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!


Ibrahim said...

Thanks for the post.

I did not know that you were already familiar with the ditillo.blogspot.

But the ditillo site don´t have the detailed version of Bruce Randall´s weight loss diet.

Personally i would add a bit more carbs. Not the bad ones but the good.

Anyway thanks for sharing.
Your effort and work you put in this site is legendary already and will make history!!!

Best Wishes

- CPB - said...

Hi Ibrahim,

Thanks for your comment! We try to be familiar with sources on the web, but there is a lot out there, so we are sure we don't catch them all.

If you happen to run across a more detailed version of Bruce Randall's weight loss diet, feel free to share it with us and our CPB readers!

You know your contributions are always most welcome!

All the best,


Ibrahim said...

I´m skinny at the moment but in some way i´m akin to Bruce Randall. I started to lift weights almost at the same age (18).
But i´m gonna keep this diet info in my mind.

In my opinion Steve Reeves is CPB role model. Cause he did not overeat. He had a balanced diet and gained muscle mass.

I´m a hardgainer. But with more rest and better eating habits. I think i´m gonna turn my body to a CP :)

I´ll share every interesting article with you, you have my word on it.

- CPB - said...

Hi Ibrahim,

We agree that one should not intentionally set out to increase one's weight to 400 lbs as Bruce Randall did! His story is pretty extreme. However, it does offer hope to anyone who needs to reduce weight in order to achieve a classic physique!

At CPB, we really hesitate to use the term "hardgainer." Usually, we find that people who think they are hardgainers are those who might have gotten nowhere because they have been following the high-volume routines in the modern mags (that are really geared for drug and hormone users). And/or perhaps they are not eating or resting properly.

We would say that only if you know for sure that you have been (1) training properly, (2) eating properly, (3) resting properly, and (4) being persistent - according to Golden Age principles - and you are STILL NOT GETTING RESULTS - then perhaps you might be a hardgainer!

Steve Reeves really believed in the power of the mind and visualization. He said "Place no limitations on yourself" and "don't listen to those who say it is hard to gain muscle."

So just stay focused on the 4 things listed above and put your "hardgaining" days behind you!

All the best (and thanks for your participation!),


Johnny G said...

it amazes me that he didn't have a lot of loose skin hanging all over the place - I guess if you eat right and train properly you can avoid that loose skin look

Weight Room Rat said...

Randall was my BB 'idol' as a teen, and I'd met him here in Chicago several times in the sixties at Wards where he appeared for Billard. I peppered him with bodybuilding questions, and he patiently answered each one, even giving me his home address if I wanted to write to him. I never forgot that kindness.

Unfortunately he has vanished from the scene, though Terry Todd can sometimes get a hold of him.

Bruce was a freak of bodybuilding in the best sense of the word, and a kind man. God bless him.