Category: Resources

Guest Post: The History and Significance of Meal Replacements in Fitness and Beyond

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Everyone enjoys a delicious mouthful of food, but not everyone has the time to fully appreciate it. We are talking, of course, about bodybuilders, fitness enthusiasts, and people who follow strict diet plans in general. Not only that, but being able to cook food on a daily basis has become wishful thinking nowadays, as the fast-paced way of life makes it difficult to find the time to enjoy a hearty home-cooked meal.

You might think that this is a modern trend, but the reality is that people have been searching for a way to make nutrition more efficient for centuries. Concretely, there has always been a need and a desire to reduce the time it takes to prep a wholesome mealwithout skipping on the nutritious goodness. From unsavory high-energy fruit-and-meat blends all the way to today’s “healthy” meal replacements, the history of these foods and products is long and quite interesting. Let’s take a look at how it began, and where it has led us so far.

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Guest Post: The History of Sports Medicine

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Sports medicine, as you probably know, is the branch of medicine dealing with injuries and illnesses resulting from participation in sports and athletic activities. Very few people have never had their knee, leg, back, shoulder or hand injured as a consequence of playing sports. Luckily, today we can enjoy the benefits of many breakthroughs and rapid developments in this field. However, we should acknowledge that it has taken a long time to reach the present heights.

Peary Rader, ‘The Six Meal A Day Plan’, The Rader Master BodyBuilder and Weight Gaining System (1946)

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If it is convenient, it is often found a great help to eat 4 to 6 meals per day, tho this is not necessary.

Many men have found that the addition of a light lunch at about 10 o’clock, another at about 3:30 p.m. and another just before bed time has been the secret of very fast gains. None of their meals would be as large as usual, but much more frequent. This gives the internal organs a better chance to function efficiently compared to the system of overloading them three time a day as is generally done. So whenever circumstances will permit it, we recommend the 5 to 6 meal a day plan for weight gainers. Many doctors use this system for sick people or people with digestive disorders and you should realize that it is a healthful plan.

Bill Piche, ‘Information Overload’, Hardgainer Magazine, July/Augudt (1999)

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You must go slow. You must go fast. Supplements are good. Supplements are bad. Do 20-rep squats; no, do heavy singles. You must bulk. You must keep your bodyfat as low as possible. Cycle your training. Split your training into phases. Time your sets with a stopwatch. What program are you using: Heavy Duty, Hardgainer, SuperSlowTM, Periodization…? Talk about information overload! It’s a wonder most new trainees don’t just grab a beer, a bag of chips, and become a couch potato watching TV!

John Kuc, ‘A Guide to Thigh Development’ (1984)

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When I did the original outline for this article I tried to think of an appealing title. Many trainees do no leg work at all, and those that do usually do not do enough. I thought an appealing title might entice some of them into including leg work in their training programs. I later decided that an honest evaluation of the pros and cons of leg work would be the best enticement.

I won’t try to deceive anyone; leg work done properly can really be tough. There are no easy leg exercises, and to be effective you really have to go all out. This is one factor against leg work. The fact that your legs are normally covered is the second factor. Most individuals prefer to work the muscles that are seen by everyone. Also, some leg exercises require a relatively heavy weight to be effective. Heavy poundages seem to create a mental barrier for some individuals. Combine all these factors and you can see why leg work could be ignored.

The History of the Bulgarian Split Squat

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An exercise designed to enact as much pain as possible.

That at least is the thought that almost inevitably runs through my mind during a set of Bulgarian split squats. Heavy squatting? Fine by me. Heck throw in breathing squats for fun. I can grind through that. But high volume split squats? That’s an altogether different story.

By the tenth rep, I’m a sweaty mess. My quads are burning, hip flexors being stretched beyond belief and I’m making internal deals with myself about the next rep. Only three more reps then we rest…promise!

What keeps me coming back to the exercise again and again? Its sheer effectiveness.

Here is an exercise that overloads the quads, improves flexibility and prevents to a large part, any degree of cheating. Try leaning forward too much on the Split Squat and you’ll end up on the floor toot sweet. An experience many of us have encountered at one point or another.

Who then is responsible for this oh so necessary evil? When was the exercise created, who popularised it and what is the correct way of doing things? Stick around, and you might just learn a few things.

Guest Post: The History of Physical Fitness

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Society often makes certain demands on the level of physical strength of its members. This is especially the case in times of primitive communal systems. Yet even then, even in ‘pre-modern’ societies, there were peculiar principles of physical education, because a person’s life was largely dependent on their physical qualities.

Today, fitness is still of paramount importance to health and well-being. With that in mind, the following post details a brief history of physical fitness.

Forgotten Exercises: The One Arm Clean and Jerk

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Recently I had the good fortune to stumble across Alan Radley’s excellent History of Physical Culture work. A combination of fun facts, serious scholarship and enough photographs to keep any Ironhead happy, it’s likely that I’ll be dipping in and out of this work for years to come.

In any case, Radley’s scholarship highlighted a number of odd lifts and techniques that although hugely popular during the heyday of physical culture in the early 1900s, have now largely fallen by the wayside.

The focus of today’s short post is one such lift, namely the one arm clean and jerk.

Forgotten Exercises: Barbell Kickbacks

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Let’s face it, very few people in the business of muscle building seem to respect the Tricep Kickback. Indeed a cursory glance online sees it described as pointless, useless and ineffective. Strong words for a relatively simplistic exercise. From my own observations, it is interesting to note in my own gym that women tend to gravitate towards Dumbbell kickbacks while men use the cable machine. Speaking to this with some friends recently, I was told that men don’t want to be seen with brightly coloured or small dumbbells working on there arms. A matter for an entirely different post…

In any case, the dumbbell kickback has served countless champion bodybuilders over the years, including but not limited to Frank Zane, Ronnie Coleman and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. Maybe that will improve their street credibility, or maybe not. Now in any case, in a futile attempt to discover the inventor of the Tricep Kickback exercise, I stumbled across an interesting variation promoted by the first, and two-time, Mr. Olympia, Larry Scott. That being the Barbell Kickback, the subject of today’s post.