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Topics - Sergio

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Forum News and Reflections / A book about Reg Park!!
« on: July 19, 2021, 08:14:05 PM »
I am currently working on a book about Reg Park. Part biographical, part about his training philosophy. It will be based entirely on bibliographic sources, either old magazines (most of them are already online on the forum) or youtube videos.  At the end of this year www.regpark.eu will be 10 years old.  I don't know if I'll be in time for the outline to be finished before the end of the year, but if all goes well, it will be finished in the next year. 

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General Discussion / Requiem for a gentleman, by Peter McGough (2007)
« on: January 29, 2021, 08:24:32 PM »
From the Flex Magazine

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General Discussion / Iron Inspirations - Reg Park, (2017), by Liam Tweed
« on: January 29, 2021, 07:49:22 PM »
From https://www.ironhistory.com/forum/index.php?/topic/26363-iron-inspirations-%E2%80%93-reg-park/

This could easily have been titled - “Iron Legends – Reg Park”
 
I feel its pretty audacious of me to even post something on this giant of the  iron game , so much has been written about him, his feats of strength , competition achievements and of course his gentlemanly reputation. All I would like to do is to provide a snapshot of my own brief interactions with Reg over a period of some 25 years.
 
Do you remember the Harvey comics, they were my favourite when I was very young (6 or 7) and I distinctly recall reading a comic while on holiday at the coast with my family. In the comic the hero, an animated dog decided he was sick of being beaten up by the schoolyard bullies and decided to join a gym. He walked into a gym and met the owner , a very muscular dog character, called, you guessed in “Reg Bark”. For some strange reason this name stuck with me, of course I did not make the connection at the time with Mr Universe : Reg Park who must have been at the height of his public fame (this was 1967). As strange as this story seems, I describe it to illustrate two things, one, that Reg had already made a significant impact on “pop culture” of the day (imagine inspiring a comic book character) and two, how something like that can stick in a child’s mind to the extent that I can recall it almost perfectly 50 years later.
 
It was only when I was 12 or 13 that I became aware of Bodybuilding , I recall my friends showing me bodybuilding magazines in the news agent in Salisbery Rhodesia (now Harare Zimbabwe). At the time I didn’t know what to make of these posing muscular giants, but I was one of those that was always impressed by impressive physiques, I just didn’t realise it was weights that were behind them. Maybe a relevant side line, I was an overweight kid until at 8 years old I noticed one of my sisters boyfriends had a good build , I asked him how he did it. He told me that it was from swimming and calisthenics. So from that day I was doing laps in the home pool, eventually working up to 2 hours a day after school and then doing pushups and sit-ups for another hour. You know the result, right? The weight fell from me and I began winning all the school swim races. I went from zero to hero in about 6 months and strangely I was in school swim teams from then to the end of my High school career.
 
Somewhere during my schooling I became aware of Mr Universe Reg Park and in that mysterious way the brain works I made the association …oh right ..Reg Bark ….Reg Park…funny!  I started training with weights at about 13 and competing in Olympic lifting around 14 (1975) , during this time i was exposed to my brother in laws magazine collection (ironically now sitting in boxes in a spare room), they were 1950s though 1970s so Reg and his exploits now unfurled before my eager eyes.
 
So now to my first actual sighting of the great man, before I left for England I stayed with friends in Johannesburg SA, this was 1978 (I was 17) and Reg was very much a well known public personality and a huge force in the SA physical culture scene. While walking with my friend through Braamfontien (a suburb near to the University of the Witwatersrand) , we stopped transfixed by the sight of this giant of a man . working with a team of other men loading weights and gym equipment onto the back of a truck. The giant spoke in a strong tone clearly identifying him as the someone with authority. We looked down on this scene (the road was much higher than the yard of what must have been Reg’s equipment warehouse ) and my friend whispered …”that must be Reg Park!!”. I just stood there transfixed , unable to say anything. Here was this famous man, someone i was always reading about standing there in the FLESH, real and larger than life. Reg was dressed modestly (as always) but his muscles bulged through his shirt as he shifted the weights onto the back of the truck. We stood there and watched , and wer’nt noticed by the men below , eventually the job was done and the men went back into the building, we continued our journey , talking about how lucky we were to see the great Reg Park and how impressive me looked , truly a lasting impression.
 
Time passed , as it does,  and I found myself back in Johannesburg training at a bodybuilding gym near home , because i had no transport and couldn’t get to one of the few weightlifting gyms (i wasn’t yet a Varsity). So I began training bodybuilding for the first time , it was ok but I yearned to be able to jump under a heavy snatch and not worry about smashing up the gym floor. Now the gym was owned by one Pat Fair , a bulky guy , huge chest ,  very OLD SCHOOL who just happened to be one of the guys who would train back in the day , early in the morning with Reg in his Johannesburg city gym. And so the stories began , the antics of Reg and the morning gang and of meeting Arnold and all the other top guys that would come out to SA and stay with Reg.
 
One story comes to mind, Pat mentioned an incident in the gym: Reg walked over to a trainee working out, he took the trainees training “card” looked at it than said in his stern voice :“this exercise is’nt on your training program”, than tossed the card onto the ground and stormed off  , yes Reg was human , and it must have got really annoying to see trainees ignoring the programs personally given to them by a 3 time Mr Universe. One thing for sure if Reg had written me a personalised program Id probably still be training on it, frankly I wouldn’t have dared to try anything else!
 
After my weightlifting came to an end with knee injuries in 1981 , I drifted into bodybuilding again and eventually found myself training at a franchise gym where Reg was the head trainer , this was the late 1980’s and I think Reg had sold most of his businesses. One morning Reg was training in the Randburg gym and he happened to be working on the pulldown machine with a young training partner , as we stood and waited for a nearby machine , Reg turned to me and in a friendly and humorous tone said “well I guess I had better start working on the ‘body beautiful”” , he was obviously taking a light hearted jab at the whole physical culture thing and I wondered if he knew that he had just spoken to someone for whom he had been an inspiration and hero for more than a decade.
 
Reg would MC the local bodybuilding shows (mainly NABA) which were a good standard and well attended in the 80s and 90s, I recall watching Reg on the corner of the stage at many shows, he was articulate and humble , always giving credit to the competitors “ I just want the audience to appreciate the time and effort that this competitor invested to entertain you with two separate posing  routines”. Once a routine was posed to the Sinatra song “New York , New York” and this had Reg bopping at the corner of the stage …old school indeed.
 
More time passed (as it does) and I found myself training with my new girlfriend (now partner of 20 years), at a gym called “Sports Connection” (the best in Johannesburg) in the upper class suburb of Sandton (I worked nearby at PWC). This was the late 90s and Reg was a personal trainer (how me spent his “retirement”). This is when I was able to break down my “stage fright” and actually talk to the great man.
 
Every morning as we entered at 0500 , Reg would be sitting in the eating area waiting for his first client of the day. Every morning without fail he would greet us with a hearty “good morning” , and there would always be a big smile. Such was the nature of the man, in spite of his fame he remained humble and friendly to all. I had a discussion with one of the competitors at the gym once about the fact that hardly anyone in the gym actually knew who they were dealing with , he was just an elderly personal trainer to them , but we knew different and my respect for the man just grew.
 
One Friday evening (I was training 2 x per day)  , long before I began speaking with Reg (I was still tongue tied) , I was training alone and bored with the endless bodybuilding I wondered down to the small lifting platform at the bottom of the gym and decided to “sneak in” some power cleans. By this stage i was looking like a died in the wool bodybuilder , 96 kgs at 5’ 7” and in hard condition , so the weightlifter look was long gone. As an ex weightlifter I could still execute a decent power clean , solid technique and snappy action. Bang , bang , bang , I zapped through the set in a hidden recess of the now empty gym. As I placed the bar down I looked up and there was Reg looking at me intently , after a few moments he turned away and I wondered what I had done to deserve such intent observation from a 3 times Mr Universe. Only later it dawned on me that Reg had a long association with weightlifters (back in the UK) and had covered lifting extensively in his Reg Park journal (I have a complete collection). Also the power clean always had pride of place in his bulk and power program. In short Reg and the power clean had a long history together. Maybe I triggered a memory of his younger days? I hope so.
 
Sometimes Reg would be standing next to me while I waited for Kim (my better half) to finish her set , and Reg was waiting for his client to finish, I managed to start a simple conversation , I said I had copies of his arm and chest course as prizes in my collection, he said “they were ahead of their time”. Yes they certainly were …
 
Kim and I were a new couple so sorry to admit this , but at that stage there was a fair bit of “unnecessary contact” between training partners (hugs etc) , well Reg didn’t judge , he walked over and said “all these years I have been training with men as partners , I missed the boat , I should have been training with my wife!!”  Another typical Reg Park quip.. priceless.
 
One day he was standing next to me and he turned and  said “the old man has gone”. He was of course referring to the passing of his good friend John Grimek (20 November 1998). He told me what a great dancer John had been and that he would watch as John would take his wife Mareon (a lovely lady and former ballerina ) for a spin on the dance floor.
 
More time passes (as it does) and I started training at home (new home gym) , this was a lifelong dream , but I missed my chats with Reg and I would wonder how he was doing.
 
On day I heard Reg was battling skin cancer , this made me sad as I knew the prognosis was often poor. I knew one thing though Reg would deal with this challenge with determination, bravery and grace as he had approached all of his life challenges , I also knew he would be surrounded by the love of family and friends, his reward for "a life well lived". A year passed and the inevitable happened.  I was driving home , already in a gloomy mood, facing yet another round of retrenchments (22 November 2007), stuck in traffic and fighting through pouring rain. On the local talk radio (702) , the death of former Mr Universe Reg Park was announced ,his death made the news that day , say no more about the respect he had earned in South Africa.
 
I was overcome with a cloak of sadness and my drive home was filled with my memories of this great man. They stay with me still.
 
Liam

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From 1951, before the Mr Universe.  Thanks you Thomas!!
Part one:

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From Health & Strength June 15, 1961:

Thanks a lot, Joe Matrisciano!!

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Reg Park's films and other classics / Return to Rome (1964), by Reg Park
« on: January 26, 2021, 11:27:17 PM »
From Sept 1964 Man's World and the Reg Park Journal:

Thank you very much, Joe Matrisciano!!

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Great photgraphies, great article, although Jow Weider, the great businessman, always swept for his home about the credentials of Reg Park development.

Part one:

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Reg Park's films and other classics / Reg in the filming years
« on: November 11, 2020, 03:33:52 PM »
More articles by Reg about the filming years are in Man's World. Here are two samples. Hope one day I had the full articles.

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From IM July 1961

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Exercises and workouts / Reg Park On Triceps (1973)
« on: October 07, 2020, 07:30:04 AM »
From 1973 March MTI

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