Category: Biographies

“Hey Skinny, Your Ribs Are Showing”: Charles Atlas and American Masculinity

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Introduction

Consciously or unconsciously, we are all aware of Charles Atlas and his business. In today’s article we will look at Atlas, Physical Culture and constructions of White Masculinity in 1920s to 40s America. I believe Atlas’s ‘Dynamic Tension’ product was successful in this time as claimed to provide men with masculine qualities that they wanted at a time when American White masculinity was seen as threatened. Atlas did not target other races, genders or sexual orientations instead focusing solely on white male heterosexuals. Atlas once said: “15 minutes a day! Give me just this and I’ll prove I can make you a new man.” Well in much less than 15 minutes you’ll have an idea of what type of man Atlas and his customers had in mind.

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Eat like a Sandow!

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How many times do you eat a day? Do you eat carbs after 3pm? Post-workout protein shake?

Such are the questions faced by the modern day strength enthusiast. Are we overthinking the way we eat? In a world faced with a growing obesity epidemic and continuous production of low quality foods the answer may appear no. If we dig deeper however we may begin to question why we stick to rigid diet tips by people supposedly in the know. Where should we turn for diet advice? The muscle mags are one place, yet one often has to traverse through forty pages of advertisements before stumbling upon anything remotely sane.

What about the strongmen of yore? What about Eugen Sandow? How did he eat and why?

The Real Father of Bodybuilding?

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When people think of the father of modern day Bodybuilding, Eugene Sandow is the name that comes to mind. Without denying the incredible work done by Sandow in the spreading of physical culture, to speak of a ‘father’ of bodybuilding does a great disservice to the men and women who preceded Sandow. One such man is Ludwig Durlacher or Louis Attila, the man who discovered Sandow. Today at Physical Culture Study we are going to examine the life of ‘Professor Attila’ and ask why his name has largely disappeared from popular physical culture narratives.