous success using our system with our clients, I decided I needed to find a way to get this program into the hands of the thousands of people who could benefit from it, knowing there were not enough hours in my lifetime to train them all one-on-one.
Thus, High Intensity Muscle Building was created.
Excerpted from High Intensity Muscle BuildingCopyright © 2009 by Dave Durell. All rights reserved.