Stan Efferding to Mike O’Hearn on Sustainability: The Human Body Is Regenerative, Not Degenerative

Efferding suggests longevity is achieved by training with adequate stimulus.

The tenth episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show aired on Generation Iron‘s YouTube channel on Aug. 5, 2022. It featured O’Hearn interviewing powerlifter, bodybuilder, and creator of the vertical diet, Stan Efferding

According to Open Powerlifting, Efferding has competed in nine sanctioned powerlifting meets since 1995. He won eight of them. At the time of this article’s publication, Efferding holds the all-time world record bench press and total in the raw (w/wraps) category in the Masters 40-44 125-kilogram weight class. He benched 275 kilograms (606.3 pounds) at the 2009 SPF POWER ‘Stimulus Package’ Raw Meet and scored a total of 1,010 kilograms (2,226.7 pounds) at the 2011 SPF California State Championships.

Efferding also holds the raw (w/wraps) bench press world records in the Masters 45-49 125-kilogram class with his 272.5-kilogram (600.8-pound) bench that fed his all-time total world record of 1,044.9 kilograms (2,303.6 pounds) at the 2013 SPF March Madness Powerlifting Meet. Additionally, he has seven pro bodybuilding shows on his resume, highlighted by first place at the 2010 Mr. Olympia Worlds Strongest Pro Bodybuilder with a 1,428-pound total.

Check out O’Hearn and Efferding’s conversation in the video below about how competitive drive motivates Efferding to keep training:

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O’Hearn reiterated an ongoing theme in recent episodes regarding younger generations not having the same sense of competition that fuels him and Efferding. Efferding seemed to echo the sentiment, recounting his three-decades-long friendships and rivalries with O’Hearn and Johnny Jackson.

It has less to do with you and more so with the idea of you; the bar that you’ve set.

Efferding doesn’t see any particular athlete as personal competition but rather the standard that he wants to eclipse, whether that be a total in competition, a heavy set in the gym, or a particular aesthetic on stage.

It creates a goal or standard by which you want to hold yourself to.

Longevity also informs Efferding’s efforts in the gym as he intends to stave off the decline of old age. Both Efferding and O’Hearn are in their 50s and mutually agree that optimizing diet, rest, and exercise is the formula for maintaining better health in the long term. Most of that exercise is strength training.

Strength is never weakness.

From Efferding’s point of view, the “idea of sustainability” is defined as having and maintaining a routine that “provides adequate stimulus, maintaining a proper body mass index, and getting sufficient sleep.” He recommends resistance training at least twice per week and performing 150 to 300 minutes of cardio in that time frame.


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A post shared by Stan “Rhino” Efferding – CSCS (@stanefferding)

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Maintaining the “Level”

O’Hearn differentiates people in shape in older age and those in their latter years who are in similar shape as when they were younger. He articulates this idea as maintaining the same “level” of fitness and uses himself as an example — he was on magazine covers in the late 80s with a physique built on loading heavy in the gym and is still on magazine covers in present-day due to, he says, his level of fitness remaining equal over those decades.

Efferding uses the opportunity to discuss recent studies on human metabolism that suggest a human’s metabolism doesn’t slow down until approximately age 60. Many people put on weight in middle age due to less activity, not a slower metabolism.

We have to eliminiate the mindset that the body wears out.

Efferding spins the notion that most people think their bodies are “degenerative over time” by stating the human body is “regenerative with the proper stimulus.” He uses the example of rehab after a shoulder injury. If someone recovering from a shoulder injury does not perform proper rehab, they will likely lose range of motion in that shoulder.

Maintaining the “level,” in Efferding’s mind, is done by ensuring sufficient load is applied at an intensity that can get athletes within two to three reps of failure. He believes training should be “stimulatory” and that one should feel refreshed the day after a session rather than depleted. Be sure to watch the entire interview to hear more training insight from Efferding.

Featured image: @stanefferding on Instagram