This will probably be the very last article I will write about Vince Gironda since I think I’ve covered it all, plus I certainly don’t want to over-glorify him and possibly sound ridiculous, as this would be a mistake.
Simply stated, there are two (2) reasons I have such monumental admiration for him. First, he has proven to be the most brilliant mind ever to grace bodybuilding in every aspect.
Second, if you were to look in the dictionary to research ethics and integrity, it would state his name and follow with “like a rock, true and enduring, of the highest moral stature; a decent, honorable, incorruptible man,” plus a ton of other adjectives, including being a tormented man, but he walked the walk and talked the talk!
In the article I wrote in 2001, “Remembering The Guru – Part I and Part II,” Bob Kennedy, the editor of Muscle Mag International, appropriately started the article out by saying, “Close family members apart, when was the last time you witnessed grown men weeping at the loss of a comrade.”
Sure it happens, of course, but when the late, great Vince Gironda died, the outpouring of emotion was felt from coast to coast and beyond. I thank Bob for that, simply because “beyond” means the world. I’ll never forget the notes and the calls that came in after Vince’s death. There were over 300 calls and monumental amounts of notes from people all over the world.
I received a call from Madagascar and I don’t even know where that is! I recall thinking to myself that nobody in the history of bodybuilding has ever had such a tribute as this. Vince deeply and profoundly touched the intellectual people in bodybuilding. He appealed to the people who didn’t use drugs, who had health in mind, who weren’t dysfunctional, who didn’t want to stick a needle in their rear-ends, and who just wanted to look great physically until the day they die.
It was monumental, and I am still stunned as I think about what has happened since I wrote the article and about the many, many people that I’ve spoken to and sent courses to and the many people that have purchased the Volume I and Volume II Vince Gironda DVD’s since Vince’s death It’s truly amazing.
It’s sad because Vince’s methods are the best and because bodybuilding magazines control peoples’ views on what’s right and what’s wrong in bodybuilding. Today, bodybuilding is going totally backwards and I see no progress for the better at all. Bodybuilders are even doing dumber things and dumber exercises in gyms today.
When taking a workout at gyms around town, people will always comment, “What kind of movements are those?” When I show them how to do the movement, they usually comment that they’ve never felt anything like it! I still want to barf when I hear the dumb comment, “How much can you bench?”
Because I personally owe Vince a debt that I probably will never be able to repay, I’ve decided to write this article because I have had so many calls from men and women who have said that they wish they had known Vince, and that they wished that they could have gone to his gym so that he could have trained them.
They often have questions about Vince personally, and I thought that I could answer those questions in this article. Especially, I’d like to answer the questions of the women, since womenhave a motherly instinct. One lady that called me from Los Angeles was crying because she and her husband made fabulous gains using Vince’s methods when other methods failed and she missed him so much. They particularly want to know what Vince was like and what his wife was like.
Vince’s first wife, Peggy, opened and pioneered a ladies’ bodybuilding gym in L.A., but, of course, it failed, as America was not yet ready for the women’s bodybuilding, let alone the men’s, in 1946. Even Vince, John Grimek, Steve Reeves, etc., were looked upon as funny and with distain at that time.
Peggy was an extremely attractive and vivacious lady, as well as being as intellectual as Vince was. She shared Vince’s passion for bodybuilding and physical culture. As expected, her death affected him greatly and his grief never seemed to cease for eons. After all, they were a perfect match! She died of a brain hemorrhage.
Vince’s second wife, Madeline, was younger than he was and was supportive in the gym and in his later years. Ironically, I never met her in person, but did keep in constant touch with her by phone. Vince had one son, Guy, who seems to have just disappeared. I don’t think Guy had the desire and passion for bodybuilding that Vince had, but, of course, this is only my observation…
I’ve been asked about Vince’s idiosyncrasies and his habits. Most people do know that I love to write about Vince and I am definitely writing this article to share with you his brilliance and information about the man himself. Keep in mind, there are a lot of things that I do know about Vince and just some things that I don’t know.
I do know that whenever I was in his gym, I felt safe and secure and I knew that I wasn’t going to be deceived or lied to for profit! It was like no other gym I had ever been in, as it was a sanctuary and like my dad was teaching me. The gym was like entering another world with his equipmentdefinitely like no one else’s.
To be sure, I’m not the only one that went to his gym to learn and train. To quote my customer and friend, John DeJacomo from New Jersey, “I went to the two beach gyms in L.A. (Gold’s and World) but I didn’t learn a damn thing about bodybuilding, but when I went to Vince’s – WOW, what an education that was!”
A new customer from Miami, FL, Santiago Munioz said, “When I started bodybuilding years ago, I made gains because I had never worked out before, but within a few months, they completely stopped. By accident, I discovered Vince’s frog hack squat – I couldn’t walk for a week and I was stunned by the progress that’s never stopped!”
Tom Samokar from Connecticut (a champion natural bodybuilder) says that he owes everything to Vince. Remember Daryl Conant from DVDs I and II? What a classic physique, and he owes it all to the guru!
A long time ago, Vince told me that he hoped that I would carry on. My goal has been just that – to carry on and to continue to learn more, to get my diploma and to study with Dr. Dick Versendaal, Dr. Harry Eidenier, and Jr. and Dr. Kurt Donsbach. I’ve tried my best to study nutrition, the endocrine system, and the human body in general and to continue my own research.