About Us


Diane Robert, Chief Librarian/Site Administrator

Diane spent most of her career in health care until becoming a research coordinator in complementary medicine.  For the past 20 years she’s has had a special interest in computer technology.   The History of Physical Culture website was originally launched to showcase the prolific work  of  David Gentle, internationally acclaimed Physical Culture Historian and Author.  David has been a special friend over the years and it is a privilege and honor to know him. The website eventually grew into a vast Physical Culture Library following the amalgamation of U.K. Sandow Plus website.

Diane became interested in physical culture after meeting her husband, Leo Robert, Mr. Universe Pro who sadly passed away in 2016.  As many will  may recall, Leo earned a place in bodybuilding history when he attained the Mr. Universe Pro title at the London Palladium many decades ago. Leo continued to pursue his passion by helping others achieve their health and fitness goals. He went on to own and operate several gyms in his hometown, Montreal, Canada where he helped hundreds of people.

Cornered outside the stage door of the London Palladium, Professional Mr. Universe Leo Robert signs autographs fro the eager fans“.

“Over the years Leo and I spent countless hours in the gym together where he taught me the fundamental principles of weight training, special “Universe” training tips and a wide variety of workout routines.  Throughout my life I relied on these principles when training and still apply them to my workouts today.  Leo’s gentle, easy going nature and belief that “anything is  possible if we try” had a profound impact on my life. Even though Leo has left us, the positive imprint he made on people’s lives lingers on.”

May your journey in life bring you peace, health and true happiness.  Stay Strong!

David Gentle, Historian, Author

David is an internationally acclaimed Historian and Author of Physical Culture.  For several decades, he was a regular contributor of over 25 of the world’s top muscle magazines. David’s prolific writings include over 2,000 articles published in the World Muscle Press on all subjects relating to physical culture or strength.  Here’s a snapshot of David’s Curriculum Vitae.

Place, Date of Birth and Marital Status

  • Southampton, Hants, England: 1933
  • Married to wife Rosemary for over 40 years

Academic and Military Background

  • Educated Eastleigh County High Barton Pevril
  • Diplomas in Mike Dayton’s School of Chi.
  • Certificates for Health Education and Nutrition
  • Served in REME in U.K., Egypt and Cyprus

Professional Experience

  • Joined Health and Strength League in 1949 member 228291
  • Became member and life member of NABBA. No. 32733 and then no. 236
  • Trained on Charles Atlas, Earle Liederman, Jowett, International School of Physical Culture. Maxalding Danks,’ chest expanders. York and Weider schedules and Don Doran’s courses.
  • Ran several private gyms, and later trained by mail, many hundreds of bodybuilder (under the Doran’s type of schedules and systems)
  • Worked as Muscle coach and consultant for Bodypower and Bodypower Plus, trained readers by mail.
  • Bench pressed double bodyweight (300 lbs) and curl bodyweight n strict t fashion (150 lbs) and pull over at arms length, with straight arms 120 lbs
  • Bent and broke six-inch nails
  • Wrestled and practiced Jui Jltsu for many years.

Additional Professional Activities

  • Have seen almost all NABBA Universe shows, apart from when in the services
  • Seen literally every top muscle star over the last 50 years and have written to or about every major bodybuilder or strength athlete since the 1950”s friends with many of them, having a World wide web of contacts of the best of bodybuilders and strength athletes, fellow authors and fans.


In April, 2016 David Gentle compiled an exhaustive list of his published work.  He admitted that for a period of his life he discontinued documenting the articles he wrote, growing weary of seeing his name in print.  Despite this brief interlude the list captures the extraordinary contributions David Gentle made to Physical Culture throughout his lifetime.  Today David continues his prolific writing career as Sub-Editor of Britain’s Health and Strength magazine. David Gentle Publications

  • A physical culturist and consistent columnist.
  • Author of Massive Muscles in Three Months and co-author of Develop Grip Strength along with friend David Webster OBE.
  • A prolific writer, with over 2,000 articles (last tallied in 1999) published in the World muscle press on all subjects relating to physical culture or strength, including articles on show reports, lifting news, strength and lifting stunts, technical lifting, powerlifting, Olympic lifting, bodybuilding training articles, body parts, schedules, routines, sports injuries, nutrition, Medicare for bodybuilders, health and fitness facts, ergogenics, aphrodisiacs, old timers, historical profiles and facts home gyms, muscle clinics, Q & A, columns, gossip columns (Power Gen, Rambling, etc) illustrations, serious and comic, photographs, muscle quizzes, crosswords, muscle mart, reviews of books and apparatus, etc.
  • Articles published under own name or pen names, i.e. Jon Hall, Scorpio, Bodypower Answers, or often simply Dave. Also ghost written for many stars, i.e. Angela Lesta, Laura Creaveall, Tony Pearson, etc.
  • Reporter for local newspapers on bodybuilding/lifting events. (Echo, Advertiser and News) Book and supplement reviewer, in many magazines, e.g. Muscle Mag International. Bodypower. Muscle Mob. Hardgainer, etc
  • Answered over 2000 questions in Scoropio and Bodypower answers columns and near 10,000 personally (free). (Peter McGough, top Weider man said his contributions were, “A sustained journalist feat unsurpassed in British bodybuilding publishing”).
  • As well as ‘normal articles’ wrote many supplements, including “Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding” and “An Anatomy of Strength in Bodypower” mag, a detailed four part historical series “Sandow to Schwarzenegger in Bodypower”, a “Century of Muscle in Strength and Health USA” and a four part series in Health and Strength entitled., “The Ever-changing Face of Health and Strength,” plus many histories of Muscle Magazines, famous strong men, etc.
  • Was foreign correspondent for Strength and Health and Muscular Development mag when Grimek was editor, along with Oscar Heidenstam, reporting on Universe shows, and articles, etc.
  • Was senior writer for Bodypower, and Bodybuilding Monthly, and wrote at times up to five articles an issue in magazines, like Strength Athlete or Bodybuilding Monthly (often under pen names) plus writing the Scorpio, Ask Angie, and Bodypower Answers, etc.
Regular contributor for literally decades for the following magazines:
  • Health and Strength under five owners;
  • Sport and Fitness;
  • Sport and Fitness Inc. H & S;
  • Muscle and Co.;
  • Bodybuilding Monthly under three owners;
  • Natural Bodybuilder;
  • Bodypower under several owners;
  • Bodypower Plus (D. Bennett);
  • Strength Athlete under three owners, Kirkley, Pullum and Williams;
  • Milo USA;
  • Hardgainer. (international mag);
  • The Strandpuller;
  • Backhang Gazette;
  • Muscle Mob both as publisher and owner and later contributor;
  • Muscle Training Illustrated, U.S.A. (Dan Lurie);
  • Strength and Health.York;
  • Muscular Development U.S.A.;
  • Ironman both U.K. and U.S.A.;
  • Muscle Magazine International (Canada);
  • Muscle Mag International U.K.;
  • Muscle News;
  • The Iron Master, U.S.A.;
  • Vic Boff’s Association of Oldtime Barbell and Strongmen newsletter;
  • Natural Development Magazine, U.K. and International;
  • The Forum and Mick Harts NO BULL magazine.

Extra Curricular Activities

  • An avid collector of bodybuilding/strength books, magazines, photos, and memorabilia, since 1947 and have one of the best collections in U.K. of these rare items, and archives. With magazines from 1898 to date, including Health and Strength, Iron Man Superman and most USA mags.
  • Apart from writing and collecting muscle and strength also interested in guitar playing, reading, traveling, genealogy (family trees) card and close up magic and grandchildren. Bless ‘em.

Awards Received

  • Won medals for muscle control in Maxalding, NABBA Man of the Month. Silver medalist,
  • Won SAWLA medals and diplomas, including heavy weight record diploma;
  • Awarded Oscar Heidenstam Foundation award for services to bodybuilding.
  • John Grimek Life Time Achievement Award as a writer and historian of physical culture

Peter Yates, HOPC Editor in Chief

Peter Yates has been involved in strength training and martial arts for over 50 years. He has an interest in all strength related subjects especially the old-time strongmen.

Peter Yates was born in 1951 and grew up in Darwen, Lancashire, UK.As a kid he was so puny even the 90lb weakling kicked sand in his face and pushed him around. In an effort to build up his strength and health he hiked the local moors to an abandoned quarry where he would lift, carry and throw rocks of various sizes. Hearing of this his father fashioned a barbell from an iron bar and scrap steel discs so he could train at home. At the age of twelve he came under the guidance of Maurice Ainsworth and the lads at Darwen weightlifting club, where he was introduced to the rudiments of weightlifting, hand-balancing, muscle control and self defense. At this time, he was also taking classes in boxing and wrestling and later was taught karate by Maurice.

Setting off in his late teens to see the world he has visited over twenty countries living in each from a few months to several years, and has always found great places in which to train along side wonderful people. Spending a total of fifteen years in the far east he was fortunate to study under several high-level masters in various martial arts, simultaneously learning East Asian healing and health promotion modalities.

In 1997, he was invited to teach at college of Oriental Medicine on Long Island, New York, USA, where he currently lives with his wife and son. Peter runs a private clinic, trains in his well equipped home gym and teaches advanced martial techniques to a select group of students.

Besides HOPC, Peter has had articles published in Dinosaur Files strength journal, Health and Strength magazine, martial arts magazines and peer reviewed journals of Oriental Medicine. He also coauthored a book on East Asian healing methods.
Peter believes that the pursuit of physical culture is a lifelong journey of self discovery and the harmonizing of one’s body, mind and spirit.

Gil Waldron, Research Historian

I was born in Halifax, Yorkshire, England in 1942. During War time Britain I was exposed to food shortages and rationing. As a result of a meager but reasonably nutritious diet, I left school at age 14 weighing just 8 stone (112lbs).

I was quite strong for my size, and as an apprentice gardener found a great deal of satisfaction showing my much bigger work mates that I could lift and load bags on to tractors, that weighed the same as me. But I still wanted to look strong…..
I looked to the “Muscle by Mail Order” guys. Lionel Stebbings’ course was the first one I chose…results = none (The course is on the website somewhere).

Next, I followed the millions before me and wrote to Charles Atlas….results = some progress, but not enough.
Then an uncle gave me two 40lb solid dumbbells, which I carried home for ¾ of a mile. I can still scratch my kneecaps without bending down…..progress limited but getting there.

I finally followed Maxalding, a training method I still use today. I joined a gym and made good progress. I soon discovered that Maxalding and the weights worked well together. I won several strength titles in the sixties before giving up competition to raise a family.

In Memoriam

Mar. 2014 – We wish to honour the recent passing of Roger Fillary, a wonderful friend who worked tirelessly maintaining the Maxalding and Sandow Plus websites for many years.  Roger will be sadly missed by all.

Ron Tyrrell, Historian & Contributing Writer

Ron has been a contributing writer for a number of Physical Culture magazines and sporting journals.  His creative work has appeared on the popular “Sandow Plus” website owned by Gil Waldron and the late Roger Fillary (the site closed in 2014).

Ron writes, “I was fortunate enough to meet Court Saldo (Monte’s son), principle of Maxalding Exercise System, and this proved to be a life-changing experience.  I learned the value of remedial physical culture, and as a result of our many conversations, I became a student of the history of all forms of physical endeavour.

I was born in Dover, on the South-East coast of England in late 1939, when the Country was at war and food was rationed.   Having been born with a delicate constitution and with other health issues, made participation in any form of sport quite out of the question.  The War ended in 1945, although food rationing continued until the early 1950s, but in 1948 something quite wonderful happened; the National Health Service was created, and due to my condition, I was introduced to the wonders of cod liver oil, malt and  concentrated orange juice.

At the age of twelve, I decided to do something more about my physical condition.  With the help of a retired Army Major, I embarked upon a series of what were known as “Swedish Exercises”, and managed to improve my stamina and co-ordination a little.  About two years later, I was fortunate enough to meet Court Saldo (Monte’s son), principle of Maxalding Exercise System, and this proved to be a life-changing experience.  I learned the value of remedial physical culture, and as a result of our many conversations, I became a student of the history of all forms of physical endeavour.  I made a lot of progress, and was then able to take part in school sports, and despite my health issues, in my last school year I won the Victor Ludorum Cup for the “best all-round athlete”. I decided to concentrate on throwing the discus, and reached a sufficiently high standard to qualify to compete in the British National Junior Championships.  The standard was very high that year and Mike Lindsay set a new World Junior Record, previously held by Al Oerter (who later became a four-times Olympic Gold Medalist).

This experience led me to believe that if I could make so much progress after having been born with little natural ability but plenty of determination, then if the same methods were used to train boys with a good natural start in life, the results would be more rewarding than in my own case.  So with the blessing of the Headmaster, I trained a team of boys from my old school, using physical culture methods taught by Tommy Inch, Bill Pullum and Monte and Court Saldo, all pioneers in applying physical culture to athletic progress. The boys,  aged fourteen to fifteen, (and I was only 18 myself) all worked very hard, resulting in a large number of school records being broken.  Much to the delight of the Headmaster and School Governors, the boys won the regional schools athletic shield for two successive years.

At that time, I was working full-time in the coal mines, including attendance at technical college.  Over the years, economics forced me to concentrate on earning a living, but I managed to keep exercising, in parallel with my studies of physical culture history.  During a chat with David Gentle, he persuaded me to write some articles for his magazine, and this led me to writing articles for a number of other physical culture magazines  and sporting journals.  I also wrote a number of articles for Roger and Gil’s websites.  Today, at this stage in my life, I am still exercising and writing and, with the help of my wonderful wife and the British National Health Service, I am enjoying “a blaze of autumn sunshine”.

(c)Ron Tyrrell, Historian and Contributing Writer

Chris “Sticks” Bostick, HOPC Art Director

Chris “Sticks” Bostick, our Art Director, is a 63 year old upstate New Yorker who, as a young fellow, was a power lifter of note back in the early 70s.   He hung up the competitive lifting belt back in 1973 and dedicated himself to the family electronic business for the next 40 years.

Chris never lost his affection for training cartooning and drawing or building his own training equipment. He has drawn for a couple of other websites and his name pops up on Google searches from time to time.   He also has a business providing images for a company called RetroSyracuse, which is primarily tee-shirt and sportswear related.  Visit our Art Department to view Chris’ amazing artwork and eBooks.

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