Bernarr Macfadden (1868 - 1955) is considered to be the Father of Physical Culture and the founder of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club in New York in 1903. Macfadden, nicknamed "Body Love" Macfadden by Time magazine, was a flamboyant personality, fitness visionary, a publisher of over 100 books on health, sexuality and fitness, life-long advocate of physical fitness, natural food, outdoor exercise, and the natural treatment of disease who started the tradition of Polar Bear Swims.
An inspiration to millions of people of her era to live healthful and vigorous lives, he campaigned tirelessly against "pill-pushers and processed foods. He believed that "our bodies are our most glorious possessions, that health-wealth is our greatest asset and that every man can be a vigorous vital specimen of masculinity: that every woman can be a splendidly strong, well poised specimen of femininity."
He believed that a swim in the ocean during the winter is a boon to one's stamina, virility and immunity.
He organized won a contest for the "most perfect specimen of English womanhood" in 1913. That contest led within months to his marriage of the winner Mary Williamson Macfadden.
Skydiving at 91