Re: Bodybuilding during the era?
A life spent doing manual labor will promote a lean muscle mass. Based on the socio-economic level of the person you are portraying, you may be better off learning the basics of a period trade and using that as the reason for your muscled appearance. A river (one who rives wood with a maul and froe) would be a good one to research as it would promote strong muscles in the shoulders, biceps, triceps, and laterals.
I've got fences that need to be built and wire to be stretched if you want to save your gym membership money.
Texas Ground Hornets
Texas State Troops
[HOUSTON] TRI-WEEKLY TELEGRAPH, October 28, 1863,
All ladies in Houston and surrounding counties who have cloth on hand, which they can spare, are requested to donate it to the ladies of Crockett for the purpose of making petticoats for the Minute Men of this county, who have "backed out" of the service. We think the petticoat more suitable for them in these times.