Tag: America

Tony Sansone’s Weight Gain Diet

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Born at the turn of the twentieth-century, Tony Sansone is perhaps one of the most famous physical culturists never to turn his hand to bodybuilding. Nevertheless his influence on bodybuilders and those seeking to get in shape was remarkable. Training under both Bernarr McFadden and Charles Atlas, Sansone developed one of the most sought after physiques in 1930s America.

He modelled, quite provocatively at times, wrote extensively on good nutrition and ran a series of gyms, which included a regular training spot for the legendary Steve Reeves. Shunning excessive bulk for definition and aesthetics, Sansone possessed a body that many men today would envy. Indeed, the renowned physical culture historian David Gentle once commented

If Sansone had been born in Greek antiquity, he would have been immortalized as a god.

With this in mind, today’s post looks at Sansone’s simple and effective way to build muscle mass while maintaining a relative level of leanness.

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The History of the Big Gulp

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In the 1970s the average can of soda weighed about six ounces. Nowadays you can buy one weighing 32 ounces or more from 7-11s and other convenience stores.

The reason for this dramatic increase can be traced in part back to the history of the ‘Big Gulp’, 7-11s iconic colossal drink.

Today we look at the history of the Gulp, who created it? Who bought it? And why did it become so popular?

Friends to Enemies: Steroids and the United States

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Note: This article is about the legal history of Anabolic Steroids in the United States and not an endorsement or discussion about steroids and performance.

There is perhaps no other topic in sports that garners as emotional a reaction than the use of steroids or performance enhancing drugs by professional athletes. For some the ends justify the means, whilst for others, the use of any ergogenic (something that aids performance) goes against fair play.

I suspect that much of this debate is fuelled by the fact that anabolic steroids are an illegal substance in the United States, which is oftentimes the mecca of sports. With that in mind, today’s post looks at the history of steroids in the United States, specifically their first uses and when they became a banned substance.

Dave Draper and the Monkees

I think every lifter has a story about the first time they became fascinated with weightlifting. For Arnold it was pictures of Reg Park as Hercules. For most young lifters nowadays chances are movies or social media are the sources of inspiration.

Oddly enough, despite being born in the 90s, the first recollection I have of weightlifting and physical culture came from a 1960s TV show! Sat in front of old and somewhat kitchy selection of reruns, my young mind encountered The Monkees, the 1960s American TV show featuring as you may have guessed, The Monkees musical group.

Bob Hoffman and the World’s First Protein Bar

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As many readers will no doubt be aware, protein bars have become almost ubiquitous in certain parts of the Western world, owing in part to their durability and in part to their successful advertising. Indeed, at the time of writing, I can walk five minutes to the local shop where I will be greeted by the sight of Quest, Fulfil, Yippee and Weider protein bars among others. To quote Jasper from the Simpsons…’What a time to be alive’.

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Now if we leave aside the fact that most of these bars represent nothing more than candy with a scoop of protein in it, we are still left with a hugely profitable element to the fitness industry. An element that has often been neglected by those interest in the history of health.

This element, as will become clear, is a relatively recent introduction to the world of bodybuilding and fitness more generally. Indeed, today’s post on Bob Hoffman’s Hi-Proteen Fudge reveals that one of the first precursors to the modern protein bar only came about in the early 1950s, sometime between 1953 and 1954.

Sandow the Lion Tamer

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Though more synomous with bodybuilding than wrestling, the late 1890s saw Eugen Sandow, the man many credited with possessing the perfect physique, wrestle a caged lion in front of a US audience.

The bout was undertaken during Sandow’s extensive tour of the United States under the tutelage of promoter Florenz Ziegfeld. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many viewed the event as an exercise in futility during which a half dazed lion lazily swiped at the Prussian showman.

Today’s post focuses on the circumstances leading to this bizarre encounter, the fight itself and it’s aftermath, to explore just how far Sandow was willing to go to promote his body and his business.

Homophobia and Bodybuilding

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The following article comes from Strength & Health magazine, a 1950s American physical culture bi-weekly concerned with all things fitness. In the article, managing editor Harry B. Paschall attacks rival exercise magazines, whom he believes are using bodybuilding to peddle pornographic images.

The title of the article, ‘Let me Tell You a Fairy Tale’, reveals Harry’s opinions on the matter, demonstrating the long engrained homophobia of the exercise world. This homophobia is particularly striking in the bodybuilding world, which has long kept quiet on the issue despite the fact that Eugen Sandow, the founder of modern day bodybuilding, had a male lover. Heck even nowadays, people merely allude to the concept of ‘gay for pay’, leaving us to wonder how much longer will heterosexuality rule the bodybuilding scene.

See the article below. 

The menace of homosexual magazines is more serious than ever before, and the cause of clean physical culture is threatened by peddlers of pornography

Above are a few typical examples of the so-called Body Beautiful magazines aimed at the profitable homosexual trade. Such publications have infiltrated the bodybuiding field in recent years, contributing to juvenile delinquency and debauchery.

Bernarr McFadden’s Physical Culture Cookbook

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It’s funny given the current obsessions with macro counting that few bodybuilders produce cookbooks for the general iron populace. This is in stark contrast to the early foundations of the sport, which saw dozens of cookbook and health works printed by enthusiastic physical culturists.

Today’s brief article focuses on Bernarr McFadden’s 1901 ‘Physical Culture Cookbook’ produced in the United States. Readers of the site will already be familiar with McFadden, one of America’s most prominent physical culturists of the early twentieth-century who notably staged America’s first bodybuilding show.

While McFadden put his name to over one hundred books during his life, the Physical Culture Cookbook remains among the most relevant for readers in 2016.