Almost Yesterday: Bernarr Macfadden - The Father of Physical Culture

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It seems like almost yesterday that “the Father of American Physical culture” was born. He was the predecessor of Charles Atlas and a number of individuals who emphasized body building and nutrition as the keys to long and healthy life. Bernarr Macfadden was born on August 16, 1868 in the small community of Mill Spring, in Wayne County, Missouri. A weak and sickly child, he was orphaned at age eleven and sent to live with another Wayne County farm family where he found that hard work and good food made him strong and healthy. At age 13 he moved to St. Louis, obtained an indoor office job, and found that his health again declined. At that point he dedicated himself to a new lifestyle that included fasting and strenuous exercise. He believed that this routine would enable him to live to be 150 years of age. For the rest of his life he did not eat meat or bread, which he called the “Staff of Death.” Macfadden began numerous vegetarian restaurants, published over 100 books about his

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