|Bertil Fox Seminar & Posing DVD Review
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|Bertil Fox Seminar Plus Posing Taped in England in the late '80's, Brutal Bertil tells it like it is. Fox is one of the most outspoken, popular, smart, down-to-earth physique stars in the professional ranks. He speaks his mind on all subjects from his feelings towards judges, and his fellow competitors, to training and steroids. This is a controversial seminar - nothing is held back! BUY IT NOW
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REVIEW OF THE DVD
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Bertil Fox Seminar & Posing
The Bertil Fox Golden Bodybuilder Awards
Right off the bat Carl Brown and Jane Molloy came out to pose. They were both very fit although Carl was obviously no Bertil. Nice classic physique but lacking the sheer size Bertil had. Some of GMV's classic titles feature these guest posers and I sometimes wonder where those bodybuilders are today. As muscular as some of the guest posers are, none ever seem to compare to main man of the DVD. In Mike Quinn's DVD, towards the end when all the amateurs were posing, Mike really made them all look like amateurs by the time he came out on stage! The pair posed to "STILL" by The Commodores and had quite a classical posing routine - it was along the lines of figure skating. The same emotions went with it. The crowd seemed to enjoy the posing and the pair came back to do some more poses with the crowd clapping. Personally I just wanted to see Bertil get to the money. But the added features are good additions.
The announcer then announced the main attraction of the show - the bodybuilder's bodybuilder - BRUTAL BERTIL FOX. He came out to to the stage and sat down wearing a track suit and looked wide and thick. I really don't understand the comments about Bertil being structurally narrow. I can see this in his back double biceps pose, but from the front? No way. He reminded me of Gary Strydom in that manner - thick and wide, just not so much from the rear when hitting a back double biceps pose. When Arnold and Bertil were sitting together Bertil looked to be far wider than Arnold, and we all know how wide Arnold was. However, that was Bertil during the offseason, and Bertil is considered to be much like Dennis James as the king of offseason mass!
The crowd started asking Bertil questions where he jokingly said that he was 160 pounds. Of course he was joking around. Bertil said that Steve Reeves movies had a great influenec on him as a child and he wanted his physique thinking that is how a physique should be. I would tend to agree - Steve was around 6'1 and 210 pounds with a 29" waist. Fantastic physique. He was also confident and handsome and in the movies appeared to be the traditional bodybuilder and strongman - something Arnold said Bertil could be and something that I think Bertil wanted to be from his Steve Reeves inspirations!
More questions were asked and Bertil was asked about hobbies outside of bodybuilding. Bertil spoke about it but seemed primarily focussed on bodybuilding - hard training and strict dieting. Say what you will about Bertil's personal life, the fact remains that he was one of the most amazing bodybuilders ever and one of my favourite classic physiques. Somebody who I feel was highly underrated in his time. And off topic and possibly controversial, I have to say that Bertil's unfair placings in bodybuilding probably didn't help the outcome of his life. Sometimes all it takes is being screwed at something you love to ruin your motivation in life which eventually leads down the slippery slope of poor decisions. Bertil spoke about supplements and said: "I take everything - especially if it's free." He was asked if supplements worked and looked at his right arm and said "Well...". LOL. Excellent point Bertil!
Bertil said that Rich Gaspari had a lot of vascularity but not that much muscle density - ???? Maybe Bertil was smoking some crack from the crackpipe Ronnie keeps saying Jay has. Rich Gaspari was INCREDIBLY dense in muscularity. Much more than Bertil was even at his best. They both were about 5'8 or so but Rich was more dense than Bertil - and Bertil was damn dense so that's saying a lot! I think that Bertil possibly just wasn't sure what the word "density" means in reference to muscle.
Bertil went on to say that Larry Scott was ahead of his time and impressed Bertil a lot.
Bertil said that Sergio Oliva was an idiot to try to compete again and turn the clock back. Sergio's performance at the 1984 Olympia was not that great, but his conditioning improved by far in 1985. Unfortunately so did the competition and Bertil's eighth place finish remained.
He said Father time hasn't caught up with [Albert] Beckles yet, but will. haha, to this day at AGE 75 Albert is still bench pressing 130 pound dumbbells in the gym on the flat dumbbell press for chest! I can't quite do this at 24, and I would hope to be ALIVE at age 75, let alone being that strong!
Bertil said Tom Platz had great legs and that's it. LOL. Tom had fantastic legs, and I do admit his upper body lagged behind his legs a fair degree. Ahh well, that is mostly about genetics. What can you do to bring up weak points like that? You have to do the best with the hand you were dealt, and I think that Tom's training intensity is proof that he definitely did exactly that.
Next up Bertil talked a little bit about his training and his training intensity. What bodybuilding is all about is simple: dedication. Work hard, but always keep balanced. Lee Haney would have been the first to tell you that. What you want to do is get maximum gain while preventing injury and not burning out.
Bertil gave us his opinions on Rick Wayne. Rick gave a great quote in the documentary "Bertil Fox, Death and the Bodybuilder" about psychologists and bodybuilders:
"Bodybuilders have gotten a shellacking by a bunch of skinny little pencil pushers who call themselves psychologists. They don't know. Most of them are unfit skinny little runts. They are getting their rocks off - these little skinnies - by picking on the big guys. The big guys have no brains and the big guys are just bloated up insecure people. We considered that kind of criticism the criticism of cretins - you know, the guys who didn't know what they were doing. Or, that guys were using those lines to justify their own physical inferiorities. Let me tell you this - there is an orgasmic feel, and a long lasting orgasmic feel about working out. Your endorphins, and the muscles pumped up with blood. And that is why I suppose that once you become a serious bodybuilder you never really give it up. So only we can really explain what it feels like to go into a gym and pump up. So let the others laugh - they will never know."
HAHAHAHA!!! My degree may be in psychology, but I still agree 100% with this quote.
When asked what his best bench press was, Bertil said there is some variance from week to week depending on external factors such as stress and other factors so that he is not too conscious of weight. His max bench press was probably around 585 pounds if I had to guess - and I'll tell you this - barely ANY bodybuilders of ANY era are this strong. Bertil could handle 400 pound bench presses like it was the empty bar! Guys these days like Jay Cutler and Dexter Jackson have handled similar loads but with MUCH greater subjective effort (or at least it seemed like that from the DVDs that I've seen). Bertil could probably bury Jay and Dexter in the gym, and I honestly think that even Ronnie Coleman himself would have to push himself hard to keep up. Ronnie trains heavy, but I think a lot of the lifts he has done on video have been done specifically for the video - I don't think Ronnie is bench pressing 500 or 600 pounds during EVERY chest workout. Bertil on the other hand I truly think did. Bertil was more of an animal than I've ever seen before. Ronnie looks like he is having fun in the gym and is just a freak of genetics in terms of muscle and strength. Bertil seemed like a guy who was just plain addicted to the rush of working out and would workout on the brink of injury to get the ultimate workout! This man is an animal, and while I haven't reviewed it yet, I HIGHLY recommend you purchase the Brutal Bertil Fox training DVD. I have seen a few clips of this video and it is amazing! Bertil is quite possibly a greater motivator than ANY bodybuilder I have seen working out on video up to this point - that INCLUDES Ronnie. And this is only from the few clips I have seen. I think part of the appeal is that Bertil looks strong but is so much stronger than he looks. With Ronnie's physique you would expect that he is as strong as he is - but you wouldn't expect a guy Bertil's size to have the same upper body strength as Ronnie - yet he does!
If you want to see some of Ronnie's incredible upper body muscularity, check out Ronnie's newest DVD and GMV Masterpiece "On the Road":
A member in the audience asked if Bertil takes steroids and he said that they are a part of bodybuilding. He was asked again if he takes them and he replied "None of your damn business, haha. That's a personal question." Too bad about that. I would have liked to hear about Bertil's comments on steroids. Tom Platz was very open about them and I wish Bertil spoke about them too.
A member of the audience brought up the good point that bodybuilders on steroids are used to promote natural supplemenets. I agree that it is a bit dishonest to promote supplements in that manner, but that's just how it goes. What can you do? The only people who fall for these ads are newbies anyway. The sad part is, that bodybuilding is hard and this means that a LOT of people are newbies. So a lot of people fall for these ads and support the supplement companies coming out with these deceitful ads. That gives them the incentive to continue to make these ads. So what can you do? Just live and learn I guess.
The topic of Bertil's posing was brought up and he said he was critisized for it. Bertil got a lot of flak in his day! He was incredibly underrated. He was kind of like the Shawn Ray of his day in that he was very outspoken. But the judges had the nerve to hold Bertil back considerably due to his words. Something that didn't really hurt Shawn too badly. Sure, he may have been screwed out of an Olympia win or two, but he still did quite well, despite being so outspoken (in ways I entirely agree with) about bodybuilding. Some of Shawn's comments are spot on - same goes for Bertil's.
When asked if he would like to be in films, Bertil said he would like a good writer to come up with a bodybuilding story.
Bertil said there is a day when a bodybuilder will become as big as he can ever become. But he said you can't tell yourself that you've reached your peak or else you will just stop growing. You need to train with the intensity and determination that you are still going to grow! I think Bertil took this very far by seeing a skinny boy in the mirror looking at him when he was working out! You have to wonder what Bertil sees in the mirror these days at age 54 while sitting in a jail cell at 160 pounds!
My favourite part of the DVD was up next: Brutal Bertil hit the bench presses! He did a staggered set by coming up in weight and then going back down - this was incredible to watch! The announcer said that Bertil normally wore gloves but had no gloves with him. He said he also just trained chest that very morning! He performed the following weight and reps on the flat bench:
135 - 10 reps.
225 - 10 reps.
295 - 10 reps.
365 - 10 reps - at this point the crowd pulled out he airhorn!
435 - 9 reps
Then Bertil did a dropset!
495 - 1 reps
435 - 1 reps
365 - 2 reps
295 - 6 reps
And the crowd once again pulled out the airhorn! I would love to see Jay Cutler do this. Of course I know he can't, which is proof of Bertil's amazing strength. The fact someone as big and as strong and as CURRENT as Jay can't keep up is proof of Bertil's amazing stregnth. Bertil then did 295 for 10 reps after barely any rest between that set and his previous staggered set! Bear in mind that this was after he had already trained chest that morning - unreal! Talk about strong.
Bertil then hit a set of flyes to show the crowd his form for them. He said his form was different than the traditional method. He tapped the ends of the dumbbells facing away from him together at the top of the movement.
Carl Brown came on stage next to pose. As built as he was, he honestly looked puny compared to Bertil. Bertil was thick as all hell.
Mr. Keith Jones posed next. This was another skinny runt compared to Bertil! And this is saying a lot since this guy was actually in great shape and fairly built. This really speaks for Bertil's size.
Craig Harlond was up next. Yep, you guessed it - another runt compared to Bertil! Based on lyrics searches I did on the net, the posing song may have been "Voices Of Theory - Wherever You Go" but I have no idea! Soemtimes these lyrics are impossible to find. Such as with Rich Gaspari's posing music at the 1987 Mr. Olympia which I later learned was called "Destiny" and performed by his brother! There is no record of it anywhere on the internet.
The three competitors then hit the mandatory poses:
- Front Double Biceps.
- Front Lat Spread.
- Side Chest.
- Rear Double Biceps.
- Rear Lat Spread.
- Side Triceps.
- Abdominals and Thighs.
This was followed up with some free posing, and the airhorns went off. The posing music sounded like it was Phil Collins and not a song I recall! I'm a big Phil Collins fan so I'll have to go dig up this song. His voice is always recognizable. The physiques in this small contest looked pretty damn good though - as well as being moderate and attainable. I would have put Craig as the clear winner of this contest with Carl Brown in second and Keith in third. And as it was, that's exactly how the judging went! I do think the judging was done by Bertil because Bertil is someone who can relate to the modern day judging - and so can Tom Platz. I think something can be said for those who are animals in the gym - they want to see the biggest, most shredded, and freakiest physiques win the shows - and not these little guys with nice lines and pretty abs. I can actually agree with this, although I am also a fan of the classic physiques. As Ronnie Coleman said at the 2001 Mr. Olympia press conference, this is apples and oranges.
The then current Ms. Germany and Ms. Europe Eleanora Guebinsky. She looked fantastic and very sexy. I agree with Bertil and John Romano that feminity is NOT females with male bodies! Not at all - and it's no wonder female bodybuilding doesn't sell! Not to sound overly critical, but I am no fan of it. Eleanora came back on stage to pose to "Easy Lover" by Phil Collins! Very interesting to see the popularity of Collins at the time, although I remain a huge fan to this day and have been since around 1999-2000. I think Eleanora could have looked a wee bit better with slightly small thighs, but other than that, she looked very sexy and very feminine.
The announcer said that in his competitive days there were plastic trophies offered to the winners, and that people would train for a year to get the kind of trophies offered at this seminar. Amazing that people would compete solely for a trophy, no matter what it's made of. That is what love for something is about.
The announcer introduced Paul Patterson next to pose. He possessed another excellent physique. Classic and moderate. He didn't look quite as wirey as the second and third place finishers of the previous contest and he was shredded and striated. He had a physique that I am striving for myself. Of course I might never look like that without steroids and genetics on my side (not to mention, a lackluster appetite!). Bodies are made in the kitchen, and hardly at all in the gym! The crowd pulled out the airhorn for Paul so that is proof he looked good up on that stage. Paul looked to be about 5'7 or 5'8 though. I recently found that I lose almost an inch of height during the day! I didn't believe Joe Meeko in his DVD when he said that he lost two inches in height going from 5'10 to 5'8 from heavy squats but from my own experience and natural height variance throughout the day, I believe it!
The Joe Meeko feature is quite possibly my favourite GMV yet. The only sad part is Joe's height loss, lol!
Eddie Elwood was announced to the stage next. Eddie looked fairly thick and shredded and put on a good posing routine. For posing which was only secondary to the main seminar, this was pretty good footage. I personally think that any hardcore bodybuilding fan should acquire every GMV title one by one!
Phil Lewis came out on stage next to pose. He posed to the same song which was featured at the end of the 1984 Mr. Olympia contest. There were no lyrics so it was impossible for me to do a google search on it. ahh well.
Craig Howard came up to pose next. He was pretty big and posed to an upbeat song - again, finding the lyrics proved difficult for me as the words were difficult to hear with the crowd cheering.
The four competitors came out on stage and they were ranked as follows:
4th - Craig Howard
3rd - Phil Edwards
2nd - Eddie Elwood
1st - Paul Patterson
I really don't see how Craig came in fourth, especialy if Bertil was doing the judging, but oh well. Not everything is easy to understand.
Vince Taylor came out next and was looking huge - this is a man turning 50 this year (in August 2006) and he was less than 30 in this footage! One of the earliest known guest appearances ever. Although I couldn't make out the lyrics again, Vince posed to a typical soulfoul song as he did in his 2002 Masters Olympia routine:
Also, check out the GMV DVD featuring Vince Taylor's training:
To read a review of the Vince Taylor DVD, click below:
Review of Vince Taylor - Workout "Getting Pumped" DVD
Vince was the only bodybuilder at this contest who was comparabl to Bertil in any way. HE was the same height and very thick - obviously not as strong, and not as big either, but Vince still looked to have the potential of a top pro much as Bertil did.
Bertil then came on stage and it was obvious at that point that he dwarfed Vince! That was amazing because Vince was quite large. Vince posed to "I Want to Break Free" by Queen. Bertil had some huge calves which is pretty rare for black bodybuilders. It is known that black bodybuilders have a hard time developing big calves just as white bodybuilders have a hard time keeping tight waists - it is just genetic and something in the bloodline. And while there are some anthropologists silly enough to pretend race doesn't exist (like a professor at my university who I've debated it with), the reality is it does, and this is one of those things that is definitely noticeable between the races. One would be fairly ignorant not to note that and not to note that Bertil did stand out in this manner compared to his fellow black bodybuilders.
To me, this DVD was worth it's weight in gold just for the footage of Bertil bench pressing as heavy as he did during his staggered set. That was my favourite part in the DVD by far. The questions and answers with Bertil were also quite entertaining. The amateur bodybuilding footage was not of much interest to me, since I mainly wanted to see Bertil. But the Vince Taylor early guest posing footage was definitely a real plus! Overall this is a good seminar and one which you will want to add to your collection - especially if you are a fan of Bertil.
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