Category: Nutrition

Muscle and Nutrition: When Paul Bragg met Bob Hoffman

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The history of Bodybuilding and Physical Culture is full of those great ‘what if’ moments. What if Joe Gold never opened Gold’s Gym? What if Arnold never took up the sport? And what if drugs never infiltrated physique competitions?

Another great ‘what if’ moment that many of us are unaware of comes from the 1940s, when nutrition zealot Paul Bragg met with Bob Hoffman, the owner of York Barbell with a proposal to create nutritional supplements. Whilst the two men failed to collaborate, Bragg’s suggestion would later result in the birth of the modern day supplement industry.

The Traditional Irish Diet

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With so much talk these days of Paleo diets and eating how your ancestors ate, I was struck by the realisation that I had no idea what Irish people ate before the introduction of the potato into Ireland. What did the Irish subsist on? Was it primarily meat or vegetables? And when did the potato first come to the Green Isles? These were just some of the questions I wanted to answer in today’s post. And who knows, maybe the next fad diet will be the If the Irish Ate It (ITIAI) diet?

Vince Gironda’s Definition Routine

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Nicknamed the Iron Guru, Vince Gironda, as pictured above, was one the most famed bodybuilding coaches of the 20th century. An early proponent of low carb dieting, Vince churned out a list of bodybuilding champions ranging from Larry Scott to Arnold Schwarzenegger and many more in between.

Gironda was a firm believer in the mantra that nutrition dictates all. So what did Vince do when someone needed to get into contest shape?

Old Time Selling – Eugen Sandow and the Business of Supplements

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Type ‘Eugen Sandow Supplements’ into Google and you’ll find an interesting result. Half the results will talk about the virtues of Sandow and other physical culturists who ‘didn’t need supplements’ and the other half will discuss the selling technqiues of these very same men.

Whilst it is not the case that the impressive physiques from the men of yore were built on supplementation, it is fair to say that these pioneers of health and fitness had few qualms about selling supplements to aspiring fitness enthusiasts. This was especially the case of Eugen Sandow, the “World’s Most Perfectly Developed Man”.

Weight Loss in 1920s America: The Reducing Craze

In the 1920s a new fitness craze hit white America called reducing. As the name suggests, reducing had everything to do with losing weight but very little to do with exercise and correct nutrition.

This was no ordinary weight loss craze. It was an all encompassing movement involving popular media, emerging business markets and a growing white consciousness about the importance of health. So popular had reducing become that by 1925, a contemporary US journalist remarked

“Reducing has become a national pastime, a craze, a national fanaticism, a frenzy.”

Hillel Schwartz would later characterize this craze as less than ideal “the “Roaring Twenties were also the calculating, calorie controlled, ounce-conscious Grim twenties.”

So how did reducing sweep the US nation?

Creatine: A Short History

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Since the early 1990s, the Western World has been infatuated with a wonder supplement that increases athletic performance, helps build muscle and has relatively few side affects. Creatine is perhaps one of the best known supplements available on the market. It has been praised and castigated  for its effectiveness and oftentimes has been mistakenly deemed as a dangerous substance.

So what is creatine and where did it come from?