Bodybuilder Charles Atlas (1893-1972) was born Angelo Siciliano on this day on a farm in Acri, Italy. He arrived with his family in New York in 1903.
"Truest success is but the development of self," Atlas once said.
Legend has it that the 98-pound weakling was inspired by Bronx Zoo lions to gain strength by working one muscle against the other--isometric exercise--the basis of his Dynamic Tension" course.
He said, "My system uses no apparatus. The resistance of your own body is the best and safest apparatus.”
Gaining weight, muscle, and strength, he changed his name to Atlas, after Long Island's Atlas Hotel. In 1921 and 1922, he won the title "The World's Most Perfectly Developed Man."
With the help of marketing partner Charles Roman, the barrel-chested Atlas developed his popular body-building business and mail-order courses that were advertised in pulp magazines and comic books. His philosophy celebrated calisthenics, nutrition, health, and inspiration.
“Fifteen minutes a day! Give me just this and I'll prove I can make you a new man," he said.
In 1942, Atlas was 5'10" and weighed 180 pounds. His chest was 47 inches, his waist, 32 inches, and his biceps measured 17 inches. He modeled for the statues of U.S. Treasury's Alexander Hamilton and NYC Washington Square Arch of George Washington.
“Step by step and the thing is done,” Atlas said.
Work hard and bide your time.