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08 December 2014

Baddest Motherfuckers Ever- Armand "Fuck Cooking Food, I'll Eat It Raw" Tanny


One year after the end of the Great War, something amazing happened in Rochester, New York- the Tanny brothers' badass mom spurted forth the younger brother of the guy who went on to build the first serious chain of bodybuilding gyms across the country... a younger brother who would go on to bang innumerable sluts and out-perform Hermann Goerner in the one arm clean.  That man's name should be fresh on the lips of every hard trainer on the planet, yet hardly anyone's fucking heard of him.  

The name, which should taste sweeter on your lips than Dmitry Klokov's superhuman semen and go down smoother than a bikini model's bleached, waxed asshole, is Armand Tanny.

Vic Tanny at the age of 30 on the far left.  Joe Weider's in the center.

At the ripe old age of 13, Armand Tanny's older brother bought him his first weight set as a present apparently designed to land him into the "Coolest Fucking Brothers on Earth Hall of Fame" in the first ballot drawing.  That weight set crippled Armand for the next day, after he trained himself into what was likely rhabdo and left him barely able to move for the next couple days.  The muscle protein cannibalizing weight set, however, povided some of the original equipment for the Tanny family gym, and became the birthplace of his brother's, Vic Tanny, chain of gyms that was bought out by Bally's a few decades later.  After training with his brother and the neighborhood guys for only five years, Tanny became one of the few people in the United States to clean and jerk 300 lbs, earning him nationwide attention for his prodigious strength and sick physique... all by the age of 18.


From there, Tanny enrolled in college, attending the a local Rochester school until being lured to the Southern California beaches with the promise of untold amounts of half-naked ass, badass weather, and the best strength training/bodybuilding scene in the country.  After collecting enough credits to qualify as a physical therapist, Tanny was lured away from his premed program by delicious vagina and sandy beaches.  He'd funded his schooling with professional wrestling, at which Tanny blew dogshit, but apparently paid for his party-boy/wrestling/sun-worshipping lifestyle as he amassed a 9W-19L record over the next 20 years even after injuring his knee so badly in a collegiate wrestling match that he had to give up full squats for the rest of his life.

"It wasn't that I couldn't finish med school.  I just loved the beach.  I wanted to be there from dawn to dusk.  Education is one thing, but you have to keep your perspective.  You see, I loved chasing pretty girls." -Armand Tanny [actual quote]

If you're a "normie", you likely think that meant that Tanny just hung it up and took up knitting, like every old-timer who will talk a muscular guy's ear off with tales of what I believe to be entirely fabricated tales of bygone weightlifting glory.  Nope.  His brother Vic followed closely on his heels to Southern California and opened what was widely acknowledged to be the best gym in the area.  Training there and on the weekends with strongman and woman Les and Pudgy Stockton; acrobat, Hollywood stuntman, Russ Saunders; and bodybuilder, strongman, and inventor of the Universal Gym, Harold Zinkin in a homemade weight pit they built on the beach as a predecessor to Muscle Beach, Armand built one of the greatest and strongest physiques the nation had yet seen.

This is what happens when pussies aren't on the internet talking about lifting instead of lifting.

Two years later, and in spite of his debilitating knee injury, he placed second in the heavyweight class in the Junior Nationals competition in 1941. At a bodyweight of 190lbs and height of 5'9", he put up an impressive 230lb press, 250 lb snatch, and 330 lb clean and jerk (Draper). Later that year, Armand became the Pacific Coast weightlifting champion with a 270 press, 280 snatch, and 360 clean and jerk, again at a bodyweight of 190, which was exceedingly light for a heavyweight (Wieder).  His most impressive lift, however, was a 300 lb one arm clean at that bodyweight, which was his pet lift and the lift that garnered him the most fame.


Over the next few years, Tanny gained even more fame for his broad-assed shoulders and barn-door lats, in addition to his massive one arm clean, and his brother and Joe Wieder eventually convinced him to enter a couple of bodybuilding competitions.  During the 1940s, he lived with and trained with Steve Reeves and George Eiferman, both of whom were legendary Mr. Americas and actors, and the latter was the inspiration for the cartoon character George of the Jungle.  


Though he only competed four times, he ended up with a fairly impressive record:
  • 1949 Pro Mr America, Winner. 
  • 1949 IFBB North American Championships, 4th.  Clarence Ross winner, Alan Stephan second, Floyd Page third, Armand Tanny fourth, Leo Robert fifth.
  • 1949 Mr USA, 5th.  John Grimek first, Clarence Ross second, Steve Reeves third, George Eiferman fourth, and Tanny fifth out of a field of fifteen competitors.
  • 1950 Mr USA, Winner.  Defeated George Eiferman and Vince Gironda. 
Thereafter, he quit the stage for a brief sojourn to Hawaii, then returned to become a part of the legendary Mae West's travelling revue, which was a combination of burlesque, bodybuilders, and comedy.  This act was so popular it drew crowds bigger than those legendary crooner Frank Sinatra was drawing at the time, which would basically be akin to a travelling freakshow with bodybuilders, Carrot Top, and run by Joan Rivers' reanimated corpse out-drawing Taylor Swift.  Thereafter, presumably due to the fact he was exhausted from all of the fucking he had done for the last 35 year, Tanny signed on with Joe Wieder as a writer and started training with proto-powerlifters for fun.  When asked why he never competed in the fledgling sport of powerlifting or again in bodybuilding, Tanny's response was simple- he'd proven everything he needed to, and there was no money whatsoever in either sport.  Why spend time and money pursuing sports that would afford him nothing but expense when he could make plenty of money managing his bothers' gyms and use it to train and hang out on the beach all day?


At this point, you should likely be wondering what sort of a program this maniac followed- one that allowed him to bang whichever beach-going sloots upon whom he happened, afforded him the ability to crush both professional bodybuilders and elite-level weightlifters.  From everything I can tell, the man was all over the place with experimentation and didn't follow any kind of a set program- instead, he just trained for a couple of hours a day 6-7 days a week, mixing in gymnastics on the beach, swimming, and wrestling as well.

NOTE: Unlike today's pussy lifters, Tanny did not avoid recreational activities and sports to avoid injury for lifting, which likely kept him from incurring much in the way of injuries.  

One of the programs Armand Tanny used was a superset program to get the biggest pump on as many muscles as possible.  To do so, he picked opposing muscle groups to be worked for as many sets and reps as possible in ten minutes (Supersets).  Thus, in 50 minutes, he and his training partners got a brutal, full body pump that they then took to the beach to use in banging sloots.

1. Deadlift
1. Abdominal Raise

2. Two Arm Press
2. Two Arm Chin

3. Deep Knee Bend
3. Leg Curl

4. Bench Press
4. Bentover Rowing Motion

5. Biceps Curl
5. Triceps Curl



Though Armand was a bit of a pretty boy (a lot of a bit of a pretty boy), he was heavily involved in powerlifting at its inception, and trained with early champion bench presser Pat Casey and powerlifting phenom Bill "Peanuts" West.  As a result of training with such unconventional and hideously strong juggernauts of the strength world, Tanny ended up espousing some really unconventional training methods and techniques.  For instance, Tanny once wrote as lovingly as most fanboys write about Dan Green's every bowel movement of the "touch" method.  This method was developed by Bill West and is the bane of every single internet douchebag "lifter"'s existence- HE LOVED PARTNER ASSISTED REPS.

Yup- you know the handsy spotters helping the bench bros bounce your squat max off their chests with aplomb in your gym?  Well, apparently that shit gets the job done... and not just on the bench press- Bill West's team used the method on everything in the gym, from the bench to the clean pull to the press to the deadlift and squat.  Bear witness:
"As time went by, he thought why be so conservative --- get in there and really help the guy trying to make the lift. Get hold of him bodily when necessary, apply the pressure. The closer the contact, the more realistic the assistance. The idea started getting clearer when Bill used the heavy touch on the power rack bench squat. How was a man going to get that first squat started from a sitting position on the bench with the bar resting on the shoulder level on the cross pins, loaded to two or three hundred pounds more than his best regular squat? A helper on each end usually results in an uneven spot. A steadier and more practical way proved to be method of getting directly behind the lifter, bear hugging him under the arms, and simply boosting him to a standing position."
"The method may prove awkward at first, but after a bit of practice, the spotter gets to know the lifter’s particular sticking points and the amount of help he really needs. The whole idea of the touch system is to transfer power past sticking points. Complete movements can be made with heavier than regular limit lifts. The lifter gets the opportunity to use very heavy weights."
Bill "Peanuts" West using the touch method on a dude in his underwear.
"Bill West, himself, was averaging 575 from the deck in every deadlift workout. But for some reason- and it went on for a whole year- he could not make 600 high deadlift. The secret eluded him. He knew if he could high deadlift heavy, his regular deadlift would go up. In a very brief period, using the touch system, it happened exactly that way. His high deadlift program went like this:
505 x 5555 x 1575 x 1605 x 1615 x 1 Touch system630 x 1 Touch system655 x 1 Touch system670 x 1 Touch system405 x 5His regular deadlift shot up to 630" (Tanny). 

Both Armand Tanny and Bill West trained frequently with Pat Casey, the first man to officially bench press over 600 lbs.  Casey was a huge fan of bench press lockouts, and over time both West and Tanny came to share his appreciation for partials.  One day a week was devoted to lockout work, while a second chest day allowed for full range max work. The first series of sets was done as the photo above indicates- with the pins 2" above the chest:

"145 x 10
185 x 10
245 x 5
270 x 3
295 x 4 reps x 5 sets
The second series of sets is done with the bar elevated 4 or 5 additional inches but not over 8 inches above the chest:
325 x 1
345 x 1
370 x 6 singles
290 x 10 reps" (Lockout Prones).  

By far and away the most interesting tidbit about Tanny was his I'm-So-Fucking-Paleo-I-Don't-Even-Use-Fire diet- after visiting Hawaii, Tanny came back raving about the badass Somoans he'd met.  Tanny reportedly gushed about them like a schoolgirl about the Jonas Brothers, claiming: "They ate everything raw.  you name it, fish, meat, beetles - everything!  They were so strong and healthy" (Roach 183).  After seeing the enormity of their bodies (they're 5'10' on average and have abnormally dense muscle and bone tissue) and their prodigrous strength, Tanny changed his diet entirely and started eating everything raw- .75 to 1.5lbs meat a day (tuna, beef, liver, lobster, oysters, clams), in addition to nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables.  He took it even further than that- he would walk out into the surf while hanging out at the beach and kick up 6'-7' clams to eat as a snack.  Then, Tanny added the advice of the first modern nutritionist Gayelord Hauser and added brewer's yeast, dessicated liver, yogurt, black strap molasses, and wheat germ oil in an effort to aid digestion and improve his longevity (Roach 184).


Tanny felt like the creatine in his diet, obtained from the massive amounts of raw meat he was eating, was the reason he was able to bring such a complete package of size, cuts, and muscularity to the stage, all while maintaining a level of strength that made him the envy of other lifters around the country at 200 lbs.  Clearly, the fact that he had been training hard with what basically amounted to an early powerbuilding routine for nearly 20 years by the time he won the pro Mr. USA played a major role as well, in addition to the fact that he added an immense amount of GPP to his program in the form of gymnastics on the beach and wrestling.

Every day was Christmas for Armand Tanny.

Whatever it was, Armand Tanny definitely saw the inside of enough women in a relatively prudish time, made a pretty tidy sum of money, lived in the nicest climates in the US, and basically lived as a gym going beach bum who garnered a reputation for being one of the most muscular and strongest dudes in the country- all without really competing- to have baddest motherfucker status fully engaged.

Sources:
Armand Tanny.  Dave Draper Online.  Web.  2 Dec 2014.  http://www.davedraper.com/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/PmWiki/ArmandTanny

Doonan, Simon.  Eating Gruel and Loving It.  Slate.  28 Mar 2012.  Web.  8 Dec 2014.  http://www.slate.com/articles/life/doonan/2012/03/gayelord_hauser_the_man_who_invented_the_celebrity_diet_.html


Roach, Randy.  Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors, Volume 1.  Bloomington: Authorhouse, 2008.

Tanny, Armand.  Touch System for the Deadlift.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  18 Jun 2014.  Web.  8 Dec 2014.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2011/06/touch-system-for-deadlift-armand-tanny.html

Tanny, Armand.  Lockout Prones.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  16 May 2011.  Web.  3 Dec 2014.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2011/05/lockout-prones-armand-tanny.html

Tanny, Armand.  Supersets for super size.  The Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban.  9 Jun 2011.  Web.  3 Dec 2014.  http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2011/06/super-sets-for-super-size-armand-tanny.html

Thurber, Jon.  Armand Tanny dies at 90; Muscle Beach bodybuilder won national titles in '49, '50.  LA Times.  9 Apr 2009.  Web.  4 Dec 2014.  http://www.latimes.com/local/obituaries/la-me-armand-tanny9-2009apr09-story.html

Todd, Terry.  Armand Tanny remembers Steve Reeves.  Iron Game History.  Dec 2000: 6(4);24-25.  http://library.la84.org/SportsLibrary/IGH/IGH0604/IGH0604g.pdf

24 comments:

  1. I've heard about the raw meat thing before, but if you wanted a source that didn't leave you emptying your gut so often your midsection looked like that last Tanny picture then it would be difficult nowadays and expensive compared to cheap meat you can cook.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure that's entirely true- there's a book I'm going to use called "The Good Old Days- They Were Terrible" that actually paints a picture of the late 19th, early 20th Century that's pretty bleak, and it seem that doping of cattle started even as early as the early 20th. If the West Coast was anywhere near as polluted as the waters off the east coast in the early 20th C, Tanny was taking his fucking life into his hands with those clams.

      Delete
    2. If you want to eat raw meat, the best compromise is to get intact cuts of beef or lamb (not ground or tenderized) and lightly cook the outside. Surface bacteria is (for the most part) the only thing you need to worry about with beef and lamb. If you dip an intact piece of meat in boiling water for 10-15 seconds, this should get rid of the surface bacteria without cooking the inside at all. I've done this with lamb and it's quite nice.

      Delete
    3. Yeah you can also cure the meat and not cook it at all, my point was that it was normal at that time to buy meat exclusively from a butcher who gets it from an abattoir maybe few hours away. At that time the meat would almost certainly have been "free range", rather than kept in small cells where diseases are spread quickly and the dead are processed to feed the living, and meat like that is a luxury (or depending on your culture an expensive necessity) now.

      Delete
  2. Good article. When are you doing another podcast? I'm stuck listening to "The Jason Feruggia Show" :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No idea. Paul fell off the face of the Earth.

      Delete
    2. He can fucking stay there too.

      Great article. This is probably the best series you've had going.

      Delete
    3. "He can fucking stay there too."

      ^^^^^ - Wat's up wit dat, justin p? FYI - I enjoy ur blog too!

      Delete
    4. Mr. Lewis, perhaps "Rant" can fill in for Paul?

      Delete
    5. Eh, the powerlifting community has enough gossipy shit-talkers without me adding to the problem. I don't care to elaborate.

      Thank you, BTW.

      Delete
  3. http://www.rawpaleodiet.com/

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    ReplyDelete
  4. Yup, quick 10 seconds on a hot grill with a slab on intact beef and you're good to go. Try it, it's fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  5. 0.75-1.5lbs of meat a day? Sounds like a small childs snack

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