Charles: Rheo actually had a lot to say about this very subject (click the picture nearby to enlarge and learn more). He was at least as interested in proportion and symmetry as he was in size, and arguably more so. That is, he encouraged muscular growth to be sure, but within reason. He was never in favor of “big for big’s sake”, so to speak and strongly objected to the idea that bigger is always better. He also found it absurd that some bodybuilders concentrate primarily on some specific muscle or region of the body without giving any thought as to how these look in proportion to the rest of the body. In other words he was interested in the whole picture, not just one or two parts of the body while forgetting about the rest of it. He also thought a thin midsection was attractive and so felt that it was best to avoid squats which tended -- in his view -- to produce a large fanny (to be sure he had other reasons to oppose the squat which I will cover in the book). It should be noted, too, that there was one part of the body he felt was often disregarded by bodybuilders – and that is the calf. Too many bodybuilders, he said, have underdeveloped calves. So he came up with this brilliant little
“calf stretcher” device for the purpose of giving the calf a good workout. In fact he sold an entire calf building program out of his Chicago offices. And for those who insisted on doing squats he felt it important to at least have well developed calves so that the squat could be performed both correctly and with reasonable safely. Finally, you asked for some examples of ideal bodies as he saw them. Glen Bishop and Steve Reeves were two of his favorites. Their physiques were both well developed AND symmetrical; you might say they had muscles but just the right amount.
Ben: How would Rheo Blair determine an individual’s program? What commonalities did all programs have and what varied between individual programs?
Charles: Blair’s broad, guiding principle was biochemical individuality – the idea that our bodies look as different on the inside as we all do on the outside. That is to say that our glands and organs are all shaped and sized unique to us and that these differences in size and shape affect their function and therefore our health -- and that such considerations which influenced a persons chemistry are critical in determining an individual’s program. So he wanted to find out what kind of chemistry a client had. What were his endocrinal and hormonal tendencies and characteristics. When he got the answers to these questions then he knew what needed help and what kind of help would work. I mean by that which nutrients and how much. Specifically, he looked at blood chemistry, endocrine types, body types and body measurements when determining an individual’s program. All of the programs included an abundance of sleep, supplements, protein, raw milk, raw eggs, and small amounts of complex carbohydrates. Those losing weight would consume less protein and would have salads thrown into the mix. Their supplement regime would include higher amounts of nutrients beneficial to their reducing goal such as choline. The use of sugar and other simple carbohydrates was absolutely verboten! To sum up, Blair assigned each client an individualized regime and would therefore vary the types and amounts of exercise, the quantity and mix of supplements, and the dietary specifics.
Next time: Why did Rheo Blair have people take so many pills as opposed to eating whole foods? What were his pills trying to simulate? Were there any changes to Blair’s pills over the course of his career?
And: What are some ways in which pills could speed change and induce change?
Copyright © 2009 Charles Welling
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Information found on Rheo H. Blair: The Book is meant for educational and informational purposes only, and to motivate you to make your own health care and dietary decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with your health care provider. It should not be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or courses of treatment.