The Essence of Bodybuilding according to Vince Gironda (Iron Man, May 1983)

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Continuing our Vince Gironda interest, today features an article written by the man himself on what separates the men from the champions in Bodybuilding. The answer may just surprise you.

Vince Gironda’s Definition Routine

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Nicknamed the Iron Guru, Vince Gironda, as pictured above, was one the most famed bodybuilding coaches of the 20th century. An early proponent of low carb dieting, Vince churned out a list of bodybuilding champions ranging from Larry Scott to Arnold Schwarzenegger and many more in between.

Gironda was a firm believer in the mantra that nutrition dictates all. So what did Vince do when someone needed to get into contest shape?

Old Time Selling – Eugen Sandow and the Business of Supplements

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Type ‘Eugen Sandow Supplements’ into Google and you’ll find an interesting result. Half the results will talk about the virtues of Sandow and other physical culturists who ‘didn’t need supplements’ and the other half will discuss the selling technqiues of these very same men.

Whilst it is not the case that the impressive physiques from the men of yore were built on supplementation, it is fair to say that these pioneers of health and fitness had few qualms about selling supplements to aspiring fitness enthusiasts. This was especially the case of Eugen Sandow, the “World’s Most Perfectly Developed Man”.

Up in Smoke: The Nazi Anti-Tobacco Campaign

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‘So many excellent men have been lost to tobacco poisoning.’

 Adolf Hitler, 1942

Much historical study has been conducted into addressing the atrocities committed by the Nazi Regime from 1933 to 1945. However, considerably less attention has been dedicated to the Nazi anti-tobacco campaign, a relatively benign government policy, which importantly, was one of the first campaigns by a Western government designed to deal with health issues arising from tobacco use. This subject is particularly topical in the current climate, as many Western governments are attempting to reduce tobacco use among their own citizens. This paper will examine the first mass Western government campaign against tobacco and its ultimate failings.

Why were the Nazis so concerned to control the use of tobacco among its citizens? Is it possible that the Nazis were concerned with the wellbeing of some of its citizens? Or were more selfish motives involved?

The ‘Great Competition’: Bodybuilding’s First Ever Show

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Given the number of bodybuilding shows held every month, let alone every year, in places like the UK and USA, it’s difficult to imagine a time when there bodybuilding shows were relatively unheard of. Yes, vaudeville shows were performers would show off their muscles had been established in the 1800s but it took some time for a dedicated bodybuilding show to emerge.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was Eugen Sandow, the man many credit as the Father of Modern Bodybuilding, who helped initiate the first ever bodybuilding competition in the Royal Albert Hall in 1901. Billed as ‘the Great Competition’, the show helped kickstart the bodybuilding craze and bring about a world of Mr. Americas, Universes and Olympias.

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.

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?