Sunday, April 21, 2024

The Grip - Fred Pastel (1935)

                                                                     From this issue: March, 1935. 

A few weeks ago I had the first experience in a very long time of meeting a crushing grip. I was introduced to a tall, slender young man who grasped my hand and squeezed so hard that I almost dropped to my knees. His large hand easily encircled mine, and being caught unawares, my knuckles gave, leaving me with a sore hand for almost an hour afterwards. 

I had placed that man in the weakling class almost as soon as he grasped my hand. It is only the weak man or the beginner in exercising who makes a display of his gripping strength when introduced.

It is rare to meet a strong man who gives "crushers." The man who is weak does not want you to know it so he combats the weakness by gripping hard and the really strong man knows that he does not have to resort to this type of display. 

Vansittart, the famous old timer, was well known for his forearm strength. His strength in this direction was the basis for many of his spectacular feats. Naturally strong and proud of his grip he had one finger-strength feat that always struck me as a showy example of exhibitionism.

It is said that he would put on an ordinary glove over his right hand, place a clay pipe between each of his fingers, and suddenly squeeze his fingers together and shatter the pipes. This is a real feat of finger strength he always received tremendous applause for it. 

Bob Hoffman's father . . . 


. . . had a tremendous forearm that he developed by gripping. He had a forearm that started from the end of his hand in one great swelling curve that always marks the exceptional grip. He developed it by squeezing newspapers into balls or squeezing two rubber balls together and the exercise that he always practiced while walking three miles to his office was to clench the left fist as his left foot hit the ground, and, as his right foot came forward and hit the ground he would clench his right fist. 

For the beginner there is always the old standard beer cap to squeeze between the thumb and forefinger to develop the pinching abilities. 

Sam Olmstead does a harder feat of the same kind. He pinches and breaks walnuts the same way. By using two hands to start with you can gradually work up to one hand. 

Jowett made mention of a feat that always impressed me. He had heard of a French monk who would pulverize a grain of wheat by rolling it between his thumb and finger. It would take a calloused finger to be able to do this. 

A lot of youngsters forget that THE MIND has a lot to do with the power of the grip. A man with a strong willpower can think into his muscles and make them close and contract more forcibly than a weak-willed man. 

In developing the grip, often the upper part of the forearm is not called into play. When this happens the lower part develops thick and heavy and the upper part measures almost the same as the forearm about three inches above the wrist. It is very often seen in those who take up hand balancing on the fingertips. But if the upper part is not developed you cannot hope to hang on after the elbow begins to move and twist. Fortunately, it is hard to exercise one part without affecting the other. 

Any feat done on the fingertips is good, such as chinning on the transom over the doorway. You cannot grip the space with your whole hand and you are forced to exert yourself. This leaves out the thumb but other exercises bring it into use. 

One of the advanced feats is to chin from the rafters by pinching them between the thumb and fingers. This is hard so it is better to practice pushups from the floor on the fingertips and develop from an easier angle. At first you may bend the fingertips but later try to keep them straight. 

Practice this on the table in your room: Place the fingertips under the table ledge and by curling the wrist lift the table. This sounds easy and is if you keep the elbows high and make the forearm do the work, but it is quite a strain on the fingers if the elbow is close to the side and held as low as possible. 

For building up each finger separately without too much strain get a rocking chair. Lie face downward with the forearms flat on the floor and press the rocker to the floor with each finger until tired. 

An exercise with a plain chair is to grip it by the back legs and lift the chair to the level of the shoulder. This develops the outer edge of the forearm which is neglected by ordinary exercise. Start the exercise by grasping the chair legs high up and as your power increases go lower down. The difficult thing is to keep the chair from over-balancing and falling to the floor.

A gripping test that can be easily done by the beginner because it can be regulated to individual strength, is to drop away from a door edge . . . 


. . . and as you gain momentum, quickly grasp the door edge with the fingers of one hand. This can be done with each hand alternately. 

A good feat of endurance is to grip a hanging rope with one hand and try to hold on for as long as possible. A great many strong men find this very hard and if you cannot hand on you will have a lot of famous company. I have seen a half-dozen men at Klein's fail in the attempt. A way to get started on this is to roll up a newspaper and then try to twist it apart. When you are twisting, move the forearms in all directions to give the upper parts a workout. Do not let the paper slip between the fingers. 

An Excentro sports grip is one of the best grip developers I have ever seen. It can be set light enough for the weakest and with a turn of the set screw so that George Jowett and Henry Steinborn could not center it. 

Note: What is this thing? 

Hand crusher grips with various tensions are a good means of building the gripping power. Either these or the Excentro can be carried in the pocket and  used at odd moments. 

For the last exercise I am giving an old timer well known as the Zottman exercise. Take a sheet of newspaper and crush it into your palm. Then when you have it in a ball hold the forearm straight down at the waist. Bring the forearm in a circular motion in front of the chest to the shoulder gripping the wad tightly and rotating wrist inward as the forearm comes up. On the way down just as vigorously twist the wrist outward and bring it back to the starting point. Repeat with the other arm and alternate until tired. 

The effectiveness lies in the concentration that you apply to the exercise. Strong willpower will make the fingers clamp down on the paper much harder than when you apply this power poorly. 

For a humorous trick to try on your friends and on which you may bet, get a clothes pin and a dime. Place the dime between the ends of the clothes pin and grip the ends between the thumb and forefinger. 

The idea is to hold the dime in the clothes pin for three minutes. It sounds so deceptively easy that you can bet a small amount quickly and find enough suckers to try it on after they have seen the first one miss. The longest that I have ever seen it done was for 90 seconds. If you do not believe it is hard, try it yourself in private and time yourself, for the time will pass verrrrrrrrrrrrrry slowly. It is a nice trick and the man proud of his grip will fall for it very easily. 

Enjoy Your Gripping, er, Lifting! 

Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Time Factor - John Mccallum (1965)


                                                                 Taken from this issue: June, 1965. 

There’s a young man down the street from me who trains with weights. He’s been at it for about three years but you’d never know it to look at him. He’s got no build at all. My grandmother’s been dead for twelve years and she probably still looks better than him.

He came over to my house to talk one night. He brought an arm-load of magazines with him. I told him to sit down. He dumped the magazines on the coffee table. He’s a thin jittery type. He sits on a sofa like his back pockets were full of broken glass. I asked him how he was doing with his training.

“Not too good,” he said. “I can’t seem to gain weight.”

I asked him what program he was doing.

He rattled off a jumble of exercises like a tobacco auctioneer milking the crowd. I never even heard of half of them.

“Gee,” I said. “That’s an awful lot of work. How long does it take?”

“About three hours.”

“How often?”

“Six days a week.”

“Man, oh man,” I said. “No wonder you’re not gaining weight. Why don’t you go longshoring? You’d work about half that hard and they’d pay you for it.?

He looked a bit hurt. “I wouldn’t gain weight if I went longshoring.”

“You’re not gaining a heck of a lot training either.”

“No,” he said. “I’m a bit thin.”
I took a good look at him. You could open milk tins on his knee caps. “Yeah,” I said. “You are a bit.”

He squirmed around like he’d been kicked and I began to feel sorry for him.

“Look,” I said. “Where’d you get the idea you had to train that hard?”

He picked up one of the magazines and started thumbing through it. It wasn’t from York. I turned page after page and they looked the same and finally I said, “What in heck is this? A catalogue?”

‘No, no,” he said. “Keep going.”

I kept going and about half-way through the book I came to a story about a guy who was double bumping his pecs or something. I recognized his picture. He built up at Yarick’s and he looked better then than he does now.

I passed another half dozen pages of advertising and came to a story about a guy who said the wonder system produced his “thrilling legs.”

I closed it up at this point. I’ve seen lots of good looking legs but the only ones that thrilled me were on girls.

I handed the book back. “Not bad,” I said. “Slip it under your coat when you’re leaving, will you? The postal authorities may be casing the place.”

He looked a little puzzled. “Don’t you read them?”

“No,” I said. “I read ‘Peanuts.’ It’s not quite as funny but it makes more sense.”

“Well, I dunno,” he said. “There’s lots of stuff in there about gaining weight.”

“Do you follow it?


“Did you gain any weight?”

“Well, no,” he said. “But I’m gonna stick with it. I got lots of starch in my spine.
“You got lots of rocks in your head. You could put muscles on a lamp post in three years.”

“You think there’s a better way to gain weight?”



So I told him.

I said, “Gaining weight isn’t that complicated. It’s the easiest thing in the world. But there’s certain principles to follow and you’re not following any of them.

One of the most important items is the amount of time you spend working out.

You don’t need to spend very long at it. If you’re trying to gain weight you’re better off doing too little than too much. Three workouts are fine for an advanced man with nothing else to do but they’re suicide for a guy building up.

Let’s be reasonable about it. Anybody who works for a living and spends three hours a day working out is making a social outcast of himself. Keep that up and the next sound you hear will be your old lady cackling as she runs off with the milkman.

You can gain all the weight you want and still lead a normal life.

Maurice Jones

The heaviest muscled man I ever met is Maurice Jones of Vancouver, B.C. You wouldn’t believe anyone could have that much muscle and every ounce of it was built with weights. I asked Maury how often he figured a man should work out.

“About an hour.”

Reg Park

I watched Reg Park work out once. I timed him. His workout took and hour and four minutes.
Gaining weight is a building process. Don’t tear it all back down again.

You only have so much energy. If you exceed it you won’t build up. You might even lose weight.
I was down in Chula Vista last summer. I dropped in to see Earl Clark. He’s a real friendly guy and built like nothing on earth. We spent a lot of time talking and I asked him how much time he spent working out.

He said, “From an hour to an hour and a half.”

“How often?”

“Three times a week.”

I said, “Do you think that’s enough?”

“Sure,” he said. “Plenty. Most of the guys spend too long at it. They do way too much. They’d look better if they did less.”

If you can’t gain weight you’re doing something wrong. You’re probably overworking. The late Harry Paschal published a weight gaining routine once. I tried it. The workout took forty minutes and I gained eleven pounds in a month.

Peary Rader said he could never see any difference in the development of an advanced man who took about an hour and a half workout and those who spent half the day doing it.

The extra time is largely wasted. If you’re trying to gain it can even be detrimental.

Weight training is concentrated. You reach the point of diminishing returns very quickly. 

If you want to gain weight quickly and easily – good solid muscular weight – then cut down on your long workouts. Never, never, never spend more than an hour and a half at a workout.

A good basic weight training program for beginners and intermediates would be the following:

#1 Press behind neck: 2 sets of 12 reps
#2 Bent-rowing exercise: 3 sets of 15 reps
#3 Bench press: 3 sets of 12 reps
#4 Curls: 1 set of 10 reps
#5 Squats: 2 sets of 15 reps
#6 Pullovers: 2 sets of 20 reps
#7 Stiff-legged dead lift: 1 set of 15 reps
#8 Leg raises: 1 set of 25 reps

You can get through this in an hour or less. That’s plenty. If you can’t gain, work on this for a month or two and see what happens. You’ll gain weight, I guarantee it.

Do the exercises like this:

#1 The best single exercise for the shoulder girdle. Take a wider than shoulder width grip and drive the bar up hard. Don’t pause at the bottom when you lower it. Get a rebound and drive it back up hard and fast. Don’t handle it like a crate of eggs. Be rough.

#2 The best all-round back exercise. Round your back when the bar is in the low position. Pull up to your abdomen and arch your back. Try to contract your spinal erectors.

#3 For chest and arms. Use a normal press width grip. Don’t pause at the bottom. Arch your back a very little bit and fire it back up again. This will thicken your arms and shoulders and put slabs of meat on your chest. Work up into heavy weights.

#4 Not too important for gaining weight. Use a fairly close grip and do them in strict style.

#5 The granddaddy of them all. Squats are the best single exercise for putting on weight. Do them in breathing style. Three monstrous breaths between each rep. Don’t pause at the bottom. Go down to slightly below parallel and bounce back up as hard and smooth as you can. Push hard. Fight. Drive. You should work up to about 150% of your body weight for 15 reps.

#6 Alternate pullovers with the squats. Use a light weight and stretch your rib-box.

#7 The best lower back exercise. This works everything from your heels to the back of your head. Work up to at least 10 pounds more than your squatting poundage. Use a reverse grip. This exercise will increase your power and bulk beyond belief. Work hard on it.

#8 This will keep your gut down while you’re gaining. There’s no point to getting fat.
Breathe as deeply as possible between reps in all the exercises.

There aren’t many exercises in the program. Work hard on every one.

Don’t touch the weights at all on your in-between days. When you finish your workout have a shower and forget about it till your next training day.

Get plenty of sleep and rest and eat lots of good food.

You’ll gain weight.

Enjoy Your Lifting! 

Comments Section not showing on the original posting of this article, so 
here it is again. 

Okay then . . . the dialogue on possible ways to update and possibly improve the Keys to You Know What. Starting with this starting routine in the series. Not changing the approach, just looking at possible sub exercises and performance of what's given in the original. The diet deal will come later. 

We tried this a couple years ago and here's the link to what we got and how far it went: 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

The Causes of Failure, Part One - John McCallum (1972)

                                                      Originally published in this issue, March 1972. 

Note: For a time not long ago, a few people at the Drapers' site, IronOnline, had fun attempting to update The Keys to Progress, calling it Keys to Progress 2.0. We wanted to alter some of it (exercise selection, diet, etc.) without losing the whole approach and progression of the articles. No great changes, not changed into anyone's favorite approach, just a few updates that may make the series more productive. 

The six-page thread is here, and I'm the one with the name Neander who keeps realizing how little he knows about this whole affair called "lifting." 

The link to it is here:

and the first article in the series, The Time Factor, is here:
Feel free to comment there, and perhaps over time we can realize the dream from back then of this update, a free downloadable booklet that could be an add-on to the article series. It's a fine training series, dated somewhat and as always, there's things we learn along the way, individual things that are great to  share with likeminded, open-minded others. 

Not a big thing, just a thought is all. 

                                                           THE CAUSES OF FAILURE, PART ONE
                                                                       by John McCallum (1972)

He's well into the series at this point, I am sure quite confident in its success and the acceptance of his monthly submissions. Here, he stretches out a little in the intro and enjoys himself before getting into the training end of things . . . 

In a rundown section at the eastern border of the city there was, at one time, a small dusty area known rather generously as a children's playground. 

The playground, such as it was, lay three blocks from the harbor, slightly west of the Paine and McInley Marine Equipment Company [nope, no sign of such a place from the past online but it sure does have a nice sound to it, really nice word selection and easy-reading meter throughout this intro section], and directly downwind from the Western Transport Loading Dock #4, from which an endless stream of beef hides, nitrate fertilizers, bulk sulphur, and other odious commodities were dispatched to the outside world. 

On the other side of the harbor, a mile or so away, the oil refinery spilled its allotted quota into the water, sent up roaring flames from its exhaust stacks, and, when the humidity was just right, added its discouraging contribution to the already burdened atmosphere. 

The playground was bounded on one side by two square miles of combined freight yard and pool car assembly area. Two other sides consisted of shunting tracks and storage warehouses. The remaining side hosted a row of crumbling tenements and Fire Station #3. 

The playground, itself, was a pitiful sight. Ten years previous, in a flush of philanthropic fervor, a local service club had installed the customary selection of swings, teeter-totters, chinning bars, and so on. Time, however, had made serious inroads. The metal posts and bars were streaked with rust. The teeter-totter board and the seat of the one remaining swing were cracked and split with three-inch splinters. The flying rings had long since flown, and the ground, since no grass was ever planted, ranged from two inches of dust in the dry season to a field of mud when it rained. 

From early morning until well after dark, the playground was jammed with kids of all ages. Their presence was not, as you might suppose, a tribute to the playground. They had simply no other place to go. And, since the playground was not supervised, the children were left to their amusement which over the years settled into a fairly steady and predictable pattern. 

The little ones . . . pre-teen . . . ran around and got dirty and screamed and fought over the equipment. The older girls clustered in little groups and giggled a lot and pretended not to look at the boys showing off on the horizontal bar. The older boys pretended not to look at the girls. 

Larry French was a dark-haired, wiry lad who was born and raised two blocks from the playground. Larry worried a lot, and he slid into his teens with a growing concern regarding his lack of financial solvency.    

When he was fifteen, Larry attempted a giant swing and cutaway on the high-bar in an effort to impress a certain Sue Nero, a young of precocious and imposing development. Larry's hand slipped on the second revolution. He landed upside down and broke his left arm. Miss Nero snickered audibly and strolled away with another boy who had blonde curly hair and more sense than to get up on a high-bar in the first place. By the time Larry's arm was out of the cast, Sue, who would later go on to a career in large-breasted hirsute porn, had instilled in him an attitude of skepticism towards the fair-to-middling sex. 

When he was sixteen, Larry had a fistfight with a new boy in the neighborhood, a tall, bony lad with dark little eyes and a pimply complexion. The new boy's stock in trade was the left jab. The punch, delivered with astonishing precision reduced Larry to ruin in something under five minutes. 

Fights were common in the neighborhood, and Larry, being gifted with a better-than-average mind, decided to acquire a slight edge over the opposition. He weighed the relative merits o the switchblade and the wool sock full of sand (hockey pucks if a Canuck) and wisely discarded both as being just slightly more lethal than the circumstances warranted. 

Oh-oh, this best not be heading where I think it is . . . 

Larry, six months after that Get Big Drink discovery.

Larry considered all the angles and decided that muscles, being inexpensive, relatively inconspicuous, and perfectly legal, were the solution to his problem. His visits to the playground became regular and purposeful.

The only equipment in the playground adaptable to formal exercise was the horizontal bar. He did them front grip, reverse grip, wide grip and narrow grip. He did them to his chin and did them to the back of his neck (an example of how short The Keys to the Inner Universe could have been). He did set after endless set and, slowly but surely, his biceps and forearms grew hard and muscular and his lats took on a different shape. 

Larry did dips on the parallel bars with the same fervor. He did numerous sets and he squeezed the maximum number of repetitions out of each one of them. Larry's triceps grew strong and defined and his pecs began to grow. 

When he finished his chins and dips, Larry went to the teeter-totter board and did situps on it. And while the practice generated a certain amount of friction between himself and the little kids who happened to be using it at the same time (get off our lawn! not one of us, one of us!), the equipment itself served admirably. Larry would lay on the board, head down, hook his toes under the central bar, and do situps until his stomach screamed He performed the situps as faithfully as the cheens and deeps. 

Note: at this stage of the game's evolution, 
there weren't three 24-hour film-studio gyms on every block. 

When Larry turned eighteen, he moved to the other side of the city and got a job. But he'd been bitten by the muscle bug pretty hard and he missed his old exercise sessions at the playground. He did pushups and situps without fail and without hyphens in his bedroom for a while, got bored with that, and finally enrolled in a small commercial gym. 

Weight training and Larry got along well together. 

He asked a lot of questions of the owner, and got a great deal of advice. 

He ignored most of it, but made good progress anyway. He had a good foundation from his workouts at the playground, and the equipment in the gym let him expand his program enormously. 

He did squats and cleans and curls and so on. He worked on the benches and pulleys and anything else that was available and gradually he added muscle. 

Larry made good progress for a while. He wasn't bulky, but his muscles were shapely and well defined. His progress, however, eventually came to a halt. Larry trained hard for three more months with practically no results. Finally, in desperation, he went to see the gym owner.

The owner we tilted back in his chair with his feet up on the desk and an open can of protein tablets in his left hand. He fished out a tablet with his right hand, flipped it into the air, moved his head slightly, and caught the tablet in his mouth. He tried it again. The tablet landed on his throat and slid down inside his shirt. 

"That's a kinda messy way of eating them, ain't it?" Larry asked. 

"Could be worse," the gym owner said. "Imagine if it was Energol." [nice product placement with a touch of humor and sans blunt hammer!] He took his feet off the desk and sat up straight. "What's the trouble?" 

"I need help," Larry told him.

"My boy," the gym owner beamed. "You've come to the right man. 

"As long as it doesn't involve work or money, I'll be delighted to assist you. What would you like?" 

"It's my training," Larry said. "I ain't making no progress." 

"Right," the gym owner said. "I know." 

Larry blinked. "You know? Why didn't you say something?" 

"Larry, my boy," the gym owner said. "I've said something a hundred times. You either don't listen or else you don't believe me." 

Larry shook his head. 

"Well, go finish it and then come back," the gym owner said. "You're doing something very wrong, and I think maybe now you'll listen to me." 

"Tell me now," Larry said. 

The gym owner shook his head. "After your workout." He leaned across the desk. "The mistake you're making is one of the principle causes of failure. Every unsuccessful bodybuilder does it. I want you to think about that during your workout, and then come back and we'll have a long talk about it." 

"Okay," Larry said. "Don't go away." He turned and walked out of the office. 

The gym owner put his feet up on the desk again, tilted back in his chair, and flipped up a protein tablet. He moved his head and caught the tablet in his mouth.

"Fantastic," he told himself. 

He flipped another, moved his head, and the tablet hit him on the eye. 

Larry French finished his workout. Then he showered, dressed, and walked into the gym owner's office. 

He motioned Larry over. "Take a look at that," he said. 

Larry glanced out. 

"Take a look at what?" 

"The shoe store," the gym owner said. "Look at the prices." 

Larry looked out again. The store directly across the street was draped and garnished with enough ribbon for an Easter pageant. Large, brightly colored signs in the window blared the news of a storewide clearance of men's quality footwear at the most sensational price reductions since the original vending of Manhattan Island. 

The gym owner popped the rest of the tablets into his mouth. "Stay here," he said. He squirmed into his jacket. "I'm gonna slip over and pick up a couple pair." 

"They're factory rejects," Larry told him.

The gym owner paused. "Factory what?" 

"Rejects," Larry said. "Factory rejects. The soles are made of cardboard, the uppers come off, and the whole store full ain't worth ten bucks." 

The gym owner blinked his eyes. "You're putting me on." 

Larry yawned. "My uncle owns the store." 

The gym owner peered out the window. "That's unreal. How could your uncle handle junk merchandise and still run a store?" 

Larry snickered. "I'd own the Taj Mahal if I could meet a yokel like you every day of the week." 

The gym owner took off his jacket. He walked behind his desk and slumped into the chair. "Larry," he said. "You gotta be the most discouraging son-of-a-gun I ever met." 

"Not discouraging," Larry told him. "Realistic." 

"Maybe so," the gym owner sighed. "Maybe so." 

"Anyway," Larry said, "it's beside the point." 

"Really?" the gym owner said. "What was the point." 

"My lack of progress," Larry said. "That's the point. You were going to help me. Remember?" 

"Of course I remember," the gym owner said. "Do you think I'm an idiot?" He straightened up in his chair. "Er . . . he cleared his throat . . . just give me a brief summary, will you?" 

"Certainly," Larry said. "I haven't gained an ounce in the last six months. Is that brief enough?" 

"Perfect," the gym owner said. "Concise and to the point." 

"And if I don't start gaining pretty soon," Larry said, "I'm gonna take my business elsewhere. How does that sound?" 

"Not too good," the gym owner said. He pushed back his chair. "Fortunately, however, that dire event need never transpire. I know exactly what your trouble is." 

"Then how come you never told me before?" Larry said.   

"I have told you," the gym owner said. "I've told you a dozen times. You just don't believe me."

"Tell me again." 

The gym owner took the can of protein tablets and et it down in front of Larry. "The reason you aren't gaining is because you aren't getting enough protein." I keep telling you to take a supplement." 

Larry snorted. "I don't need that stuff." 

"You do need it." The gym owner sighed. "You're so bloody suspicious you think everything is a ripoff." He got up and went to the filing cabinet and started rooting through it. He pulled out paper by the handful, scanned it, and dug deeper into the files. "Got to get this in order, someday," he muttered. 

Larry waited patiently. 

The gym owner began to hum softly to himself. He tapped time with his foot and the music got louder. "Dum, dum, de dum, de dum," he sang, "de dum, de dum, de dum, de dum dum, dum dum." 

"Catchy tune," Larry said. 

"The Anvil chorus," the gym owner told him. "From 'Il Trovaote'."


"It's an opera," the gym owner explained. "'Il Trovatore.' It means 'The Troubadour'." 

"Like in a bullfight?" Larry asked.

"No, no," the gym owner shook his head. "You're thinking of a matador." 

"I thought that's what stood in front of a hotel." 

"That's a revolving door." 

Larry thought about it for a moment. "Listen," he said. "That isn't exactly what I had in mind." 

"No matter," the gym owner said. He pulled a folder from the cabinet. "Here we are." 

He walked back to the desk and opened the folder. "Take a look." 

"That's nice," Larry said. "It looks like the herringbone pattern on a twelve dollar overcoat." 

The gym owner traced his finger across the lines. "Do you see the significance." 

Larry studied the graph. "Frankly," he said. "No." 

The gym owner pointed to the left-hand margin of the card. "Here's where you start ed. See how all your lifts and measurements started to climb?"

"Yeah," Larry said wistfully. "I gained real well for a while." 

"Right," the gym owner said. "Due entirely of course, to my invaluable assistance and expert supervision." 

"And my hard work," Larry said. He tapped his fingers on the graph. "And I wasn't taking a protein supplement then, either." 

"No," the gym owner said, "you weren't. But you were a beginner. You were bound to make rapid gains no matter what you did. Furthermore, you had a real good foundation to build on from all the exercise you did in that playground you hung around in." 

"Yeah," Larry said. "I wish I had a buck for every hour I spent in that place." 

"You said it was getting pretty beat up. Do you ever go back there?" the gym owner asked him.

Larry shook his head. "The city sold the property to an auto wrecking company. They put a high board fence all around it." 

"I don't suppose they installed new playground equipment, did they?" 

"Not exactly," Larry said. "They installed two hundred junk cars and a Doberman." 

"Too bad," the gym owner said. "There's a moral there somewhere if you could put your finger on it." 

"I suppose," Larry said. He touched the card. "But let's get back to this." 

"Okay," the gym owner said. He pointed to the graph. "Now, see where your gains slowed down and finally quit altogether?" 

Larry nodded. 

"Well, that's where you got past the beginner's stage," the gym owner said. "And that's what happens to about ninety percent of all bodybuilders. They make good progress for a while, get to about the intermediate stage, and then bog down. They put in all that work and then, just when they're getting to the point of building up a sensational body, their gains stop." 

"And what causes that?" 

"One of two things," the gym owner said. "Either their training is faulty or their nutrition is. It's gotta be one or the other." 

"What about my case?" 

"Simple," the gym owner told him. "There's nothing wrong with your training, therefore your nutrition is faulty." 

"How do you know there's nothing wrong with my training?"

"Because," the gym owner said . . . he coughed modestly . . . "I designed your program personally." 

"You shouldn't be so shy about it," Larry said. 

"So the answer to your problem is very simple," the gym owner said. "Improve your nutrition and you'll start gaining again." 

"And how do I improve it?" Larry said. 

"You must be hard of hearing," the gym owner said. "I just told you." He held up the can. "Take a good protein supplement." 

"And I just told you I don't believe in that stuff," Larry said. 

"Then forget about training," the gym owner said. "You're just wasting your time." 

Larry took the can of tablets. "It can't be that important." 

The gym owner leaned back in his chair. "Larry, my boy," he said. "I'm gonna lay it out for you just one more time. If you still don't believe me, then there's nothing more I can do for you." 

He held up four fingers. "In the whole history of bodybuilding, there's been four radical improvements. Four things of absolutely devastating importance to bodybuilders. There's been lots of minor improvements and variations, of course, but only four major ones." 

"What are they?" Larry asked.

The gym owner bent one finger. "First," he said, "there was the development of the heavy breathing squat as a growth stimulation exercise." He bent another finger. "Second, was the refinement of the multiple set technique." He bent another finger. "And third, was the introduction of food supplements." He closed his hand and let if fall into his lap.

There was a long pause. 

Larry leaned forward. "What was the fourth advancement?" 

The gym owner beamed. "My entry into the field," he said. "I thought you'd never ask." 

Larry rolled his eyes upward. 

The gym owner leaned back and put his feet up on the desk. "Larry," he said, "pay attention, 'cause I'm gonna lay something very heavy on you. You ain't never gonna gain properly until you take a protein supplement, and I'm gonna tell you why." 

Continued in Part Two . . . 

Enjoy Your Lifting! 


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