Don’t Do It, Fellows! A Warning About Tissue Building Drugs [Part 1] – Peary Rader (1962)

Currently, the abuse of large amounts of anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs is commonplace in the world of competitive bodybuilding. In the mid-twentieth century, such enhancement was still relatively new and in its experimental stages, and not well-known to the public. By late 1962, Peary Rader saw fit to directly address this development in order to make weight trainees aware of the dangers of tissue-building drugs. The article below appeared in the November-December 1962 issue of Iron Man. This may be one of the earliest published warnings against steroids to the bodybuilding world. The first half of the article explains the nature of such drugs, and admonishes against their use for bodybuilding purposes. The second half of the article, which will be posted later here at FOUNDATIONS OF IRON, presents an interesting examination of the use of tissue-building substances in the livestock industry.

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A photo of George Eiferman, included in the article and cited as example of outstanding natural physique development without steroid use. Click to enlarge (appears in new window/tab).

Magazine Excerpt:

Yes, there are new drugs on the market that will give startlingly fast results in the building of muscle tissue. Not exactly new, for we have known about them for some years, but new to the general public. Continue reading

Considering SHOULDER DEVELOPMENT – Vern Weaver (1964)

The late Vern Weaver (1937-1993) entered and placed in several Mr. America contests from 1958 to 1966, taking the overall winner title in 1963. He was also a frequent writer for Bob Hoffman’s Strength & Health magazine. The article below appeared in the January 1964 issue, and it focused on development of the shoulders and adjacent muscle areas. As shown in the accompanying photographs, Weaver was well qualified to write on this topic.

Further reading (opens in new window/tab): https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/25374567/laverne-c.-weaver

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A photo of Weaver highlighting his shoulder development. Click to enlarge (appears in new window/tab)

Magazine excerpt: Continue reading

Develop Stubborn Muscles This Way – Bruce Page (1963)

Bruce Page was a frequent writer for Peary Rader’s Iron Man magazine. The article below originally appeared in the January-February 1963 issue. In offering a different technique for stimulating muscle growth, this article touches on several aspects of the iron game, first of all reminding bodybuilding trainees to focus on weight training despite the then-current trend of isometric exercise for weightlifters.  Page also emphasizes the importance of good nutrition. Here we see the beginnings of the long-standing dietary fat and cholesterol scare, which nutrition writers in more recent years have openly challenged. Finally, the article discusses the value of the occasional layoff/de-load from training.

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A photo of Bruce Page that appeared with the article. Click to enlarge (appears in new widow/tab)

Magazine Excerpt: Continue reading

Super Advanced Arm Supplement – Larry Scott (1960s)

Larry Scott, the winner of the first Mr. Olympia contest in 1965, was renowned for his arm development. The biceps and triceps training routine below was included as an exclusive insert with Scott’s booklet “How I Built My 20-inch Arms.” This was presented as something meant for highly advanced weight trainees, presumably those who have been training hard and making continual progress for a number of years. Larry Scott popularized the use of the “Preacher Bench,” also described here as a “Scott Curling Bench.” These can be found in many gyms today.

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Larry Scott working biceps on a Preacher Bench. Click to enlarge (opens in new window/tab)

Booklet excerpt: Continue reading

Eat With the Champion – Mohamed Makkawy (2009)

For a little side trip from the usual era that FOUNDATIONS OF IRON focuses on, today we present a recipe for a traditional Egyptian dish known as Eggah, which was formerly posted on the web site of pro bodybuilder Mohamed Makkawy, but is no longer available.

Makkawy entered and placed in many IFBB competitions from the early 1970s up to the late 1990s. To get into top condition for such contests, especially in the early 1980s, he often turned to the “iron guru” Vince Gironda for weight training and nutritional coaching. This shows that old-school methods still remained valid even when bodybuilding had already transitioned sharply away from the classical aesthetic approach of its early days, and was well on its way toward the massive, pharmaceutically-enhanced physiques that it is now known for.

This recipe for Eggah is hearty, nutritionally dense, and, if whole wheat flour is used instead of white flour, then the dish is made completely from minimally-processed whole foods, and very much in line with old-school weight training nutrition principles.

Article including recipe: Continue reading