Glamourous Film stars work hard for beauty - exercise 1936

Health trainer Don Loomis is physical father confessor to the most glamorous stars in Hollywood - Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Robert Taylor, Jean Harlow, Luise Rainer etc.

"The chief secret of beauty is good circulation, says Loomis. "Joan Crawford weighs 126 pounds and is in marvelous physical condition. She performs a daily routine of light calisthenic work to keep her circulation up to par, concentrating on abdominal exercise. The stomach is the first thing to sag with age." According to the trainer, Jean Harlow is less muscular and weighs less than miss Crawford, but has to exercise to diminish her hips.

Garbo uses ice water
The answer to Greta Garbo's good complexion is found in a daily dousing of ice cold water. "Swedish girls who have the best complexion's in the world, wash their faces in snow every day," stated Loomis, adding, "girls all do this in Sweden. Women should avoid cosmetics that enlarge the pores. It is advisable, however, to use a thin layer of cream before applying ice."

"Persons with a naturally dry skin must be careful to avoid anything that increases dryness, such as preparations containing alcohol. Olive oil is a fine antidote, makes the skin velvety, puts life into the pores and discourages wrinkles. A good sample of clear, beautiful skin belongs to Virginia Bruce, who can be photographed without makeup of any kind."

Ladies with a yen for singing - allied to good health - should follow the Loomis daily plan for Jeanette MacDonald. "I have developed her chest and increased her diaphragm with the following exercise: Miss McDonald lies over a stool on her back with a bar in both hands. She raises her arms slowly until she touches the floor at the back, keeping arms stiff, exhaling and inhaling with each separate movement.

Swim fast to reduce
Norma Shearer's figure perfection comes via swimming. "She swims short distances very quickly. To get thin, never swim long distances slowly, as this develops muscles and increases fat." Robert Taylor has visited the studio gymnastics three times a week for more than a year, concentrating on adding width to the chest and shoulders.

Luise Rainer suffers from an outsize appetite. "She wanted to exercise and take off all her excess weight in a week, but I stopped her," Loomis related. "Weight taken off in a hurry always returns. Weight taken off slowly, and replaced with hard muscles at the same time, makes reduction permanent."

Picking up marbles
Jimmy Stewart is trying to gain weight. "I put him on a routine of slow moving exercises that require resistance from the muscles - lying flat on your back and raising the legs very slowly until they touch the floor above the head, then bringing the legs down slowly to the first position."

To improve the arches of the feet, students of the Loomis gymnasium pick up marbles with their toes. "It's the perfect antidote for high heels." Marbel picking champion in Hollywood, according to Loomis, is Mary Carlisle.

"Never use a pillow, especially if inclined to stoop," is another watch-word from the physical expert. "If the blood rushes to the head without a pillow, put blocks under the bedposts at the head of the bed to incline it." June Knight was the first to follow the pillowless sleeping movement. Loomis' unusual training methods include deep breathing before an open window to induce sleep, crawling on hands and feet to limber the spine, and back bending exercises to stimulate the circulation, thereby improving digestion.

© The Milwaukee Journal, 1936


  1. Gosh this is fascinating, there is no way a modern personal trainer would be so open about their famous clienteles problem areas or weight!!

    1. I think you are right, Wendy. Times have changed indeed. Although it is not nice for the personal trainers clienteles themselves, it is nice to know that these glamorous actresses had problem areas, too! Just like all of us.

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