Tag: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Robert Paris, ‘Defining the Iron Age’, Ironage.us (c. 2003)

fitness-2255626_1280For those of us whose bodybuilding heroes are from the IronAge, finding our place in the land of modern bodybuilding has been tough. We feel out of place. Our heroes and our IronAge ideals often seem incompatible with the world of bodybuilding. As we struggle to reconcile bodybuilding’s past with its changes, it is our own bodybuilding lifestyle that appears to suffer. I have met far too many whom, having lost interest in competitive bodybuilding and with no heroes to push them along, have lagged in their training. We fans are not alone in this struggle.

Many past champions and industry officials have become critical of the changes in bodybuilding’s focus. Cries of too many drugs, near-deaths and too much emphasis on sex can be heard from most of our heroes.

John Hansen, ‘The Day I Met Arnold, Lou and Franco’, Iron Age (c. 2004)

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I have a great story to share about the day I met the three best bodybuilders in the world on the same day.

I was 14 at the time and had just started to get interested in bodybuilding. It was wierd because I had been interested in muscles and bodybuilding for a long time, from when I was very young. In the ’70’s, however, bodybuilding was very small and was not main stream at all. There were many myths and old wives’ tales surrounding the sport.

Vicki Goldberg, ‘Is It An Art, A Sport or Sheer Exhibitionism?’, The New York Times, 30 November (1975)

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The front wall of Gold’s Gym in Venice, Calif., used to have big glass windows, but owners of the gym had to cover them over—so many passers-by stopped to gape that the men inside couldn’t concentrate. The interior of the gym is Rube Goldberg paradise inhabited by grotesques, men so colossally muscled they look like inverted pyramids.

Gold’s is crammed with wacky machines, welter of steel poles, shiny weights and pulleys, and more than two tons of iron barbells wedged into racks against the walls. The newest Nautilus exercise machines, complex steel and chrome booths that might be misguided models for electric chairs, stand guard by the door. Benches tend to slant up at cuckoo angles instead of lying flat. man teeters on one at a diagonal, with his knees bent, then straightens his legs to push the weights at his feet.

 

Ron Kosloff, Discipline: The Elusive Quality (2010)

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It’s the endeavor that separates winners from losers, champions from non champions, successful people from non-successful people, and most assuredly, it’s a quality that’s quickly disappearing in America. Why, because mass marketing is controlling our lives, telling us that we should all be the same, to dress the same, drink the same and eat the same fast food, etc., etc! Everything is the same and it’s all done to make money of course. Mass marketing of products is what helped the economy and the wages of the average American and of course no one ever thought that it would come home to roost in our brains. Mass marketing brains, mass marketing idiots, mass marketing people, who can’t think for themselves, who need the television to tell them what to do, like Homer Simpson. The result is that they are doing our thinking for us, making everything easier, or so it seems.

Don’t make anything difficult. We had a generation that fought the Second World War and they were called the greatest generation, well, I have one disagreement with the greatest generation. The biggest mistake they made is to say that their children weren’t going to have it as tough as they did. Well, tough is subjective, what is tough? During the boom and the glory years and the monetary years resulted in us turning our children into spoiled rotten brats. The great Ernie Harwell once said, “We’ve ruined our children giving them everything we never had.” These children want everything the easy way. Consequently, when you are taught about receiving something the easy way you are then not taught to strive, work or apply yourself, so now, the easy way is not the best way. Everything you learn in life builds character. Everything that you are challenged with and have to struggle through builds self-esteem and gives you a sense of gratitude and appreciation. Discipline is something the average American doesn’t possess anymore. The end result is it ends up being in the hands of the 10-15%. Vince Gironda was the greatest bodybuilding and trainer that ever lived. He created a physique through hard work and mental discipline of bodybuilding principles and nutrition. Have you ever envisioned or realized how difficult that was with no steroids! Vince would say, “I get in shape by deciding to do so.” But deciding to do so involves deciding to get up off the couch and go to the gym and work out.

The Amazing Physique Of A. Schwarzenegger & How He Developed It (1967 Article)

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Published in Iron Man Magazine in 1967 by Arnold’s friend Albert Busek, the following article details Arnold’s rise to fame alongside his working routine of the time. A fine biography and reminder that even during the 60s, people marvelled at the Austrian’s successes.

JUST a short year ago his name was still generally unknown, but on October 30, 1965, in Stuttgart, his meteoric rise to international fame began.

However, let us review his story from the very beginning. Arnold Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947, the son of police inspector Gustav Schwarzenegger and his wife, Aurelia. As a child he was taken along by his father to curling contests, and very soon the desire to emulate his father’s interest in sports awakened in him. At the same time he realised that that wouldn’t be a very easy thing to do, for his father was – and still is – an outstanding sportsman. Among other things, his father was the European title holder in distance curling, and several times he won awards as state champion in gymnastics and calisthenics. In his early efforts to achieve distinction in athletics, Arnold had to content himself with a merely average performance, and was very disappointed in this result. That happened in February, 1962, at the Graz City Championship in Distance Curling for Juniors. Arnold only won sixth place. For the son of a well-known sportsman that was naturally an unfortunate start, but Arnold was simply too weak to assert himself against the best performers. Thus, for the moment, his drive to reach the top came to a sudden halt.

The Birth of the Arnold Strongman Classic

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Earlier this year we were treated to perhaps the most exciting Arnold Strongman Classic to date. We saw Hafthor Bjornsson win the event for the second year in a row with a domineering display of power. The ‘Wheel of Pain’ from Conan the Barbarian made an appearance and it was joined by an exact replica of the famed Husafell Stone. The competition itself, and its sponsor, Rogue Fitness, spared no expense or difficulty in devising a truly remarkable show.

For those unaware of the Arnold Strongman, the competition is an annual gathering of some of the strongest athletes in the world held as part of the Arnold Classic, a multi-sporting event hosted by Arnold Schwarzenegger. While the Classic itself began in 1989, largely as a bodybuilding contest, it has grown since then to include everything from Ninja Warrior to fencing. It’s this multi-sporting appeal which resulted in the inclusion of a strongman event.

Regular readers of the blog will no doubt be asking why a strongman event came to the Arnold. After all, the World’s Strongest Man contest (WSM), as detailed previously on this site, had been running since the late 1970s. Herein lies the beauty of the Arnold strongman. Whereas the WSM is often times decided by a combination of muscular strength and athletic endurance, the Arnold, as conceived by the Todds, Peter Lorimer and Arnold Schwarzenegger, is interested solely in brute force. In the WSM, a competitors’ endurance is often a limiting factor. This is especially the case in any long distance carrying events or lift for reps features. In the Arnold, the lifts are closer to one rep maxes or are done under very strict time limits. The thinking behind this is that the Arnold is a better indication of who is the strongest man while the WSM combines strength and endurance. Think of the Arnold as a test of strength alone.

Now while that is simplifying things somewhat, it provides a nice indication of the organiser’s initial motivations. So with that in mind, today’s post takes us back to 2002 and the inaugural Arnold Strongman Classic.

Bigger Faster Stronger: The Mr. Olympia

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Bodybuilders, like most other professional athletes in the last four decades, have undergone an unprecedented change. Whereas the first Mr. Olympia weighed in at just over 200 lbs, the modern champion is more likely to be sixty pounds heavier and leaner as well.

While the reasons for this, at least in bodybuilding, are clear, it is still interesting to reflect upon this change. Today’s short post discusses the average weight for the overall Mr. Olympia since it’s inception and shows how and when ‘the mass monsters’ gained a foothold in the sport.

Joe Weider’s Power Bracelet

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Joe Weider is undoubtedly a divisive figure in the history of bodybuilding. Influential to the nth degree regarding the modern climate of the sport, Weider has been continually criticised for selling snake oil supplements to a naive public.

Today’s post briefly examines Joe’s ‘Hell-Bent for Leather N’Lead’ product, a set of bracelets brought out by the Canadian entrepreneur in the early 1970s. Utilising the bodies of then Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mr. America Roger Callard, Weider promised incredible muscle gain and strength through the sheer act of wearing one of his patented bracelets.

The History of Protein Shakers

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Before beginning, I have to thank a series of individuals for their help in devising this article. The good folks at DavidGentle.com and Ironhistory.com helped point me in the right direction for the earlier history of the shaker. Likewise Ron Campbell’s Bodybuilding Books and Magazines group on Facebook which provided several leads which helped sharpen out the later history of today’s post. Finally Dr. Ben Pollack and Paul Becker from the Rheo H. Blair website were incredibly giving in their time and knowledge.

With that in mind, I’m now going to undoubtedly bastardise and misinterpret all the information garnered from the above individuals but hey, such is life! Today’s post is possibly the most innocuous but to my mind fascinating one yet. It is the history of the protein shaker, that plastic bottle currently fermenting your last whey protein shake in the bottom of your gym bag. Now the reasons for this are simple. Protein shakers have become increasingly popular over the last decade in particular. When I began working out drinking from a protein shaker was a universal announcement that you were a dumb meathead. Nowadays on my morning commute I see office workers, mothers, children and everyone else in between sipping water and a cacophony of drinks from their shakers. So shakers have become cool, and as is our nature on the site, we want to know more about the pre-history.

So with that in mind we’re going to trace the history of the protein shaker, from the early iterations to the modern day bottle. In doing so, it’ll become clear that the shaker is a fascinating symbol of the fitness industry’s acceptance within mainstream culture over the past several decades. It is the Trojan Horse for meatheads seeking acceptability.