Say Hi to Vince Gironda (1978)

In a FOUNDATIONS OF IRON exclusive, today’s post presents a profile of the “Iron Guru” Vince Gironda and his gym and training methods, which originally appeared in the March 1978 issue of the now-defunct magazine Inside Kung-Fu. This is the first time that this article has ever been reproduced in electronic format for today’s online fitness community!

In the field of physical culture, Gironda is remembered for training competitive bodybuilders, as well as Hollywood stars who needed to get into proper shape for movie or television roles. This was carried out at Vince’s Gym, which he operated in North Hollywood from the 1940s to the 1990s. He is also remembered for ideas which were not always in line with the mainstream thinking within bodybuilding. Nevertheless, both his weight training and nutritional information proved very useful to many physique champions and movie stars.

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Vince Gironda in superb condition at over sixty years of age, in a photo which accompanied the article below. Click to enlarge (appears in new window/tab).

What might not be quite as well-remembered is that Gironda also occasionally gave training advice specific to sports activities. This is highlighted in the article below, which applies Gironda’s methods to martial artists. Gironda also dispensed training information for such diverse areas as arm wrestling, caber tossing, and even powerlifting.

Further reading, an online archive of many of Vince Gironda’s writings: http://www.ironguru.com

Magazine Excerpt: Continue reading

What the Weight Trainer Should Eat [Part 4] – Richard Alan (1956)

At last, here is the final part of 1950s physique athlete Richard Alan’s overview of food types, as it originally appeared in his 1956 booklet Nutrition and Recipes for Progressive Resistance Exercise. The last excerpt that we featured from this chapter dealt extensively with dairy products. In this final section, Alan described additional animal protein sources, as well as fats, sugars, and water.

Booklet Excerpt:

7. Eggs. Eggs are rich in protein, iron, and phosphorus. The efficiency of the protein is very good, being a value between the protein of milk and that of meat. I recommend eating from one to six every day. I personally eat four eggs every day, usually eating them in the form of a health drink. Experts claim that cooked eggs are easier to digest, but I don’t feel there is that much difference to warrant eating them cooked instead of eating them in a health drink. A properly made health drink is very delicious, and as we’ll find out later, this is very important to good digestion and assimilation. Continue reading

Don’t Do It, Fellows! A Warning About Tissue Building Drugs [Part 2] – Peary Rader (1962)

Last time, we presented the first part of Peary Rader’s warning against tissue-building steroids, as it appeared in the November-December 1962 issue of Iron Man. Here is the rest of the article, in which Rader turned his attention to the efforts of the livestock industry to maximize muscular development in cattle. This excerpt highlights the value of good nutrition for muscle growth in humans, and makes mention of the nutritional work of Irvin Johnson, who would later be known as Rheo H. Blair.

Magazine Excerpt:

As some of you may be aware, the livestock industry is seemingly far ahead of us humans when it comes to research in tissue building. Millions of dollars are being spent to find new methods for adding pounds of muscle to a steer almost overnight, and because of this research they can practically double the weight gain of cattle and other livestock over what it was only a very few years ago. Since I live in one of the greatest livestock areas in the world, I’m exposed to much of this work and take a great interest in what is going on and find it most enlightening to listen in on discussions of cattlemen as they talk of the methods they use to stimulate greater growth in their cattle. I have never met a group of men who know more about proteins, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, as well as all the known drugs used for stimulating tissue growth. Stilbestrol is one of the drugs widely used for this purpose and some amazing things were accomplished with it. Recently our government has forbidden its use in many instances–especially in chickens, because of the dangers to humans who eat the meat it is used on. Still, it is being used in many areas, even on chickens, in spite of this government order, we are told. Continue reading

Develop Stubborn Muscles This Way – Bruce Page (1963)

Bruce Page was a frequent writer for Peary Rader’s Iron Man magazine. The article below originally appeared in the January-February 1963 issue. In offering a different technique for stimulating muscle growth, this article touches on several aspects of the iron game, first of all reminding bodybuilding trainees to focus on weight training despite the then-current trend of isometric exercise for weightlifters.  Page also emphasizes the importance of good nutrition. Here we see the beginnings of the long-standing dietary fat and cholesterol scare, which nutrition writers in more recent years have openly challenged. Finally, the article discusses the value of the occasional layoff/de-load from training.

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A photo of Bruce Page that appeared with the article. Click to enlarge (appears in new widow/tab)

Magazine Excerpt: Continue reading

Eat With the Champion – Mohamed Makkawy (2009)

For a little side trip from the usual era that FOUNDATIONS OF IRON focuses on, today we present a recipe for a traditional Egyptian dish known as Eggah, which was formerly posted on the web site of pro bodybuilder Mohamed Makkawy, but is no longer available.

Makkawy entered and placed in many IFBB competitions from the early 1970s up to the late 1990s. To get into top condition for such contests, especially in the early 1980s, he often turned to the “iron guru” Vince Gironda for weight training and nutritional coaching. This shows that old-school methods still remained valid even when bodybuilding had already transitioned sharply away from the classical aesthetic approach of its early days, and was well on its way toward the massive, pharmaceutically-enhanced physiques that it is now known for.

This recipe for Eggah is hearty, nutritionally dense, and, if whole wheat flour is used instead of white flour, then the dish is made completely from minimally-processed whole foods, and very much in line with old-school weight training nutrition principles.

Article including recipe: Continue reading