The History of the Smith Machine

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Ah yes, the dreaded Smith Machine. Criticised for its unnatural movements, failure to fully tax the muscles and its generally unappealing design.

Who invented the Smith Machine? Why did they do it and how did it become so popular? These are some of the questions answered in today’s blogpost on the history of the Smith Machine!

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Old School Equipment You’re Not Using

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The Holy Trinity of the gym floor is undoubtedly: the dumbbells, the barbells and the machines. We’ve become so accustomed to this trifecta that we forget that the body can be trained in a variety of ways, with a variety of weights.

In today’s post we look at workout equipment from the yesteryear’s of muscle building. Such equipment built the physiques of Sandow, Hackenschmidt and countless others so why not try them out?

Vince Gironda Weight-Gain Diet

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The following extract comes from Vince Gironda’s 1984 Book: Unleashing the Wild Physique (available here). This book cannot be recommended highly enough, from VInce’s no nonsense take on steroids to his innovative training techniques. Today’s post comes from Vince’s advice on weight gain.

The real secret to gaining weight is food. The more you eat, the more you’ll gain. While eating three nutritionally balanced meals a day is good, it is even more beneficial to eat or more meals per day. Eat smaller meals – but more often – every three hours. If you can’t find the time to eat six meals a day, try eating three main meals with snacks between meals and before going to bed.

The cardinal rules of weight gaining are:

  • Never overeat at any one particular meal (this causes bloating and gas and may actually cause a weight loss)
  • And never allow yourself to get hungry
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Diet Advice from the 16th Century

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We may think of restricted diets as a modern invention but the reverse is actually the case. Long before Weight Watchers were telling people to count points, people had cottoned on to the idea that eating less may be healthy.

When examining the diets of yesteryear, it’s important to remember that what works for some, will not work for others. What we deem as unhealthy may be perfectly healthy for someone else.

With that caveat in mind, today we will be looking at Luigi Cornaro, a 16th century Venetian nobleman who lived to the age of 82 (or 99 depending who you believe) and ate only twelve ounces (340g) of solid food a day! What’s more he published a series of books on the secret of longevity.

So who was this mystical Venetian and why did he eat so little?

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The Health Lift, the greatest machine you’ve never heard of!

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Imagine if there was just one exercise you needed to obtain the perfect physique. What’s more, you would only need to do it two or three times a week. Pretty good right? Well you’re in luck. The ‘Health Lift’ provides everything you need and more.

In the mid-nineteenth century, a fitness machine swept across the United States. Costing over $100, roughly $2,500 in today’s money, the ‘Health Lift’ marketed itself as the world’s most complete exercise, capable of restoring health, building muscles and increasing attractiveness. So what was this wonderful machine? Who used it and why have I never heard about it before?

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Old School Weightloss Principles

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In bodybuilding no one idea is more popular than that of the bulking/cutting cycle. From aspiring teenagers to Mr. Olympias, the majority of muscle fanatics seem to have bought into the idea of spending months eating an excess of calories in the pursuit of muscle (the bulk), only to restrict calories to do away with unwanted fat while maintaining mass (the cut).

So how did people ‘cut’ before the introduction of steroids, excessive cardio routines and evils like low fat diets?

Well here’s our quick and easy guide

The Toxic History of Green Tea

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According to the Tea Association of the USA (yes, it exists), sales of Green Tea have grown by over 60% in the last decade. This is unsurprising given that Green Tea is nowadays credited for making you smarter, leaner and calmer. The real question is, who wouldn’t buy Green Tea?

But Green Tea’s popularity is relatively new phenomenon, as for the better part of the 19th century Green Tea wasn’t just undesirable, it was seen as toxic!

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1903 and the birth of American Bodybuilding

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After three years of pumping up, slimming down and posing, Britain, and the world was treated to the first ever bodybuilding competition in 1901. Hosted by the legendary Eugen Sandow, the ‘Great Competition’ as it was known claimed to have found the most perfect specimens alive. Unsurprisingly it wasn’t long before other nations, notably America, began to hold their own bodybuilding shows.

Within two years of Sandow’s ‘Great Competition’, the US was hosting its own bodybuilding show. Today we tell their story.