Roberts is credited with creating the term "bodybuilding" and became a pioneer of physical training by experimenting on himself. Because of his clearly defined physique, Roberts was often a model for artists and sculptors. In 1887 Roberts headed to the School for Christian Workers, now Springfield College, to run the floor work in the gymnasium. He left at the conclusion of the 1888-1889 academic year and took a temporary position in Utica, NY before settling in Boston, MA as the director of the gymnasium at the Boston YMCA.
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