Inside the skinny, six-foot-four frame of Sam Fussell cowered the wimp who would have got sand kicked in his face – if he’d ever dared to go to the beach in the first place. Then, aged twenty-six, this bookish, pigeon-chested Oxford graduate discovered Arnold Schwarzenegger’s guide to bodybuilding. Same devoured it and shot into his nearest New York gym where Mousie the Portugese Rambo observed that ‘God ain’t exactly helped you with genetics’and everybody laughed at him.
Four years later nobody was laughing at Sam Fussell. he’d gained eighty pounds; he had calves like water melons and thighs like anvils. He was, in the words of one famous critic, the archetypal ‘condom filled with walnuts’. By day he was still Sam Fussell; by night he was ‘Rocky Mountain Way’, the competitive bodybuilder, dripping with sweat and fake tan. And he was miserable. Aged thirty he dropped the weights and picked up his pen to write this shocking, poignant, and often wildly funny account of the ‘disease’ of bodybuilding and the quest for perfection.