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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.

The State of Ireland’s Health

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Earlier this week, the Department of Health in conjunction with Ipsos MBRI launched the Healthy Ireland Surveyan all-encompassing report looking at weight management, diet, mental health and physical activity.

Not since 2007 has a survey of this kind been attempted in the Republic of Ireland, and considering the (ahem) considerable changes in Irish society in the past eight years, it’s fair to say the survey was sorely needed.

The results showed remarkable delusion on the part of the Irish people regarding their health. As a nation we have become unhealthy, a message that has yet to embed into our psyche. 

How Fast Should You Gain Weight and Size – John C. Grimek (1976)

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John Grimek was one of the greatest American weightlifters and bodybuilders of the 20th century. Nicknamed ‘The Monarch of Muscledom’, Grimek also competed for the US in the 1936 Olympics in Germany. It’s fair to say he knew something about lifting weights.

Today’s article sees Grimek discuss one of the most pressing issues in bodybuilding. How quickly should one gain weight? What’s the best methods? And when is bulking a bad idea? His responses may surprise you….

1974 Fred Howell Article: 10 Bulk Routines That Work

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This article, first written by Fred Howell for Muscular Development in 1974, details some of the fastest and toughest ways to put on slabs of Muscle. While the routines aren’t for the faint of heart, they’re guaranteed to get results!

Somehow in the past few weeks the word leaked out that I had at least a ton of weights in my cellar. All of a sudden every kid in town that owned a barbell or was going to train someday showed up at my door asking to see this old man’s collection of iron.

Talking with the kids I learned that each and every one of them had, as their goal, a desire to gain weight. Some of them, I’m sorry to say, will be very lucky to gain a few pounds with the type of courses they follow. Their training routines are far from weight gaining routines. I was able to convince one super enthusiast not to train every day and expect to add on the pounds. Not when he’s just a beginner.

Nature plays a horrible trick on the human male. When a male needs the weight most to excel in some head-busting sport it’s hard to put it on. Then a few years later when we have no use at all for extra bodyweight, we can add it just by looking at food. I had to smile to myself as they talked about their routines and how they wanted to weigh a certain amount in a couple of months. And here I am fighting the battle of the double bulge.