The Father of Bodybuilding | Joe Weider

Joe Weider taught the world how to train and eat for maximum health and fitness. A personal remembrance of this one-of-a-kind fitness icon.
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Joe Weider passed away early Saturday morning, March 23, 2013, at age 93 in Los Angeles. He had been ill for some time, and the cause of his death was heart failure.

Joe Weider’s influence on bodybuilding and the fitness industry is so pervasive that it defies measurement. The websites we visit, the magazines we read, the contests we attend, the diets we follow, the workouts we undertake, the lexicon we use, the careers many of us pursue—they all exist in large measure because of Joe Weider. Things have changed now, but for generations, taking up fitness meant picking up one of Joe’s magazines, buying one of Joe’s weight sets for your garage, and purchasing some of Joe’s supplements.

In a moving tribute posted on his Facebook page, Arnold Schwarzenegger wrote, in part: “I knew about Joe Weider long before I met him—he was the godfather of fitness who told all of us to “Be Somebody with a Body.” He taught us that through hard work and training we could all be champions.”

Joe certainly knew about overcoming odds to achieve greatness. His bio is no less remarkable for having been recounted many times. One of four children of Jewish-Polish immigrant parents, he grew up poor in Montreal, dropped out of school after seventh grade to help support his family, and took up lifting to fortify his scrawny frame against neighborhood bullies. He got his start in publishing working on what became Your Physique at his mother’s kitchen table.


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