Images of a young, beautiful woman filming herself with her Christmas gift went viral last month. A television advertisement for the home exercise cycle Peloton depicts her trying out the new product, a present from her partner/husband, as she records her experiences on a cell phone. The appearance of the woman—identified as “Grace from Boston”—sparked controversy. Selfie stills from the commercial emphasize her complicated expression, a face somewhere between being excited about using her Peloton bike and seemingly terrified of it.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
Though born in Vienna in 1873, Alois P. Swoboda became one of America’s most popular and famous physical culturists of the early twentieth-century. Preaching a system of bodyweight only exercises, Swoboda ran a successful mail-order […]
The Physical Culture Creed We Believe… That our bodies are our most glorious possession; that health-wealth is our greatest asset; that every influence which interferes with the attainment of superb, buoyant health should be recognised […]