Building The Classic Physique The Natural Way by Steve Reeves with John Little and Bob Wolff is a special book for me for several reasons. Steve Reeves was an idol of mine, and I’ve always admired his physique. If one could be called the most perfectly developed and muscular man, Reeves has to be on top of the list, or near the top on anyone’s poll. Another reason I like this book is because he mentions the Deaconess School in Helena, Montana. My grandmother worked at that school when Reeves attended. He was “one of her boys” as she tells it. I have a picture of her with “her boys” and Reeves is one of them. While we lost Reeves in 2000, she lived to be 98 and died in 2010. And the final reason the book is special to me is that it reminds me of our telephone conversations at times in the 1990s. If you want a motivating book on health and fitness, with a lot of great photos of the god like Steve Reeves and some biography about him, this is a great book to have in your library.
The first part of the book is called “My Life In Bodybuilding” and details a brief sketch of the bodybuilder turned actor’s life. In a few short chapters you learn a bit about his parents, his early life in Montana, and yes, my grandmother also remembered the earthquake of 1935, his move to California, how he discovered bodybuilding, early training, his time in the Army, and his bodybuilding career. Unfortunately, the book does not go into his movie career, but is it primarily a book on fitness, not just on Reeves.
Part two of the book, which starts on page 45, is on the science of bodybuilding. The chapters are short, and like the early part of the book, there are ample photographs of Reeves that if nothing else, should motivate anyone to get exercising. Chapters focus on topics such as preliminary considerations, metal aspects of training, training logic, classic physique, and routines for various body parts.
Part three contains additional training considerations such as super high intensity training, pyramid system, exercising in opposition, muscle control and posing, the power of walking (When he got older, Reeves focused a lot on his Power Walking), nutrition, and losing body fat.
Part Four is titled “Questions & Answers” and if full of advice and more motivating photographs. The questions about steroids remind me of when I asked him about steroids for a research paper I was writing during my undergraduate studies in the early 90s. He was against steroid use, and is one of the influences that kept me from ever trying them. The book concludes with several appendixes that share information exercises, bodybuilding principles, awards and titles, one of his first routines that was discovered, what the press said about Steve Reeves, and some impressions from mentors and friends.
Again, I don’t know how anyone could not be motivated to work out when looking at the pictures in this book. It is full of sound basic workout advice and some history on one of the world’s most perfectly symmetrical and classic physiques ever. If you are interested in Reeves or natural bodybuilding, this book should be on your shelf to be read and used in your own pursuit of health and fitness.