"Don't forget to include Mumie in the article" Those words, uttered to me by Fred Hatfield, a world-record holding powerlifting champion in the squat , also known as "Dr.Squat," by virtue of earning a doctorate in sports psychology from Temple University, also the Alma Mater of disgraced comedian, Bill Cosby, stopped me in my tracks. I had just had a meeting with Fred, who was then the editor-in-chief of Joe Weider's Sports Fitness magazine. I had been doing some freelance writing for Fred, and he had just assigned me a new article. The article was to cover popular ergogenic aids favored by elite athletes. The article was timely, since the start of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games to be held in Los Angeles, was just around the corner. In the meeting, Fred had provided me with a suggested list of substances and supplements to include in the article. Some of these substances were popular back then, but have since slipped into obscurity. One was called "Smilax Officianalis," which was reputed to significantly boost testosterone levels. But my research on it showed that it was nothing more than another word for root beer. Tasty to drink for sure, but a testosterone booster? Nope. Fred had recently returned from a trip to Russia, where he met with a few top level Russian sports coaches,and he had returned with some great information provided to him by the coaches about Russian training and recovery techniques that were unknown and little used by Western athletes. One of the most highly regarded recovery aids favored by the Russians turned out to be what was called Mumie, pronounced "Moomiyo."
I had never heard of Mumie before Fred told me about it, but I was able to find some interesting things about it. It turned out that Mumie, which was only one name for it, since the name seemed to vary according to which country produced it, was an exudate or a black, greasy-looking substance that exuded or seeped between rocks in high mountain areas. Luckily, I managed to get a first hand look at genuine Mumie, since a company called Atletika with ties to the Russians had just come out with a supplement form aimed for the bodybuilding market. I obtained a few samples of the Mumie supplement, and found that it came in blister packs, that, when opened looked like black, greasy, disgusting mud. No way I'm going to ingest this stuff, I thought. But the research produced by Russian sports scientists was compelling. The Russians were so impressed with the restorative and anti-stress effects produced by Mumie that they gave the tar-looking supplement to all their elite athletes, and even sent it into space with their cosmonauts. The Russians claimed that ingesting Mumie increased training workload by an average of 15 to 27% and also increased recovery time between workouts. Soviet scientists . . .