Young Bodybuilder Influencer Infuriates the Gym Community with His Commentary

By: Georgia McKoy | Published: Feb 17, 2024

At just 21 years old, Sam Sulek has quickly become a viral sensation within the bodybuilding community. His exceptional physique and distinctive personality have attracted a large following of young enthusiasts. 

However, his recent comparison to bodybuilding legend Mike Mentzer has sparked controversy among fans of the Golden Era, who are protective of Mentzer’s legacy.

A Video Sparks Debate

Essentially Sports reports that a video shared by a Mike Mentzer fan page has become the center of controversy.

A man with curly hair, wearing a maroon t-shirt and a black baseball cap, is using a cable machine for an exercise in a well-equipped gym. The gym has various cardio machines and exercise equipment in the background

Source: Sam Sulek/Youtube

This video edited together clips of Sam Sulek and Mike Mentzer, showcasing their views on training volume. Sulek’s critique of high-volume training, aligning with Mentzer’s high-intensity training (HIT) philosophy, has brought him under scrutiny from fans loyal to Mentzer.

Sulek's Perspective on Bodybuilding

Sam Sulek aimed to clarify his stance on bodybuilding in the video, emphasizing that, “The lift itself isn’t an endurance test.” A statement that echoes Mike Mentzer’s own words: “Bodybuilding is not aerobic. A bodybuilding workout in other words is not an endurance contest.” 

A muscular individual with curly hair, viewed from behind, flexes their biceps in a classic bodybuilding pose. The person is wearing a dark cap backwards and a silver chain around the neck

Source: Source: Sam Sulek/Instagram

These quotes highlight a shared belief between Sulek and Mentzer regarding the nature of bodybuilding workouts.

Disagreement with Mentzer

While Sulek agrees with Mentzer on the inefficacy of volume training for muscle growth, he diverges from Mentzer’s approach regarding rest days.

A smiling bodybuilder with curly hair, wearing a graphic tank top and a baseball cap, is flexing his arms in a double bicep pose. He stands in a gym with weight racks and fitness equipment in the background

Source: Sam Sulek/Youtube

According to Essentially Sports, Sulek has previously expressed disagreement with Mentzer’s preference for extended rest periods between training sessions, indicating a nuanced perspective on Mentzer’s training principles.

The Bodybuilding Community's Reaction

Essentially Sports reveals that the bodybuilding community has had mixed reactions to Sulek’s comments.

A shirtless bodybuilder with curly hair and a baseball cap is striking a double bicep pose in a corridor of a gym

Source: Sam Sulek/Instagram

Some have harshly criticized his association with Mentzer, with one fan commenting, “Can you remove this fake hormonal teenager from Mike Mentzer videos? This kid is the second version of Liver King.” This indicates a strong resistance to accepting Sulek’s viewpoints within parts of the community.

Diverse Opinions on Sulek's Approach

Opinions on Sam Sulek incorporating HIT into his training are divided. 

A young athlete with curly hair is bench pressing a loaded barbell at a squat rack in a gym. He's wearing a grey t-shirt and navy blue shorts. Other gym-goers are visible in the background

Source: Sam Sulek/Youtube

Essentially Sports explains that while some believe this approach could make him one of the best bodybuilders of his generation, others remain skeptical, particularly due to his different stance on rest days and training volume.


Criticism on Training Regimen

Sulek’s rigorous training regimen, characterized by minimal rest days and numerous sets, has been a point of contention, according to Essentially Sports.

The silhouette of a bodybuilder with curly hair is shown from behind with arms extended to the sides, forming a T-shape

Source: Sam Sulek/Youtube

Critics argue that his approach contradicts the traditional rest and recovery principles advocated by some in the community, leading to further debate over the validity of his methods.


Allegations of Performance Enhancement

Some members of the community have accused Sulek of using performance-enhancing drugs, overshadowing the discussion of his training philosophy, per information from Essentially Sports.

A bodybuilder is seated on a bench, performing dumbbell curls in a gym setting. He wears a black and teal tank top, a baseball cap, and a chain necklace. The gym is filled with various workout machines

Source: Sam Sulek/Youtube

The comment, “So says the steroid user,” reflects the skepticism and accusations faced by Sulek, complicating the conversation around his contributions to the sport.


Natural Talent or Steroid Assisted?

Sam Sulek’s transition from diving to bodybuilding has captivated many, with his discussions on natural ability versus steroid use fueling debates. 

A muscular bodybuilder with curly hair, wearing a tank top and a baseball cap, sits and rests between workouts in a gym with purple flooring. He's surrounded by various pieces of exercise equipment, and the walls are painted in a bright orange

Source: Sam Sulek/Youtube

Essentially Sports explains that his impressive physique and unique training methods, alongside controversial dietary choices, have placed him at the center of fitness community discussions, sparking interest and skepticism alike.


Paris Demers Weighs In on Sulek's Regimen

Fitness YouTuber Paris Demers released a video, scrutinizing Sulek’s physique for signs of steroid use. 

A triptych of a bodybuilder with curly hair and wearing a cap, posed in front of a brown background. The images show him in different poses: standing with hands on hips, flexing his thighs, and performing a side chest pose. Overlaid text on each image reads 'bodybuilder', 'doses', and 'steroids'

Source: Paris Demers/Youtube

Demers advises that steroids should only supplement a well-optimized training and diet plan, suggesting Sulek’s muscular gains might not align with his workout and nutritional practices, according to Essentially Sports.


Fitness Community Questions Sulek's Authenticity

Despite Sam Sulek’s silence on steroid use, influencers like Paris Demers and Greg Doucette are not convinced, Essentially Sports notes.

A man in a maroon shirt and a black baseball cap is lifting dumbbells in a gym. In the background, a "WORKOUT ETIQUETTE" poster is displayed on the wall, with other gym-goers visible in the reflection of a mirror

Source: Sam Sulek/Youtube

Demers criticizes Sulek’s “partial reps” and “ego lifting,” contrasting them with his physical gains. The video also highlights Sulek’s subpar diet, further fueling discussions on the authenticity of his bodybuilding success.


The Debate Continues

As the bodybuilding community grapples with the impact of Sam Sulek’s perspectives, it remains to be seen how his approach to training and his views on bodybuilding will influence the sport. 

A man with curly hair and wearing a cap and green t-shirt is standing with his arms crossed in a gym. Behind him, a wall displays an emergency plan diagram, and a rack holds various medicine balls

Source: Sam Sulek/Youtube

The debate around his methods highlights the diversity of opinions within the community.