How It All Started -- The Origin of Modern Fitness Training

Modern fitness training for improving health and physical appearance originated in ancient Greece (2500 - 200 B.C.) where the beauty of the body and the importance of health and fitness were appreciated to an extent unparalleled in history. [INDEED, THE OLYMPICS SPORTS COMPETION AS WE KNOW IT TODAY ORIGINATED IN ANCIENT GREECE .]

With this background it shouldn't come as a surprise that an ancient Greek athlete is regarded as the forefather of modern fitness training. Milo of Crotona lived in the sixth century B.C. and was an accomplished wrestler well known for his extraordinary feats of strength. Preparing for his participation in the Olympic Games, he inadvertently discovered one of the most important principles of modern fitness training, the so called "Overload Principle ".



The legend tells us that Milo of Crotona used to build strength and endurance by lifting a young bull calf on his shoulders. Every day he went out in the field and picked up the calf, placed it across the back of his shoulders and walked around the field. As the calf grew over a period of time Milo would gradually grow in strength. By the time the Olympics began, Milo made a big entrance into the arena with a full-grown bull around his neck.  Milo was applying the "Overload Principle" which states that a person will function better and grow in strength beyond their normal level of strength as they progressively apply higher levels of resistance. In Milo 's case the increasing weight of the growing calf was providing the added resistance . Milo 's discovery and application of the Overload Principle made him so fit and strong that he won the Olympics for 6 consecutive times over a 24-year period and also won numerous victories in other athletic events.