Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder

Pinned on September 2, 2013 at 7:54 am by Shannon Ford

Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder

At age 26, scrawny, Oxford-educated Samuel Fussell entered a YMCA gym in New York to escape the terrors of big city life.Four years and 80 lbs. of firm, bulging muscle later, he was competing for bodybuilding titles in the “Iron Mecca” of Southern California-so weak from intense training and starvation he could barely walk. MUSCLE is the harrowing, often hilarious chronicle of Fussell’s divine obsession, his search for identity in a bizarre, eccentric world of “health fascists,” “gym bunnies” and “muscleheads”-and his devout, single-minded acceptance of illness, pain, nausea, and steroid-induced rage in his quest for the holy grail of physical perfection.


Jeff Richardson says:

Bodybuilding for the Emotionally Sound Sam Fussell comes from a family of intellectuals (his father is the author/professor Paul Fussell) and it is not surprising that he appeared to be following in their footsteps. He graduated from Oxford University and then proceeded to get a job in New York before entering graduate school. What is surprising is the detour that he took. Living in New York and being accosted by street people and witnessing acts of violence had the rather predictable and understandable effect of instilling him with some fear; however, his fear appeared to be more consuming than in most people. Sam Fussell sought some way in which to conquer the fear. He considered the martial arts but nixed that idea after reasoning that he would actually have to fight in order to employ them. After happening into a bookstore the answer presented itself. Bodybuilding could create a hulking Samuel Fussell that anyone would think twice about before assaulting. The current Sam Fussell was ectomorphic at 6’4″ and 170 or a 175 pounds and clearly not someone who intimidated steet toughs.

Anonymous says:

Compelling… I loved this book since reading it for the first time one year ago. Since then I have re-read it several times, and never get tired of the story.

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