Wednesday, April 17, 2013

From Bullworker to Jack Lalane (by Peter Chan)

I chuckled going through my family album of photographs.  It was a photograph of someone who was into “pumping irons”.  It was not where or when that photograph was taken but rather, the extent the guys could go to sculpture their anatomies.   

After posting one of the family photos into Facebook, I was further encouraged by comments to go more in-depth on this subject.  After all, this subject spans three different generations and we all were targeting the same objective. 

Photo 1: Three generations of body sculpturing.  [Left to Right] 1940 weight-training method; A 1960s new Bullworker product; Modern day protein supplements.

In Singapore today, there is more than just California Fitness Gym; there’s True Fitness and Fitness First.  Workout must go hand-in-hand with special diet, protein supplements and if you can afford it a personal trainer.  Not surprisingly in the Sunday Times, there is a column by Ashleigh Sim who writes for HOT BODS describing the regime. 

Photo 2: [Left to Right] Hot Bods column (Source: Sunday Times); Example of a healthy dinner meal.

Whilst we might have some knowledge about pumping irons, the Bullworker Exercise is something not many of us do.  My cousin introduced me to the BULLWORKER Exerciser in 1969.  It is not difficult to explain why I tried it.  First, it offered a very quick method to put on pounds and inches from a skinny torso.  Second, we could exercise anywhere, anytime away from public eyes.  Third, I didn’t need to pay: He responded to a mail-order advertisement in the Straits Times.  If I am not wrong the cost for the BULLWORKER was S$99.90 or was it $59.90 over 6 easy monthly payments?

How does the Bullworker Exercise work?
After you open up the mail-parcel, inside you find this pump with two encased steel cables and hand-grips at both ends of the pump.  The instruction manual comes as a glossy sheet detailing the various types of exercises that must be done in the next 365 days and the number of “reps” – short for repetition for each type of exercise.

Photo 3: Details of the training regime

Photo 4: [Left to Right] Charmed by Bullworker’s advertisement; Doing it the Bullworker’s way Anywhere & Anytime; Rusty Bullworker 2 exerciser belonging to my cousin.

During the school holidays, I stayed over at his place in Paya Lebar.  I put great intensity into my work-outs because school holidays were the only opportunity for me to develop my muscles.  After a few months, both of us gave up on BULLWORKER.  It didn’t seem to work; we didn’t have the look of the people featured in the advertisements. 

National TV introduced us to the world of Jack Lalane on every Saturday evening.  Jack had a simple answer on getting rid of those unwanted love-handles, didn’t involve a hefty investment but a single glass of fresh carrot juice to go with the exercises.  We never doubted Jack because here was a matured guy in his sixties with a great waistline and his approach looked so simplistic.  Come every Saturday at 7.15 pm, we stood in front of the television box and studiously followed everything that Jack taught.  Though it made us physically fit and put the zing in our body wellness, we could not feel those pounds and inches.

Photo 5: Jack Lalane simple floor exercises (c 1969)

Well the dreams of developing a great physique came to a halt when we were enlisted into National Service (NS).  NS did a better job than BULLWORKER and Jack Lalane put together.  When you don’t need to exercise one’s brain much, eat as much as you can take and exercise for 2.5 years, I came up with a 98 kg body-frame to boast after NS. 

Today I dare say if you consider married life, a major surgery, career and fine dining, I still can look good (Photo 6), i.e. by deep breathing and holding my breath for a few split seconds for the camera. 

Photo 6: [Left to Right] Now & Then.



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