The Story of Jeanne Kalfur: Corrective and Contouring Exercise — Peggy Gironda (1951)

Alas, real life has once again gotten in the way of blogging for a number of months. FOUNDATIONS OF IRON is still alive, I promise! At last, we present another classic article on women’s fitness, this time the “Vivacious Womanhood” supplement to the July-August 1951 issue of Peary Rader’s Iron Man magazine. This piece demonstrates the value of weight training for therapeutic purposes. Today, decades later, physical therapy continues to incorporate resistance exercises with machines, bands and free weights.

This article was written by Peggy Gironda (nee O’Neil), the first wife of the “iron guru” Vince Gironda, fitness trainer to Hollywood stars and physique competitors in the middle to later decades of the twentieth century. Like Vince, Peggy had a background in show business. At a time when women typically trained separately from men, Peggy trained female fitness enthusiasts at Vince’s Gym and other locations. Unfortunately, she passed away from a brain hemorrhage at a young age.

Girondas_IronMan_Cover

A rare photo of Peggy and Vince Gironda together, on the cover of the magazine which featured the article below. Click to enlarge (opens in new window/tab) Continue reading

How To Keep Fit, By Beauty Contest Winner – Betty Colonna (1963)

After yet another hiatus due to the unexpected necessities of hectic modern living (sorry about that!), FOUNDATIONS OF IRON is back once again to continue the series of posts on women’s weight training in the middle decades of the twentieth century.

Peary Rader’s Iron Man magazine regularly featured a small section entitled “Vivacious Womanhood,” which was dedicated to a female readership, and demonstrated how the modern woman of the mid-twentieth century could stay physically fit. The excerpt featured in our post today, originally featured in the January-February 1963 issue of Iron Man, was written by Betty Colonna, a winner of several American beauty contests in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Formerly Betty Woodhouse, she eventually married Bill Colonna, a physical culturist based in the area of Norfolk, Virginia. Precious little information seems to be publicly available on Betty Colonna today. Continue reading

Girl Weight Lifters (1954)

Today we pick up again after a brief summer hiatus, to begin a series of posts focusing on women’s weight training as it was practiced in the middle decades of the twentieth century.

We kick this series off with some vintage footage from British Pathé, posted on their Youtube channel.

This video highlights the benefits of weight training, at a time when it was thought by the general public that lifting weights would distort women’s figures and cause them to become overly masculine, in addition to various supposed ill effects on health.

Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks for more on this topic, with exclusive vintage magazine excerpts on women’s weight training!