Monday, 11 January 2016

Charles Bronson (no not THAT Charles Bronson, THIS Charles Bronson), proves that fitness begins when you want it

Folks from the UK have probably heard of Charles Bronson, for the majority who haven't Bronson is an infamous problem-prisoner who has served more than a life sentence even though he was only convicted for stealing £28 in the 1970s.  As well as being well known for being a problem prisoner, he is also well known for being a fitness fanatic.
"I'm the king of the press-ups and the sit-ups. I've already said I once did 25 press-ups with two men on my back, and I've squatted with three men on my shoulders! I've been making prison fitness records for as long as I can remember. Show me another man – a man half my age – who can pick up a full-size snooker table. I can. Show me another guy who can rip out 1,727 press-ups in an hour. I can ... I once went eight years without using weights, then I went into a gym and bench pressed 300lb ten times. I'm 5ft 11in, I weigh 220lb and I feel as strong as did when I was 21 ... There's something deep inside me that pushes me on. I'm a solitary fitness survivor."
— Writing in 2000, aged 48, Bronson describes the outcome of years of training in the confined spaces in prison.  
His Solitary Fitness book can be found on pdf HERE.  And it's a great read.  It reads exactly like Charles Bronson looks! 

Charles Bronson (source)

Be warned though it is ~110mb big, and you can't use word search on it because it's image based rather than text.

This is not to push you towards the 'bodyweight workout' or the 'weight free workout', rather it's to show you what you can do with.. nothing!  It's to show you what you can do with nothing but your wits and effort and enthusiasm!

[Rubs chin and furrows brow] "Hmm.  What can I do today?  [Looks around] "Ah!  A handstand push up!" [Attempts a handstand push-up]  "Crikey o' reilly.." [Strains]  "I'm glad I'm not in the circus.  I wouldn't last the morning!"

That's what it's about.  Seeing what you 'can' do with your own endeavours.  Your own efforts, your own solutions to problems and such like.  The opposite of following the plan of someone else in a mindless fashion like a robot:

[Terminator accent] "I vill perform forty nine press-ups in vun hundred unt ninety zex zekonds.  Vun, too, sree...  I have kompleted forty nyn push-ups.  I vill now make love to my fraulein unt be kontent."
Life just doesn't work like that.  Denying your own creative effort and joy by mindlessly following the plan of someone else is not good for you.  Men are men after all.  They are not followers, they are pioneers.  Pioneers in their own life.

Following your own creative drive also means that you end up valuing what comes out of yourself rather than valuing something outside of yourself.  In the context of exercise that could be valuing technology (expensive ab-crunching equipment, or air-cushioned trainers), or valuing jargon ('micro-rips' in muscles, nutritional jargon), or valuing plain old money ("This is expensive so it 'must' be good, and effective.") etc.  Enjoy what you do.  As Bronson stresses, repeatedly!

P.S. There is a TV documentary about Bronson available on youtube HERE, there's also a semi-biographical film of his life starring Tom Hardy called Bronson (alas there's no version on Youtube).  It's directed by the same guy that directed Drive, you know, the film that reaked of GTA (cruising around in cars and committing acts of violence) and had a really groovy soundtrack that you can find HERE if you're into electro-synth music.

(Credit to 'Slovenian Guest' for the Solitary Fitness pdf, and documentary video links.)



  1. Charles proves my theory that real tough guys look more like Larry the cable guy rather than Arnie, this whole roided up image is pure Hollywood.

    If you want another great read, i recommend Lemmys autobiography.
    Lemmy was of course, Motorheads frontman, 49% mofo and 51% soab!

    He used to read books into early morning hours and was a big world war aficionado, here he is showing off his collection, it's like he had only three things in his apartment, Nazi daggers, books and plenty of Jack Daniels!

    I always remember him for saying:

    "If you don't mind being alone it's a great gift, so many people now can't stand to be on their own. Silence worries people, and they can't read either to alleviate it, if the TV breaks down they're fucked, the world goes away for them."

    Bronson (who is in prison) agrees!

    (If you need a Windows epub viewer try STDU Viewer, most pdf readers should handle it as well.)

    1. Hey, cheers dude. Thanks for the links. STD viewers heaps better than Adobe Acrobate Reader. It loads quicker and opens up new documents in new tabs rather than new windows. Which is good on old machines, like mine.

      Yeah you're right about the 'Hollywood Hardman Physique'. It's completely misleading. Check out the body of Brad Pitt who played a bare knuckle boxing champion, and compare it to James McCrory who is a real life bare knuckle boxing champion. They're like chalk and cheese. That said, if someone offered me Brads body then I wouldn't say no. I mean, offered to make my body look like Brads body I wouldn't say no. God, that came out all wrong!

      James McCrory:

      Brad Pitt: