"I have thought about training sessions weeks in advance. For
instance, if a big squat workout is scheduled for the middle of next
month, I am aware of it as the days pass by. One-week prior I'll
make sure not to walk too much or engage in any unnecessary
activity. I used to plan my classes in college with minimum walking
distance between them."
"After being taught sets and
reps and working at it for a length of time you can't paint by
numbers anymore. It must come from within. Any artist has an
emotional contact with their work. A true bodybuilder doesn't just
build muscle he creates muscle. You can't be a robot."
"The first thought that comes to
mind when the sets become tough is that I cannot lose. I refuse to
lose and be a failure. It's much more desirable to leave the gym
saying, "I won!"
"It's not a competition between
you and someone else. You may not do your best and still win. But
when you are competing with yourself you have to beat your own
record. When I was in my twenties I didn't think about it much, but
when I was in my mid-thirties I came to realize my own mortality.
Let me explain. In my twenties, after doing more reps than I had
planned on a set of squats, I'd fall to the floor and cover my eyes.
The light hurt them and it felt like there was someone stabbing
knives into my legs. There was always severe oxygen debt, but I was
confident I'd "come back". In my thirties I'd lie on the floor
sometimes and think, "God damn! What if I don't come back?"
"Looking back, I do believe my
drive to achieve this over-the-top intensity was, in a way,
self-abusive. I wasn't out to kill myself. But when you're training
that hard there is a certain amount of self-abuse. Normal people
don't have to go through that. You don't drive a normal car
excessively hard. A funny car, however, is pushed for all its worth
to achieve every last bit of performance. But we learn a lot about
our everyday cars from the drag strip. In the same way, we gain
knowledge about the human body from pro athletes. Not everyone is
psychologically able to be a pro athlete."
"I wasn't the biggest
bodybuilder. There's no denying that I had some freaky body parts.
But ultimately I think it was most important to me to relay the
energy I found in the gym to those in the audience. Through my
posing I wanted to change or add to the way people think about the
"Arnold used to enjoy my
intensity. He'd comment on the amount of energy I'd conjure up. But
I played off the other people, too"
"When you promise yourself
something, make a commitment, you can't give up. Because, when
you're in the gym, you have to fulfill the promise you made to
yourself. The people who can self motivate - in any field - are
usually the ones who win. Regardless of talent."
"I used to like putting a little
space between plates on the bar. They'd jingle when I came up out of
a squat, making a deep-throated roar. The old 45s were the best. The
sound would pass through my spine and ears. It was like a car engine
revving up. It would help me time my movement. A cue to go down for
the next rep."
"Six-hundred pounds (on squats)
became a moderate-rep weight. One month before the '84 Olympia I did
635 for 12 reps."
"In 1993, I was just playing
around with heavy weights. What we'd (him and Fred Hatfield) do is
put over a grand on the bar, take it off the rack and just hold it
for a count of ten or twenty. It's a great idea, but my spine
couldn't handle it."
"In the process of training I'd
find the exact moment of maximum tension within the muscle group and
exploit it. I did what I did instinctually, and now scientific data
backs it as a viable way to make muscle hypertrophy."
"I was built to squat."
"I don't believe in luck. Luck
comes to men of action."
"The only aspect of my
(bodybuilding) career I would change if I could would be to have
calmed down a little in the off-season. I was just so enthusiastic."
"Sometimes your strongest
attribute becomes an obstacle. The fact that you can focus and
concentrate and nail something usually means you become very good at
doing one thing at a time. The problem I've encountered is that I
sometimes focus so much on one thing that I will forget everything
"The psychological tools I've
gained from bodybuilding will never atrophy."
TOM PLATZ'S PRO CONTEST HISTORY
1979 Mr. Olympia:
8th (under 200 pounds)
1980 Grand Prix:
1980 Grand Prix:
1980 Night Of Champions:
1980 Mr. Olympia:
1980 Pro Mr. Universe:
1981 Mr. Olympia:
1982 Mr. Olympia:
1984 Mr. Olympia:
1985 Mr. Olympia:
1986 Mr. Olympia:
1987 Grand Prix: