The History of Gold’s Gym

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In 1965, former bodybuilder and US Marine, Joe Gold opened up a gym in Venice California as a place for himself and his friends to train. Charging $60 a year, Joe kept costs down by making his own gym equipment, skimping on the heating and recruiting every bodybuilder worth his salt as a member.

Unbeknownst to Joe, his simple gym would eventually become an institution in the fitness world.

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Steroids Good or Bad? Muscular Developement Article, September 1968

steroids3In 1968 Jackson Bowling, a writer for bodybuilding magazine Muscular Development set out to clear up any misconceptions about the growing trend of anabolic steroids in bodybuilding. Jackson’s advice? Use them sparingly and under the supervision of a doctor. Fascinating to think that in less than 50 years Steroids have gone from being relatively unknown in bodybuilding to widespread.

Bodybuilders and athletes alike are hearing more and more about the “new” tissue drugs and anabolic steroids, but down to earth facts and information has been hard to come by.

Just what are these steroids? Are they harmful? Do they really work the miracles some claim ? These are but a few of the many questions that more and more weight trainees are asking, and this article hopes to give the answers in plain, every day terms.

Weight Loss in 1920s America: The Reducing Craze

In the 1920s a new fitness craze hit white America called reducing. As the name suggests, reducing had everything to do with losing weight but very little to do with exercise and correct nutrition.

This was no ordinary weight loss craze. It was an all encompassing movement involving popular media, emerging business markets and a growing white consciousness about the importance of health. So popular had reducing become that by 1925, a contemporary US journalist remarked

“Reducing has become a national pastime, a craze, a national fanaticism, a frenzy.”

Hillel Schwartz would later characterize this craze as less than ideal “the “Roaring Twenties were also the calculating, calorie controlled, ounce-conscious Grim twenties.”

So how did reducing sweep the US nation?

1976 Rolling Stone Magazine Interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Arnold Schwarzenegger: The Hero of Perfected Mass

This article, written by Abe Peck, first appeared in Rolling Stone magazine (214) on June 3rd, 1976

Outside the hotel Burgers Park, in Pretoria, South Africa, a group of black workmen in baggy pants and clean white shirts form a circle and drink bootleg “Zulu beer” from brown paper containers. A few feet farther on, a line of black women, kerchiefs on their heads and flowing dresses masking their bodies, wait for “Nie-blanke” (nonwhite) buses to take them to houseclean for white people. Across the street, urchins in scuffed shoes sell newspapers that scream about the hard rain falling in Angola and the soft kiss that Liz Taylor had given her black chauffeur.

But on the enclosed lawn at the Burgers Park hotel, there’s a completely different reality. You might even call it a universe of its own.

1977 and the birth of the World’s Strongest Man

Who is the strongest man in the World? Ever since man began to lift heavy objects for fun, there has been an insatiable desire to know who is the strongest.

It was this desire that led to the creation of the World’s Strongest Man (WSM) Competition in 1977, a yearly event that has since become an industry in it’s own right.

Today we look at the creation and execution of the first ever WSM event, a competition that saw bodybuilders carry fridges, Olympic Weightlifters out lift power lifters and the four finalists battle it out in a tug of war competition.

Pumping Iron: The History of the Bench Press

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The Bench Press, one of the most primitive and effective exercises in the weight room. Despite it’s much revered status, few of us know about the fascinating history of the bench press, a lift that evolved to suit the needs of a growing professionalism in competitive weightlifting.

Having previously examined the history of the squat, it only seems fair to look at the history of the gym rats favourite exercise.

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Attached below is Bernarr McFadden’s classical book Vitality Supreme. Whilst McFadden wrote a number of works, Vitality Supreme is one of the more interesting publications. Luckily for us in 2014, it’s also free to download and free to read.

Vitality Supreme

Find out McFadden’s advice for strengthening your stomach, improving your diet and building inner strength. It’s a great book for the strength enthusiast and the physical culture historian alike.

So go on, download it now and enjoy it for yourself!

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How much sleep do you really need?

8c6o84yEiHow much sleep do you really need?

It’s a question anyone with an interest in health or fitness has asked themselves at one point or another. Nowadays 7-8 hours a night is prescribed with such regularity that it becomes almost annoying.

To help us determine what makes a good sleep and how long we should actually rest, today we look at the 1915 Book Vitality Supreme by famed Physical Culturist Bernarr McFadden. A controversial figure, McFadden ran a Physical Culture Empire that encompassed everything from health hotels to magazines. While not all of his advice would be accepted today, his opinion on what makes a good sleep is undoubtedly interesting reading.

So without further adieu, here’s is what one of the fathers of modern day physical culture had to say about sleep