Frank Zane is a former Champion Bodybuilder who's career spanning from 1961 to 1983. He is a member of the Classical Bodybuilding era but still has an extremely large influence on the Fitness Industry today. Frank's symmetrical physique, diamond cut musculature and poetic posing earned him the top title in Bodybuilding 3 times - Mr Olympia, from 1977-1979. As a much smaller physique compared to others of the same era, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sergio Oliva and other competitors, Frank managed to overcome shear mass with what is now commonly expressed as 'Aesthetics'. Frank's 'Aesthetic' physique is now the look that many men wish to obtain and what they envision when they pick up weights in the gym.
At 5ft 9in and ranging from 185-200lbs (84-90kg) on stage, it would appear that he possessed not only a beautiful physique but an 'obtainable' physique for the every day lifter. Today, competitors of the same height categories all regularly tip the scales at 240lbs+ (108kg+), and they have just become spectacles to most of the weightlifting public rather than aspirations. Unfortunately, although with great intentions, the stats that Frank had (albeit 'light' or 'smaller') would still be unachievable for 99% of all Natural lifters, and possibly all Natural lifters. Frank was a steroid user and achieved his great results through Intense Training, vigorous Dieting and Anabolic Steroids. It does not retract from his hard work or his achievements as a bodybuilder, he did achieve the highest Honour and Awards the sport had to offer - but he is still an unrealistic physical aspiration for the enthusiastic natural Lifter.
This should certainly not stop you from using him as motivation, or indeed admiring him. This is because Frank does not only represent a fantastic physique - but someone who won despite all the huge obstacles (literally). Frank knew he did not have the frame to support the super-mass some of his peers and fellow competitors had - so he decided he was going to beat them anyway, with his supreme Aesthetic lines and his superior conditioning. He did this by making the absolute most of his Genetics and using his knowledge as a science teacher, monitoring every possible detail of his entire bodybuilding lifestyle. He also consumed many supplements and amino acids to try and gain an edge, this was how he acquired his nickname, The Chemist.
He was a mad scientist when it came to logging his diet and training protocols. That way he knew 100% what worked for him and what didn't. If something went right/ wrong with his growth or conditioning he knew exactly what training style he was using and what diet approach he was on. This was how he overcame the mass monsters and was able to claim a spot as a great champion. Where the bigger guys struggled with getting down to very low body fat levels due to having to eat huge volumes of food, he would beat them by being super ripped, and how many others had very dominating singular body parts such as Arms or Chest, he would beat them by being perfectly proportioned (the ripped condition described with the phrase 'Zaney'). He ended up doing just this when he won the 1968 Mr Universe Title, beating Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. What's more is that he did all this while being a full time teacher.
The take away here is that no matter your genetic limitations you can out-work, out-angle and out-believe any competitor. It is just another reason to keep vigilant with your diet and training, monitoring and assessing results objectively for maximum output.
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