Don’t Do It, Fellows! A Warning About Tissue Building Drugs [Part 2] – Peary Rader (1962)

Last time, we presented the first part of Peary Rader’s warning against tissue-building steroids, as it appeared in the November-December 1962 issue of Iron Man. Here is the rest of the article, in which Rader turned his attention to the efforts of the livestock industry to maximize muscular development in cattle. This excerpt highlights the value of good nutrition for muscle growth in humans, and makes mention of the nutritional work of Irvin Johnson, who would later be known as Rheo H. Blair.

Magazine Excerpt:

As some of you may be aware, the livestock industry is seemingly far ahead of us humans when it comes to research in tissue building. Millions of dollars are being spent to find new methods for adding pounds of muscle to a steer almost overnight, and because of this research they can practically double the weight gain of cattle and other livestock over what it was only a very few years ago. Since I live in one of the greatest livestock areas in the world, I’m exposed to much of this work and take a great interest in what is going on and find it most enlightening to listen in on discussions of cattlemen as they talk of the methods they use to stimulate greater growth in their cattle. I have never met a group of men who know more about proteins, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, as well as all the known drugs used for stimulating tissue growth. Stilbestrol is one of the drugs widely used for this purpose and some amazing things were accomplished with it. Recently our government has forbidden its use in many instances–especially in chickens, because of the dangers to humans who eat the meat it is used on. Still, it is being used in many areas, even on chickens, in spite of this government order, we are told. 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

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

What the Weight Trainer Should Eat [Part 3] – Richard Alan (1956)

To follow up on our previous excerpt from Richard Alan’s 1956 booklet “Nutrition and Recipes for Progressive Resistance Exercise,” below is a further selection from Chapter 3, which detailed several food groups and their nutritional benefits. Out of the ten food categories that Alan described, he devoted the most time to dairy products.

Of particular interest is the fact that Alan here acknowledged the value of fat intake. This was before the fat scares and zealous low-fat diet fads of the 1970s and 1980s. Such thinking is slow to fade away, but today’s nutrition writers are once again starting to acknowledge the benefits of dietary fats.

A few dairy-oriented recipes from another section of Alan’s booklet are also included at the end of this post. As Alan’s written treatment of dairy products was the most extensive part of Chapter 3 of his booklet, the remaining food groups that he described will be saved for a future post here at FOUNDATIONS OF IRON. Continue reading

“The Miracle Food” – Irvin Johnson [aka Rheo Blair] (1951)

In the field of iron game history, the late Rheo H. Blair has gained somewhat of a cult reputation as a Golden Era expert on bodybuilding nutrition, as well as a nutritionist to Hollywood stars. His products and methods supposedly produced stunning muscle gains back in the 1960s and 1970s. Blair and his protein would be distinctly remembered over the coming years by bodybuilders who were active in those days, such as Larry Scott, Frank Zane, and Dave Draper.

Today we present an early article by Rheo Blair from the July/August 1951 issue of Peary Rader’s “Iron Man” magazine, when Blair was still known by his birth name of Irvin Johnson.

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A man of many talents: Irvin Johnson the singer with his piano accompanist Doris Lee, from elsewhere in the magazine. The pair were also winners at a “Mr. and Miss Bodybuilder” physique competition in Chicago. Click to enlarge (appears in new window/tab).

Continue reading