Travels and Trivia

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Travels and Trivia




Ah, the sweet harmonies and melodies of the reverence of sweat, the rapture of intensity and not just a bit of joy in a tad of violence. Muscle and force synchronization, like your favorite song off of Louder Than Bombs, a masterpiece in discomfort. This was the symphony humming at Bodytribe when I left Thursday afternoon, winking back through the doorway with my silent mantra of gratitude (“Thanks for keeping my humble and strong”). Good folks doing good things… Tamar’s new deadlift PR, Trainer Allyson prepping for her bench press/pull up workshop this weekend, Trainer AJ with phone in hand during his run, seconds ticking away towards new baby time… groovy people, one and all!

But alas, I had a plane to catch. The old fashioned, walk-your-ass-down-the-stairs-and-across-the-tarmac Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, See Eh beckoned, as there were tribal gatherings down south with itineraries that feature a bit of my input.

(not me… not Burbank)

Upon arriving I started my visit with a hike. My brain went a wonderin’, and here are the results…

In 1876, Alfredo Solano purchased a little piece of land in the hills of Southern California which had a bit of infamy from being the hideout for renowned bandit Tiburcio Vasquez. These hills are now a popular hiking spot.


In 1903 a man named Al Treloar was named most awesomest physique in America, or some such title (actually, “most perfectly developed man in the world’), by a growing force in the physical culture industry named Bernarr MacFadden.


In 1880. Alfredo Solano helped found the Los Angeles Athletic Club

In 1906 Al Treloar became the physical director of the Los Angeles Athletic Club.


Huh? Hold on. I’ll bring this all home.

in 2010 I was standing on a trail at Runyon Canyon overlooking Los Angeles contemplating synchronicity. Not only had I began a blog post about physical culture history that was linked to Bernarr MacFadden (which you will read momentarily, if you’re still on this bus ride), but I was standing on land formerly owned by a man who founded the athletic club in which another MacFadden protege called his employer for over 40 years.

Would this interest Jung at all or am I just gunning a car stuck in neutral with the parking break on? Oh… onward…


Physical Culture History, part 1:

Being ass-deep in the history of our passion, it behooves me to share tidbits on occasion. Check here weekly for this new added blog feature.

Fitness Business As Usual

In 1921 Bernarr MacFadden, publisher of Physical Culture magazine (among, eventually, many, many others) began creating an icon out of a man named Angelo Siciliano, who anyone who read a comic book during the second half of the 20th century might know better by his famous moniker, Charles Atlas, king of the 98-pound weakling ads found on the back of said comics, toting a system of muscular development called Dynamic Tension (ironically named, since there was no ‘dynamics, ‘ or movement, involved, since the system was based on isometric, or static. movements). If ya shelled out $30, a 12-week coarse was mailed to you with the promises of adding inches to your chest and arms. Although occasional altruism supposedly occurred (Atlas didn’t charge the ‘bag of bones’ Mahatma Gandhi when he ordered the coarse), Dynamic Tension made Atlas a millionaire.


Plus Ca Change…

In the 30’s, Atlas faced off in court with an enterprising young man who was bent on legally, and publicly, calling Atlas’s bluff and poking holes into the validity of Dynamic Tension. Ironically the would be accuser would make a GREAT deal of money from selling basically the same program 25 years later. His name was Bob Hoffman and he owned a little company called York Barbell, which eventually sold an isometric power rack with glee.

Now Hoffman’s attack on Atlas was simply a reaction to Atlas bringing on a complaint to the FTC about the validity of that silly barbell stuff Hoffman was trying to sell (ya know, that useless little strength program that would eventually lead to USA’s dominance in international weightlifting competitions through the 40’s and 50’s). Well they both were fantastically successful financially, but Dynamic Tension will always be a second class citizen to good ol’ barbell work on the physical culture hierarchy.





Good night all, and have a great weekend!!

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  • Mighty Kat

    So good to think of you putting your toes in the sand at the Beach. I think I may have had a premonition of you touring spots, including if not dominantly academic, talking about the history of the physical subculture and directing folks to purchase the Documentary and your accompanying book on the way out… Hope I’m near enough to work the table on occasion… Keep moving…

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