Tag: Exercise

John Balik, Total Muscularity: SuperStar Nutrition (Santa Monica, 1979)

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Describing himself as Arnold’s Seminar Nutritionist, Balik opened his short pamphlet on gaining muscle with the often forgotten law that ‘nothing beats persistence.’ Produced alongside a pamphlet on gaining muscle, which we’ll be discussing in a future post, Balik’s Total Muscularity represents a great insight into the training philosophy of 1970s Muscle Beach bodybuilding. Sparing myself the task of typing out his pamphlet word for word, which I suspect would infringe on some form of copyright law, I decided that a brief synopsis of the book would suffice. At the very least it would pander to our ever decreasing attention spans.

So in today’s post we’re going to look at Balik’s theories on individual body types, the type of diet he recommended and also what we can learn from it nearly forty years after its publication.

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George A. Baselice, ‘GIGANTIC ARMS! The One Arm Per Day Blast For Bigger Arms’, Planet Muscle (Volume 5, Number 1, 2002)

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Have you ever tried the professional bodybuilder one-day arm blasting programs? I hope maybe some of you have heard of these and tried them. Primarily because I’d hate to think that I am the only goof who can spend an entire day training my arms!

Now, some of these are downright nutty programs. Most of the methods were “developed” and occasionally promoted in some of the muscle magazines back in the 50’s and 60’s, and some trainers such as Charles Poliquin have refined them a bit today.

At any rate, in most of them, you actually perform arm exercises every half-hour and every few hours you eat proteins. I tried one program and I mean I went from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. doing arm exercises. Don’t ask me what I was thinking! (Or not thinking as the case may be.)

Did I gain the 1/2″ on my arms, five days after completing this particular program, as the varied and sundry past articles claimed I would? Unfortunately, no. Did my arms shrink for the first 24 hours after this workout as most of the article also claimed they would? Unfortunately, yes!

Guest Post: THE HISTORY, EVOLUTION, AND FUTURE OF THE HOME GYM

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While we’re not really sure when people decided to sweat it out in the privacy of their homes, but we’re glad they did. However, the home gym went through many stages during its history and it has a bright future ahead of it. So, if you’re a proud home gym owner (or a future owner) you must know something about its past.

A Brief History of Steroids

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Humans are considered to be species that are hard working, competitive and ambitious in all walks of life. Especially when it comes to sports, athletes have been found to be curious and conscious of their performances since the beginning of civilization. Ever since life existed, people have been discovering distinct and incongruous materials to boost their energies from sesame seeds to pituri plant and hallucinogenic mushrooms all have been taken to improve the quality of performances over the years.

Intake of steroids dates back to 1800s, when people had reserved resources and neither was science was at the levels of advancements as it is today. In 1860s, there was a group of swimmers in Amsterdam who were caught to be on drugs for boosting and amplifying their performances. And from there on, there were many and uncountable events when athletes were charged guilty of being on stimulants to enhance their performances.

Jay Jacobsen, ‘Carbohydrates Are Not The Devil! All Aboard The Carbohydrate-Glycemic Train’, Planet Muscle (March – April 2003)

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Carbohydrates… those omnipresent fruits, yams, grains and vegetables, are older than mankind. In recorded history, it appears that the Egyptian culture was the first to ‘mill’ their high-energy grain, removing fiber, as well as much of the nutrition. Bingo—mankind had its first refined carbohydrates.

Sugar was first introduced into Europe around 700 AD when Arabian armies brought sugar cane from Northern Africa. Sugar then slithered into Spain, Sicily, and the surrounding areas of the Mediterranean. Sugar was known as “white gold” and was a luxury only the extremely wealthy could afford. With the exploration of the New World, sugar trade became more profitable, and even Christopher Columbus brought sugar cane cuttings to the Americas.

By the time of the American Industrial Revolution, the sugar refining business blossomed. Around 1900, the first sugar-in-the-box product was introduced to the American consumer. Today, the average sugar consumption in America is a mind-blowing per capita consumption from all sources of 160 lbs. per year, 40 teaspoons per day.

The opinions regarding sugar, particularly among athletes and weight conscious individuals, have violently changed since 1900! Instead of white gold some even call sugar white death. For example, If you are a devout Dr. Atkins fan you probably think that eating carbs is analogous to driving drunk (maybe ketogenic stupor driving). But, are carbs the most horrific poison ever created – or are they more of a missing link to huge gains in energy, strength, and a diesel physique?

The History of Carbohydrate Loading

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As a teenager the advice I got when it came to diet and exercise was often problematic to say the least. We lifted too heavy, with terrible form and took far too little rest. This, we were told, would make us better rugby players or something to that effect. When it came to diet, we were told to ‘carb load’ before big games or tournaments to make sure we had that competitive edge. For those of you experienced in such matters, you can probably guess what happened when a team full of 18 year olds were told to load up on carbs. Yep… we had big bowls of pasta, copious amounts of sandwiches and even potato waffles just to be safe. 18 year old me wasn’t complaining but it seemed like an odd concept even at the time.

Fast forward to today and I’ve played around with every diet imaginable from fruit fasting to keto. One area that has always perplexed me though is ‘carbohydrate loading’ before a big event. Nowadays my friends who run marathons continue to swear by it while those in the lifting community advise low to moderate carbs around workout times. Nutrition will always be a contested arena and to that end, today’s post explores the birth of carbohydrate loading as a scientific concept in 1967 and examine its remarkable rise in popularity soon after.

Guest Post: The History of Personal Training and Its Role in Fitness Today

The career in personal training is a relatively new one. Sure, the ancient Greeks and other past civilizations had their athletic traditions, but they were mostly aimed towards keeping people fit for combat, not for personal reasons. Exercising for health and hiring fitness experts is a new practice less than 100 years old.

A typical personal trainer image that we have today, a person that works with clients in a gym, didn’t exist until the late 1900s. In general, fitness became popular through TV programs and celebrities who sparked the fitness movement. In the early days, no certificate was needed to become a personal trainer and to be recognized as a fitness professional. It was not until the 90s that the first certificate was created and that personal training became a sustainable job path. Today, we have many different certifications and excellent experts who do wonders for people’s fitness and health. However, in order to understand today’s importance of personal trainers and their role, we need to know the history of this career and where and how it all began.