KC Craichy’s SuperHealth Podcasts: SuperFit Without The Gym – A Century of Wisdom

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Posted on 30th August 2011 by admin in Super Health |SuperHealth Podcasts

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KC Craichy talks with natural fitness expert John Peterson about the history of natural fitness and what we can learn for Super Health.

Audio Transcription

KC: Welcome to Living Fuel TV. I’m KC Craichy with my special guest John Peterson again.

John Peterson: All right. Great to be here.

KC: Thank you. Thanks for coming. Continuing with John, you know, John, one of the things I say is fascinating about you is your knowledge of the history of athletic training, performance training and bodybuilding, the whole thing. Could you take us back a little bit too . . . You know, there’s a lot of people who lift weights now who are in fascinating shape. In fact, we have many people now who are pro athletes and pro trainers and they really are leading. In fact, we had someone on the show and we’re really on the subject right now because people are saying, “Oh my goodness, it’s six to eight weeks till summer. You know, how do I get there by summer?” So, we’ll talk nutrition later but, right now, you have such a unique approach and the people I want here on the show for our viewers is somebody who brings something different to the party and you bring something very different. In fact, I know no one who does what you do and what you know and the history of using your body to work out. I mean, I can go to a hotel room, just like when you stayed here last night, before you even came out of your room, you had done a complete workout. Now, we’ll need more details of that.

John Peterson: I did 500 push-ups. Right?

KC: Exactly.

John Peterson: All right.

KC: So, take us back to how this got started.

John Peterson: OK. Well, I’ll tell you what. I mentioned Charles Atlas. Well, what was really fascinating is, who motivated Charles Atlas? Now, Charles Atlas, he actually went through that boy kicking sand in his face story. That’s all true but, who did he have to write to? Who was the Charles Atlas hero to? It turned out to be a guy named Alois P. Swoboda who had a bodybuilding course in the early 1900s, actually, the late 1890s and he copyrighted it in 1905, Swobodaism, and he literally taught the same principles of isometric contraction, dynamic self resistance utilizing one muscle to resist another, power calisthenics that we refer to as “power calisthenics”. He integrated it all into a training system and Charles Atlas actually made a statement, “Everything I know I learned from A.P. Swoboda.” What do you think of that?

KC: 105 years ago. You know, at the same time, the average sugar intake was 5 pounds per year, but now it’s 170 but that’s another story. Go ahead . . .

John Peterson: Well, back then, two thirds of all Americans weren’t overweight or obese, either. OK?

KC: OK. And where to go from there?

John Peterson: Well, Earl Lederman, Charles Atlas, Farmer Burns were all athletic trainers, bodybuilding enthusiasts. Another guy had a course very similar to what we teach. His name was Bernard McFadden, Bernard “Body Love” McFadden.

KC: At the same time?

John Peterson: At the same time.

KC: I remember the comic book ads because I was a comic book collector back there, but I remember the comic book ads with the Charles Atlas “Kick Sand in Your Face” ad which was so compelling … but go ahead.

John Peterson: You know, originally, Charles Atlas won Bernard McFadden’s contest for the world’s most perfectly developed man. He did it in 1921 and then in 1922 for “Physical Culture Magazine”. So, for the first 10 years, Charles Atlas’s program was promoted almost exclusively in Bernard McFadden’s magazine but, in 1929, a young advertising executive, Charles Roman, comes to Charles Atlas and says, “You’re missing the boat. There are adolescent teenage boys and we could be hitting this market.” That’s how it ended up in comic books. Kids in that 13 to 19-year-old age range that had sand kicked in the face were going through adolescence and were feeling inferior. They could write to Charles Atlas and millions of them did, by the way.

KC: I was one of them.

John Peterson: Yes, so, well . . . I didn’t actually have to write to them because I got it from my grandfather, you know? It was great but it was all body weight self-resistance, using your mind to contract your muscle. In fact, KC, in the previous segment, you were showing them how to use dynamic self resistance. Right?

KC: Yes.

John Peterson: OK? Now, what does weight training actually do? The answer is really very simple. You’re using . . .

KC: Time and attention.

John Peterson: Right. You’re using amplified gravity against which we are contracting muscle. Right? That’s all it is. There’s nothing really magical about it but you can learn how to accomplish the same goal without even having to use the weight once you know how.

John Peterson: It’s fascinating.

KC: So, we have athletes like Rocky Marciano that used the system … Herschel Walker.

John Peterson: In fact, he was a Charles Atlas student. Herschel Walker. In his newest book, he makes mention of how he was inspired by the old Charles Atlas ads. Even though he never took the system, it ends up, intuitively, he started doing the same exercise. So, Marciano was known to have one of the hardest punches in history. After getting knocked around for 13 rounds, he finished the fight with one punch. How many guys today could do that?

KC: Exactly. Yes. And, then, Herschel Walker of course is one of the finest athletes ever.

John Peterson: One of the finest football players in history but, get this, at age 48 he entered a mixed martial arts competition.

KC: Recently.

John Peterson: Recently. Just this last couple months ago and he won. And what is the core of Herschel Walker’s training? Believe it or not, he does 2000 push-ups each day, 2000 situps and . . .

KC: Did you say he started out by doing 100 push-ups every commercial that came on TV?

John Peterson: That’s right.

KC: So, on the commercials, get down and give us 100. [laughs]

John Peterson: [laughs] Yes. Make use of that time. Another great athlete who . . . And his story, he did the same thing is . . . Well, not only was there Rocky Marciano, Joe DiMaggio who was a huge athlete when I was little boy, but Rickey Henderson, in modern times.

KC: Is that that base stealing . . .

John Peterson: Base-stealing Rickey Henderson, the guy known for diving in headfirst. Yes. One of the fewest of injuries and yet he did some of the most spectacular stunts. And Rickey Henderson, he trained almost exclusively on push-ups, situps, bodyweight exercises that were natural to him.

KC: You know, JD Drew has been on our show. He’s a good friend of ours.

John Peterson: Yes.

KC: JD uses the high reach maneuver to strengthen the shoulder.

John Peterson: Oh, from John McSweeney.

KC: He had, at one point, several years ago hurt his shoulder. Now, his shoulder’s in great shape and he just loves that High Reach, the McSweeney High Reach.

John Peterson: We have a lot of people who have the same experience. They can restructure, even cure bad shoulders with that exercise. Yes. It’s terrific.

KC: So, John, I consider you the modern-day Charles Atlas.

John Peterson: Well, thank you.

KC: I think people need to know more about what you’re teaching. It’s actually fascinating and I have really enjoyed it because I find that with the system, I don’t get the tweaks. Like, when I get in the gym, sometimes just and overhead press with 200 some pounds and then your hand hurts so much here, the next time, I can’t even press . . . It’s just like little, tweaking, nagging injuries that just are maddening because, you know, you’re making progress and then you’ve got a little tweaking your shoulder or you’ve got a little hamstring tweak, or whatever the case may be. So, the system that you have, I believe, should be a part of everybody’s systems, even if you’re a weight room kind of guy. I mean, there’s a lot of athletes who have to be in the weight room or at least their trainers make them or that’s the direction that they have to go.

John Peterson: If your a lineman in football, you better believe it. They need that kind of resistance.

KC: But, they also need the flexibility because the other thing that I find, with these Tiger moves, like when you tighten your fist, and you go down as hard as you can and squeezing your muscles as hard as you can, you come back up, your muscle, from your fingertips all the way up your spine is getting a workout in a very fantastic way. A way, when you lift the weight . . . You’re a lot stronger this way then you are this way. So, you’re really not getting a perfect tension unless you’re doing something like this and this doesn’t result in injury. It’s really fantastic how it works.

John Peterson: Now, it actually protects the tendons and ligaments. You know, that’s another major problem. When the muscle fatigues, through standard weight training, quite often what happens is the resistances transfers from the belly of the muscle to the joint. OK? So, we overstress the joints and the joints become destabilized.

KC: That’s fantastic. Well, we’re going to get into a lot more. Were actually going to demonstrate some of the stuff and we’re going to talk about the concept of “thinking into the muscle”. Now, I didn’t get that, when you first taught me that five years ago. “Think into the muscle.” What does that mean? I’m thinking into the muscle. But, it’s really fantastic when you can actually cause the muscle to cramp and allow it to stay cramped until the cramp releases, which is, actually, a workout in and of itself.

John Peterson: Well, Bernard McFadden but especially Aloise P. Swoboda referred to this as muscle control.

KC: It’s fantastic. And we’ll get into this later.

John Peterson: I’m looking forward to it.

KC: Thank you John.

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