Book Review: “Foundation One” and “Handstand One” by Christopher Sommer

Christopher Sommer is a professional bodybuilder, who started training at age 15. He competed in the Mr. Olympia contest in 1984 and won the title three times. He was inducted into the International Bodybuilding Hall of Fame in 2005.[1] His most recent win came when he placed second place in the 2006 Arnold Classic Amateur World Championships.[2][3] In 2008, he became one of only five competitors to successfully complete all seven days of competition at the Arnold Classic.

In 2009, he became the first person to complete the Arnold Classic without using any steroids or other performance enhancing drugs. He finished in 7th place with a total body mass index (BMI) of 22.7.[4]

He is known for his work ethic and dedication to fitness and health. He has been described as having a “very intense competitive streak”.[5]

His website states that he is currently living in New York City where he works as a personal trainer.[6]

He is married to Julie. They have two children.

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Biography Edit

Early Life Edit

Sommer was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 21st, 1961[7]. When he was 15 he began training at a local gym where he met his future mentor, Joe Jaspers.

Jaspers introduced him to weight training and changed his diet from ice cream and coke to steak and eggs. He also taught him the basics of weight training.

In return, Sommer kept the gym clean and ran errands for Jaspers.

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At first, Chris was embarrassed to be seen at the gym by his friends. But, after a year of training he had gained 40 pounds (18 kg) of muscle and began to enjoy the attention his strength brought him.

He was a good student but had trouble with algebra. As a teenager, he worked as a bouncer at a local night club.

Later, he worked as a truck-driver and eventually saved enough money to buy his own truck.

Sommer joined the Air Force in 1982 and was sent to Korea for a year of training. When he returned, he left the Air Force and worked as a professional bouncer while saving money to attend college.

After a year, he enrolled at Moraine Valley Community College where he took basic courses in English, math and computers. He worked as a bouncer at a night club to earn money.

Sommer joined a bodybuilding gym near the college because it was the cheapest gym in the area. There he met Steve Weiss, a former Mr.

Illinois. He impressed Sommer with his knowledge of weight training and the two men became friends.

Weiss saw that Sommer had talent and potential as a bodybuilder. He offered to train him free of charge, providing he moved into his house to make it easier for Weiss to coach him.

Weiss didn’t make any specific diet recommendations so Chris ate what he wanted, when he wanted. He mostly ate junk food and drank whole milk.

He was never concerned with healthy eating habits and never weighed or measured his food.

He soon developed tendonitis in both elbows from the excessive weight training and his blood pressure rose so high that he was taken off night-duty at the night club and forced to quit his job there. His doctor also told him to quit bodybuilding as his heart couldn’t take the strain.

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Bodybuilding Career Edit

Chris stuck with bodybuilding and continued to train at the local gym. He entered his first competition, the 1988 Mr.

Naboro pageant in Chicago where he came in 2nd place. In 1989 he won the title of Mr. Naboro.

Sommer’s father died that year and he used part of his $750 in winnings to have his father’s body exhumed and transferred to a better grave site. He also spent $750 on a round-trip ticket to Austria to visit his pen pal, a woman he had been exchanging letters with for over 20 years by then.

His pen-pal, Elfriede Hochstatter, met him at the airport when he arrived. She was almost 40 years older than him and the two got along well.

She owned a restaurant in the town of Kals where she allowed him to stay with her while visiting.

Within a week of his arrival, the two were married. He stayed in Austria for almost a year before returning home to the U.S.

In 1990, he entered the NPC Junior USA contest and won his weight class and Overall title. He turned professional that year and took part in several pro-shows but had little success.

His marriage to Elfriede began to fail due to the large age gap between them and her controlling attitude. She frequently scolded him and demanded that he make his training and eating her a priority in his life.

He felt stifled and trapped so he left her after only 6 months of marriage.

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Sommer returned to the U.S.

and immediately began to concentrate on his career as a bodybuilder and began to compete regularly, taking part in several major competitions each year.

In 1993, he won his first competition, the Xenadrine Grand Prix Championship. He received a $1,000 trophy and a photo shoot for FLEX magazine.

That year he also earned his first sponsorship deal from the supplement company, Weider.

By 1996, he was able to quit his job at the health club and focus on preparing for competitions full time. His wife backed out controlling his life and just wanted him to be happy.

In 1997, he met Lisa, a medical school student. He moved into her house in Urbana, Illinois and they were soon married.

She supported his career but was worried that he might injure himself or get fat from taking steroids. At this point he was taking 10 different supplements a day. He went from walking around with his belly protruding out to having six pack abs.

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