The year was 1971 and new machines had arrived at the R&J Health Studio in Brooklyn. Among the regulars at this gym was Lou Ferrigno, who had recently won first place in the WBBG Pro Mr.America contest at only 19 years old. The new machines had first been publicized in Ironman Magazine, having been developed by an eccentric former filmmaker named Arthur Jones. The machines were called "Nautilus machines" because of the seashell-shaped cam featured on the machines. According to Jones, the Nautilus machines were an advance over free weights because the unique Nautilus cam provided variable resistance or resistance throughout the full range of exercise movement. But the key to using the machines properly was that every set had to be completed to utter and complete muscular failure. While Lou Ferrigno trained hard, he wasn't used to training a set to total muscular failure. So when he was instructed on how to use the Nautilus pullover machine, which was said to provide direct resistance to the lat muscles of the back, he was told to complete the set to failure. To ensure that he did that, another gym member stood over Lou as he did the pullover machine, urging him on to complete failure. Lou managed to complete the set to failure, but then something unexpected happened.
Lou Ferrigno vomited.
Lou was not used to training with that level of exercise intensity and it proved a bit too much for his gastrointestinal system, even though his muscles made it through the exercise. But Lou is not the first nor the last to experience the embarrassment of exercise-induced nausea. I've seen many other examples of it over the 58 years that I've trained in gyms all over the world. In one case, I witnessed a guy go so hard on barbell squats that he crapped in his pants. That area of the gym stayed clear for the next couple of hours. In another instance, I arrived at the gym to see an acquaintance eating a full meal at one of the tables in front of the gym floor. I assumed that he had just completed his workout, but instead he told me that he had just arrived in the gym, and was eating the meal "because I need the energy." He seemed blissfully unaware of the digestive process and somehow thought that the calories, protein, and fat he was consuming went straight to the muscles. In fact, when he started to train, the digestive process stopped and the blood that would be involved in the digestive process was instead diverted to his muscles. As such, the food just sat there in his gut while he trained. Within about a half-hour, I saw him run into to restroom. I didn't have . . .