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  1. #1
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    The Serge Nubret Story Parts 1 through 13

    Hello folks I am posting The Serge Nubret Story Parts 1 through 13 with one part at a time.

    He remains one of the most fascinating stories in bodybuilding history. I did a ton of research over many months to put this together including online articles, magazine articles, online posts from people who knew him personally and/or trained with him but most importantly from the man’s own words where he posted literally hundreds of pages on many different bodybuilding forums. I have conveniently summarized all of it here for you. I will point out this information is based on Serge’s own posted words and the posted words of some of the people who knew him and/or trained with him and articles written about him and therefore it is not to be taken as 100% factual, and it also contains speculation and opinions, therefore use this primarily as entertainment. Enjoy!

    The Serge Nubret Story Part I


    Serge Nubret was considered one of, if not the most aesthetically pleasing bodybuilders in history. In fact, many considered Nubret, Sergio Oliva and Arnold Schwarzenegger to still be the standards of the best physiques ever before HGH, Insulin, Test, Plazma, EQ, Tren, Mast, Halo and injectable oils (in addition to steroids used from 1963 onward) became prevalent in the sport in the early 1990s. He was also world class, i.e. one of the best bodybuilders in the world, longer than anyone in history, nearly 25 years from 1960 to 1985. He set new unprecedented standards for what the human body could look like in one’s 50s and 60s. At age 65, his physique was almost identical to what it was when he was 37 and finished 2nd in the Mr. Olympia. At age 70, he ridiculously still sported muscular 20 inch arms with YouTube video proof. His 28” waist combined with his massive arms and chest stun anyone who has never seen his photos before.


    He was also a rebel, a trailblazer and an enigma, and unconventional in every way possible. He rebelled against the Weider Empire that controlled every aspect of the sport and because of that he would never be crowned Mr. Olympia. He refused to sign a contract with the Weiders. He refused to move to America. He refused to follow their directives. He refused to say he was following the so-called Weider Training Principles. He was stymied by the Weiders at the 1975 Olympia and finished 2nd, (more on that in later parts), then was permanently banned by the Weiders from competing at the Olympia after 1975 in his peak years when he (or Oliva, who was also banned) would probably have won all of those Olympias from 1976-1979 and possibly beyond those years. In exile from the Weiders’ IFBB, he headed the NABBA where he and Oliva would trade victories in relative obscurity away from the limelight of the Weiders’ IFBB Olympia.
    Last edited by oldguy1961; 05-13-2020 at 06:14 AM.
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    I got to casually know him from the gym we trained at in the early 90's.
    Really nice guy.
    I got to personally watch him train and yes on most things he did hundreds of reps on usually on a timed protocol.
    One time training next to him(he was squatting)he commented on my training partner and i doing donkey calve raises saying"that is the best calve exercise you can do.Better than any machine."We that that was an awesome comment.
    He even put on a show one year "The Serge Nubret Classic"with statue trophies of him doing one of his classic poses.
    It all came to an end when the gym eventually closed down as many of them do.
    Good memories.
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    Thanks for the great input GR. I am sure you will enjoy the rest of the series!
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    The Serge Nubret Story Part 2

    Nubret defied scientific research, broke all training conventions, never read a training book, ignored what everyone else was doing, scoffed at was written in muscle magazines and created his own revolutionary training system and diet that sculpted the physique that stunned people for 50 years from age 20 right through to age 70. His training and diet were so revolutionary, if not outright absurd, that his critics remain entrenched in various combinations of disbelief, defiance, perplexation, anger, jealousy and alternate explanations. He would say they have scientific research on their side, he has his stunning physique for 50 straight years on his side. On the other hand, Nubret also trained 100s of bodybuilders in gyms in Paris, most of whom swear by his techniques and say it is the superior method. He also took to the internet in his late 60s and converted scores of natural trainees who had previously tried modern and/or scientific based training programs and said his program was by far the best they ever tried. His training philosophy will be detailed tomorrow in Part 3.
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    Will you post pictures?
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    The Serge Nubret Story Part 3

    His revolutionary program is based on achieving the maximum possible pump, which he believed is the single most important factor by far in achieving muscle growth (and he says also causes fat burning), and consists of, in order of importance, the following techniques to maximize the pump:

    1) Short rest periods between sets, 30 seconds for most muscles and 1 minute for quads.

    2) Very high volume, at least 16 sets for most muscle groups and up to 40 sets, with 6-10 sets per exercise.

    3) Massive protein consumption of 400-600 grams per day, primarily red meat. Nubret ate horse meat for most of his career, which is widely available in France, and up to 6 pounds of horse meat a day. He also ate red beans and various other beans and white rice and pasta. Rarely, he would eat other forms of protein and carbs. He ate little fruit or vegetables and because of that he took a multi vitamin. He would always say “protein and only protein can build muscle, and if you eat too much, the excess is used as a source of energy.”

    4) High number of reps per set usually 12 and sometimes 15. Start with a weight you can get about 20-24 reps on. Do 12 reps with that weight on all of your sets. If you can’t get 12 reps on all sets, decrease the weight. When it gets easy to get 12 reps on all sets, increase the weight a little in the next workout. It takes a few workouts to figure out the appropriate weight for each exercise. For many people, the appropriate weight is about 35-45% of your 1 rep max.

    5) Work each muscle twice per week. He says once a week is inferior and also won’t promote fat burning.

    6) For cardiovascular training, do 2000 sit-ups in one set lasting 1 hour every day, and that combined with his fast paced, long workouts, eliminates the need for any additional cardio training.

    7) Never bulk up and never get fat. Be a bodybuilder 365 day a year and don’t ever get more than 10 pounds above peak condition. He considered bodybuilding to be more of a lifestyle than a sport.

    8) For arms, superset 16 sets each for biceps and triceps continuously with zero rest the entire workout.

    9) Use an extremely wide grip for bench presses and incline bench presses to minimize triceps and shoulder involvement, and to focus on the chest.

    10) Emphasize basic exercises, i.e. squats for thighs, bench press for chest, barbell press for shoulders, barbell curl for biceps, lying triceps extensions and pushdowns and dips for triceps, standing calf raises, lying leg curls, chin-ups for back, etc. Also use other isolation exercises for each muscle.

    11) Use no supplements, just food.
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    On the sets per muscle group. Is that per workout or per week?
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    That is per workout. He did advocate beginner's programs and he posted a detailed "intermediate" program that had fewer sets, but still far more than most trainees do.
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    The Serge Nubret Story Part 4

    He defied almost every widely accepted “modern” bodybuilding convention. A complete list of conventionally accepted beliefs that he disagreed with would be 20 pages long, but here is a sampling (1-13 of 26):

    1) The key to building muscle is to use a limited number of sets per muscle with moderate to heavy weights and high intensity and in which you progressively increase, i.e. for a given number of reps, you must increase the weight you are lifting to increase the size of the muscle. Nubret disagreed and believed maximizing the pump in the muscle is the key to muscle growth by using short rests, high volume, high reps and light weights. Interestingly, there is the little-known fact that Schwarzenegger wrote in the original version of “The Education Of The Bodybuilder” that if you really want to put on muscle, “do not rest more than 30-45 seconds between sets” which would therefore agree with Nubret. Also independent of Nubret, famed 1950s and ‘60s trainer Vince Gironda also advocated pump training. Gironda trained the first Mr. Olympia Larry Scott, and briefly advised Schwarzenegger after he arrived in America in 1970 and around the time he switched from heavy weights to a mixture of heavy and light weights with short rest intervals between sets.

    2) You must use relatively heavy weights to build muscle. Nubret disagreed. Despite having a maximum bench press (and with a crazy wide grip) of 495 pounds, he trained with only 155-195 pounds on the flat bench press and the equivalent for all other exercises. Of course, that is actually a lot of weight when you are doing 24-40 sets total for chest with only 30 seconds rest between sets. Nubret never trained with heavy weights his entire career. He says this is why he was able to train without ever being injured and with zero joint pain until age 70, while almost everyone else is either knocked out of the game, limited in how they can train, or in constant joint pain, decades before they reach 70. This method also allowed Nubret to take his crazy wide grip on bench presses which would injure the shoulders of the typical trainer who is training with heavy weights. He would test his strengths once every 2 months. See attached photo of Serge Nubret testing his strength on the bench with no spotter with his crazy wide grip.

    3) Any more than 10-12 sets for big muscles and 8-10 for small muscles is “overtraining”. Nubret disagreed and says there is no such thing as overtraining and you need to train with big volume AND eat a big volume of protein.

    4) You should only work each muscle once per week for maximum gains. Nubret disagreed and says you need to hit each muscle twice a week. When his calves were lagging, he switched to 4 times a week for calves and in 2 years increased his calves from 16.5” to 18.5”.

    5) You should not work out more than 45 minutes a day because testosterone levels plunge after that. Nubret disagreed and worked out 3 hours a day including 1 hour of sit-ups. He believed short rest and high volume training dramatically increases natural testosterone production.

    6) You should have complete days off for systematic recovery. Nubret disagreed and worked out 7 days a week.

    7) Unless you are just starting out, you cannot gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. Nubret disagreed and guarantees if you follow his routine you certainly will gain muscle and lose fat simultaneously and can do it without PEDs and without supplements.

    8) You need to bulk up in the off season (because you can’t gain muscle and lose fat at the same time), then spend 6-12 weeks dieting down to achieve peak condition. Nubret disagreed and says he never dieted, just trained harder than ever in the last few weeks to lose the (only) 10 pounds or less of excess fat he was carrying. He says you need to be a bodybuilder 365 days a year. Interestingly, 2 time Mr. Olympia Franco Columbu also stated that the heaviest he weighed was the day of the contest. Schwarzenegger confirmed this by saying the he would observe the 5’5” Franco go from a muscular but slightly soft 165 to a ripped 185 pounds in 3 months.

    9) Traditional 1950s style sit-ups don’t work the abs, they work the hip flexors and you need to do various form of crunches to work the abs. Nubret disagreed and never did a crunch in his life and did 1950’s traditional style sit-ups to arguably develop the greatest mid-section the world has ever known and maintained it for 50 years. Note that Nubret would add leg raises to his routine in the last 6 weeks prior to a contest.

    10) You need to eat 5-8 meals a day spreading your protein consumption throughout the day because your body can only absorb so much in one sitting. Nubret disagreed and only ate 2 or 3 massive meals per day. Once during his peak of training in the 1970s and after training 5 hours and not eating all day, he ate 14 pounds of food in one sitting based on weight before and after eating.

    11) You must eat before training and immediately after training to maximize muscle building. Nubret disagreed and NEVER ate anything before training and after training would wait several hours before eating. Nubret would only drink coffee in the morning before his workout, for the caffeine boost, even though he states he doesn’t like coffee. Of course he ate massively the night before at about 10 PM, so was not hungry when he woke up in the morning.

    12) It is critical that you stay hydrated before, during and after workouts. Despite working out longer and faster than anyone else and obviously sweating more than anyone else, Nubret never drank water during a workout, but would drink massive amounts of water in the late afternoon and early evening.

    13) To gain muscle you must get plenty of sleep. Nubret disagreed and rarely slept more than 4 or 5 hours a night (despite training more than anyone else). An insomniac, he would rest/sleep/meditate 7-8 hours a night in bed, but rarely actually slept more than 4 or 5 hours. (14-26 will be posted tomorrow)
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    The Serge Nubret Story Part 5

    14) You need a good training partner to reach your full potential. Nubret disagreed and trained alone his entire career. Of course, when you are only resting 30 seconds between sets and doing up to 40 sets, you are obviously training alone.

    15) It is important to have spotter when doing exercise such as bench presses, squats, skull crushers, etc. Nubret disagreed and never used a spotter during training and would deadpan to anyone asking him for a spot, “don’t use a weight you can’t lift”.

    16) To get really strong, you have to train with heavy weights. Nubret disagreed. He NEVER trained with heavy weights and yet he bench pressed 495 and squatted 585 pounds as once every few months he would try a max to see where he was at. Nubret says if the muscle is big, it also has to be strong. He said pump training is more effective at progressively increasing the weights used during workouts than any other method.

    17) To build a great body, you have to use massive amounts of drugs. Nubret disagreed. He considers todays “mass monsters” fueled by HGH, Insulin, Test, Plazma, EQ, Tren, Mast, Halo and injectable oils, etc. (in addition to steroids) to be an abomination with aesthetically unpleasing bodies with massive waists, grotesquely enlarged internal organs (“pregnant stomachs”) and disproportionately large legs and that completely ensures zero connection with the general public. He says he was thankful he was born before the HGH, etc. era. He says he won the IFBB World’s Muscular Man title in 1960 with 19 inch arms after training on the isolated island of Guadeloupe before he had even heard of steroids. He retired from competition more than 5 years before HGH, Insulin, Test, Plazma, EQ, Tren, Mast, Halo and injectable oils, etc. appeared on the scene. He refused to discuss steroid use. He was once quoted in a muscle magazine in the late 1970s saying that he once tried them, but they didn’t do anything for him. His exact usage of steroids is unknown. The consensus opinion is that he did use steroids in the late ’60s and ‘70s but rarely, and only before competitions and because he rarely competed, only 13 times over 25 years. They also believe his dosages were low and cycles short because dosages were typically lower and cycles shorter back then. They also believe this based on the fact he was in phenomenal shape for 50 years from age 20 until 70 with zero health issues before age 70 and zero side effects it would have been impossible if one were using significant dosages of steroids all those years, especially considering the plethora of early bodybuilding deaths and health issues and massively reduced natural testosterone production from long term steroid abuse. They believe the vast majority of the time during those 50 years, he was training drug free. Of course, all of this is speculation, if not reasoned speculation, and only Serge himself knew the truth.

    18) The only slight weakness Nubret had was legs and upper back thickness. Nubret would probably have disagreed, but he would state it is all subjective. He would say he (and Schwarzenegger, who is also criticized to a lesser extent for quads not being big enough) were in proportion and the HGH and other drugs are causing today’s mass monsters to have disproportionately large legs. Nubret had a crazy wide back, but he said to prevent back injuries, he rarely did barbell rowing or T-bar rowing, therefore didn’t have quite the back thickness of Schwarzenegger or Oliva. However, he was still training hard at age 70 and where was everyone else? Also consider that Nubret’s leg weakness was really how much of a weakness when his legs were ripped to shreds and could squat 585 pounds and he had nearly 19” calves?

    19) It is very important to do warm-up sets before doing your main work sets. Nubret disagreed. He NEVER did warm-up sets and never got injured even a single time in his 50 year career. This is due to his short rest between sets and high volume which necessitates using relatively light weights so the first few sets are like a warm-up.

    20) Scientific research shows it is impossible to expand the ribcage. Nubret disagreed and used barbell pullovers 4 times a week (twice with back and twice with chest) to expand it. Schwarzenegger and guru Stewart McRoberts also say they will expand the ribcage.

    21) Never work out a muscle if it is too sore from the previous workout. For ideal muscle growth it needs to be completely recovered. Nubret disagreed. He said always work out when the muscle is sore, it will accelerate progress and also allows you to be better in tune with the muscle resulting in better concentration and a better workout.

    22) It is important to know the scientific research on muscle growth. Nubret disagreed. He said it is much more important to follow your instincts and use trial and error. He says the athletes always are ahead of the science on what works and what doesn’t. Also, he says the science is all too often based on experiments on untrained people which generate results that don’t apply to highly trained athletes.

    23) It is important to follow what the top pros are doing by reading online articles and magazines. Nubret disagreed. He says those articles are all too often inaccurate, exaggerations or outright lies, often not even written by the pro themselves and instead written by a ghost writer pushing their agenda, geared to selling expensive supplements that don’t work, and you have no idea what drugs and how much the person is taking, etc., all rendering most of the articles to be worse than useless to the average trainee. For example, there was an article in a magazine on Nubret’s chest training by Schwarzenegger. Nubret never gave permission for the article, was never contacted, the info in the article was not accurate (it stated he trained with heavy weights and used “Weider Principles”), the article was not written by Schwarzenegger, it was written by Weider or a staff member and Nubret never even knew it was published until someone showed him it decades later.

    24) It is very important to take a wide array of supplements and keep up with the latest available supplements to get the best muscle building results. Nubret disagrees and took no supplements and relied strictly on food and a multi vitamin.

    25) It is important to supplement your diet with protein powders, especially whey protein. Nubret disagrees. He never used protein powders his whole life until age 65 when he tried it for a few months and said the result was for the first time in his life, fat appeared on his waist.

    26) It is dangerous to use a wide grip on the bench press and it will destroy the shoulder joints. Nubret disagrees and always used and extremely wide grip to build his legendary chest. Of course he was using light weight (155-195 pounds) compared to his maximum of 495.
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    The Serge Nubret Story Part 6

    Nubret was also an enigma in many ways. Here are a few examples:

    1) He never drank alcohol in his life, not even wine despite spending most of his life in France.

    2) He was never in a fight in his entire life. He stated that fighting is a lose-lose for muscle builders because if you have big muscles you are expected to win so you lose no matter what. He once was heckled for 1 hour straight by a small guy and he calmly and easily ignored him. He stated “How can a guy 50 feet away from me possibly hurt me by just moving his lips?”.

    3) Growing up in the French island possession of Guadeloupe and later France, he was raised as a Catholic. For most of his life, he considered himself a Christian but did not believe in formal religion. The one book he published actually had nothing to do with bodybuilding and was about God and man’s relationship with God.

    4) With his mind-blowing physique, you would think he would show it off all the time. Instead, unless he was guest posing, competing or do a photoshoot, he never went to the beach and always kept his body well covered up in public. He felt people wouldn’t understand, such is the case when people can’t understand a piece of artwork and also he stated he didn’t want to make people feel bad in comparison. Interestingly he said bodybuilding was actually more acceptable to the general public in the 1970s and early ‘80s than it is now. He is backed up by the fact that the Mr. Olympia was routinely covered by the major TV networks until 1984 which was the last time it was on TV.

    5) Despite having amazing traps, he never trained them, because they were naturally strong and he said he did so many sets for shoulders, that they were getting worked indirectly.

    6) He also never trained forearms because they were naturally strong and he figured by doing 300-400 total sets of exercises a week, they were getting more than enough indirect work. Dorian Yates, a multiple Mr. Olympia, also never worked forearms.

    7) He used supersets, but only for biceps/triceps. He also did fewer sets for them because he said they got so much indirect work from 25-40 sets each of chest, shoulder and back work. He says they are the only muscles close enough to each other to pump effectively using supersets.

    8) He trained quads and hamstrings on different days.
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    The Serge Nubret Story Part 7

    9) He said when working 2 different muscles on the same day to ideally work one in the morning and the other in the evening and if that is not practicable, take a 15 minute rest between each muscle.

    10) When training calves he said to sit between sets to lock the pump in and when done, sit for an additional 15 minutes to keep the pump as long as possible. Nubret said the pump is everything.

    11) After working out he would delay taking a shower for fear that the temperature gradient between the water temperature and body temperature could cause the pump to be prematurely lost. Remember, Nubret said all muscle building is due to the pump.

    12) After showering he would splash a little baby oil on his skin while it was still wet and would dry off naturally, which he said along with his exercise and diet and not bulking, resulted in such phenomenal skin quality all his life.

    13) He did not like to “go out on the town”. He preferred staying at home with his woman.

    14) Despite doing more sets than any human in history by far, and that all 3 of his wives were serious about staying fit, none of his 4 children ever touched a weight or ever did much of any exercise of any type. Someone posted online that his son was gender fluid.

    15) Nubret did full range of motion on all exercises including barbell curls, with 3 notable exceptions. On bench presses and incline bench presses he would go all the way down but not lockout at the top. On other biceps exercises he used a limited range of motion in the middle of the range.

    16) Nubret had a unique definition of training to failure. Say he was doing the bench press with 185 pounds for 8 sets of 12 reps with a 30 second rest. Nubret would say do all of the 8 sets to failure and get 12 reps on every set. Obviously, this is not going to make any sense to trainees. Nubret would attempt to explain it by saying “I can use my mind to put on the bar the weight I need to reach failure on each set.” This did little to remove confusion among trainees. Eventually the trainees figured what he meant was for example on the first few sets using ultra strict, controlled, focused movements to really put the mind in the muscle. For the last few sets it means slightly less strict, slightly faster reps and more focus on simply completing that final 12th rep come hell or highwater. Like I said, Nubret’s definition of failure is unlike any other definition you have ever heard of before. Most trainers would say he was only truly going to failure on the final set of each exercise.
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    The Serge Nubret Story Part 8

    Serge Nubret was born in Guadeloupe, the French possession in the Caribbean in 1938. Both his parents operated small businesses of modest means. When asked, Serge said his parents had average “normal” physiques. Growing up Nubret says he was athletic and active playing outdoors as most kids were back then. He also ran the sprints (11.7 100m) and threw the shot put (nearly 50’) in Track & Field. In 1958 at the age 20 Nubret’s life changed when he saw Mr. America Steve Reeves in a movie. From that day onward, he knew he wanted to build muscles and be in the movies like his idol Reeves.

    Nubret likes to downplay his genetic advantage for muscle building but it was obvious he was an amazing physical specimen. The first day he walked into the gym he was able to eek out a single rep on the bench press with two 45 pound plates on each side (i.e. 225 pounds). Compare this to 6 time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates who also started lifting weights at age 20 and whom was only able to bench press 135 pounds for 1 rep when he first started.

    Without anyone to advise him, with no internet, no magazines, Nubret instinctively and with incredible determination and drive and intuition was able to quickly develop the core of his training principles of very short rest between sets, very high volume of sets, relatively high reps and a huge number of traditional sit-ups, a routine he would basically stick with for the next 50 years. He says his edge was based on what he calls The Three Powers – Mind, Emotional and Physical. He says the first 2 are much more important. The Mind is the determination to succeed. The Emotional is the love of what you are doing, i.e. weight training and the Physical is the actual execution of the training and eating.

    His progress was nothing short of astonishing. In just 3 months, the 6’ tall Nubret went from 14 inch arms to 17 inch arms and from 155 pounds to 175 pounds and won the Mr. Guadeloupe Title in 1958 at age 20. As one internet wag from New Zealand stated “Good lord!”

    In 2 years he grew to 19 inch arms and 195 pounds and won the IFBB Most Muscular Man Title in Montreal in 1960 at age 22. At his peak from 1975-1980, he was 215 pounds with 21” arms. Nubret quickly realized that he didn’t like competing and the subjective nature of the judging and later the heavy layer of politics involved in the sport, and because of this, he rarely competed. After the 1960 title he would only compete 11 more times over the next 24 years. He saw bodybuilding as a lifestyle and only used competitions as extra motivation to train hard. Because he never used bulking up and cutting down phases and was a bodybuilder 365 days a year, he frequently quest posed around the globe.
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    The Serge Nubret Story Part 9

    He moved to France and spent most of his life in Paris. He got an accounting degree but only briefly used it for his father’s business. Like his idol Reeves, he broke into film in France with a co-starring role in “My Son, The Hero” in 1962. He would appear in 25 films between 1962 and 1983. In the mid 80s he appeared in a couple of TV series. He also owned 3 different gyms in Paris in the 1970s and 1980s.

    In 1966 as a guest poser, he first met his later 1970s rival, Schwarzenegger whom was competing at the 1966 Mr. Universe competition (see attached photo). Unlike Schwarzenegger, whom signed a Weider contract and moved to the United States, Nubret turned down Weider’s overtures telling Joe that he could not match what he was making in films. Although Nubret worked together with the Weiders as European head of their IFBB and organizing contests, he refused to move to California, he refused to sign a contract, he refused to write articles for their magazines and refused to endorse the so called Weider Training Principles. Serge liked to say “I am a free man and I do what I want”. Financially and physically this had no effect on him, but as far as recognition in the sport of bodybuilding, he would pay dearly for this because the Weiders eventually gained a near stranglehold on control of professional bodybuilding.

    Nubret’s first appearance at the Mr. Olympia was in 1972 where he placed 3rd behind 3 time winner Oliva (2nd) and 6 time winner Schwarzenegger (1st) (see attached photo). This was before Schwarzenegger’s peaks years of 1973 and 1974 and Nubret and others felt Oliva should have won in 1972. After this, Oliva was banned from the Olympia by the Weiders and not allowed back into the fold until 1984 and although he was past his prime, many felt he continued to be unfairly judged in contests.

    Nubret was also 3rd in the 1973 and 1974 Olympias where no one came close to Schwarzenegger in his peak form in 1973 and his most massive size in 1974.
    Last edited by oldguy1961; 05-09-2020 at 07:13 AM.
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    The Serge Nubret Story Part 10

    The 1975 Olympia would be a watershed moment in Nubret’s career and would become by far the most famous Olympia thanks to the success of the documentary film and cult classic “Pumping Iron”. Nubret was entering what he would later call his peak years of 1975-1980 (age 37-42). He says his best contest physique was in 1978 at age 40 at the WABBA World Championship. The filmmakers filmed the 3 chief competitors’ final training for the 1975 Olympia with Arnold in California, Lou Ferrigno in New York and Nubret in Paris. Also, Ferrigno spent some time training with Nubret in Paris and had hatched a plan to train all of 1976 with Nubret in Paris, but that plan was superseded when Lou scored the Incredible Hulk TV role.

    Schwarzenegger was vulnerable in 1975. After the ’74 Olympia, Arnold had a role in the movie “Stay Hungry” and the director required him to slim down to 208 pounds from his 242 pound competition weight in 1974. When he learned of the film project for the ’75 Olympia he decided to come back and had to rush his preparation and was only able to compete at 222 pounds, 20 pounds below the previous competition. Nubret on the other hand was in his best ever condition to date at 215 pounds shredded with a 28” waist (see attached photo), despite being 2 inches shorter than Schwarzenegger with a 34” waist.

    Word got back to the Weiders and there now was the possibility that the whole thing could be wrecked, with their guy Arnold losing, Arnold going out as a loser and even more important, the film being ruined and failing commercially or not even getting to the big screen with the storybook ending for Arnold getting ruined. Things were about to completely fall apart for Nubret.

    First the film makers offered Nubret a paltry 200 dollars for his film part. Insulted, Nubret refused, later stating if they said they couldn’t afford to pay him on their shoestring budget, he would have accepted nothing, but offering an established film star 200 dollars was ridiculous. The filmmakers then cut all the training scenes of Nubret in Paris from the film and all of the one on one interviews with Nubret. Then Ben Weider dropped the bomb and told Nubret he couldn’t compete because he had made “a porn film” and this would hurt the reputation of the IFBB. Of course this was not true. Nubret had the equivalent of an R Rated fake love making scene. A devastated Nubret stopped training cold and stopped his insane eating regimen. In 12 days, a deflated Nubret had lost 12 pounds of muscle.

    At this point, he was no longer considered a threat to win and additionally other IFBB representatives from other countries called for his reinstatement and at the last second, Nubret was allowed to complete. In the final version of the film, Nubret only has one line, but it became a famous line. While warming up backstage before the show, Nubret looks at the proud and confident Arnold and calmly says “looks like I can take you.” A rattled Arnold fired back “keep looking, keep looking!”. Schwarzenegger deservedly won over the weakened but still sensational looking Nubret (see attached photo) and Ferrigno was 3rd.

    Nubret always considered Schwarzenegger a friend, but they never saw each other very often since they were based so far apart. Nubret was banned by Ben Weider and Nubret went on to head a rival pro bodybuilding organization and would never compete in the Olympia again.
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    Originally Posted by oldguy1961 View Post

    24) It is very important to take a wide array of supplements and keep up with the latest available supplements to get the best muscle building results. Nubret disagrees and took no supplements and relied strictly on food and a multi vitamin.
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    The Serge Nubret Story Part 11

    At the peak of his career in the late 1970s, Nubret and the also banned Oliva would trade wins in various non-IFBB contests including the Mr. Universe, Mr. Olympus, Mr. World and the Pro World Championships. Few doubt Nubret and Oliva between them would have won all the Olympias from 1976 through 1980 and possibly beyond and instead they didn’t get any of the limelight they deserved due to the Weider dominance of bodybuilding and their failure to kowtow to the Wieders. Nubret stopped competing in 1984 at the age of 46.

    Nubret owned 3 different gyms in Paris and in the ‘70s and first half of the ‘80s and trained 100s of trainees to the national level in France and some beyond including 1982 Mr. Olympia Chris Dickerson and 1983 and 1984 Mr. Olympia runner-up Mohamed Makkawy.


    In the mid to late ‘80s Nubret would fall on hard times. He married and divorced 3 times and had 4 children, with 3 daughters and a son. He confessed that his perfectionism made it difficult for his marriages to last.

    The acting roles had dried up and it was an era when hardcore gyms such as Nubret’s were no longer economically viable, being replaced by fancy and shiny mass marketed chain “fitness centers” geared to the casually exercising masses. As one former gym member said, “one day a bailiff showed up and locked the place shut and it was later replaced by a Chinese restaurant”. Nubret, according to a friend, was possibly dogged by tax issues, and left his beloved Paris and lived in several years in Singapore and several years in Miami in the 1990s.
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    The Serge Nubret Story Part 12

    At age 62 in the year 2000, he had both hips replaced. Nubret says it was not due to weight training, he says it was due to age and correctly pointed out that plenty of men his age who never did any exercise in their lives get hip replacements in their 50s, 60s and 70s. Interestingly, post hip replacement, he could still squat but he gave up the 2000 sit-ups. Considering he did approximately 15-30 million sit-ups over 50 years, it is possible that wore out his hips, but we can’t know for sure.

    The 2000s saw a rebirth for Nubret who was still trailblazing, working himself into the greatest shape of any 65 year old who ever walked the planet with his stunning condition guest posing in 2003. Next in 2006, Nubret became the first elite bodybuilder in history to take to the internet and post regularly and discuss his training, career and life with ordinary bodybuilders. He was posting on about 10 different bodybuilding forums for several years. So unique and shocking was this, that for the first several weeks on each forum, he was accused of being an imposter, and he was mocked and ridiculed until they finally realized it was truly Serge Nubret with whom they were communicating.

    He came across as happy, likeable, content with his place in life, confidently humble and sincere and with an ever-present wry sense of humor. While he was promoting his website where he was selling his workout video, and promoting his personal training business, he seemed genuinely caring and eager to help as many people as possible. Of course since his training and eating programs are so diametrically opposed to conventional thought, everyone challenged his system on the forums. Nubret showed incredible patience with these “Doubting Thomas’s” as the Christian Nubret called them, and painstakingly explained his system, rationale and results that were attained by himself and 100s of other people who trained in his gyms in the 1970s and 1980s.

    Archives of these extremely valuable forums are still available today on several bodybuilding forums and can easily be found via internet search. I gained a large portion of the information for this article from those forum archives and this article is based on Serge’s own personal viewpoint and descriptions of the past and with frequent paraphrasing of his own words.
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    The Serge Nubret Story Part 13 (it looks like there will be about 15 parts total, not 13).

    At age 69, he intensified his training again and was busy working on his masterpiece book entitled “70 Years Young”, that would lay out his training and eating program, go over his bodybuilding and film career and contain some of the behind the scenes look at bodybuilding and the politics, and even contain some salacious details on how some people sold their souls to advance their bodybuilding careers including sexual perversions and additionally some rumored oddities involving the Weiders.

    He is seen on YouTube videos training and sporting 20 inch arms at the ridiculous age of 70. According to a friend posting on a forum, he purportedly had a Columbian girlfriend half his age. People who saw Nubret in the gym were stunned by the size of his physique with massive arms and chest, insane for a 70 year old. Just as the book was in its final stages and Nubret was in the final stages of his training to photoshoot for the book at age 70 and look even more impressive than at age 65, disaster suddenly struck.

    On March 19th 2009, Nubret was discovered in a comatose state in his home. He was rushed to the hospital and eventually came out of the comatose state, but never recovered, never talked again and eventually was moved to a long term care facility where he died 2 years later on April 19th, 2011 at age 72. Unfortunately, as bad as that sounds, what happened to Nubret may have been much, much worse than that, which will be detailed tomorrow.
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    The Serge Nubret Story Part 14

    Due to the dearth of information and secrecy surrounding his final 2 years, rumors, speculation and conspiracy theories ran rampant as often happens when famous people die, and were further fueled by credible sounding, but anonymous internet posts by people claiming to be close to him and claiming to have witnessed some events firsthand.

    I of course can neither can confirm nor deny any of the rumors and speculation and my opinion of what might have happened is of no more value than anyone else without inside information, therefore I offer no opinion on what might have happened. With that said, I will summarize below what was posted on various websites, but I cannot back the truthfulness of any of it and most of it is speculation/rumors.

    Rumors abounded including accusations of poisoning by his children, followed by a police investigation, and then a claim by his gym friends of sudden improvement by Nubret once the police began investigating, then the end of the police investigation which was supposedly continued indefinitely without a finding, followed by further deterioration.

    Then most spectacularly, there was a post to a bodybuilding forum from Nubret’s account in similar to his customary broken English pleading for someone, anyone, to save him from his children’s plot to kill him and steal his money and real estate holdings. The bodybuilding site immediately closed the thread, and said they were going to investigate to determine whether it was Nubret or someone else who hacked his account. As with the police investigation, there was deafening silence from the bodybuilding site and no conclusion was ever pronounced.

    Other events heightened the mystery. His family, whom he was allegedly estranged from many of them, immediately and permanently shut down his website which seemed a quite odd priority in the middle of a life threatening crisis and considering his grave condition. His site which contained 1000s of photos and other valuable historical information, was never reopened by his family and all that history is permanently lost. More in Part 15 tomorrow.
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    The Serge Nubret Story Part 15

    His daughter who is an anesthetist, supposedly took complete control of his care, and at one point according to his gym friends, prohibited anyone other than his family from visiting, and his condition worsened according to his gym friend and then the police began to investigate. Several bodybuilders later claimed to have visited him and posted online what they saw and said they were shocked and appalled by his lack of care.

    One gym friend stated that there was a woman Nubret hated and whom was friends with his children, who was constantly in his hospital room. They asked why on earth would a woman who hated Nubret be at his bedside and how it must have further exacerbated Nubret’s anguish and suffering. Adding to confusion and mystery, one bodybuilding friend claimed he found the unconscious Nubret when he first collapsed, while the family issued a formal statement saying that firemen found him.

    Later it was reported that Nubret had a stroke and it was not clear if that was what happened or was in addition to something else that put him into a coma. The family stated it might have been a hypoglycemic coma induced by pancreas failure but they never followed up that initial statement which only fueled more speculation and rumors.

    A woman who said she was working from long distance with Nubret by assisting with his website theorized that Nubret’s health may have started to decline in the final year before his collapse. She said he confided privately that for the first time in his life, he was getting sick frequently as if an immune problem was developing. She claimed he was making fatalistic sounding statements as if fearing the end was nearing. Some of this may explain his concentrated efforts to sharpen his physique to pose for photographs one final time at age 70 and get his book out. She also stated that he was training ferociously for the photoshoot and she theorized that the workout and eating regimen might have simply been too much for a 70 year old and that he had crossed a line his body couldn’t handle and collapsed. More on Part 16 tomorrow.
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    Just to give a heads up, some of Nubret's movies are available for free via streaming periodically. This month, 2 are available "13 Days To Die" 1964 and "The Professional" 1981.

    "13 Days To Die" is a 1964 German-Italian dubbed into English "B" action film in the mode of the relatively new at the time James Bond genre and filmed in Thailand. Nubret is one of the 3 "good guys". It is a mediocre movie with the best scene late in the movie with Nubret in a fight to death with a crocodile. Even though this was way back in 1964, Nubret's chest was already ridiculously impressive. It is available this month on Tubi which is owned by Fox. If you have Roku, simply do a search and you got it or you can set up an account online with Tubi for free (it is ad supported).

    "The Professional" is a 1981 French Noir film with English subtitles. It is an excellent movie and soundtrack especially if you like "Rambo" style movies. However, Nubret only has a minor 5 minute role at the beginning of the film as the evil government doctor who drugs the hero during his trial. It is available for free on Kanopy if you have a library account number with your local library or a student library account number, you can set up a free Kanopy account.
    Last edited by oldguy1961; 05-15-2020 at 01:00 PM.
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    The Serge Nubret Story Part 16

    Others theorized that Nubret’s desperate post where he pleaded to be rescued from his children is not atypical for an old man who has had a stroke, and that if in fact he had suffered a stroke, Nubret may not have been in his right mind at the time and it his online plea for help was due to paranoid delusions and not due to any malfeasance by his family.

    Further complicating the matter, it was never clear if Nubret made the post or it was a hacker. All of this uncertainty and confusion and wild rumors left his newly acquired legion of online followers over the last several years of his life to be grief stricken, angry, confused and helpless.

    Regardless of what really happened, it was a tragic ending and Nubret suffered terribly both physically and emotionally those last 2 years, like a prisoner in his own body. Only God and a couple of other people may know the truth as to exactly what happened.

    His book “70 Years Young”, which contains some of the most valuable bodybuilding information ever, was in the final editing stage and in the hands of 3 or 4 amateur editors when he collapsed. It was never published. Why those people never sought to publish with or without the consent of his children, whom might presumably own the rights, remains a mystery.

    The book is in a near finished state and a handful of people possess it, but they are not talking, and it is a lost treasure, along with the man himself.
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