Roy Hilligenn Update

Reader and new friend Ken Wheeler, former owner of a chain of gyms called "Superfitness" in Toronto, writes in to say he once employed Roy Hilligenn as a floor instructor. Having just arrived from South Africa with with his wife Marion and two children, Ken hired him sight unseen on the recommendation of Boyer Coe.

My post on Roy was about similarities and contrasts between him and Rheo Blair. Ken helps fill in this picture a bit with further details for which I am very grateful! Like Rheo, Ken tells us that Roy sang for his own amusement (we know Rheo took this a couple of steps further...) and that Roy was always smiling, very motivational with people, and that he used to read a little book called "As A Man Thinketh" by James Allen. Well, anyone that knew Rheo would recognize this same description. I find it particularly interesting they both read the James Allen book. In the case of Rheo, at least, this played a hugely influential role in the person he turned himself into. The same it seems is true for Roy Hilligenn.

We mentioned too, in our earlier post their weak, physically troubled, childhoods. Ken tells us Roy used to joke that when he started training he would have had to gain 2 poundst to be a 97 pound weakling. But his low weight was due to an accident and childhood illnesses. He spent his entire childhood in orphanages. We (I) don't know the nature of his illnesses nor the circumstances of his accident. Rheo said different things at different times about his childhood including a reference to an accident. What is known with certainty is that he was born with a dwarf kidney and other issues due at least in part to his mother's bout with polio before his birth. Let it be known here that the dwarf kidney eventually brought down Rheo's good kidney and this is what led to his death; end stage renal failure. He had been on dialysis for a year before he died. We are getting off topic here but don't believe anything suggesting he died of food poisoning after eating chinese food or AIDS. More on this another time.

Moving on to their contrasting dietary philosophies, Ken tells us Roy ate fruits and vegetables and some sort of "thing" that looked like a hamburger but was made out of soy. Today, soy is at once a huge industry and an increasingly controversial food. For one thing, it is a known goitrogen. Soy held no favor with Rheo as he called it an indigestible, incomplete protein that ruins your thyroid. Some have sharply questioned Rheo's credibility for having employed soy protein powders early in his work but they do so without acknowledging that he ceased using using soy as a protein source once he discovered its faults and began using milk and egg based formulas. Finally, Ken tells us that prior to a contest in the late 1970's Roy drank 10 protein drinks daily (and ate nothing else) made from casein (proteins commonly found in mammalian milk) and emphasized it must be casein, not whey. I don't know if they kept in touch over the years but at least here, casein, was a place for some dietary common ground between these two charismatic characters.

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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.