Rheo Blair - We get mail: "SO MANY PILLS...!"

It's not just about the Rheo Blair protein...

I recently received an email in which the writer asks a great question:

"Dear Charles, I have just read your article, "Blair's protein in context". Ironically, what struck me the most was the 500 supplement pills plus the protein "every day". I have to say WOW, that's a lot of pills. But it seemed to make sense and got me thinking. The average body is fairly large, and makes me wonder why, when it comes to fat burning, so many companies have you taking 6-12 pills a day. I was wondering are those numbers still relevant today. If so I wonder how anyone could afford to take so many. I am intrigued by your numbers, and was wondering if you would shed some light for this 58 year old body that wants to build muscle and lose fat. I am 6ft with current fat % at about 17%."

My reply:
I am so pleased to see that someone is interested in this question of Rheo's supplements and the quantities he had his clients use when 1. they had the funds and 2. they were willing and able to swallow such huge quantities. Everyone wants to talk about his protein but it was not necessarily magic in and of itself. The supplements he used worked with the protein in building the body; the protein was not a solo act. You can be certain the bodybuilders he worked with were taking supplements by the handful. If one had the both the money and the will to swallow everything he wanted you to take, digestion could still be an issue. One of his favorite sayings was "it's not what you eat; it's what you assimilate." So he prescribed a LOT of digestive enzymes and HCl. This brings me to another point: most of his famous before and afters were younger people with the relatively good digestion of young age. I was 16 at the time and had no problem with taking 100 pills and capsules five times per day, every day. However he did some notable transformations with people of more advanced age and in those cases the number of supplements and the dietary regimen were carefully calibrated to the individual's digestive capacity. I know of a certain Blair client, a gentleman who was in his mid 60's and who Rheo had taking around 150 pills etc./day coupled to a diet of light protein and salads.

17% body fat is pretty impressive for a 58 year old. If it were me, I would concentrate less on body fat/muscle and more on healthy mineral balance for overall good health. If you are on Facebook, there are several mineral-specific groups you can join. These can be quite helpful. My favorite is the Magnesium Advocacy Group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/MagnesiumAdvocacy/

Original Rheo Blair Document: "A Few Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Egg"

Note: This is a retyped copy of an original informational flyer Rheo Blair published about the benefits of the egg in the 1970's. It includes his famous method for preparing undenatured hard boiled eggs and his popular deviled egg recipe. These flyers were given to his clients, handed out at health conventions he presented  at and mailed with orders and given to visitors to his home and office.

We are posting this today in celebration of the U.S. government -- finally -- coming to its senses on the issue of dietary cholesterol. The Harvard Health newsletter says "...panel suggests that dietary guidelines stop warning about cholesterol in food..."Cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for over-consumption.” Translation: You don’t need to worry about cholesterol in your food...Why not? There’s a growing consensus among nutrition scientists that cholesterol in food has little effect on the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. And that’s the cholesterol that matters...Nutrition experts like Dr. Walter C. Willett, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, called the plan a reasonable move. Dr. Steven Nissen, chair of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, told USA Today “It’s the right decision. We got the dietary guidelines wrong.”

This is huge. This is the U.S. Government and Harvard University saying these things today. They admit they had been wrong and have done a 180. Rheo Blair got it right 40 years ago. Read on below to see what Rheo said in his own words from that time.

____________________________ 

A Few Things You Probably Didn't Know About the Egg - by Rheo H. Blair

Eggs are the perfect food, but ignorance causes doctors to warn us off them, says Dr. George m. Briggs of the University of California at Berkeley. Professor Briggs says many people are warned off eggs because of concern over their cholesterol content. “But an egg contains only 275 milligrams of cholesterol and an average person’s body manufactures up to 2,000 milligrams per day as a body necessity. Because doctors aren’t trained in nutrition and food composition, they are often unaware that there are only two grams of saturated fats in an egg. If you eat two eggs a day you won’t get as much saturated fat as you would from a normal serving of margarine or salad oil, even those advertised as being low in saturate4d fats,” eh insists.

LOOK AT THESE ADVANTAGES IN THIS SUPERIOR FOOD!
The protein-efficiency of the egg is the highest of any food. The amino acid pattern in the egg comes closest to the needs of your body, closer than any other protein source (meat, fish, fowl etc.)

The egg is relatively low in fat but rich in Vitamin A and rich in protein (more economical and higher in quality than that of meat). Egg is a good source of Vitamin B-12, found only in animal products, which is why many vegetarians use eggs to supply their need for B-12.

The egg offers choline, a lipotropic B-complex factor which helps liver function in diabetes, in hypoglycemia, in gall-bladder syndrome and in fat intolerance. Egg also offers tryptophan, the amino acid that helps you go to sleep. Egg contains pyridoxine or Vitamin B-6 which you need to utilize protein, fats and carbohydrates. The egg contains these other B-complex factors: folic acid, which among other things is one of the anti-anemia factors; riboflavin or B-2 without which you would have trouble seeing in dim light and trouble resisting the glare of sunlight; thiamine or Vitamin B-1; pantothenic acid, which supports adrenal function. Also the egg contains the mineral selenium without which Vitamin E doesn’t work, the mineral zinc which you require for healing and for the metabolism of carbohydrates, as well as phosphorus, calcium and sulfur. A pretty good package, that little 2-ounce egg, isn’t it?

WHAT DO THE AUTHORITES HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE EGG?
Dr. Carl Pfeiffer says this balanced egg cholesterol has not been proven to be harmful and the few milligrams in the egg is substantially less than the one to two GRAMS of cholesterol the body makes daily.

Dr. Roger J. Williams calls it a fundamental nutritional error to exclude eggs from the diet and, now in his eighties, continues to eat his eggs. He things it would be weser to concentrate on correcting an otherwise poor diet than eliminate the suspect egg.

Dr. Richard Passwater says that avoiding cholesterol is the worst form of food faddism. For more information, get his book SUPER NOTRITION FOR HEALTH HEARTS and read pages 44 through 93.


RECIPES
Rheo Blair's PICKLED EGG Recipe
Prepare one dozen undenatured hard-cooked eggs, shells removed. Place six of the cooked and shelled eggs in a jar large enough to hold a little ore than the intire dozen eggs.

Add two or three beets and one-half cupful of the liquid from a can of canned beets (not pickled beets---too much sugar).

Add the following seasonings:
    *half teaspoonful onion powder
    *tablespoonful Moorehouse mustard
    *teaspoonful peppercorns

Add enough Regina "Wine Vinegar with Garlic" to cover eggs; the product with this name already has garlic added.

Place in refrigerator for 24 hours; they are now ready to eat.

NOTE: those who like an extra "hot" taste may wish to add some La Victoria jalapeno peppers; one or two or three will do as they are very "hot"!

Blair's technique for making undenatured hard-cooked eggs
(This is the special secret mentioned on T.. but omitted from the air for lack of time.)

Eggs are the most perfect protein food, but they are also a delicacy and fragile. The sustained high heat applied during customary hard boiling of eggs tends to denature (to downgrade) their protein value. This method of cooking eggs at a temperature considerably below the boiling point of water helps to preserve the food value of eggs, and it certainly makes them more excitingly tasteful!

Using a candy (confectioner's) thermometer, found at hardware or super-market, heat water in a cooking vessel to 180 - 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Put eggs in this water and hold for  25 minutes at this temperature. They're cooked, not boiled.

Here's an extra special secret: punch a small hole (an ice pick will do) in the large end of each egg before cooking and add two teaspoonfuls of table salt and a tablespoonful of vinegar to the water to make the eggs easier to shell.

When shelled, these eggs can be eaten as they are. They can be cut in half and eaten with just a few drops of a tasty wine vinegar placed on each open-faced egg yolk.

Deviled Eggs
Make them into deviled eggs by mashing the yolks with a little vinegar, mustard and sour cream, then returning the mixture to the empty whites. Sprinkle a little paprika over the top or garnish with small pieces of pimento or olive for the fancy touch.

Keep these delicious eggs in the refigerator for handy snacks ---plain, deviled or pickled. To your health!

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Copyright © 2008 - 2015 Charles Welling
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Information found on Rheo H. Blair: The Book is meant for educational and informational purposes only, and to motivate you to make your own health care and dietary decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with your health care provider. It should not be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or courses of treatment.

Frank Zane on Rheo Blair

Today, October 9, 2014, would have been Rheo's 93rd birthday! Who better to help us remember Rheo than the one and only Frank Zane.

I had the great good fortune to meet Frank Zane and his wife, Christine, when on a spring evening in 1978 they dropped by Rheo's home to pick up supplements. They met Rheo out in his office (a separate building from the house on the same property) and Rheo asked Frank if he would come into the house and remove his shirt for for me -- Rheo wanted me to see this "wonder" live and in person for the inspiration it would give me as I was in the middle of my own transformation at that point. So Frank graciously agreed and in they came. The surprise of my life. There I was watching television and in walks Frank and Christine.  Rheo: "I have a surprise for you. This is Frank Zane and he is going to show you his beautiful, award winning physique. The finest in the world. Here he is: Mr...." and Rheo began naming off his titles as Frank removed his shirt -- leaving me almost breathless not only at the incredible site I beheld but that someone so famous would do this for an audience of one - me! It was a very special experience and one I will never forget. We chatted for a few moments and then back out they went. Living at Blair House was one incredible experience after another with movie stars coming over frequently. You never knew who you would meet next. But this experience with Frank Zane stands out.

Frank was one of the very few famous, world champion, title holding bodybuilding clients of Rheo who, after he became a celebrity, stood by Rheo and continued to credit him consistently and fairly for what Rheo did for him with his knowledge and products. He continues to honor Rheo to this day.

When I contacted Frank recently about sharing something in memory of Rheo he sent me this quote:

"1970s good old days can't help thinking of Rheo Blair.
Short stature , pompadour of black wavy hair
grand piano playing singing songs baritone
was his form of vocal training
He was adept at swinging on monkey bars attached to his ceiling
and we'd sit there for hours on bean bag chairs
waiting for our supplements, eating ice ream bars.
Rheo died years ago. He know more about
supplements and amino acids than anyone else."

He sure did. Thank you Frank! This and more information on Rheo can be found in his Book "Body Mind Spirit" and I am told that in his most recent book he gives considerable space to Rheo. I am ordering  this book as soon as I finish this post!

Get your copy at FrankZane.com and please tell him Charles Welling sent you.

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Copyright © 2008 - 2014 Charles Welling
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Information found on Rheo H. Blair: The Book is meant for educational and informational purposes only, and to motivate you to make your own health care and dietary decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with your health care provider. It should not be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or courses of treatment.

My Experience With Rheo Blair - Anthony Pitko

Anthony and I met Rheo the same year, 1978. While my story is well known at this point. you are going to want to read what Anthony shares here. The story he tells, and the way he tells it is, in a word, AWESOME. Anthony and I had similar health issues; reading his story brings back clear memories of my own and of the wonderful man that changed both our lives. Anthony had one huge advantage: while I was 16 when I began my transformation, Anthony was only 10 and this in and of itself was important. Rheo told me many time that if he could have gotten to me a few years earlier, I could have had a much more muscular body. Those early teen years are critical hormonally and developmentally. Anthony was able to take full advantage of those years. His story is riveting:

"I was 10 in 1978, sickly, asthmatic, skinny, allergic to everything. Nicknamed the stick and beat up by bullies on the schoolyard for being weak, my parents were more than worried. Trips to the child psychologist, me not eating, wanting to die, this is not normal for a 5th grader. Up until then I was a gifted student, straight A’s, took school seriously and was put into accelerated learning classes and could finish an entire year of school books in just 3 weeks.  But here I was, failing 5th grade, could barely walk, so very sick.

Health has always been my Dad’s biggest thing. “The box has more nutrition than the contents.” He would say. Rheo Blair was coming to town in a large auditorium in the South Bay. We wouldn’t listen to my dad about sugar and processed food, so he brought me to listen to Rheo talk. I listened and seeing his stories of turning otherwise walking dead into these strong, muscular, good looking people. The stories blew my mind. It was at this point I wanted health so badly; I was making a change right there and then no matter what.

At the talk, Rheo had a raffle drawing for supplements, a private consultation, a workout book, etc. There must have been 1500 people there. I won the consultation. God answered my prayers. I was going to sit down with Rheo at his home on Van Ness and have him tell me how to be like the people on the slideshow. I was ecstatic. I stood up with my winning raffle ticket and everyone clapped.

My parents drove me up to Rheo’s home a few weekends later and we got to talk for an hour, that was all that was allowed. Rheo took one look at me and saw how sick I was. The sunken purple eyes, lack of nutrition obvious from my tiny and weak frame, breathing heavily from asthma and allergies. Rheo suggested a month stay at his home. My parents had no choice, I was going to die anyway. I said yes, let’s do this. I got pulled out of school, packed up and moved in. Pretty scary for a 10 year old in Hollywood with strangers, but for me, this was my chance to get my life back, to be like those people in the slideshow. I was a pretty tough kid and went through a lot, I knew I could handle myself, so I just trusted and listened and got to work.

Day one, eight glasses of water, platefuls of vitamins and supplements, lots of eggs and protein shakes, natural ice cream.  Lifting weights was a routine two to three times a day, down an amino acid vitamin after every set, and a bite of a banana, back to reps. Then it was off to the therapist for hot/cold baths, massage, stretching and then sleeping. I slept like I never slept before, which is something I never did before anyway.

Next day - same routine. No bullies to worry about, no school, just me. The weights, the vitamins, the protein shakes, meat, potatoes, veggies, fruit, supplements again, hit the weights, treadmill. After a few weeks of this regimen, I noticed something, I wasn’t having asthma attacks, I gained weight, I felt strong, I had energy, I could sleep, I wasn’t taking any medications anymore. The transformation was mind-boggling.

I could go into the stories of daily life with Rolff, his right hand man, the therapist, Richard the
messed up 10 year old pot smoker, his friend Regis Philbin who I used to work out with, and all the other people that came into my life that month. I remember almost every single day.

When I finally said goodbye and went home, I threw out everything that had an ingredient label on it. From now on it was only meat, veggies, fruit, water – and LOTS of vitamins.  When I made it back to school, people just stared at me. What happened to Anthony? Why was he gone? Why does he look different? I was the smallest in the class, the weakest and certainly the sickest. Within two years of my daily Rheo regimen, I grew 7 inches. I was 5’07” at age 12, finally topped off at 5’08” at 13. I was now the quarterback of the flag football team, playing basketball, volleyball, beach volleyball, surfing, biking, running daily, eating better than anyone I knew and taking a lot of Rheo supplements.

Today I am 45 years old, 9% body fat. I lift weights 5 days a week. I don’t look 45, most guess 32-35. I feel like I’m 16 again - all the time. I run up stairs, I run across the street, paddle surf into big waves, rock climb cliffs, I’m always moving and there isn’t a day that goes by when I don't look up and say ‘Thank you Rheo for my life.” I always dreamt of that slideshow of the people Rheo helped and all I wanted was to look like that. I’ve had that for 30 years now and it never gets tiring." -- Anthony Pitko

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Copyright © 2008 - 2014 Charles Welling
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Information found on Rheo H. Blair: The Book is meant for educational and informational purposes only, and to motivate you to make your own health care and dietary decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with your health care provider. It should not be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or courses of treatment.

Rheo Blair Remembered: October 9, 1921 - October 6, 1983

One year ago we ran several stories remembering Rheo Blair  on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Rheo's death on October 6, 1983. His sudden passing was a huge shock to almost everyone around him. We will run several additional remembrances over the next few days. Today is a special one for me. When I moved into Rheo's home in March of 1978 to begin my transformation, I had one housemate, that is to say another live-in client, staying there with Rheo. His stay overlapped with mine for a few days, a time I remember fondly and which as a great beginning to my extended stay. Robert Wall and I re-connected a few years back on Facebook and we had a good time reminiscing. So on this the 31st anniversary of Rheo's death, here is Robert Wall:

"I first heard of Rheo Blair via television in 1977. That was the main medium back then and Rheo made good use of it appearing of various talk shows. Indeed, he had incredible things to show on TV.  One such appearance was on the AM Los Angeles morning show with Regis Philbin!  Rheo was a frequent guest showing with large photographic evidence how he transformed peoples lives with super nutrition.
The famous Blair Student sticker.

I was fascinated with the idea of "super nutrition" ( this being one of his favorite phrases -- Rheo was "on fire" about nutrition) which Rheo was promoting thanks to the great support and interest on the part of Regis. Through several phone calls (and those of you who knew him know he loved to chat on the phone), I contacted Rheo & asked many questions which he graciously answered.
  
Robert Wall


Meanwhile, though in pretty good physical condition myself, I had long looked for any edge. So I made arrangements with Rheo to come to his home in Los Angeles & become a Blair Student. This was the Spring of 1978! I spent 10 days at Rheo's taking many vitamins & learning many things Let me add, Charles was there too. Charles was thin & Rheo was going to pack on the pounds, with muscle!

You'll have to ask Charles, how that turned out. I also saw Regis come by & bodybuilder Larry Scott! The info & philosophies I learned have become priceless to this very day. I kept in touch with Rheo often, up to his passing. He always was positive & glad to hear from me. When, I heard of his death in 1983, I remember feeling a profound sadness which came on stronger later, remembering the chats I had with him would be no more. It was a pleasure to know Rheo & I'm sure glad I did."
Thank you Robert Wall!

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Copyright © 2008 - 2014 Charles Welling
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Information found on Rheo H. Blair: The Book is meant for educational and informational purposes only, and to motivate you to make your own health care and dietary decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with your health care provider. It should not be relied upon to determine dietary changes, a medical diagnosis or courses of treatment.

Rheo Blair's Funeral

Just a brief post to bring you all some interesting news:

I was recently loaned a collection of cassette tapes having to do with Rheo; everything from him singing at health conventions to broadcasts of Carlton Fredericks. What I did not know and just found is that on one of those tapes is a complete recording of Rheo's funeral service. This is a huge find on several levels. Personally, it means a great deal as I was at that service along with a number of Rheo's closest friends including Lawrence Welk Organist Bob Ralston and Dennis the Menace star Jay North. It is both remarkable and sad to hear it and the memories it brings back are simply priceless.

Remembering Rheo Blair Part IV: Dave Draper a.k.a. "The Blond Bomber," Titleholder: Mr. America, Mr. Universe, Mr. Olympia

"I didn't know Rheo well, but he always welcomed me to his home in LA. And he truly enjoyed whipping up a smoothie with his poplular Blair's protein powder and watching his guest ...


One of Dave Draper's famous bicep shots back in the day.
...drink it down to the last drop. You expected from his expectant look that momentarily new or extra muscle might appear on your eagerly awaiting deltoids or biceps.

Rheo H Blair had a nice, neat and clean shipping operation in the expanded garage behind his simple and quaint cottage not far from the Long Beach Freeway. I zipped down his way in my windy dune buggy a couple of times with Arnold, fresh from Munich. We both gulped down our Blair specials, were given an armful of goodies and off we went, content and rich muscleheads.

Remembering Rheo Blair Part III: Bob Ralston, Pianist/Organist/Arranger from the Lawrence Welk TV Show

"RHEO BLAIR was truly unforgettable – in every way.  He was a major part of my life from the time I met him, in 1963, until his death 20 years later.

Bob Ralston and family, 1969 Thanksgiving card. Photo by Rheo Blair
Rheo taught me the true meaning of kindness.  He was very concerned about the feelings of others.  On more than one occasion, I would make an insensitive comment to someone and Rheo would caution me, “Bob, it’s important never to hurt someone emotionally.”

A surprisingly good keyboardist and singer, Rheo would perform at many of his health-foods conventions, and I had the honor of accompanying him on the piano.  I told him, “Rheo, you’re my hero; I’d accompany you anywhere!”

Our first meeting was at the Hollywood Palladium, where I was working with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra.  Rheo came to deliver some of his supplements to Lawrence in his dressing room.  We struck up a conversation, and a week later my wife and I invited Rheo to our home in Los Angeles, where he fixed us his tasty Protein Shake and his Instant Protein Ice Cream.

Remembering Rheo Blair Part II: John O'Connor, Close Friend and Chief Assistant

I met Rheo Blair in the summer of ’69. I was seven years old at the time and sitting in a pew at St Brendan’s Catholic Church observing my sister and her fiancé rehearsing for their wedding when into the church walked Rheo,
Rheo surrounded by John's family at their home in 1972
shoulders squared, wearing a bright yellow shirt, as I recall, and carrying a great big camera. As it turned out, my sister’s fiancé and his brother both worked for Rheo and Rheo magnanimously agreed to be one of the two wedding photographers. Then I remember at the wedding reception that was held at our house on south Harvard Avenue in Los Angeles seeing Rheo there again, this time with his Champion juicer, set up in our living room, serving strawberry ice cream! The fact that it was his special high-protein ice cream didn’t matter to me at the time; the fact that it was ice cream did (!) and it was at that moment that Rheo became my new best friend.

I still remember that ice cream as being quite delicious, because I remember going back for seconds and thirds and fourths…although when I reminded Rheo of that time years later he laughed and said he didn’t think that it was the best batch he’d ever made. But to a kid who loved ice cream, eating Rheo’s ice cream on that hot August summer day was a real delight and I recall it as if it was yesterday. Rheo quickly became a dear friend of my family, not really because of the ice cream (although, speaking for myself, it certainly helped!), but because of the man that he was and the invaluable nutritional advise that he provided to members of my family, especially my mother, who was experiencing some pretty serious health problems at that time.

We Remember Rheo Blair On The 30th Anniversary of His Passing

Seen with Jimmy Durante in Chicago, 1953
Today we begin a week-long tribute to Rheo Hughes Blair, who passed away unexpectedly on October 6, 1983.

I remember that day clearly.  Rheo's long time friend and assistant, Rick Backlund, phoned me a few hours after he died. In tears, he told me what had happened. Rheo had been diagnosed with end stage renal failure and had been on dialysis for an extended period of time during which he developed severe heart disease. The two go together. His heart stopped thirty years ago today. The story of his kidney disease will be told another time. Today we begin a commemoration of the man, the wonderful person he was. Over the next two weeks we will run a series of tributes or remembrances from several close friends of Rheo.

Rheo Blair on Calcium and the "Phosphorus Jitters"



A recent article about Rheo Blair caught my eye and has deservedly received much attention around the web: John Catanzaro's "The Protein Pioneer: Lessons from a Golden Age Nutritional Guru" published on the popular Bodybuilding.com. It's interesting on several levels not the least of which is the fact that it's a well written piece by a graduate of Bastyr University,  a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine who has an apparent interest in protein supplementation. It is surely a welcome addition to the fairly limited online information about Rheo Blair and his ideas.

The one idea he singles out for "caution" concerns Rheo's promotion of calcium supplementation. And indeed calcium supplementation has been promoted far and wide as long as most of us can remember but quite recently has been found to be a cause for concern with cardiac health. As he states, magnesium, not calcium, is what most us should be supplementing. Moreover, balance of all minerals is important to achieve and maintain. Because we are all biologically unique, some of us need "more of this" or "less of that" to achieve the unique balance that works for us in our individual cases. That is far easier said than done and a matter far beyond the scope of a brief blog post. My only purpose here in this post is to offer some background on why Rheo was gung-ho on calcium.

Roy Hilligen Part III: What Type of "Vegetarian" Eats Meat and Drinks Milk?

Oct. 1951 with Roy Hilligenn "My Story" p. 26
The Hilligenn type, apparently. Randy Roach writes in with this excerpt from his Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors, Volume I, reminding us that, at the very least, he built his body on a non-vegetarian dietary regime and was publicly vocal about this early on. Randy's excerpt follows:

"Totally opposite to Vince Gironda was 1951 Mr. America, Roy Hilligenn, who denounced the meat based diet entirely, opting for the vegetarian lifestyle. He was a rarity at that time, possessing freakish strength and  claiming to have never eaten any meat at all. (my emphasis -- CW) Clarence Bass in his article "Roy Hilligenn, a Marvel - Then & Now" quoted Hilligenn:"I believe being a vegetarian all my life is a secret to [my] youthful countenance and longevity and perfect health. Roy says he has 'never' eaten turkey, fish, chicken or red meat. 'I truly believe,' says Roy, 'that fruit is the body's cleanser, vegetables are the body's healer, and meat is the body's premature aging agent.'"

In an early article by Jim Murray, Hilligenn did indicate that he used milk in his diet. However, a letter to Hoffman's Strength and Health in1946 had Roy confessing to gathering protein from more than just dairy.  "Eat but 3 meals a day; plenty of milk, fruit, dried fruit, and lean meat. 
Can eat like a horse. Where it goes, nobody knows."

Roy Hilligenn Update

Reader and new friend Ken Wheeler, former owner of a chain of gyms called "Superfitness" in Toronto, writes in to say he once employed Roy Hilligenn as a floor instructor. Having just arrived from South Africa with with his wife Marion and two children, Ken hired him sight unseen on the recommendation of Boyer Coe.

My post on Roy was about similarities and contrasts between him and Rheo Blair. Ken helps fill in this picture a bit with further details for which I am very grateful! Like Rheo, Ken tells us that Roy sang for his own amusement (we know Rheo took this a couple of steps further...) and that Roy was always smiling, very motivational with people, and that he used to read a little book called "As A Man Thinketh" by James Allen. Well, anyone that knew Rheo would recognize this same description. I find it particularly interesting they both read the James Allen book. In the case of Rheo, at least, this played a hugely influential role in the person he turned himself into. The same it seems is true for Roy Hilligenn.

"Sorry Ladies: Bobby Riggs Threw His Match Against Billie Jean King"

So reads the remarkable headline here for a story summarizes the long, page turner of a read here. For those of you who may not know anything about this, you can catch up on your history, here. Then, go back and read the first two links in order.

Most of you probably know that Rheo Blair prepared Bobby Riggs nutritionally for the first match against Margaret Court in 1973 and Bobby beat her handily. Riggs was a committed Blair disciple taking his 400 Blair pills every day and following a careful diet as prescribed by Rheo. This brought Rheo tremendous national attention. But in the second match, the one against King, it has always been a mystery why Riggs lost. We know he let himself go downhill physically, didn't prepare for the match, sloughed off his nutrition program like he didn't care. Why? Perhaps we now have the answer.

A few notes on Rheo Blair and Roy Hilligenn

Irvin Johnson and Roy Hilligenn at a party ca. 1953
Roy Hilligenn, much loved and a bit of a character in his own right, is but a footnote in the life of Rheo Blair. But between these two fascinating men both a certain contrast and a few parallels are worthy of at least brief mention. We begin with the latter.

We touched on Rheo's public singing performances at Health Conventions in a recent post. More than a decade earlier at a party we find him teaming up with Roy Hilligenn to sing a duet. The two of them can be seen in the upper left portion of the image to the left in which Rheo (in his Irvin Johnson days) has his hand around Hilligenn. You can tell he is not shy about opening his mouth to sing. Both gentlemen can be seen in all three photos within this image which was published in Tomorrow's Man in 1953 (click on the image for bigger view). The caption reads "Open house at the home of Philadelphia specialist, Dr. T. Ealy, drew a happy crowd of celebrities in the bodybuilding field. TOP LEFT: Irvin Johnson and Roy Hilligenn join in a duet while Jack Delinger prefers to "sit this one out."

Both have been called "entertainers" and "charismatic." Roy was the "smiling superman" and Rheo the great singing imitator of Nelson Eddy. In earlier days Rheo was also known as the "singing milkman of Sommerville" (NJ). Both succeeded in no small part because of an unusually positive attitude, a pleasing personality, and a huge amount of determination.