Life Lessons from Charles Atlas

The bodybuilding legend was a strong and powerful man in his time, with the ability to transform himself into an unstoppable force. Nowadays he has been immortalized by Hollywood as “the worlds strongest man,” showing that life isn’t just about being physically fit anymore.

The “charles atlas workout pdf” is a book that includes life lessons from the bodybuilding champion Charles Atlas. It was first published in 1932.

Vintage Charles Atlas giving muscle pose on beach.

Charles Atlas, LTD is a company based in the United Kingdom.

“Let Me Prove to You in 7 Days That I Can Transform You!”

“The Insult That Turned Mac Into a Man”

“Hey, Skinny!” says the narrator. “Yer Ribs Are Showing!” exclaims the narrator.

It’s an ad that the majority of readers can readily see in their minds. A cartoon depicting a scrawny, 97-pound weakling who has sand kicked in his face by a beefcake, takes the experience as motivation to bulk up, and returns to the beach to get revenge on the bully.

Charles Atlas is the name linked with that picture, which is as well-known as the ad itself.

Because these two images are so closely linked, you could think of Atlas the guy as a cartoonish caricature, or as one of the dozens of often dubious modern-day fitness hucksters who have adapted Atlas’ old mail-order business model for the web era.

Atlas, on the other hand, was a genuine rarity, a guy who lived up to the marketing hype—the real thing. He was a skinny immigrant child who changed his physique and started a fitness revolution by developing a 12-lesson training program that was translated into seven languages and embraced by millions of people across the globe, including King George VI, Joe DiMaggio, and Rocky Marciano. Even Mahatma Gandhi inquired about the program in a letter—no joke! Atlas’s mail-order company has been operational for 82 years (albeit it is now handled by others—Atlas died in 1972), and thousands of people continue to turn to his program for a method to stay in shape.

Charles Atlas was a source of hope and inspiration for men who had lost faith in themselves during the Great Depression. He is still a symbol of virile power and vigor today, and his life teaches us a lot about manliness.

Charles Atlas weaklings into men advertisement.

Charles Atlas, LTD is a company based in the United Kingdom.

Charles Atlas teaches us about manliness.

Convert your flaws into assets.

In 1893, Charles Atlas was born in Acri, Italy, as Angelo Siciliano. His family came to America when he was ten years old, and he arrived on Ellis Island knowing no English.

Little Angelo vowed he’d achieve greatness, but his chances didn’t seem to be good. He was a tiny, sickly child with a sloped shoulder, easy prey for the bullies in his rough Brooklyn neighborhood. When he returned home one Halloween night, a bully smacked him in the face with a bag of ashes, knocking him unconscious for an hour. Atlas recounted, “It appeared like he was pounding the crap out of me.” Atlas crept home, slid into bed, and prayed to God, assuring Him he’d never let another guy beat him.

Young Angelo Siciliano portrait.

Angelo Siciliano, Jr.: A real-life 97-pound slugger. Charles Atlas, LTD is a company based in the United Kingdom.

The beatings, however, persisted. Atlas was a “97-pound weakling” when he was 15, and he said a big lifeguard kicked sand in his face in front of a good-looking gal.

Atlas had reached his breaking point when he turned 17 and set out to modify his physique so that he could stand up for himself. His buddies were astounded when he arrived on the beach after months of training, having tried with various workouts and developing his own fitness program. “You remind me of the Atlas statue on the roof of the Atlas Hotel!” commented one. (When he eventually officially changed his name, he added “Charlie,” a boyhood nickname, to the heroic moniker.)


Charles Atlas giving flex bicep posing.

Charles Atlas, LTD is a company based in the United Kingdom.

Atlas began by transforming his corpse into a man whose dimensions would be buried in the Crypt of Civilization at Oglethorpe University, which wouldn’t open until 8113. He transformed his most despised flaw into his most well-known strength.

Allow yourself to be inspired.

How did Atlas go from a skinny boy to “the ultimate manly ideal,” as one scientist put it? He got his idea from a museum and a zoo, respectively.

Atlas marveled by the sculptures of Greek gods while on a school field trip to the Brooklyn Museum, concentrating mainly on Hercules’ strong body. He inquired about how he might get a comparable physique, and his instructor advised that the young guy begin lifting weights.

As a result, Atlas started a rigorous fitness regimen. Because he couldn’t afford to purchase weights, he made his own at home and utilized them every morning. However, after months of training, he was dissatisfied with the results, as his physique remained slender and lanky. Atlas, as a young man, was unsure about how to continue.

He got the answer while wandering around the Bronx Zoo, a site he frequented to contemplate. When he came to a halt to enjoy the lion show, he saw how the wild beast stretched and how its “muscles raced about like rabbits beneath a blanket.” That’s when it dawned on him: the lion was powerful, but he’d never used a barbell or any other kind of training equipment. “He’s been squaring up one muscle against another!” Atlas pondered.

Atlas returned home, resolving to try something new—like the lion, he would “work out.” He gave up his weights and devised a new fitness regimen for himself, focused on isometric movements. Push-ups, sit-ups, squats, leg lifts, and other exercises include pushing one arm against the other.

Atlas’ business partner, Charles Roman, claims that Atlas has spent his whole life observing animals, constantly on the lookout for new ideas on how to better his training routine.

Make a route for yourself.

Many men these days rely on others to provide them with plans for every part of their life, yet the greatest plan is sometimes the one you devise yourself!

Bodybuilding was a fringe activity in the early twentieth century, when the usage of weights and barbells was only taking on, and strongmen were oddities who performed at carnival sideshows. That’s where Atlas first saw Eugen Sandow, the most renowned of the old-time strongmen. Atlas drew inspiration from Sandow and attempted to lift weights like his idol. He also experimented with pulleys, calisthenics, and other popular fitness routines of the period.

Charles Atlas giving pose of flexing leopard.

You can wear leopard-print briefs too if you’re as macho as Charles Atlas. Charles Atlas, LTD is a company based in the United Kingdom.

When these procedures failed to provide the desired outcomes, Atlas abandoned the tried-and-true routines and devised his own. While isometric exercises had been used for thousands of years as part of disciplines such as yoga and were popular among professional strongmen, most Americans were unfamiliar with them. Atlas experimented with and created his own fitness program on his own. And he was able to incorporate these time-tested exercises into a routine that the ordinary person could follow. He devised a method for making exercise really accessible—his course was so successful because it needed no equipment and could be done at home by anybody.


Atlas dared to go against the norm, and in doing so, he not only earned success, but also sparked a cultural revolution.

Always take advantage of opportunities, particularly when it comes to working for oneself.

Success does not always follow from having a skill or ability.

Atlas’ life did not alter immediately once he strengthened his physique. He worked as a leatherworker for a while more before resigning to work as a janitor and a circus strongman at Coney Island. He’d shred telephone books in half and bend iron bars into U’s while lying on a bed of nails with an audience member on his stomach. But such acts were routine on the strongman circuit, and Atlas may have gone unnoticed for the rest of his life if he hadn’t been discovered by an artist in 1916.

The number of public monuments being commissioned was increasing, but artists were having difficulty obtaining suitable models for their works. When the artist saw Atlas on the beach one day, he invited him back to the studio to model for him. Atlas was worried about doing it, but decided to take a chance and see what happened. When word got out about the guy with the extraordinarily well-proportioned figure, Atlas was in high demand, hopping from studio to studio and earning $100 each week.

Charles Atlas statues around united states.

Charles Atlas served as the inspiration for 75 monuments that may be seen around the nation.

Atlas’ restlessness and ambition were not satisfied by modeling. In 1921, he entered the “World’s Most Beautiful Man” photo contest, which was sponsored by Bernarr MacFadden, the publisher of Physical Culture Magazine, and easily won the $1,000 award. He won MacFadden’s “World’s Most Developed Man” contest a year later, defeating 775 guys in a public confrontation at Madison Square Garden. The reward was either $1,000 or a screen test for a lead part in a new Tarzan picture this time. The money was taken by Atlas. He didn’t want his career to be dictated by Hollywood executives; he wanted to build his own company and control his own fate. A smart decision… Who recalls the identity of the guy who played Tarzan in The Adventures of Tarzan, after all?

When you’re in over your head, be modest enough to confess it.

Atlas put his $1,000 on marketing his fitness course via the mail. Several thousand orders were received in the first two years of company, enabling Atlas to build his own gym in New York City. But, in attempting to operate both enterprises at the same time, they both failed miserably. Atlas understood he needed to concentrate on just one thing: marketing his workout course, and he couldn’t do it alone.

Charles Atlas in hey skinny advertisement.

Charles Atlas, LTD is a company based in the United Kingdom.

In 1928, his advertising business employed Charles Roman, a 21-year-old copywriter, to assist in the creation of stronger ad text. Roman came up with the moniker “Dynamic-Tension” for Atlas’ isometric workouts, as well as the now-famous 97-pound weakling advertising and their iconic headlines. Atlas recognized Roman’s marketing prowess and gave him half of his business on the condition that he manage it. The advertising executive agreed, and the rest is history. Atlas arrived with his strength and personality, thanks to Roman’s compelling ad content and Atlas’s booking of promotional engagements. It was a match made in paradise for the two of them.


Put what you preach into action.

Charles Atlas’s popularity stemmed in large part from the fact that he didn’t merely preach his ideals; he lived them.

Atlas was fond of saying, “Live clean, think clean, and don’t go to burlesque performances.” Keeping your room clean, receiving fresh air, eating nutritious food, and avoiding smoke and alcohol were all part of living the clean life. Atlas didn’t smoke or drink, and on the few occasions when he was persuaded to go out to a nightclub, he’d spend the evening drinking milk and attempting to persuade other guests to switch their beer for orange juice. He celebrated New Year’s Eve with carrot juice instead of champagne, which was unsurprising. He was also an outspoken supporter of the Boy Scouts of America. Atlas lived cheaply despite becoming a multi-millionaire, only spending on his cherished white double-breasted suits.

Charles Atlas tearing phone book.

Charles Atlas, LTD is a company based in the United Kingdom.

Atlas’ life was relatively devoid of scandal, and his one brush with it, rather than harming his image, actually helped it. Bob Hoffman, the owner of the York Barbell Company, sued Atlas, saying that you couldn’t obtain an Atlas-like physique by doing just isometric workouts (which he dubbed “Dynamic-Hooey”) or seeing a difference in your body in only seven days, and that Atlas was a fraud. Hoffman was forced to back down after a Federal Trade Commission inquiry found no evidence of deceptive advertising or unfair commercial practices.

Atlas was also very committed to his family, particularly his wife. Atlas’ sadness and despair were so severe when she died in 1965, after 47 years of marriage, that he pondered entering a monastery. Atlas was persuaded to rethink by his parish priest, who told him that his life’s goal lay not in the cloisters but in continuing to inspire young people.

Charles Atlas flexing biceps in mail room.

Charles Atlas, LTD is a company based in the United Kingdom.

The strongman was not being praised by the Father. Atlas got so much fan mail at his peak popularity in the 1930s and 1940s that he needed a crew of over 30 ladies to open and sift it. The messages, which were often sent by young guys, arrived from all around the globe and expressed gratitude to Atlas for transforming their lives. Regardless matter how huge his firm became, Atlas always went into his office in the afternoons to personally answer part of the letters and sign all of the answers until he was in his 60s. He’d also sit and converse with admirers who stopped by seeking help.

He refused to let himself go as he got older, knowing that young people looked up to him and that he didn’t want to be a hypocrite and a terrible example. So he kept up his morning workout program of 50 knee bends, 100 sit-ups, and 300 push-ups, and at 75, his measurements were almost comparable to those of his 30s. He died in 1972, at the age of 79, after spending the final two years of his life reading his Bible and jogging on the beach.



Jonathan Black’s “Charles Atlas: Muscle Man” for A&E Biography–Modern Day Hercules





The “charles atlas height and weight” is a blog post about how the author was able to transform his life through bodybuilding. The article provides many life lessons that can be applied to anyone’s life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Charles Atlas symbolize?

A: The Charles Atlas symbol is a variation of the infinity symbol that represents strength, power, and good health. It was created by Charles Atlas (who introduced a system of exercises to develop physical fitness) in 1927 with this inscription: What lies within you is more powerful than any force outside.

What is the Charles Atlas method?

A: The Charles Atlas method is a fitness program in which you lift light loads, with the goal of building muscle.

What exercises did Charles Atlas do?

A: Charles Atlas is a bodybuilder who popularized the use of weights in his exercise routine. He began lifting heavy objects as a teenager but it was not until he went to prison and met Jim Morris, an ex-professional wrestler, that he really understood how to build muscle mass.

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