The motivation, personality and goals of the Harvard athlete have always tended to be unique. One of the more unusual examples is Scott Meadow--a devotee of the widely misunderstood sport of bodybuilding.
Six days a week, Meadow gets up before 7:00 and runs four miles by the Charles to "loosen up." He then goes to a converted squash court in Dunster House, which serves as a weight room.
Meadow's intense morning workout lasts until 9:00, when he eats breakfast, which last Wednesday morning consisted of twelve egg whites and water. He returns to the weightroom at about 3:30 and works out for two hours on another aspect of his regimented program.
On the average, Meadow puts in 30 hours a week and eats only meats and water. Why would anyone want to subject themselves to this seemingly pointless Spartanism?
Some of the rewards are obvious. On February 8, Meadow won the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) sponsored "Mr. New England" contest in Nashua, New Hampshire. In addition, a story appeared in February's "Strength and Health" magazine on Meadow's accomplishments, and as a result of the article he has received several fan letters.
Contests and recognition, however, are of negligible importance to the Winthrop House resident. Meadow has participated in football, wrestling and track while at Harvard. He used to train for these sports by weightlifting, until last year when he decided to shift his focus specifically to bodybuilding.
"I sustained a wrestling injury last year, and felt I wasn't really going anywhere nationally in the sport, so I decided to pour all my time into bodybuilding," Meadow recalled. He soon discovered he had other motivations for the switch, as well. "In other sports I always had a coach making demands of me. When I started my program, I realized it was my own head that was getting me to work four and a half hours a day," Meadow said.
"I also saw it as a type of religious thing," Meadow added. "I feel that I have been given a healthy body and mind, and should do as much with them as possible."
Meadow's major motivation became clear, even to himself, only recently. An athlete and art enthusiast for most of his years, Meadow found that bodybuilding "allows me to incorporate art and sport. I built myself into a hulk of flesh and now am sculpting myself out. Self-discipline is my chisel."
Meadow, noting that people tend to think of bodybuilders as a vain group, said that nothing could be further from the truth in his case. "When I look in the mirror, I'm not seeing how handsome I am, but how a certain shape is developing. I study the relation of these shapes to one another," he explained.
He emphasized that his program is a healthy one. "I eat all natural foods and will have nothing to do with steroids or other unnatural growth stimulants." He said these defeat a major purpose of his program. Meadow elaborated by quoting Wordsworth: "Nature would never betray the one that loved her."
Meadow plans to continue his intense training for another six weeks. On April 3 he will be in the NCAA "Mr. USA" contest in Athens, Ohio. After the contest, he anticipates toning down the workouts, going out for wrestling again, and aiming to fit into a regular suit.
In preparation for competitions bodybuilders will normally spend a great deal of time practicing their poses in front of mirrors. It is also essential that bodybuilders shave their body hair to highlight their muscle contours.