I have to add a correction to "In the Beginning." It was in March of 1977 when I saw the pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane - not March of 1975.
In The Beginning
My introduction to this blog comes from my association with the "Bob Free" bodybuilding/physical culture forum, where just me and a couple of other guys participate. So occasionally, I'll post things here dealing with that particular subject, but by no means will I limit my posts to that subject. Also, I'll be under no delusion that many people will read my blog.
I took up bodybuilding/physical culture in 1975, at the age of 15, 14 actually. (I turned 15 in August of that year.) In May of that year, I sent off for the Charles Atlas course, and didn't receive it until November 26 of that same year. 1975 was the year Arnold retired the first time. At that time, Charles Atlas was just about the only bodybuilder I knew anything about. I was vaguely familiar with Larry Scott, and knew the names of Joe Weider, Frank Zane, Dave Draper, and Chuck Sipes. But I knew next to nothing about these men. I knew of Jack Lalanne, but I didn't associate him with bodybuilding, as all I knew of him was that he was the guy in the jump suit on TV trying to get the ladies to exercise. I had never seen a picture of his marvelous physique. But I saw Atlas' picture in the comic books over and and over again, so he's the one who inspired me.
I sent off for Atlas' booklet in May, thinking I was getting the course. It turned out to be just an ad package. He wanted 30 dollars for the course. So I was disappointed. Being 14 years old, I had no where near that amount of money. So I didn't send off for it just yet. A few more follow up mailings from him brought the asking price down to $5. I had $5, so I sent off for it. It didn't come until November 26. So that year, until March of 1975, Charles Atlas was the only bodybuilder I was acquainted with. To me, he defined the word "bodybuilder." During that time, I devoured his advertisements, and the course, using the pictures therein to fixate in my mind my own personal goals. To me, Atlas represented the pinnacle of bodybuilding/physical culture. Then March of 1975 came along.
What happened in March of 1975? Well, that's when I first saw pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane. That event turned my mind upside down. They made Atlas look like a 97 pound weakling all over again. The more I learned about the modern bodybuilders, the more confused I became with my own bodybuilding efforts. Here I was trying to look like Atlas using Atlas' methods, and not making very good progress at that, so I thought, and here the real epitome of bodybuilders was something else. So I began to doubt my original goals. I changed my goals to that of Arnold. To me, Zane looked freeze dried and shrink wrapped. Of course, I tried to look like Arnold while using Atlas' method. Of course, it didn't work. So I began doubting Atlas' method. Eventually I gave it up. But not permanently. I always came back to it. Eventually, over a lengthy period of time, I learned Arnold's and his compadres' real secret - drugs, and silicone implants. In other words, their marvelous builds were fake, and for a lay person like me, illegal. It took me a while longer to realize that with out drugs, an Atlas build is pretty much the maximum a drug free bodybuilder could ever hope to build - with exceptions of course. Those exceptions being best represented by Steve Reeves and Reg Park. So I'm back to where I was in the beginning as far as my goals are, as well as who and what I consider the epitome of bodybuilding/physical culture. But I've added Steve Reeves and Reg Park.
This is my first ever blog attempt and blog post. I don't know what I'm doing, so I'll keep it brief. This is all for now.
Yours in Perfect Health and Strength,