David Mastorakis (The Youngest Person To Compete In A Mr. America Contest)

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David Mastorakis (The Youngest Person To Compete In A Mr. America Contest)

Post  Fitness Scientist on Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:48 pm

Article on David Mastorakis
Written: Wednesday, June 04, 2003

By Joseph Mullen
Fitness Scientist

Writer's Note: David Mastorakis has been a friend of mine since the 1960's to this day. David was a manager of my first HIT fitness center. He introduced me to Mike and Ray Mentzer. David, Mike, Ray and I spent much time together over the years. Even before they became well known as (arguably) two of the greatest bodybuilders of the modern age and moved to California.

Eventually I moved to California. By that time, Mike had "retired" from competition, but was working with selected clients at Gold's Gym. Ray was also "retired" and both had a established a disgust for the environment and politics. Each of us stayed friends until the very end. At a certain point Ray and I trained together. He was incredibly massive and super-strong.

I never talk about their strength but I'll mention one day at Gold's Gym, Ray was about to do a set of leg extensions on a Nautilus Leg Extension Machine. He loaded it to 300 lbs. He climbed on it and proceeded to a set using the 300 lbs. ONE LEG AT A TIME, IN PERFECT FORM!!! There as other stories I may tell along the way, but now, here is an article about David Mass (as he is often called).


The young man was understandably nervous and anxious, as he waited for the mail carrier. What would the decision of the International Federation of Body Building be? Finally, after hours of suspenseful waiting, the mail arrived. Nervously, he ripped open the envelope and read the following message:

“I am pleased to inform you that the International Federation of Bodybuilders has approved your entry in its 1965 Mr. America contest, scheduled for September 18th.In a few days, you will receive detailed information regarding your appearance.”

The letter was signed, “Bud Parker, IFBB American Director.” Receiving such an exceptional endorsement, would be a thrill for any bodybuilder, regardless of his age. This endorsement set a precedent still unequaled in the history of Mr. America competition.

Imagine what a pleasure it was for this bodybuilder, 15-year-old David Mastorakis. David remains the youngest person ever to compete in a Mr. America competition. Although he did not place in this contest, the image of a 15-year-old boy, competing alongside adults, still draws smiles of approval and admiration, from those aware of that courageous and president setting event.

Two years later, the renowned John Grimek, wrote an critique in Muscular Development Magazine about “The Teen Age Hercules,”
17 years old, David Mastorakis. Among many complements, Grimek outlined some of David’s strength feats, at a bodyweight of 165 lbs. He listed a squat of 450 lbs., bench press 330 lbs., military press 235 lbs., and a curl of 150 lbs. If that is not enough, he cleaned 200 lbs., 35 times in succession.

At that time, David’s measurements reflect: 170 lb. bodyweight, 45” chest, 29 ½” waist, 16 ½” arms, 24 “thighs and 16 ½” calves.
His training regimen included six days per week of free weight training, several hours per day, including a two-mile run after each workout. This time-consuming training method produced good results; however, nothing like his future training method would. His future training led Muscle Training Illustrated magazine Editor, and photographer Denie Walters, to name him “The Mechanized Champion.”

A quote on the first page of Denie’s commentary, foresaw the future of David’s potential. It said, “A new space concept is needed. A definite phase of this new idea comes in what we call organic
Architecture of the democratic spirit in the age of the Machine” ….Frank Lloyd Wright.

David became a pioneer of futuristic exercise. His space ship, the futuristic Nautilus machines. His guru was Arthur Jones. David was about to take wing into unexplored physical space. David’s friend, Mike Mentzer, competing in his first AAU Mr. America contest, met a young Hercules, competing in the same contest. The incarnate Hercules was Casey Viator, predestined to become the youngest Mr. America of all time.

Casey told Mike of a new approach to building maximum muscle in minimum time. The concept focused one using machines, not barbells. This new system was based named Nautilus equipment. The Architect of this concept, an intellectual mastermind, named Arthur Jones.

The year was 1970. Mike raved to David, about this controversial equipment, and Jones’ extraordinary exercise protocol. Mike understood the value in this rational use of a more creative and productive tool. David too grasped the potential. They both hurdled the abyss from barbells and joined the revolution to Nautilus. Mike, his intelligence sparked by Jones’s intense brilliance, was to become, arguably, the most intelligent and phenomenal bodybuilder of modern time. David went on to become, conceivably, the most massively proportioned man, of his stature in his generation.

David decided to redesign his present exercise protocol, eliminate the use of free weights, thrust aside the hours of day after day exercise, and set in motion the journey to become “The Mechanized Champion.” There was one major problem with his purpose. In Western Massachusetts, the area in which David lived, Nautilus Machines were nonexistent. Unfazed, he decided to do the next best thing. He decided to capitalize on the omni-potent knowledge of Arthur Jones and adapt Nautilus exercise concepts to free weights.

David, strong-willed and unfailing, decided to implement the “Negative Only” training program, touted by Jones. Negative training was hyped as being very result producing, and very difficult, compared to the standard procedures of that time. Massive muscle development and great strength was David’s objective. Before long, as we know, he reached his objective.

One major precondition for this training system is the accessibility of training cohorts. Negative exercise require the trainee, in this case David, to handle as heavy a weight as possible but not in the lifting segment of the resistance, as was the practice of bodybuilders for over 100 years.

Instead, David would start the movement, holding the resistance, in the position considered the conclusion of the movement. The position of full contraction. Squatting as an example, began in the standing position and David would slowly lower into the squat position, which became the finish position.

Then, the training partners would lift the weight upwards into the starting position, and the weight is again lowered slowly.

The set would be finished when the trainee could no longer safely control the movement. At which time the training partners would take the weight from the trainee. Only one set was performed and six to eight repetitions were standard procedure. The recruitment of training partners was easy. David was not alone in recognizing the brilliance of Arthur Jones. Three of David’s
friends were as excited as David was to pioneer the Negative Training Concept.

A meeting was scheduled and the four fitness enthusiasts gathered in the cellar of Howie Haberman that would become the breeding grounds for discussions of this “New Breed” training. Along with David and Howie, two others signed on for what became an experiment in punishment and pain. The Author of this article, Joseph Mullen, and Dr. Ken Knapp.

They gathered twice a week, and quickly recognized the benefits of heavy duty Negative Training. Although the workouts were short, they were long in high-intensity. Massive weights became the rule of thumb. Eventually, the performance of Negative type squats required the help of five people. The squatting bar connected to two thick wire cables, hooked onto each end of the barbell. The cables ran straight up to the ceiling rafters, then along the rafters and hung from the ceiling, connect to each end of another long bar, which in effect, became a chinning bar.

The negative squatting weight was 500 lbs. The squatter took the bar off the squat rack, and slowly lower into a squatting position. Then, the real work would begin as the spotters attempted to help the person up from the full squat position. A few partners lifted the barbell on each end. The folks at the end of the overhead cables connected the bar, chinned themselves. The addition of their bodyweight helped raise the squatter to a standing position.

Then, a brief pause, and another repetition performed, and another, until finally the squatter’s muscles, and the spotters screamed enough, enough! It was a magnificent time of cooperation, camaraderie and the sharing of dreams. Before long, the weight was so heavy, we could not find enough training partners to lift the weights into the starting position. Now what?

It was then that the Author of this article decided to open a gym and to provide the opportunity to carry on with advanced approach to exercise. Purchasing barbells, dumbbells, squat racks, hack machines and assorted other equipment from Ed Jubinville, the founder of the Jubinville Equipment Company, Sports Fitness of New England opened in South Hadley, Massachusetts. It was the early 70s.

Ed Jubinville manufactured his version of Nautilus equipment, which he called “Scorpion Equipment.” Equipped with cams to regulate the resistance, the equipment supplied major factors that interconnected to high-tech exercise. Ed helped pioneer concepts later known as “Variable Resistance and Full Range Resistance.” Ed entered the high-tech revolution before any other equipment manufacturer, except Nautilus.

David was appointed Manager of this facility, which was the first fitness center in New England to offer a modern approach to exercise.This equipment allowed David, and others, to enhance size and power, faster than ever. David continued his Negative Training Protocol. Before long, even Jubinville’s equipment was not capable of accepting enough weight to tax David’s strength.

Then, a lucky break. A fully equipped Nautilus facility opened 20 miles away in the city of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts. David and I joined that club and produced startling results. From that moment on, David surged forward and his physique resembled that of a Champion bodybuilder. Then, within a few months, the Nautilus Facility was in financial despair and was
about to close. I purchased the equipment and moved it to South Hadley, the site of the original high-tech facility.

David continued his high-intensity, one set to failure workouts. Within a year, the club moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, a greater market base, a 7,000 square feet location, and more Nautilus equipment. All of the other types of equipment, barbells,
dumbbells, squat racks, and so forth were sold off, leaving nothing but Nautilus equipment as the training tool.

David was now becoming well known. His physique and strength were unparalleled. Other gym owners in the area would not accept he was building his mass using high-tech equipment. Rumors spread that David did not use Nautilus; instead, he was training, in secret, at home and using barbells. This of course, was untrue.His reputation caused a sensation and he appear in articles touting his training regimen. He was named “The Mechanized Champion” in an article photographed and written by Denie Walters, then the editor of Muscle Training Illustrated magazine.

Denie, in comparing the use of machines for bodybuilding purposes said, “The machines, are they devil or a savior? We will endeavor to answer that question as we interview a bodybuilding champion who is not afraid to admit he is an exponent of them for a little over two-and-a-half years.

He is not the first to use them properly, but for all intents and purposes we shall consider him the first “Mechanized Bodybuilder.”

His name is David Mastorakis. He was up until a little over two years ago, a little noticed nonproductive bodybuilder, and at one point had left the sport completely, since it ground out too much of his time to maintain himself.

Nautilus training entered his life as a novelty to dabble with, and perhaps save a little time. And then suddenly . . .”

The pictures accompanying the article featured David doing a number of Nautilus exercises. His workouts lasted a maximum of 35 minutes and involved massive poundage. David would use the full weight stacks on the machines and add an additional 100 lbs. or more to bring the total to something within his strength range.

David featured on the cover of Muscle Development magazine and featured in the article titled, “Herculean Development,” written by Franklin Page. Page said: “During the 1978 physique season, it became apparent that one of the world’s best physiques belonged to David Mastorakis.

Dave’s body is a near perfection in shape and proportion as is humanly possible.. . . and the sum of the parts are notable for its harmony of conformation.

Further, his physique is definitely Herculean in character, with the kind of muscle mass one expects in an overwhelming muscular development.. . . his arms are superb with perhaps some of the greatest forearms I have ever seen, plus some fantastic deltoids.

All in all, this is a world class physique and David has the knowledge and deep dedication required to take him all the way. Here is a little David” with what it takes to slay any Goliath on the horizon.”

Another magazine, Muscle Digest, in an article written by Bob Summer and photos by Bob Gruskin, said of David, “One set away from Victory.” Summer wrote, “1977 was the year when things really began to click for David Mastorakis.

In the spring, he won the Mr. New England and Mr. East Coast AAU titles. Then in June, he went to California for the AFAB American Bodybuilding championships, where he placed third in his class (won by Danny Padilla). David weighed 175 lbs. and he said that Frank Zane told him he “looked like a short Bill Pearl”

Later in the fall during the exciting Mr. Olympia weekend, he placed fourth in the Mr. International contest’s big lineup of top world middleweight bodybuilders, place 3rd in the IFBB Mr. America. In a few weeks, he went to New York for the AFAB USA Bodybuilding Championships, where he almost beat Steve Reed of the middleweight Championship.”

He featured in a “Bodybuilder Calendar” produced by Ed Jubinville in 1978 listed as Mr. Atlantic States, won the AAU Junior Mr. America, and placed 7th in the AAU Mr. America. Clearly, David’s star was brightly shining. The West Coast beckoned! A friend with connections in the fitness field drew David to Santa Barbara. He answered the call and settled in Santa Barbara. He soon discovered that although jobs were abundant, there were no serious bodybuilders in the immediate area.

However, now the triad of bodybuilding, Mike Mentzer, Ray Mentzer, and David Mastorakis lived in one general area, ready to influence the bodybuilding world. David decided to drive, several times a week, to Gold’s Gym in Venice, CA. and workout with Mike and Ray. He continued this commute for several months. Soon, he moved to Venice trained at Gold’s Gym and focus more on his competition training. The year was 1979. David placed 3rd in the Junior Mr. America.

He became a Personal Trainer and worked at several of the premier Fitness centers in the Los Angeles area. He became well known in clubs such as, Gold’s Gym, The Sports Connections, The Matrix, and The Santa Monica Athletic Club. Presently, the fitness business is swamped with so-called Personal Trainers. There are over 3,000 in the LA area. In 1979, Personal Trainers were a prized commodity. Only 30 existed in the LA area.

As David’s reputation grew, he became known as “The Trainer to the Stars.” His client list expanded from bodybuilders to movie stars, sports stars and company executives. His client list included: Sharon Stone, Jane Fonda, Kim Cattrell, Alanis Morissette, Linda Evangelista, Linda Ronstat, Donna D’Errico, Bubba Smith, Jerry West, Sidney Sheldon, Jon Peters, David Soul, Kyle MacLachlan, Leonard Nimroy, and the cast of Hill Street Blues, among others.

David was riding high as his physique, notoriety, and bank account continued to improve. Life was great!

Then in 1980, he suffered a major muscle injury. It occurred as he was doing a set of parallel bar dips with 300 lbs. He tore one of his pectoralis muscles. Although he continued a limited amount of training, he could no longer perform the Heavy Duty training with Mike and Ray. Exercises were painful to perform, and his progress halted.

The years, from 1980 until 1996, were financially successful and yet, disastrous on the physique and competition level. Hobbled by the chest injury he could not perform most upper body movements in his usual manner. He was discouraged and discontinued his training. High-level physique competition ceased.

Although he seldom tested his strength, he mentioned that, before the injury, he was capable of 475 lb. squats, bench presses with 385 lbs., and seated, overhead Nautilus presses for 10 repetitions with 300 lbs.

Now, forced to train like an average person, he was disheartened, stopped paying attention to his diet, and his bodyweight began to climb. For a number of years, he totally stopped training and his body began to return to the look of an average person. He did no longer resemble The Mechanized Champion.

At the same time, older injuries began to plague him. His lower back pain returned. When David was younger, he performed at least 500 sit-ups a day. This overuse syndrome ruined his lower back muscles. His scientific exercise program developed strong lumbar spine musculature, and prevented back pain issues. Without exercise, the lumbar spine muscles, as all unexercised muscles do, lost strength and muscle tone.

David’s upper body inclined slightly forward, keeping tension on the lower back muscles, and creating high pain levels. He wallowed in self-pity. He was going through what metaphysical author Carolyn Myss calls “The Dark Night in the Forest.” It would not last forever.
In due course, David decided to claw his way out of this unhealthy situation. The Champion within his soul ignited, and encouraged him to begin his quest anew. He accepted the challenge!

Newly married, living a comfortable life in sunny LA, overweight and out of shape, he made the conscious choice to reinvent his life.
Slowly, he began to construct a healthier lifestyle. He began watching his diet. Not an easy task for someone who is a master chief and can turn a pebble into a delicious mean. He began to walk on a daily basis. On average, he walked 110 miles per week. His mind and body responded.

It was now 1998! He set his sights on the 1998 ABA, Mr. World contest. Although the contest was only a few months away, David focused and began to train as close to the old days as possible. His efforts paid off, as he received the 3rd place trophy in the Masters Class of the Mr. World contest.

All went well, as slowly but surely, his body took on the shape of a Champion. At the same time, the personal training business in Los Angeles became over-crowded with too many Personal Trainers and too few clients. Everyone claimed to be an expert.

In a media city like LA, those trainers with publicity connections rose quickly to the top. David, never one to blow his own horn was overpowered by the “star making machinery.”

Background and experience no longer mattered to the public. They favored image rather than substance.

Although he earned a comfortable living, he recognized the warning signs. It became a time to consider alternatives. He and his beautiful wife Tracy, began to discuss moving back to Massachusetts.Tracy was born in California; all her family lived there. She is a flight attendant for Delta airlines, based in Los Angeles. She realized the corporate difficulty she would have in changing her home base to New England.

However, she had visited Massachusetts, knew David’s family, was open to relocating, and supported David’s career move. David and Tracy made the difficult decision to return to David’s home state and they said goodbye to California.

Now in this 50’s, the Boy Wonder is more fortunate than most. He followed his quest, full-circle, from New England to California. He rose to the top of the physique world and was acclaimed by fans worldwide. Envision the difficulty of leaving that behind.

Surprisingly, upon his return, like many people with wide-ranging knowledge and experience, he experienced difficulties finding a job. One thinks that upon reading David’s qualifications, a potential employer would roll out the red carpet for him. That is not what happened. It was almost a year before he found a job.

During that difficult year, David received demoralizing news. His great friends, Mike and Ray Mentzer died a few days apart in California. This was an enormous, emotional setback for David (and many others who knew Mike and Ray). For months, he dwelled on the loss of his friends of 30 years, and lost his interest in training.

Ultimately, he was able to transform that loss into a positive force and he began training with new passion. Presently, he is barely into his come back mission but feeling optimistic and enthusiastic about the world of bodybuilding. David MASS (as his fans now call him), is in the first stages of serious training for the Mr. Olympia title to be held, next year, in Greece.

He zaps his total body; one set to failure, every four days and still believes in the value of high-tech exercise.

Secluded, living in the woods of a small town in Massachusetts, far from the hectic pace of LA, surrounded by neighbors who know nothing of his previous greatness, notoriety, or his future visions, he marks time and reflects on his earlier life in California. The good news, from his fans point of view is that the fire in his belly has returned.

He thanks his fans for their years of support during his outstanding career, and he wants his competitors, one and all to know that –

He’s bbbbaaaacccckkkk!

Joe Mullen
Fitness Scientist
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Last edited by Fitness Scientist on Sat May 29, 2010 8:50 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : organize the layout)

Fitness Scientist

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Re: David Mastorakis (The Youngest Person To Compete In A Mr. America Contest)

Post  sgsims1 on Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:14 pm

Joe, how is Dave and what is he up to now? I did find this: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

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David is doing fine!

Post  Fitness Scientist on Thu Apr 29, 2010 4:15 pm

David is doing fine. He lives in New England with his wife Tracy, and their Great Dane Owen. He has been a Personal Trainer at a large
hotel (very large, given it must be at least 20 stories). Prior to coming back to Florida, I had an office in that building before I came back to Florida X years ago.

He is still in almost contest condition. His e-mail is: [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

I believe he is selling t-shirts and pictures of himself, which are awesome.


Fitness Scientist

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Re: David Mastorakis (The Youngest Person To Compete In A Mr. America Contest)

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