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Eugen Sandow and the Big Fitness Secret

Before we get to Eugen Sandow, keep this in mind: WikiLeaks has over one million classified documents on their database.

Now, I’m willing to bet a chunk of change that the chance of finding the secret to 6-pack abs or adding an inch to your biceps among them is pretty much zero.

OK, maybe I’m wrong.

So if Julian Assange emerges from the Ecuadorian Embassy looking like Brock Lesnar, we’ll know he really hit paydirt.

But if it’s secrets we’re after, we’re better off looking way back to the nineteenth century and a guy called Eugen Sandow.

Now that guy sure knew a few things.

The Father of Modern Bodybuilding

Calling Eugen Sandow a man ahead of his time would be like calling Monica Bellucci kind of hot.

He traveled the world with his feats of strength, appeared in movies, wrote books and had a monthly periodical, Sandow’s Magazine of Physical Culture.

In the late 1800s!

In some ways Eugen Sandow was the Tony Horton of the Victorian era.

And one thing’s for sure - if they’d had TV back then Sandow would’ve killed it on QVC.


And, let’s be honest, the guy was jacked even by today’s standards.

A full 100 years before Surge Recovery Post-Workout Formula and the Hammer Strength Iso-Lateral Biceps Curl machine hit the shelves.

So what was Eugen Sandow’s secret?

What did he do that other people weren’t doing back then and still aren’t doing today?

Put simply, he chose the right parents.

OK, he still had to bust his ass over many years to realize his genetic potential.

But without that potential in the first place, his name would’ve been filed firmly under history’s “does he even lift?” section.

And poor Eugen would’ve known what it was like to be average, just like us.

But don’t despair.

While we can’t all be winners in the genetics crapshoot, that doesn’t give us a free pass to bolt ourselves to the couch, watching TV and eating Cheetos.

And we can still learn a few important things from Sandow that we can put to good use.

Marketing on Steroids

All of us can improve.

We can all get stronger and lose body fat.

Sure, we may not get as lean and strong as a Eugen Sandow or a Dwayne Johnson, but why should that matter?

We’re much better off focusing on being the best versions of ourselves that we can.

Or, as Lyle McDonald put it:

Train and eat properly and let the cards fall where they may

And the reality is eating properly and training properly isn't really that hard.

But the health & fitness industry doesn't want us to know that  – it's not part of the master plan.

That’s why they use those modern-day Eugen Sandows to help push the supplements, ab-blasters and training secrets.

While conveniently ignoring the fact that those guys in the ads only look that way because they chose the right parents too.

So here’s what it boils down to.

We need to do the best we can with what we’ve got – no cop-outs or excuses.

We can't allow ourselves to get distracted by “cutting edge” supplements, exercises or South-American superfoods.

No matter how chiseled the guy in the ads 6-pack is.

As long as you keep showing up and continue to make measurable progress, there isn’t a whole bunch else you can do.

So don’t go wasting time and money looking for secrets and shortcuts.

And be comfortable with the fact that you’re no Eugen Sandow.

After all, isn’t the best version of yourself preferable to being a dead dude wearing a fig leaf?

- Tim

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Wikileaks Mobile Information Collection Unit - Wikileaks Truck Capitol Hill

Eugen Sandow (1867-1925)- 1894 - cropped by G.dallorto [Public domain or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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