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It was a pleasure to see these two great men in the same magazine. Personally, being a huge fan of both Paul Chek and Arnold Schwarzenegger, I really had to get my hands on the November 2011 edition of Muscle & Fitness. This was tricky, due to the fact they only appeared in the US edition and not the UK one.
As Charles Poliquin rightly says in his blog post: they are (Paul Chek and Arnold Schwarzenegger) “the modern era’s most influential people in personal training,” along with Arthur Jones (the inventor of the Nautilus exercise machines).
Anyhow, I finally got my hands on a secondhand copy on eBay. In short, both articles, on both men, covered only three pages. A lot of what was in Chek’s article was fairly watered down from what he really teaches. In Schwarzenegger’s article, it’s about his days as a competitor and how his fellow competitors perceived him.
Paul Chek is the founder of the C.H.E.K Institute in California. The C.H.E.K Institute first opened in 1995. From there, the C.H.E.K Practitioner programme emerged, then around five years later, the C.H.E.K Holistic Lifestyle Coach (HLC) programme began to be taught to people around the world.
Then, around 2005, Chek launched his PPS success programme (which stands for personal, professional and spiritual success). He has also written numerous books (on health, fitness and spirituality), produced over 60 exercise videos, invented exercise equipment/rehab tools and has developed many home study courses.
In a nutshell, in this article Chek talks about how everything is connected. He talks about how he assess his own clients, which takes him up to several hours. This is because Chek looks at a person from a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual perspective. I have also heard from Chek himself, that his FIRST assessment will cost between 6-10 grand! He offers a money back guarantee.
Do not compromise on food quality: Chek talks about the importance of eating organic, free range and locally farmed food, which is essential to keep in shape, stay strong and most importantly, keep healthy! You can find out more on the importance of eating good quality food, the importance of eating right for your metabolic type, plus much, much more in his book How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy.
Lifting weight is essential: Chek says lifting weight is essential to overcoming resistance in life, in general. This again is true. Probably why Arnold got so far in life! Also, you are more likely to change your body shape with lifting weights (intelligently), than just doing cardio exercise.
Swiss revolution: Paul Chek was the guy who brought Swiss balls (a.k.a stability balls) into mainstream fitness. He started using them well over 20 years ago while working in a physical therapy clinic in San Diego, CA. When he started using them, he only found three books – all in German – on Swiss ball use. From these books he has developed the comprehensive range of Swiss ball exercises seen in most gyms today!
Water is life: “The solution to pollution is dilution.” This is the catchphrase Chek uses to describe the importance of drinking good quality water. Being fully hydrated is critical for optimal health and the elimination of toxins. Being slightly dehydrated can have many negative impacts on your health, especially in relation to psychological disorders. Chronic constipation – which is very common today – is mainly caused by dehydration.
To finish off the article, Chek makes a few points:
Fixed axis machines are dangerous and should only be used in rare cases; for example, if someone has a neurological disease and has no balance. They can also be used at the end of a free weight workout to breakdown more muscle fibres. But they should make up NO MORE than of 20% of your total workout.
Weight belts are extremely dangerous as they do not allow your core muscles to engage properly, thereby causing all sorts of back problems.
All commercially raised food is dangerous (as previously mentioned).
Modern footwear is dangerous. So it best to train in bare feet (as Arnold did a fair bit) or to use the Vibram Five Finger shoes.
Sports clothing made from unnatural fibres is not good as it cuts off your natural chi flow, which can increase anxiety and energy problems.
Again, the abuse of cardio exercise is very dangerous.
Below is a video of Chek performing his “functional cardio” workout, which he did for the Muscle & Fitness magazine shoot.
“ARNOLD: THE COMPETITOR”
OK, so maybe this guy is a little more famous than Paul Chek. You certainly can’t knock what he has achieved in his life. Awarded the Mr Olympia title seven times, the highest-paid movie star ever (30 million for the Terminator 3 film), 20+ films to his name, the Governor of California for eight years, and sure to make some kind of comeback in 2012 (this four-part video on YouTube will tell you more).
Not bad for an immigrant who came over to America in 1968 from England, where, at he time, he was being looked after by Wag Bennett in East London.
Schwarzenegger, to the best of my knowledge, has appeared in more bodybuilding magazines than any other bodybuilder. Well, he is the greatest bodybuilder that ever lived! In this edition of Muscle & Fitness, his fellow competitors Bill Grant, Franco Columbu, Mike Katz and Frank Zane, to name but a few, speak about how Schwarzenegger used to think and compete back in the ’70s when he was at the height of his bodybuilding career.
Talking a big game: According to Bill Grant, when Schwarzenegger arrived in America in 1968, he was saying things like,”One day, they’ll be talking about me the same way they do about Steve Reeves.” At the time, Reeves was the biggest physique idol in history. Also, according to Mike Katz, Schwarzenegger thought very highly of himself compared to his friends. This is what gave him the edge.
Everyone thought Joe Weider gave Schwarzenegger everything when he came to America, but this was far from the truth. When Schwarzenegger first arrived in America he worked in menial jobs such as bricklaying and cleaning out warehouses. On top of that he was attending evening classes in business, doing posing exhibitions, photo shoots for magazines and training up to twice a day!
Spotting a legend: In the article, it goes on about Schwarzenegger’s intensity whilst training. According to his fellow training partners, Schwarzenegger’s intensity was untouchable in the gym. When Schwarzenegger trained, he took little or no rest between sets (which a lot of people cannot get away with). According to Mike Katz, “you’d get a four-hour workout done in an hour and 15 minutes,” when training with Schwarzenegger.
In Schwarzenegger’s book The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding – which took five years to write – it gives you an idea of how Schwarzenegger trained, the type of exercises he used, the reps / sets he used and much, much more.
The winning mind-set: Last in the article it talks about Schwarzenegger’s competitive mind-set. It has been well-documented (in the Pumping Iron documentary), that Schwarzenegger would play mind-tricks on his fellow competitors when competing. Again, he would do this to give him the “edge.”
To get a better understanding of what he did, I highly recommend that you watch Pumping Iron. It’s also great for motivation.
May I just add, the measurement claims in many of the bodybuilding magazines are always over-exaggerated. Schwarzenegger did not have 22-inch upper arms, but more like 19 and a bit – which is still very, very impressive! You can find more on this silliness in the book Brawn by Stuart McRobert. I also highly recommend Brawn to those who want basic, sound, simple, hype-free principles on building muscle – naturally.
Below is one of the most popular videos on YouTube of Schwarzenegger training. Use this for motivation. Just remember, as great as Schwarzenegger is, he did use steroids to build that body. It would be delusional to think you can get that big without them. Sorry!
But again, use his pictures and training videos for your own training motivation. There many more out there, if you search for them.
Arnold Schwarzenegger in action
I doubt there will ever be another magazine with these two great men in it. Through their focus, hard work, persistence and goal-setting mentality they have both definitely changed how people look at exercise, health and life at large.
But, unfortunately, a lot of the bodybuilding advice given by Schwarzenegger and other bodybuilding ‘experts’ in general, has done more damage than good. People like Paul Chek and his practitioners have had to put people “back together” due to the fact that people hurt themselves using machines too often (as promoted in a lot of bodybuilding magazines), and suffer from chronic stress / hormonal disorders from training too hard, too often.
Most people – even the healthiest – do NOT have the capacity to train twice a day for months on end or all year round, as promoted by Schwarzenegger. In short, you need to find what training plan works best for you and your health & fitness goals. Poliquins five elements article will help you with this.