On the theory that "everybody should have theirself a physical fit," the engaging Rocky Graziano, actor and former middleweight champion, has lent his special kind of eloquence, with the help of Rowland Barber, to the production of a book called The Rocky Road to Physical Fitness (G-R-Z Publishers, soft cover, $2.95).
After he entered show business 15 years ago, confides Rocky, he more or less went to pot, a fact that shows prominently in profile views of his "before" condition. Even the "after" picture at the end of the book does not establish that he has once again become a ripple-bellied killer, but it does show improvement of an encouraging sort.
In between these takes the reader sees Rocky engaged in such health-giving exercises as The Guru Goombah, The Zero Yard Dash, The Yardbird Flap and The Stoplight Rubbernecker.
For all that it is gimmicked with such esoteric fancies, Rocky's book does offer a serious program of exercises to develop the body's muscular system and, more importantly, to contribute to the health of the heart and the lungs. Graziano and his collaborator do not suggest that the job will be all that easy or that it takes no willpower, or that 10 minutes of effortless activity per day will make you look like an early Charles Atlas ad. Rather, they insist, the course is relatively rigorous.
It begins in the morning with 20 minutes of such calisthenics as The Stationhouse Frisk and continues on to 10 or 15 preluncheon minutes of The Chairman-of-the-Board Push-out. The regimen forbids flaking out with two or three dry martinis before dinner but, in their stead, commands 15 to 30 minutes of The Rocky-and-Roll, The Knee Grabber and The Grand and Glorious Cast of Thousands Rope-skip Jubilee. And that doesn't end it. Before you go to bed you should have a go at The Torso Unscrewer, The Isometric Scrunchup and The Gut-rock Flutter. For that matter, there is no rest on weekends, either, for then The Take-out-the-dog Trot is advised.
None of the exercises are really new, but they make an interesting combination of what Rocky "rememberized from what my old trainer, Whitey Bimstein, learned me" from yoga, and a number of conventional exercises, none of them exhausting or too difficult if approached with caution at the beginning of the routine. In 30 days you could wind up looking like Rocky Graziano. And even if you don't, you'll have, along with your still ample profile, a happy memory of some diverting reading.