Rachel McLish was the very first Ms. Olympia winner way back in 1980. Her symmetrical physique, not to mention her head-turning beauty, catapulted her into the public eye and established women’s bodybuilding as a brand-new sport.
She retired only four years after winning the first Ms. O, saying that women’s bodybuilding was going the way of steroids and too much muscle, not the strong, feminine ideal she was trying to promote.
Still, she was in demand for appearances, modeling, and more—she was even in a few movies—for decades after. Here’s another great shot of her out and about…
Interesting Zen tidbit: Rachel is from South Texas. She was always into working out, and right after college she became a partner in a fitness center in the late ’70s in Harlingen, Texas—but at that point she had never seen a bodybuilding contest…
In early 1980, the college from which she graduated was holding a men’s bodybuilding contest, and she decided to check it out to see what flexing for trophies was all about.
After she attended, she was so motivated, she drove straight to her fitness center, opened it up late that night and had an incredible workout. That’s when she decided to enter the U.S. Bodybuilding Championships, the first women’s bodybuilding show. She won, qualified for the first Ms. Olympia later that year, and took home the first-place trophy…
The twist here is the men’s bodybuilding contest she witnessed at her alma mater that got her so stoked. The winner of that show was Steve, co-author of this newsletter and former Editor in Chief of Iron Man magazine.
Steve is also from South Texas. He didn’t know she was at that show until 30 years later when he read an interview with Rachel. Talk about a weird, wild coincidence. Here’s Rachel on the cover of Iron Man when she was in her 50s…
As for her training, Rachel was always experimenting in the gym, so her workouts varied. And that was one of the keys to her success. As we often say, change to gain.
It’s not so much about changing exercises as it is about switching up rep tempo, adding intensity techniques, varying time under tension, and so on.
That’s why we offer a number of different ebooks on building muscle. Yes, we outline full workout programs in each, but those are really just templates. What you should grasp are ideas on how to vary your own training with tactics that spur new hypertrophy…
For example, our most recent offering is the expanded Quick-Start Muscle Building Guide. The NEW 2.0 version has many unique mass tactics infused into complete at-home workouts in a big, updated section. And the main mass tactic is slow-twitch exhaustion, STX, to help you build muscle in a bare-bones home gym with only moderate poundages—all you need is an adjustable bench and dumbbells. Check it out HERE.
And as we said, we have many more ebooks that are packed with unique ways to vary your workouts for new muscle mass, like our very first Ultimate Mass Workout, featuring X Reps, Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building, and X-Rep Update #1. Those are available in a 3-ebook bundle for only $19, a $49 value, HERE.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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