Return of the Fitness Booklet

Return of the Fitness Booklet

Fitness booklets NEED to make a comeback! Self-produced pamphlets & fan-zines are quite rightly (in my opinion) already making a huge comeback as people take advantage of super-cheap printing, or the ability to find an audience online. They can get their work out there and at the same time circumvent the constrictive ‘rules’ of publishing. I believe there is still a market for the humble fitness booklet, and this is why…

Fitness Booklets
Some classic vintage strength & fitness booklets from my collection

Fitness Booklets

It used to be that for $0.25 (or £0.10!) you could get your hands on a small booklet that would help you to learn almost anything! Once you mastered the basics you could then move on to a correspondence course, where on a pay-as-you-go schedule you could gradually build up your knowledge (or your body) on a monthly basis. These small but packed publications could fit easily in your pocket to be brought out to fill in a spare moment or for reference. Notations were made in pencil and there was a sense of OWNERSHIP about these cheaply produced little publications.

The advent of cheaper book publishing, and then the internet of course, killed a lot of small presses off. Then, as now, the publishing house with the biggest marketing budgets decided what we learned and how! As younger people move away from ‘mainstream’ media, and older people seek to rediscover the printed page they remember, small pamphlets/booklets are once more finding their way into peoples hands. A lot of them are now digital – but actually, the completely disposable nature of the eBook is a great way to try and experience new things without ending up with stacks of paper lying about!

Vintage Fitness Pamphlets

I buy up vintage fitness pamphlets and fitness booklets whenever I see them. I was fortunate some years ago to buy a complete collection of what was referred to on the box as ‘Bodybuilding Courses.’ They had belonged to a young man who had worked his way through a variety of home-based exercise programs. One of the programs was the course by a gentleman named Thomas Inch, at one time Britain’s Strongest Youth and then Britain’s Strongest Man. Below are quotes from Mr. Inch to the young man (Mr. Granville). I don’t know about you, but I would feel MUCH more motivated if I received letters like these along with monthly workout schedules and plans:

Here is one line I particularly enjoyed:

You will realise that I am deviating from the usual run of the course, but this is according to my judgment [sic] of your case and your requirements and hope this is clear to you.

Thomas Inch

Now if “Britain’s Leading Physical Culturist and Health Specialist” told you that, wouldn’t YOU feel special!!

Your measurements are good but of course, I will improve you…

Thomas Inch

BOOM! Also – he also goes on to ask for a REPORT!

Online Fitness Books

You may argue of course that the tone of these letters is exactly what modern fitness professionals are going for – and you are right. Many programs have forums now, so you can interact with fitness professionals, or people are encouraged to join Instagram groups and post their selfies online. They are basically online fitness booklets and correspondence courses – but with a whiff of 21st-century narcissism. Back in the day, however, it was all about YOU and the MIRROR. You motivated YOURSELF, you worked out in SECRET.

I don’t believe in looking backwards just for the sake of it, but on the subject of basic fitness levels for ALL I think we have lost our way a little, and made things WAY more complicated than they need to be. Luckily however the information we need is all out there, some of it 30-50-100 years old now. I want to present it to you (or point you to towards it) and help you through it for the simple reason I GENUINELY enjoy this stuff!

I consider the eBooks I produce on Internal Force Fitness to be the modern equivalent of a fitness booklet such as this one I purchased a little while ago:

How to Develop a Powerful Abdomen!

Isn’t that a great title! (and a great cover actually)

I don’t want you to start bombarding your Instagram followers with selfies though, or desperately seek OTHER people’s opinions – I only care about YOU and giving you access to that little guide you can refer to every now and again to help you get to a better place mentally and physically.

Shop Now & Have a Go!