From This Issue (November 1939)
"Jack Spratt could eat no fat; his wife could eat no lean." Probably you never met Jack Spratt or his wife, the principle reason being that they are characters only of a nursery rhyme and of course did not actually exist in person as we so commonly visualize them. Nevertheless the childhood impression exists in our minds that the pair of them resembled their respective diets.
The thin man who constantly overloads his stomach with fat, fried and greasy foods, believing that these foods will help him gain the weight he desires, may be upsetting his normal digestion and assimilation by consuming too much of these harder to digest foods. He may eat excessive quantities of sweets, sugars of all types, because he has heard that they are fattening, and may also drink copious quantities of milk and cream. This rich diet does not help him gain, may upset his digestive and eliminative processes and the thin man believes it's just his nature to be thin - that there is nothing he can do about it.
Perhaps you know enough about the failure of some men to gain weight to know why they do not gain with such a diet. They eat plenty of foods that would put weight on the person with a normal internal works, who had good metabolism, digestion, assimilation and elimination, but the thin man or thin woman does not keep the properties of the food he or she eats. He cannot assimilate it and store it for future use, as do those who so easily take on flesh that is superfluous. For ti's true that Jack Spratt and his wife might eat identical foods, identical quantities of those foods, with far from identical results. The wife could be fat and the man thin. This is not an excuse the average family can use, however. So often we see a fat wife and a lean husband. This is usually because the man is active and works, burning away all the carbohydrates, fats and sugars he consumes, while his wife is less active and puts on weight. But it's true that some gain easier than others, while many find it difficult to gain.
Our experiences with companions at dinner have shown us so often that the fattest are fat although they try to regulate their eating while the thin eat great quantities of everything. We have come almost to expect the leanest man at the table to make the biggest hog of himself or at least try to. This has always been true. Just as true in grandfather's day as it is in our own. Remember the old saying that many of us have heard our grandparents express when considering the phenomenon of why some big eaters were lean and stringy? "He eats so much that it makes him thin to carry it around!"
What then is the real reason that Jack is thin and his wife fat? The first truth is, some are born with a tendency to store up fatty tissue and will certainly do so, becoming fat if they eat more than their systems require for everyday sustenance. Fat is not always an inherited tendency, moreover it can come from inherited or acquired eating habits which exist in some families. Just the fact that your mother and father are fat does not give you an excuse to feel that you will be fat too, no matter what you do about it. It's the problem of every man or woman to regulate their own lives, their eating habits and activities so that they will maintain a healthy, attractive, normal body. What I am trying to say is, some persons gain weight more easily due to superior internal processes.
Those who enjoy eating all the foods they like, which are usually those of a fat forming nature may envy the person who is apparently gifted by nature with some factor of limitation which prevents them from taking on more than a moderate amount of fat no matter how much they eat. It's fine if this limitation takes place only after the desired weight has been obtained. But a host of young men regret that they are limited in obtaining a great deal more weight than they would like to have. Our correspondence would indicate that about 30% of humans are near enough normal in weight that they are satisfied. That another 20% are overweight to an extent that they desire to reduce, but there is a large group, about 50% of men in all, who want to be heavier, bigger and stronger. Some of these yearn for additional weight so earnestly that they would do almost anything to be heavier. Even to become fat if they could.
There is some sort of power of inhibition which prevents them from putting on much weight. It is believed by scientists of the present that this ability to eat an and everything without gaining weight is the result of very active glands. Few will become fat while their sex glands are active. [Pardon me?] It's usually after the entire system slows up, especially the sexual processes, that the man or woman becomes fat. [Sounds like a fine weight loss plan! Shed unwanted pounds with the Kama Sutra.]
Have you been reading the papers lately? [No, I'm too busy having sex and getting lean. I'll stop the crap now.] Have you noticed in how many cases sex hormones are used as a cure for all sorts of diseases after middle age? Even nervous disorders have been recently cured by an injection of sex hormones. It has long been noted that cancer attacks its victims rather late in life and now it is believed that sex hormone injections cause cancerous growths to remain in a latent stage at least. As I proceed with this article I hope to convince you that most of your failure to gain weight, or even an overweight condition comes about through the action of your internal organs and glands.
There is such a thing as normal weight. A weight that is at least within a few pounds of the right weight we should have for our natural type, inherited characteristics and bony framework. Normal weight is just what every man and woman should strive for. We have so often written that exercise normalizes the body, causes it to gain weight if needed and to lose if overweight. Few persons can understand this condition. They seem to think that if exercise will make you gain weight, then exercise could not make you lose weight. That is the same exercises. But they will.
The identical training system will cause the underweight to gain and the overweight to lose their surplus flesh, and the desired end result can be hastened through employing fewer repetitions with heavier weights for those who wish to gain, and much higher repetitions for those who want to lose, with the consuming of generous quantities of weight gaining foods for those who wish to gain weight and a limiting of such foods for those who desire to lose.
The big mistake that most men or women make in trying to gain or lose is to gain that end entirely through diet. If overweight, it's necessary to so limit the fat forming foods in the diet, that the body is robbed of many materials it requires to normally live. While it's been proven that eating alone will not bring the twenty or thirty pounds the thin man would like to gain, we see examples all around us of men who have tried to gain solely through eating.
Some people don't know the difference between being fat and being well developed. John Grimek was being measured for a new suit one time out in Chicago. The tailor would take the measurement and then put down, big fat arm, big fat leg, big fat chest, thin waist. John happened to turn around and see the notations and he roared out in a voice that can be heard plenty far, "Say, what is this? I'm not fat!" It frightened the tailor considerably and he hastened to make a change in his description of the Grimek physique.
However, it would seem most thin men are trying to get fat, while what they really lack is bodily development. There is always a certain amount of fatty tissue present in the normal body, but it represents only a small part of the physical makeup which consists of one's normal weight. 40% of the bodyweight is usually muscular tissue. The undeveloped man is usually lacking here. One 20 or 25% of his weight will be muscular tissue. Fat is not nearly as heavy as firm flesh. This is well proven by the fact that all fat men can float, while few thin man can do so easily. A woman, who usually carries more adipose tissue than a man, can float readily enough. What the thin man needs is not more fat to increase his weight, but more muscular development. And this can be gained with a normal well balanced diet, without too many fat forming foods, too rich and frequently hard to digest foods.
If the internal processes are normal, if a demand has been made upon the body through proper exercise, it's easy enough to gain the desired weight through a health building diet, not just one that is designed to put on "weight" at all costs. The thin man is more likely to be underweight because he is not in good health. He may be anemic his blood impoverished, but more than likely his entire difficulty is the sluggish or improper functioning of his organs and glands.
Part of his lack of weight is in the quality of his blood, in his glands and the size of his organs. These internal processes should be built up through proper exercise, right eating and healthful living conditions. Their actual improvement in size will contribute more than a little to increased bodyweight, but their proper functioning will make it possible for any man to build up he muscular and fatty tissue that he needs to round him out.
Mr. Skinny Man, are you beginning to understand the lesson that I am offering you? Are you beginning to realize that it is not just more fried ham and bacon that you need and more lard and butter, but the good sense to bend your efforts toward exercising properly so that you can build up with a normal, health producing diet? You may have not the slightest ambition to be a star at sport, but you should be interested in improving your physique, your health, and your appearance. Regardless of your vocation, business man, salesman, lawyer, professional man or minister of the gospel, you'll be listened to with greater interest and respect, you'll put your ideas across better if you look like a real man instead of a caricature of one. You will gain your desired end, whether it is more business, a sale of goods, more patients, winning a law case, or saving more souls, if the people who listen to you can admire you and listen wholeheartedly to what you are saying, and not permit their minds to wander while looking at your Adam's apple or your double chin, depending upon whether you are fat or thin, and estimating other deficiencies of your physique.
Every man or woman should first cultivate personal pride. The man should want to look well in his clothing. And he has a right to be proud, very proud of ashamed of his body depending upon whether he has put work into developing it or shirked all such endeavors.
If a man has a big appetite and does not gain weight, it's evident that he is lacking in his process of metabolism, digestion or assimilation. For the benefit of those few who might not be familiar with these terms, metabolism is the process which prepares the food for later assimilation. Digestion also is a preparing process. Assimilation is picking up, choosing from the nearly digested foods on hand, to provide the body with what it requires to live, grow and be active as desired. If the food is not assimilated, it can mean that it does not contain the properties the body requires and it is not 'picked up' or it may be that it passes through the intestine and is eliminated in such a poorly digested state that it cannot be assimilated.
That's why we advocate eating a variety of good foods at meal times only. A good variety of fresh and natural foods, not necessarily a great variety at each meal, but the avoidance of eating ruts, changing the food so that the properties the body needs will be provided. Remember that, to a larger extent, we are what we eat. No one can build strength and muscle without the proper building materials. We recommend the thorough mastication of food for this permits the process of assimilation to do its work well. Hasty eating, and overeating constantly force the food to pass through the intestines in only a partly digested state. The food is partially wasted then. When some people take medicine to help them reduce, they lose some weight because the medicine hastens the food through the intestines where it is soon eliminated and cannot be assimilated, thus providing a surplus. But the man who wants to gain must give his organs every opportunity to assimilate all the food they require.
The rules of health work hand in hand. Good food to provide the body with the necessary building materials and proper rest so that the processes of the body can go on undisturbed and properly renew themselves during the resting period. The maintenance of a tranquil mind, because this is the greatest hindrance to proper digestion and assimilation if not maintained, and the right sort of exercise to improve the operation of all the organs, digestion, respiration, circulation, assimilation and elimination; to create demands upon the body; to cause nature to build more muscle which of course will result in more strength and weight.
Too many men are trying to build up on a starvation diet - on only leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts or food concentrates. When you want to gain solid muscular weight you must develop an appetite, develop active internal processes and then feed them with generous quantities of well cooked, palatable, muscle building foods. The best way to gain weight through diet is to consume not a fat producing diet but a muscle building diet. Then exercise sufficiently that this food is assimilated and you are sure to gain the weight you desire.
And now to exercise for the thin man.
The Bible said, "To him that hath shall be given." That's rather true in physical training. The man who is already healthy and has a fair share of muscle weight can gain rather easily. This magazine each month contains a large number of success letters. Most of these man have gained considerable weight and strength. Some have worked hard for their physical improvement. Others have gained it very easily. One man who visited us recently told me that he practiced with just four exercises a day, three days a week and gained 22 solid pounds in six months. That came too easily, for the average man could not gain with so little effort.
To gain the desired end of more muscular weight, just any system of exercise will not do for the average man. what the thin man needs to build himself up are exercises of a purely developing nature. The fat man needs a large quantity of exercises, particularly those of a high repetition nature and considerable exercise to burn up fat he has already accumulated. Forms of lighter endurance exercise and related sports pursuits may be recommended for anyone seeking to lose weight; however, this same type of exercise is not recommended for the thin man. What the thin man needs is less exercise, but of a sufficiently vigorous nature that it will provide internal changes. Not endurance work, but with sufficient resistance that it will build strength and muscle.
The thin man should also spend a bit more time of rest between each of these heavier exercises.
High repetitions are not needed in strength or muscle building. The best results in weight gaining are had with handling heavy weights for fewer repetitions. Only one or two a set is not enough. That will build great strength in the tendons and ligaments. toughen the muscles, but will not build sufficient of muscular size and shape. It's necessary to continue a movement for enough repetitions to draw the blood to the working muscles with its rich load of replacing and building materials. This would require at least 10 consecutive movements.
Heavy weights cannot be handled by most men for 10 consecutive repetitions. That's where the York Heavy and Light system comes into its own. Select a weight which is all one can handle for 7 or 8 repetitions. Almost immediately, perform the same exercise again with 10 to 20% less weight. Or another form of repetition would be to perform 3 or more series (sets) of five movements (repetitions) each with the key exercises.
If I were the man who wanted to gain weight I would try to exercise three times a week. Monday would be an exercise day. In line with out principle to exercise the muscle at least 10 times (repetitions) and yet be able to handle substantial poundages, I would proceed as follows: The program is simple enough and it brings into play all the muscle groups of the body.
On Monday -
Warm up with some sort of a half snatch, then . . .
1) Front Curl, palms up (that's a barbell curl), up to all the weight you can use for 7 or 8 reps. Rest, remove some weight, then 7 or 8 reps of the Backhand Curl (reverse barbell curl).
2) Regular Press, to a top weight for 7 or 8 reps. Rest, remove some weight, then 7 or 8 reps with the Press Behind Neck. Top weight for 7 or 8. You're probably seeing the idea here now.
3) Regular Rowing Motion (barbell row), top weight for a set of 7 or 8. Rest, remove some weight, then the Upright Rowing Motion, 7 or 8 reps with all you can handle.
4) Deep Knee Bend, flat footed (power squat), same deal, same reps. Then Deep Knee Bend on Toes (um, not. Not me anyhow. Something knee dominant, maybe an Oly Squat or Front Squat or Hack Squat with Barbell. You get the idea, I'm sure. Same reps.
5) Regular Deadlift, without your limit poundage, but enough weight to give you a good workout at 10 reps. Rest, remove some weight, then do 10 hard reps of the Stiff Legged Deadlift (RDL, Semi Stiff Legged, I wouldn't use a true stiff legged after the 10 hard reg dead reps. If you can, more power to ya!)
If you are breathless after the squats and/or the deads, perform a breathing exercise. Pullover, Rader Chest Pull, light-ish flyes.
You'll notice that this routine was before the popularity of the Bench Press, and may want to make a change in it.
On Wednesday and Saturday -
Some lifting (Olympic lifting) should be practiced:
Heavy Pressing, many sets of 2 to 5 reps.
Considerable Two Hand Snatching, for this more than any other exercise will increase and improve the action of the internal organs. 2 or 3 repetitions at a time, at least 10 sets.
If you are a bit interested in Weightlifting, five sets of Clean and Jerks on these two days.
On these two heavier days you can also perform a few more exercises (York used to refer to that as tinkering). But not too many and not too hard if you really want to gain weight.
This program, combined with the right eating and sufficient sleep, should help you gain muscular weight. Inactivity will increase bodyweight through fat. Hogs are confined, ducks or chickens are kept in restricted quarters if weight is all that is desired. but the bull or he heavy draft horse gains weight and strength through the combination of activity, work and the eating of plenty of wholesome foods.
Practice this brief training routine as I have outlined and I am sure you'll be agreeably surprised and pleased at the results you achieve over time.