In 1889 Eugene Sandow came to public prominence when he upstaged the local talent at an exhibition in London where a strongman was performing for the crowd of enthusiastic spectators. He immediately captured the attention of everyone in the room by defeating the prevailing darling of the muscle crowd “Cyclops,” and the career of the world’s first internationally recognized “bodybuilder” was launched.
Initially Sandow performed feats of strength, but gradually posing took on a special prominence. The crowds were awed by his shape and form, so reminiscent of the Greek and Roman statues of antiquity. In 1894 he consulted on a book by G. Mercer Adam “Sandow on Physical Training – A Study in the Perfect Human Form.”” Much of the book is devoted to the telling of his life story but the last hundred pages are written to describe the human anatomy, the function of the muscles and specific exercises to do shape them into ideal form.
Sandow opened his chain of “Institutes of Physical Culture” about 1896. They were among the first of the early gymnasiums that were open to the public. His ideas on physical fitness had a tremendous impact on the field. Then in 1897 he authored his own book, “Strength and How to Obtain It.” The year after the publication of his first book, he started a monthly magazine “Physical Culture.”
In those years, other than coffee, there were essentially no performance enhancing drugs. All physical training was “natural.” And yet the achievements of the early strongmen and bodybuilders are achievements that we can be envious of. It has been 125 years since Sandow burst upon the scene. The foundation of knowledge laid down those many years ago has been refined and built upon, gradually turning what had been an art into a science. And science itself is now able to demonstrate, on a molecular level, how strength and muscle growth occur. There is no magic. And while every body is slightly different, and there are no doubt individuals who are genetically gifted, it is within the power of all of us to improve our condition, our strength and our shape to achieve our personal goals. And our current understanding of nutrition, vitamins, minerals and how the human body functions gives us a tremendous advantage over those old time strongmen.
There are numerous books available to help you learn the knowledge essential to success, but there is nothing like leaning on the experience of someone who has already walked a route you are just starting out on. I urge you to try at least a few sessions with a personal trainer. In a short period of time, you will know the correct way to do the most important exercises, the correct tempo and will have the foundation of learning necessary to branch out on your own. Give me a call. Or use the contact form to arrange an appointment. You have the rest of your life ahead of you. Why not be the best you can be for all of it?