By KATHRYN LANDIS
Ted Glasgow’s smile is infectious, but his physique may be a little intimidating. He’s a body builder, originally from East St. Louis, who has won the Mr. Missouri title four times.
He got his start in 1976 at a competition in Springfield.
“It was in an air-conditioned hotel, and they didn’t have a stage or anything like that,” Glasgow said. “There were no weight classes, no music, and we did our posing routine.”
At 5 feet 8 inches, 189 pounds and 53 years old, Glasgow is still competing.
“At one time … I could probably name eight to 10 good body builders competing,” Glasgow said of body builders in Columbia. “I am the last one left.”
The competitors are judged on their physique, including muscularity, symmetry, definition and muscle size.
Glasgow grew up in East St. Louis until he hit his teenage years. Glasgow said that when his father passed away, his mother recognized the negative influence the city could have on him, and he was sent to live in a small town in northwest Missouri.
“So I went from the big city to a town that had like 200 people,” Glasgow said. “It was very bizarre. It was a little bit of a culture shock.”
He quickly learned there were significant differences between the two locations.
“During goose season, these kids actually brought their guns to school and would leave them in the office until school was out,” Glasgow said. “So I’m thinking, ‘Wow.’ I mean, kids brought guns to school in the city, but they didn’t actually forecast it.”
By the time he was a teenager, Glasgow weighed around 250 pounds and had a 47-inch waistline.
“I was a little on the obese side,” Glasgow said. “But then I started getting into athletics, started watching my diet a little bit more.”
His first introduction to body building was through a body building magazine featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dave Draper.
“Arnold and Dave Draper were both on the cover, and I was enthralled by it. I read it over and over again,” Glasgow said. “I’d go to the local drug store, which (was) eight miles away, and I’d skim through all these car magazines. While I was there, I saw a body builder magazine, and I was thinking, ‘Wow, I want to look like that.’”
It took him a year and a half, but Glasgow lost 110 pounds.
He started off by boxing and then started track and field, where he set two records at his high school. He also received a scholarship to Northeast Missouri State University for track and field, where he studied physical education for two years.
After college, Glasgow started bodybuilding, and at the Lone Star Classic, he won his first overall title and received a 6-foot-tall trophy.
“My friend that went with me luckily had a truck,” Glasgow said. “If I had come in a car, there is no way we could have gotten it home.”
Body building competitions have taken Glasgow to seven or eight states.
“When I was a kid on the farm, they had these livestock contests, and they’d take the prize bull to the state fair,” Glasgow said. “I’ve said, ‘You know, what I’m doing really isn’t that far from that.’”
He now works as a physical therapist aid at Boone Hospital Center and does private physical therapy work with six other clients outside the hospital. One of Glasgow’s patients was a CEO at Boone Hospital Center and helped Glasgow start working at the hospital.
“I always tell my friends that if I come in and say more than, ‘Hi, how are you doing?” you’re not doing so good,” Glasgow said.
Glasgow and other staff members joke that they put out the “Ted” signal when help is needed.
“Kind of like the bat signal, except it’s the Ted signal,” Glasgow said.
Between work at the hospital and with his private clients, Glasgow said his life has to stay regimented.
“I think as humans, sometimes we need to be a little regimented,” he said. “Left to our own accord, we tend to be slackers sometimes.”
Glasgow said he will be competing at Muscle Mayhem in Kansas City on Saturday, May 14, the National Championships in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, July 22, and the North American in Cleveland in August.