The origins of the sport millions know to love today began in the early 20th century. Ever since Charles Atlas published advertisements in a child’s comic book, the ball slowly began turning. More and more youth began to exercise and the local YMCA had more memberships starting. What began as a hobby turned into a lifestyle.
The sport began to pick up popularity as people saw shocking strength and muscle gains. Who used to be the average Joe now had an impressive chest and set of arms that made people double take as he walked by. One of the men who was able to transform his physique was the famous Eugene Sandow. His name most popularly associated with a trophy holding a barbell on its side.
One man who will remain a legend is Joe Weider. Being a bodybuilder himself, Weider is known as the Godfather of bodybuilding. Dating back to the 1930s, Weider published his first article in a fitness magazine and has grown in the industry since. From establishing the International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB), publishing numerous well known magazines (Muscle Builder, Muscle and Fitness, FLEX), to opening the Mr. Olympia Contest, Weider has made a name for himself. The Mr. Olympia is the world’s biggest fitness expo. This is the same contest that the man who wins is awarded the honor of the Sandow.
As time progressed, people decided to attain the best body possible. This went as far as size, proportion, symmetry, definition, and muscle flow. Entering the 1970s, commonly known as the Golden Era, the term bodybuilding was coined, and once you saw one, you knew why it was called that.
The Golden Era birthed legends that are still put on the highest pedestal of fitness. A few include Lou Ferrigno, Franco Columbo, Frank Zane, Dave Draper, Larry Scott, and the legend Arnold Schwarzenegger. These men helped shape the sport of bodybuilding. While fierce competitors on stage, the friendship remained in the gym and out.
The sport of bodybuilding goes to show how a hobby can become a lifestyle. While many don’t understand the meaning behind putting someone’s body through the grueling workouts, the strict diets, and tedious cardio sessions, it’s all part of the process to better themselves.