My Story - From Physical Culture to Mr. America continued (pg 2)
I never dreamed that someday, I too would be pictured there (October, 1940) -- I just thought that those people were born that way (My father subscribed to Physical Culture for reading material for his patients in the office.)
Shortly after I returned home from the C.C.C.'s, dad bought me a "Strength & Health" magazine, published by Bob Hoffman. I read that issue from cover to cover and became convinced that it was possible to develop a body similar to those pictured.
The cheapest barbell set advertised in Strength & Health was a 205 pound Milo set for $10.00. I was motivated and anxious to get started, but as I said before, times were tough and I didn't have the $10.00. With the information I got from S&H, I devised a bodybuilding routine. I had to "make do" until I had saved enough to buy the Milo set. I located some window sash weights at the local junk yard which I used as dumbbells. The lightest were 8 pounds and the heaviest weighed 32 pounds. I attached a chinning bar to the ceiling of the back porch (Every kid knows that chinning is good exercise, as well as push ups.) I also did one leg squats, sit-ups, leg raises and neck bridges. I must say that I got much information from Bernarr Mcfadden's Physical Culture magazine. I became interested in hand balancing after reading an article in Physical Culture on hand balancing by Siegmund Klein.
Dad had a correspondence course from Earl Liederman and one from Lionel Strongfort. I got much information from these also.
I made some progress with my makeshift equipment while saving the money to buy my first barbell set. When the weights finally arrived, I knew that I was on my way. Improvement didn't come fast for me. It was all hard work, sweat, dedication, persistence and determination not to miss a workout.
Some time after I returned home from my stint in the C.C.C.'s, I landed a job as a sign painter apprentice. My pay was $6.00 for a six day week. I was hooked on exercise and couldn't seem to get enough.
Eventually, I moved on to the Wane Works -- an all steel bus body manufacturer -- to earn higher wages. I worked 7 days a week, five of them till 9 o'clock at night and collected less than $40.00 for the week, but was glad to have the job.
As I mentioned before, I couldn't seem to get enough exercise. During part of my lunch hour, I would do presses with the steel skeleton that was to house the cab section of the bus when assembled.
I don't want to mislead anyone. The frame wasn't exceedingly heavy, but it was a convenient object to press -- something like pressing from a power rack.
I enjoyed lifting cumbersome objects. My lifting buddies would hike in the country around Richmond and lift bulky boulders and bent press some of them. I remember in 1948 or 1949 when I was working for the Pioneer Flintkote printing company in Los Angeles, the company was having a big printing press erected. Across the frame was a solid steel bar about four inches in diameter used for leveling purposes.