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  1. #1
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    Bulking, Old School McCallum style!


    I'm new here, but I used to write for a little magazine called "Hardgainer" until it went out of publication.

    2-3 years ago I was chatting with Chuck Miller, a powerlifter and fellow Hardgainer author (has written for MILO and a few other publications since), about how coincidental it was that a big fan of John McCallum's golden era (60s) muscle mag "Keys to Progress" series like me would end up living right next to the longest running folk festival in the country. It's about the only place in the world where it truly feels just like the 60s for a weekend each year, and I almost expect John McCallum to roll into town with Uncle Harry and the rest of his entourage. I would, of course, invite them over to lift in my basement, share "Get Big Drinks" and discuss bulking up in between concerts.

    Chuck and I did the next best thing, as you'll see if you read on.

    I told Chuck that he should write about it, and he said that it was my story to tell. Since there are few print publications remaining, and even online lifting info sources balk at big multiple-part series by a guy who has never written for them before, I've decided to share here. I hope that a few people like it. If you enjoy it and have never read "Keys to Progress", you should really get a copy, as I have tried to pay homage to McCallum's style. If you want to learn more about my bulking experiment, this was also discussed in Hardgainer issue #78.

    The folk fest is the third weekend of August each year, so I'll deliver one of the three sections each weekend, with the last one on the folkfest weekend.

    Peace, brothas and sistas!

    "Peace, Love, and Bulking, McCallum Style" (Part I)

    Five years ago my family and I moved into a house and property bordering a hay field that has served as the campground for a Folk festival for over 50 years. During one summer weekend each year, it seems just like the 60's again if you look over the fence. Everyone in the state who owns a stitch of tie-dye or a new age tattoo pours into our town, the air is full of 60s music and campfire (or other) smoke, and the creek is full of “folkies” cooling off. I always think of John McCallum's 1960's training articles each year when this happens, but especially last year, as Peter Yarrow (of John's favorite band Peter, Paul, and Mary) was one of the performers.

    I was kind of destined to be a McCallummite. I was born the same month that the last "Keys To Progress" article was published in Strength & Health, and used to hop around the dining room table to Peter, Paul and Mary's song "I'm in love with a Big Blue Frog" as a child. Later, in high school, I went from one complicated lifting program to another looking for the elusive holy grail of extraordinary size and strength. I didn't do too badly, but always felt that I had not lived up to my true potential.

    When my wife bought me the "Keys To Progress" compilation for Christmas early in our marriage, I was blown away. I was completely drawn in by McCallum's world, and yearned to hang out with him and his friends back in the 60's. I wanted to meet world-class strongmen and "Mr. Big Winners" with big John himself, hike the mountains with Maury Jones, fish in icy Northern lakes with Marvin and Ollie, train Hip belt squats in Uncle Harry's basement, and maybe even get a glimpse of some of the "reasonable facsimiles of Raquel Welch" that seemed to frequent British Columbia in those days. Everything he wrote about seemed like high adventure. What I wanted most of all, however, was to take part in one of John's training experiments, which seemed to invariably pack about 30 pounds of muscular body-weight onto his lucky trainee in the span of only a few months.

    Unfortunately, I was going to have to do the transforming without John's supervision. I wasn't sure which of his routines to implement first, but as an impatient young man, I was most drawn to the articles about fast bulking. I really liked the "Softening up for Gains" series, where John's Uncle Harry shared the methods he used to pack extra size onto his massive physique from time to time, which seemed to be the secret that enabled him to run around with an entourage of ladies less than half his age.

    I tried out fast bulking programs on two different occasions. While the workouts and heavy eating felt a lot more like hard work than "the lazy man's way to gains" as Uncle Harry had put it, the results were as good as promised! In the years since, I've continued to use many of the programs from Keys to Progress to maintain, and build upon, the size and strength that I gained.

    My buddy Chuck Miller came over for a visit a week or so before last year's festival, and we talked a lot about peace, love, and bulking, McCallum-style.

    Chuck popped out of the car looking thick as a brick in camo shorts, sneaks, and a t-shirt that said “Powerlifting: Like a tri-athlon for REAL MEN”. He said “Hey, where is this portal to the 60's that you keep telling me about?” So I took him for a look. We ambled across the backyard, up the stone steps, and through a gate into the chicken run in the woods. It was cool and shady there, and the chickens came trotting over to see if we had any snacks to give them.

    I said “Hey ladies! Did you lay any eggs today, or do I need to get my protein in nugget form?” Looking unperturbed, they took note of my empty hands and wandered off to scratch for bugs. We scrambled up the ladder to our tree house, from where we could see past the fence to the campground. A few big tents had been set up in the distance, but otherwise it just looked suspiciously like a hay field for the moment.

    Chuck said “So, what is it like being right next to this thing?”

    I said “Have you ever heard of “Brigadoon”? Well, instead of a town appearing for a day once every 100 years, for one weekend each year, it seems just like the “Summer of Love” again in this neighborhood. That field is jam-packed full of cars, hippie buses, and campers. These normally quiet country roads, walking trail, and creek are jammed with folkies and traffic. Some party poopers leave town to get away from it, and one local merchant always posts something like “Hey hippies, folk off!”

    on his sign, but I think it's fun, and go to most of the shows. I half expect John McCallum and his buddy Ollie to show up on a road trip into town each year when this happens, but especially this year, since Peter Yarrow is playing.“

    Chuck laughed. He said “Didn't he take some kid to a Peter, Paul, and Mary concert once to teach him a lesson?”

    “Yup”, I said, “In "Bulking Up", McCallum takes a young Beatles fan to a PP&M concert, and proves to him that guitarists don't have to be plugged in or modernized to be cool after they fly through a blistering acoustic number. McCallum uses it as an analogy to show that modern training methods aren't more effective than "squats and milk" either.”

    We moseyed around to the front yard and I showed off my heirloom tomatoes.

    Chuck said “You really are kind of a McCallummite, huh? Didn't you follow his bulking programs a time or two and pack on something like 20 pounds in a month? I never tried that myself, as I was more worried about staying in the 198 pound class for most of my powerlifting career than I was about getting a lot bigger.”

    I said “Yeah, I spent my whole childhood wishing I was bigger, then got serious about it when I weighed in for football in 10th grade at 133 pounds. I got steamrolled by an all-county linebacker one day at practice, and started to worry that I wasn’t going to live through the season, let alone get any playing time! The guy had long, flowing hair styled in a sweet 80's perm, an ever-present Monsters of Rock t-shirt, roared around town in a souped-up Dodge Charger, and loved bone crushing collisions. I had nightmares about him, as did all of the opposing teams in the county! I got up to a buck-seventy by my senior year, but I still felt like I was limited by my size. When I shot a gap in the offensive line, all too often there was a fullback big enough to keep me from getting my mitts on the guy with the ball. I couldn't seem to find what I thought must be a secret path to greater size and strength! As a young married guy I still wanted to see how big I could get with the right program, and the bulking articles made me drool! I just hoped McCallum wasn't exaggerating.”

    I picked a plump “Cherokee Purple” in one hand and a “Pink Brandywine” in the other as Chuck did some drooling of his own. He said “Man, what I wouldn't do for a BLT right now!” He then pointed out an “Aunt Ruby's German Green” that was over two pounds.

    “Look at this monster, Nate! How do you grow these plants and tomatoes so big?”

    I said: “I give them all a bucket of water each week, and another of compost each month. Actually Chuck, it's a lot like bulking up for humans. You have to make sure that nutritional requirements are met and exceeded at all times so that growth is never thwarted, and then provide lots of growth stimulation. They need plenty of sun just like we need heavy weights and maximum effort on a few basic exercises in the weight room.”

    He elbowed me in the ribs jokingly and said “You're kind of a hippie yourself, aren't you Nate? Living out here communing with nature, eating organic produce, and free love, well, that's how you ended up with all of those kids, right?”

    I thought about all of the diapers I've changed, sleep I've lost, arguments I've refereed, and the looming college bills, and said “Free love indeed!”...............

  2. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Nathan Harvey For This Useful Post:

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  3. #2
    Senior Moderator NbleSavage's Avatar
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    Cheers, OP.

    When ye copy & paste, it often comes off as black text on a black background. Ye may want to edit yer post to make it visible.
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    Elite gymrat827's Avatar
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    we need to be enlightened...!!!

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    Management Team mugzy's Avatar
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    That's very cool.
    "A great fighter can move in all variations of the four directions. A legend only moves in one."

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    congratulations, you win the super random, strange and long af first post award.

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    Is there a summary?

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