Thursday, February 26, 2009

Classic Physique Building and the Classic Ideal!

(Photo Above: Jack Delinger, Mr America 1949, on the cover of of the Aug 1955 issue of Muscle Power magazine)

In previous posts, we have talked about the "classic ideal" which is central to classic physique building. But just what is the "classic ideal"?

The "classic physique ideal" refers to the specific characteristics of a classic physique. But the term "classic ideal" is broader than that. It refers to the ethic and values underlying our activity of classic physique building. It is the "classic ideal" which sets "classic physique building" apart from "modern, mainstream bodybuilding."

Perhaps we can best state it this way. The "classic ideal" values:

(1) the physiques of ancient classical and hellenistic Greece
(2) physique building as part of a healthy lifestyle ("physical culture")
(3) the idea of beauty (aesthetics) in the male physique
(4) the goal of pursuing natural, physical perfection (as a balance of muscular size, shape, symmetry, and muscularity)
(5) the development of the mind and character as well as body.

If you examine these components of the "classic ideal," the difference between classic physique building and modern, mainstream bodybuilding quickly becomes clear.

The modern, mainstream bodybuilding world has lost its connection with and affinity for the physiques of ancient Greece. The "champs" of the modern, mainstream bodybuilding world can no longer be looked upon as exemplars of health or a healthy lifestyle. The modern, mainstream bodybuilding world pursues "extreme size and definition" instead of aesthetics in the male (and now even in the female) physique. Their idea of "physical perfection" is no longer natural, but instead it is chemically-based. Finally, there is little to no attention paid to the development of the mind and character and their "champs" do not have the same sense of having to be "good role models."

This is why "classic physique building" and "modern, mainstream bodybuilding" are two different things. So if someone ever asks you "What is the difference between classic physique building and modern bodybuilding?", you can simply say "the classic ideal"!


P.S. Note the evidence of the classic ideal in the above cover of Muscle Power magazine from the Golden Age of Classic Physique Building. You won't see that in today's muscle mags!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Classic Physique Building Principles: Training Journal!

(Photo Above: Steve Reeves doing barbell curls)

In a previous post discussing Classic Physique Building (CPB) Principles, we talked about the importance of the central principle of progressive resistance. Essentially, this principle says that the key to muscular growth is to use increasingly heavy weights in a systematic, progressive manner. Muscles respond to the use of heavier weights by getting stronger and larger.

OK....most people probably understand that principle at some level. However, everytime we walk into a gym or fitness center, we are surprized to see people working out on the weight floor, but almost no one using or carrying around a workout or training journal or log!

Next to the weights themselves (and your understanding of the CPB Principles), a training journal or log is the next, most important tool! In this journal, you should not only list the exercise routine that you are following, but also the number of sets, reps, and amount of weight that you use. This should be an accurate log of what you actually did - not want you may have intended to do. Only by keeping an accurate log of each workout can you advance in a progressive manner.

Don't rely on your memory! Write everything down! Let's say for today's workout you intended to do 2 sets of 6 reps in cheating barbell curls with 90lbs. But instead, you were only able to do 6 reps in your first set and 4 reps in your second set. Write it down! Now you have a goal! In your next workout, your goal will be to increase your reps (even if only by 1) in the second set. By pushing yourself to beat your last performance, you are applying the principle of "progressive resistance". But you can't apply the principle if you forgot how many reps you did or what weight you used last time.

In your training log, you can also list other things that can be useful. For example, you can list how much rest you are using between sets (1 minute, 30 seconds, etc) or whether you feel strong in a certain exercise and think you can add weight to the bar in your next workout (e.g., you can use an upward arrow to indicate that you think you can use more weight next time, or horizontal line to indicate you need to stay with the same weight, or downward arrow if you need to decrease your weight).

A training journal or log will help you stay motivated since it allows you to to easily see your progress in strength increases as the weeks go by. It will also make it easier to focus on your routine which might prevent you from aimlessly drifting from one routine to another without making progress.

So don't worry whether you see other people using a journal or not - use one! Carry it with you around the gym and record your info after each exercise (or even after each set). If you aren't using a training log, give it a try. You'll be surprized at the results and gains that start coming your way!


P.S. Steve Reeves kept all his training journals even from his first days as a beginner! It clearly worked for him and can for us as well!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Reg Park's Diet for a Classic Physique!

(Photo Above: Steve Reeves on the left, Reg Park on the right)

In the Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (the 1940s and 50s), the approach to diet was much simpler than today. The CPB Champs simply ate a high protein diet consisting of what they considered to be "nutritious, wholesome foods." So basically the diet was meat (all kinds), dairy (whether cow-based or goat-based), eggs, fruits, vegetables (in salads or cooked), nuts, and a bit of whole-grain cereals & bread (starchy foods were used sparingly).

The quantity of food varied depending on the individual. For example, Steve Reeves (see previous post - click on label "Classic Physique Diet") seems to have eaten a smaller quantity of food than Reg Park, even though they were of similar height and weight. But that makes sense since everyone's metabolism and activity levels are a bit different. The bottom line is that the CPB champs, through trial and error, figured out the quantity of food that was necessary to achieve their goals (of either gaining mass or increasing definition).

Here is some info on Reg Park's diet:

A Sample Daily Menu:

Breakfast: A glass of fresh orange juiceFruit: paw-paw (papaya) & banana,
Cooked Oatmeal (large soup plate full) with full cream/whole milk & fresh cream
A plate of bacon, eggs, tomato and toast
A couple of cups of tea

Lunch: Large bowl of soup (tomato, pea, minestrone etc.) with rye bread
Cooked vegetables
Beef steak
A couple of cups of tea with some chocolate
Also wine or milk stout(like Guiness)

Supper: Same as lunch.

(Reg would consume Milk stout/Guiness as an aid when he needed to gain weight)

In an interview with Reg by Osmo Kiiha, Reg was asked about his diet:"What type of diet did you follow?

Reg: I liked to eat like a king, but only food that was good for me. I ate prodigious amounts of food during the day, but adhered to a very balanced diet with everything in proper proportions. My favorite food is steak, which I sometimes eat twice a day. I also like salads, orange juice and wine. I have a wine cellar in my home. I also have used protein supplements and take vitamin and mineral tablets.

In an article in "Iron Man Magazine, Earle Liedeman wrote the following about Reg Park: "Reg Park of England wins a good second to Mac Batchelor with his speed. Once, when dining with Reg, he gargled three large plates of vegetable soup, then gulped chucks from his extra large and thick steak without his teeth sinking into the meat once, apparently, next stuffed many side dishes of vegetables into his ever open mouth and these include an extra large pair of baked potatoes, a huge bowl of salad, three glasses of milk and the last, the piece de resistance, a big dish of ice cream with cake. And all this, mind you, in about ten minutes. Gee! I've seen hungry bloodhounds gobble down food, but Reg Park wins a can of fried grasshoppers as second place for amount, and first place for speed."

So there you have it, another glimpse into the Golden Age nutrition of the CPB Champs! What can you learn from this for your classic physique building endeavors?

1) Eat a balanced, high protein diet of meats (all kinds), eggs, dairy (either cow-based or goat-based), vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grain breads and cereals (use sparingly).
(2) Use a 3 meal a day plan with/or without snacks in-between - depending on your goal of either gaining mass (with snacks)or losing weight (without snacks).
(3) Protein and vitamin supplements can be helpful.
(4) Adjust the quantity of food to achieve your goals (you may need to eat more for gaining mass or less if trying to lose body fat) - everyone is different, so follow the classic Greek advise to "know thyself."
(5) Remember that proper diet is as important as proper training and proper rest (but all three must be done together in order to achieve your goals).
(6) Avoid all junk (processed food, refined sugar, candies, cakes, pastries, soft drinks, etc) that does not contribute valuable nutrients to "building up the body."


Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Bruce Randall Story: From 410 lbs to Classic Physique Building Champ!

(Photo left: Bruce Randall at 387 lbs; Photo right: Bruce Randall, Mr. Universe 1959 at 225 lbs)

The Bruce Randall story is an inspirational story for all CPB'ers (classic physique builders), but particularly for those with an "endomorphic" body type who need to drop weight in achieving their classic physique goals.

The full Bruce Randall story is given in an article by Randall and Peary Rader (of IronMan magazine) published in 1957 (during the Golden Age of Classic Physique Building). Here is a link where you can read the entire article:

But to make a long story short, Bruce started weight training at 21 years of age (at a height of 6ft 2in). At first, his interest was weight lifting (not classic physique building). Through training and altering his diet, he ballooned up to his maximum weight of 410lbs. At that weight, he was "endomorphic" indeed! Then he decided to reduce his weight. Many thought he could not do it. But he looked upon himself as a big "bulk of rock" and his barbells and dumbbells were his "hammer and chisel" as though he were a sculptor.

Well, he changed his diet and training and dropped his weight to 225 lbs, attained a classic physique, and captured the 1959 Mr. Universe title! (see photo above right).

In reading his story (see above link), we see some of the principles and techniques he used in order to reduce his weight. First, he cut back on the quantity of food he was eating each day little by little - especially cutting down on starchy, fatty foods - until he achieved the following diet:

Breakfast: 2 soft-boiled eggs, pint of skim milk, glass of orange juice, apple

Lunch: salad, dates, nuts

Dinner: round steak, 2 vegetables, quart of skim milk, gelatin

(He also used powdered milk mixed into his skim milk to increase protein content and drank some coffee in-between meals to reduce his appetite)

As far as his training, he increased the number of exercises that he did, increased the number of sets and reps (typically 4-5 sets per exercise and 12-15 reps per set), and used lighter weights. He also added running (cardio) to his schedule. At first, he would walk. Then, he worked up to walking and jogging (at alternate intervals). Finally, he could run (about 3-5 miles each day).

Now, when you read his full story, his training regimen will seem extreme. This is because he wanted to achieve certain results in a certain amount of time. And, if you are an endomorph trying to lose weight, you shouldn't follow his exact routine (because he was already an advanced weight lifter when he began to lose weight). But you can incorporate some of the principles he used into your own training.

To summarize those principles again:

1) reduce the quantity of food you eat progressively each day until you achieve a balanced, high protein, vegtables and fruit diet (similar in principle to the one he followed)
2) increase the number of exercises you do in your routine (e.g., if your routine currently consists of 8 exercises, you can increase it to 12)
3) use lighter weights
4) increase the number of sets you are doing (keeping it to about 4-5 sets per exercise)
5) increase the number of reps you are doing (doing about 12-15 reps per set)
6) add running (or walking, jogging) to your daily schedule (go at your own pace and slowly build up, don't start off trying to run 3-5 miles per day).
7) set realistic goals and try to meet them (in order to stay motivated)

The Bruce Randall story is an incredible inspiration to all and shows us that anyone can build a classic physique, whether you start off underweight, overweight, or average. It doesn't matter! It all comes down to: (1) proper training, (2) proper nutrition, (3) proper rest, and (4) persistence!


P.S. Note that Bruce didn't need any supplements of any kind to reduce weight (except for some powdered milk, coffee, or perhaps gelatin). How's that for Golden Age methods!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Classic Physique Builder (CPB) Zine Premier Issue - Almost Ready!

(Photo Above: Steve Reeves on the cover of Classic Physique Builder Zine - Premier Issue)

Classic Physique Builder Zine is almost done! In response to the almost unanimous vote on our pole asking if you (CPB readers) would be interested in a free CPB zine - a do-it-yourself (maga)zine devoted to classic physique building, we have gone ahead and worked on the first issue. It is now nearing completion.

We are not professionals at this, so it really is a "zine," not a slick, true magazine like the mainstream muscle mags you can buy at the store. Being amateurs at this, we were inspired by Joe Weider, who at the age of 17, sat down with a rented typewriter, and pecked out (one finger at a time) his first issue of Your Physique magazine in the living room of his parents home. He wasn't a professional either. But he had the courage to do it and a lot of persistence, and before too long, Your Physique struck a chord and gained a following and the rest is history!

Although Joe is our inspiration for trying such a "do-it-yoursef endeavor," our motivation is this. We wanted to put together a Golden Age-type (maga)zine like those that existed in the 1940s and 50s such as Your Physique, Muscle Power, Muscle Builder, Strength and Health, Ironman, Mr. America, etc. Those magazines were filled with classic physique builders, training methods, nutrition advice, true inspiration - all before the days of steroids, drugs, and hormones! That kind of magazine doesn't exist anymore (and hasn't since 1959)! So instead of just wishing that someone would do one, we decided to take matters into our own hands (due to the positive inspiration of our CPB Blog readers) and do one ourselves!

Our first issue will be small (around 25-30 pages), but there will be no commercial advertisements of any kind (except a few for our CPB courses). We aren't taking money from anyone for ads - not even supplement companies. We feel this will allow us the freedom to "tell it like it is" from our point of view without worrying about offending advertisers or us having to push their products or appearing to endorse their products. We want to provide a clear contrast between us and the mainstream bodybuilding mags of today.

The articles in our first issue touch on the following subjects: Steve Reeves' Beginning Workout Routine, What is a Classic Physique?, Classic Physique Building Principles, The Golden Age of Classic Physique Building (a brief overview), Joe Weider, CPB Champions Hall of Fame - John Grimek, Steve [Reeves] versus Sergio [Oliva], CPB Champs George Eiferman and Clancy Ross, Nutrition Corner, Classic Muscle Movies, and more!

We have decided to start off slowly by making CPB zine a quarterly rather than bi-monthly zine. So for 2009, we plan to have a Winter issue (our premier issue), Spring, Summer, and Fall issues. If there is enough demand, then we will expand it into a bi-monthly zine and perhaps, one day, to a monthly.

How can you get a copy? When our premier issue is finalized and ready to email, we will announce it here on CPB Blog. We will set up a special email address for CPB zine. Then, all you have to do it send us an email saying that you would like to subscribe and then we will reply by emailing you a free pdf copy. That's it! You don't have to worry that we will sell your email address because we are not a commercial enterprize like that. We hate getting spam and don't want to be responsible for anyone getting spam because of us. So we think this arrangement will be easy for everyone and us.

So stay tuned! CPB Zine is almost here! (BTW, how could we not put Steve Reeves on the cover of the first issue!)