Bodybuilding Title Winner is a Raw Food Pioneer!

The bodybuilding posting by Melinda B. caught the attention of Randy Roach, the author of an upcoming book giving the complete history of bod building. The following excerpt from "Muscle, Smoke and Mirrors" shows us that the raw food diet is not new to bodybuilding.

“Tanny’s” his name. RAW is his GAME.

A man who would have his milk only raw was Armand Tanny. Armand was one of the original big guys from the early Muscle Beach years. In fact, it was men like Armand who put the muscle in “Muscle Beach”. Although it was his brother Vic who went on to create the popular gym chains, Armand, originally a weightlifter, had a fantastic physique and a way of eating that separated him from most. Along with his great look, Tanny had strength to match and this landed him in the wrestling circuit.
Armand recalled visiting the Hawaiian Islands around 1947 and being so impressed with the Samoans who were in the islands after the war. “They ate everything raw. You name it, fish, meat, beetles – everything! They were so strong and healthy”.

This left such an impression on Tanny that upon returning to the USA, he started to further investigate the subject. Already armed with his previous university education and one year of medical school, Tanny had the research skills to hunt down and dig into the works of Weston A. Price. It wasn’t long before Price’s book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” became his Bible. In 1948 he shut off his stove and just about everything from there on in was raw.

His diet turned to raw tuna, beef, liver, lobster, oysters, clams, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. Tanny would wade out into the surf along the Santa Monica Pier using his feet to kick up Pismo clams. He would smash the clams together to get at the pink and white flesh of the clams that would be his next raw meal. Gaylord Hauser, a nutritional guru of that time also had an influence on Tanny. Hauser recommended brewer’s yeast, desiccated liver, yogurt, black strap molasses, and wheat germ oil. Hauser also recommended fish liver oil, but Tanny felt he was getting plenty from all the raw fish he was consuming at the time.

Armand didn’t follow a set meal plan, but ate simply when he felt it necessary. There were no outrageous volumes of raw meat eaten at one sitting because he didn’t feel it was warranted. He ate between ¾ (0.34 kg) to 1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) of raw meat daily. Looking back, Tanny feels that it was the creatine supplied in a very pure state in raw meat that served him so well.

Armand wasn’t one to flaunt his diet in public. He shared a comical situation that happened decades back when he was on a stop-over in St. Louis on a trip from Los Angeles to New York:

"I was hungry and needed to get something to eat. I bought a raw steak and thought I could hide it in a newspaper wrapping while I ate it on a park bench. I sat there sneaking little bites when I was joined by a woman who sat down beside me. On one of my bites, the steak pulled out of the wrapper and I was sitting there with a big hunk of raw meat hanging out of my mouth. It wasn’t long before I was sitting alone again!"

Armand feels that his raw meat diet was instrumental in his walking away with several bodybuilding titles in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In 1949, he won a show called, for lack of a better name the “Mr. 1949” title. They actually used an applause meter to determine the winner.
Armand was big, tanned and very muscular. At five feet nine inches (175.26 cm), Tanny weighed a very lean 200 lbs. (90.91 kg). John Grimek had told him previously that he had the potential to do well in bodybuilding and Tanny certainly capitalized on this advice.

At mid-20th century, it was rare to see a bodybuilder with good size accompanied by such lean muscularity all wrapped in a finished bronze package. Tanny took this look to victory in both the 1949 Pro Mr. America and the 1950 Mr. USA titles. He was hot and on the cover of many of the magazines. When asked why he retired from competition Tanny, stated that the Mr. Universe had not reached its popularity as yet and the Mr. USA was the big title to shoot for.

Another reason Armand dropped out of competitive bodybuilding was money. Basically, there wasn’t any in the sport during that era or for a long time afterward. He was busy and very successful managing the Vic Tanny gym chain in the California region. In 1954, he took a break from the gyms to tour for a couple of years with a host of other bodybuilders in the Mae West show. Tanny would establish a lifelong professional working relationship with Joe Weider writing for the Weider publications.

See for the complete history of bodybuilding.

5 thoughts to “Bodybuilding Title Winner is a Raw Food Pioneer!”

  1. On October 3, 2007 at 11:11:00 AM PDT, Svakanda said…

    Whew…I was so excited to see this place up, I didn’t realize that it probably isn’t written by aajonus himself. Tell us about yourself Charlie? How did you end up doing this blog? Err…perhaps I better go check your original posts huh. Yeah, I’ll go do that now, =) thanks!

  2. On October 3, 2007 at 5:56:00 PM PDT, ellingson_jim said…

    I have been asked how I ended up doing this blog. It is quite simple.

    I was given a rave review of We Want To Live by someone I had known for years. He said it was the first time he had not been in pain his whole life. (He is a big strong guy who exercises a lot and has several black belts; I would have never guessed, but he said that while doing work-outs the pain was less, so he kept working out. On the same day, my wife was given a rave review by someone she had met while they both went to the same hospital. This lady had experienced great relief by doing this diet after open heart surgery.

    My wife and I went to a potluck. We met Aajonus and long story short we have benefited so much health wise (I will fit in details as we go along in the blog) that we asked him if he needed a website featuring him. In my opinion, he has SO much right and should be listened to more than any other nutritional author around.

  3. On October 26, 2007 at 7:14:00 PM PDT, Kieba said…

    Another primal raw body builder
    wonder if I am the only female?!

    I hope not….I am Kieba with a primal raw boot camp for body mind Spirit on the big island of Hi.
    wt. training daily is part of the schedule I was a competetive body builder for many years and wond a few nice titles, but after yrs of a vegetarian then primarily raw and vegan diet, my health, strength, muscle size etc. all declined drastically.
    I was introduced to the Primal diet….the book we want to live just 10 months ago.
    I took baby steps in introducing raw animal products but immediatly noticed HUGE gains in energy and strength. The Raw Liver I think saved my life from horrible anemia.
    I am a believer and now have my campers on a modified raw primal diet program all custom to their wants and needs….I call it the “retro-raw” meaning return to the way we were ment to eat, and retro also being a hip term for the Now becoming most popular and of course the optimal healthy way to eat in our toxic world.
    I am now 48 and have the energy and strength that I did 20 yrs ago….actually MORE energy love life with a Passion and I share my energy, knowledge not to mention many experiences and wonders of this paradise here in Hawaii
    check it out
    also have a listen to the radio program I was on listed in this site!

  4. On August 20, 2008 at 1:36:00 AM PDT, Olesja said…

    I know this is an old post, but I went and googled Armand Tanny, and DAMN – that guy was HOT. He looked way better than most of the steroid pumped body builders today.

  5. Hello, Kieba! You can check [to see if you are the only Primal Diet female bodybuilder} with Randy by email on one or another of his Muscle, Smoke and Mirrors sites. He is an amazing person who does very thorough research.

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