My name is Richie Neville and I started Internal Force Fitness as a basic blog back in 2010. My fascination with all things vintage health and fitness related, however, started much earlier – back in the late 1980s!
I picked up a copy of the Marvel Strength and Fitness Book from a car boot sale (the UK equivalent of a yard sale/flea market) and ten-year-old me set to work pushing, pulling, and stretching my way to fitness.
I moved on to my first York weights bench (complete with wall chart) and by nineteen had an umbilical hernia!
By my early twenties I had moved on again, this time to Tai Chi and other forms of movement-based exercise – I was never really one for reps and sets, and gradually learned about Charles Atlas, Walter Camp’s Daily Dozen, and the Metropolitan Life Health Exercises, managing to purchase copies of these vintage health and fitness programs through the new online medium of eBay and other online marketplaces.
I got lucky at another car boot sale about six or seven years ago and purchased an old shoebox with ‘fitness courses’ written on the top. It was the collection of a young man who had tried a variety of bodybuilding workouts – the type that was called correspondence courses, that is the type of muscle-building instructions that would have been sent through the post. This haul formed the basis of the Thomas Inch Collection and the George F Jowett Collection on this website.
The world has now caught up with me and I am delighted to share my love of vintage health and fitness ephemera and celebrate classic old-school fitness methods that have a vintage physical culture vibe.
Old-school trainers did not just talk about strength in terms of weights and muscle, there was a much healthier focus on health, strength, AND a positive self-image. At forty-three years old, I can appreciate that (I STILL have the hernia!).
Richie Neville | Founder