This will probably be the very last article I will write about Vince Gironda since I think I've covered it all, plus I certainly don't want to over-glorify him and possibly sound ridiculous, as this would be a mistake.
Simply stated, there are two (2) reasons I have such monumental admiration for him. First, he has proven to be the most brilliant mind ever to grace bodybuilding in every aspect.
Second, if you were to look in the dictionary to research ethics and integrity, it would state his name and follow with "like a rock, true and enduring, of the highest moral stature; a decent, honorable, incorruptible man," plus a ton of other adjectives, including being a tormented man, but he walked the walk and talked the talk!
In the article I wrote in 2001, "Remembering The Guru – Part I and Part II," Bob Kennedy, the editor of Muscle Mag International, appropriately started the article out by saying, "Close family members apart, when was the last time you witnessed grown men weeping at the loss of a comrade."
Sure it happens, of course, but when the late, great Vince Gironda died, the outpouring of emotion was felt from coast to coast and beyond. I thank Bob for that, simply because "beyond" means the world. I'll never forget the notes and the calls that came in after Vince's death. There were over 300 calls and monumental amounts of notes from people all over the world.
I received a call from Madagascar and I don't even know where that is! I recall thinking to myself that nobody in the history of bodybuilding has ever had such a tribute as this. Vince deeply and profoundly touched the intellectual people in bodybuilding. He appealed to the people who didn't use drugs, who had health in mind, who weren't dysfunctional, who didn't want to stick a needle in their rear-ends, and who just wanted to look great physically until the day they die.
It was monumental, and I am still stunned as I think about what has happened since I wrote the article and about the many, many people that I've spoken to and sent courses to and the many people that have purchased the Volume I and Volume II Vince Gironda DVD's since Vince's death It's truly amazing.
It's sad because Vince's methods are the best and because bodybuilding magazines control peoples' views on what's right and what's wrong in bodybuilding. Today, bodybuilding is going totally backwards and I see no progress for the better at all. Bodybuilders are even doing dumber things and dumber exercises in gyms today.
When taking a workout at gyms around town, people will always comment, "What kind of movements are those?" When I show them how to do the movement, they usually comment that they've never felt anything like it! I still want to barf when I hear the dumb comment, "How much can you bench?"
Because I personally owe Vince a debt that I probably will never be able to repay, I've decided to write this article because I have had so many calls from men and women who have said that they wish they had known Vince, and that they wished that they could have gone to his gym so that he could have trained them.
They often have questions about Vince personally, and I thought that I could answer those questions in this article. Especially, I'd like to answer the questions of the women, since women have a motherly instinct. One lady that called me from Los Angeles was crying because she and her husband made fabulous gains using Vince's methods when other methods failed and she missed him so much. They particularly want to know what Vince was like and what his wife was like.
Vince's first wife, Peggy, opened and pioneered a ladies' bodybuilding gym in L.A., but, of course, it failed, as America was not yet ready for the women's bodybuilding, let alone the men's, in 1946. Even Vince, John Grimek, Steve Reeves, etc., were looked upon as funny and with distain at that time.
Peggy was an extremely attractive and vivacious lady, as well as being as intellectual as Vince was. She shared Vince's passion for bodybuilding and physical culture. As expected, her death affected him greatly and his grief never seemed to cease for eons. After all, they were a perfect match! She died of a brain hemorrhage.
Vince's second wife, Madeline, was younger than he was and was supportive in the gym and in his later years. Ironically, I never met her in person, but did keep in constant touch with her by phone. Vince had one son, Guy, who seems to have just disappeared. I don't think Guy had the desire and passion for bodybuilding that Vince had, but, of course, this is only my observation...
I've been asked about Vince's idiosyncrasies and his habits. Most people do know that I love to write about Vince and I am definitely writing this article to share with you his brilliance and information about the man himself. Keep in mind, there are a lot of things that I do know about Vince and just some things that I don't know.
I do know that whenever I was in his gym, I felt safe and secure and I knew that I wasn't going to be deceived or lied to for profit! It was like no other gym I had ever been in, as it was a sanctuary and like my dad was teaching me. The gym was like entering another world with his equipment definitely like no one else's.
To be sure, I'm not the only one that went to his gym to learn and train. To quote my customer and friend, John DeJacomo from New Jersey, "I went to the two beach gyms in L.A. (Gold's and World) but I didn't learn a damn thing about bodybuilding, but when I went to Vince's - WOW, what an education that was!"
A new customer from Miami, FL, Santiago Munioz said, "When I started bodybuilding years ago, I made gains because I had never worked out before, but within a few months, they completely stopped. By accident, I discovered Vince's frog hack squat – I couldn't walk for a week and I was stunned by the progress that's never stopped!"
Tom Samokar from Connecticut (a champion natural bodybuilder) says that he owes everything to Vince. Remember Daryl Conant from DVDs I and II? What a classic physique, and he owes it all to the guru!
A long time ago, Vince told me that he hoped that I would carry on. My goal has been just that - to carry on and to continue to learn more, to get my diploma and to study with Dr. Dick Versendaal, Dr. Harry Eidenier, and Jr. and Dr. Kurt Donsbach. I've tried my best to study nutrition, the endocrine system, and the human body in general and to continue my own research.
|WHAT'S YOUR GOAL?|
I've gotten to the point where I feel very confident that if you have a question, I can give you a sensible answer. I feel like I've gotten to the point where I truly can help you with any problems you might have. Of course, I'm like Vince in that I have a big mouth and I've never apologized for being outspoken...!
This is a turn-around for me, for when I was younger, skinny, had acne, and a serious stuttering problem, I never took a stand and I was complacent. Now, partly because of Vince, I won't shut up. I do public speaking seminars, had two radio shows, and consult with people nearly everyday. So, if I can do it, I would like to see you do it.
Don't forget that it's your right and duty to speak up when you see things you don't agree with. Vince's fight is your fight and my fight. You have to remember that all the freedoms that you and I have today came from all the outspoken people, like Vince, who took a stand and who also had big mouths.
Remember that we owe these people. They were tormented and discriminated against but they gave us wisdom and freedoms, like the Fathers of our Constitution, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and all those forefathers who we should greatly appreciate.
I remember that when my grandmother was dying, she whispered in my ear to always be a good person and I've tried to be one. In the movie "Saving Private Ryan," Tom Hanks did the same thing when he was dying. He told his soldier friend to always be a good person. I think to myself that it's a shame that more people in our sport were never told this, and what's more, that more people in our sport don't practice it!
For the most part, you've heard the nice things I've said about Vince, but I have mentioned some of his negatives from time to time. There was a dark side to Vince. When I sat in the gym or was taking a work out, he said a lot of things that should never have been said.
Sometimes he was too overly aggressive with people, but that was the seriousness of Vince. It was sort of a regular thing that once or twice a week, according to Ray Raridon, that Vince would get mad at Ray, Larry Scott, or have words with Don Howorth or other gym members.
Larry "The Legend" Scott,
First Ever Mr. Olympia (1965).
He would walk past his friends at Dupar's Restaurant, which was his favorite place to eat, and not say 'hello.' He had his moods and when he was in a foul mood or when he was drinking, he was a different Vince.
I do remember at the gym when a couple and their son had come from England for a visit and to tell Vince how much they appreciated his guidance and I had never seen him so happy and embarrassed at the same time. He was a perfect gentleman and I told him so!
Though I seldom disagreed with Vince, I do recall telling him that he shouldn't make fun of Perry Rader. Perry published the original, classic "Iron Man Magazine," and Perry was predominately a weightlifter but he did give credit, many times, to Vince. Vince made fun of him one time about Perry's invention called the "Magic Circle." This was an odd looking piece of equipment in which straps went over each shoulder and, instead of using a bar with plates on it to do squats, you would put this apparatus on that was a metal circle and on this metal circle you would put the plates.
You could do squats without the bar. I never saw the benefit of it, but Perry did, and to me, if he liked it, fine. Plus there were people who bought it, and Vince shouldn't have made fun of Perry so, I disagreed with Vince's mocking of it. But remember, Vince didn't care much for power movement weight lifters as he said that they never really lifted the weight (cheating, jerking, tugging, pulling, etc.)
You have to remember that Vince was of the era of the '30s, '40s, and 1950s where bodybuilding was deemed a physical culture to be healthy and to have an attractive physique. Steve Reeves once said he not only wanted to be the man with the best physique in the world, he also wanted to be the healthiest man in the world.
Steve was healthy for a long, long time until he died from a rare cancer. Vince was of that culture and you have to remember that a lot of his meanness, aggression and insults came from his hatred of drugs. His despise for drugs was almost an obsession. He would get into confrontations with many of the bodybuilders in his gym over this very subject. I recall him arguing with his good friends, Bob Tessier and Nick Cain about that and different issues! My friend, Doug Schneider, also recalls a few related stories.
I don't ever want to imply that Vince was a perfect person, because he wasn't - just like we all aren't. He did have this dark side, but much of it was due to the fact that drugs were infiltrating his beloved physical culture sport and that he, himself, was being attacked for his theories. He'd call the drug users "f*cking phonies," and they were and still are.
Let's face it, these people didn't achieve their physiques on their own, they only got them as a result of steroids. I can reflect upon Vince and steroids myself because, in the early '70s, I placed 4th in a contest and I decided at that time to completely dedicate the entire next year to trying to win that 1st place trophy.
I entered a YMCA show and the guy that had placed 5th or 6th the year before was heavier, ripped, and obviously on drugs. I place 4th again and I never competed after that. When I lost that contest, I asked myself what would become of bodybuilding in the next 30 years - and we now see calf implants, bicep implants, liposuction, and synthol injected directly into the muscle for size, which has taken today's bodybuilders beyond sick!
Now, all we see is: freaks with million dollar drug bodies and 10 cent brains! Like Vince, I developed a seething hatred for people who used drugs and how these drug users affected me. I am not justifying my stance or Vince's stance, because we are wrong in hating anybody. You can think badly of me for hating them, but I'm sure you would feel the same way.
I didn't shoot or kill them, but I did hate them for a long, long time. I had a disposition that wasn't nice when it came to drugs and, when I owned the Power House Gym, drug use was reaching its peak and that's why I got out. I couldn't stand it. Again, Vince was human and he did a lot of things he shouldn't have done for which I'm sure he's sorry, as we all are sorry for things that we regret doing or saying. At times, I did see him apologize to people and I have to give him credit for that.
I recall a time when Vince and I had planned to go out to dinner together but instead, when it came time, he walked right past me, got in his car and drove away. For some reason something set him off, so I said to myself, "That's just Vince," and I had dinner by myself. Two days later, he was as nice as pie!
I can't tell you the number of times he has hung up on me. If he was in a bad mood or if I asked him a question he didn't want to answer, he'd hang up. I understood that. I'm sure you have friends that aren't always perfect, but you understand them and they're still your friends. Remember, to me, Vince was like a father and a teacher, and I apologize for him where it comes to his faults.
The highest tribute that I can pay to a man or a woman is to say that I trust them. You know, as you go through life, how many times your heart has been broken and you've just been sick because somebody has lied or hurt you. I have a good friend who lives hundreds of miles away from me. I would trust this man with my life.
I told him if somebody came up to me with a half a million dollars and offered to trade the money for my friend, I'd tell the person, pure and simple, you go and have fun with the money. That's how much I appreciate friendship and how much I appreciate honesty. Vince never lied to me and he never lied to you!
If you're interested, there is a gentleman named Randy Roach who has interviewed me a few times and who has become a friend of mine - he is writing a book about the history of bodybuilding. I am not yet sure what it will be entitled, perhaps "Muscle, Smoke, and Mirrors," or "The History of Bodybuilding and Nutrition," or both.
It encompasses Eugene Sandow, Sig Klein, Bernard McFadden, and the history of strong men and physical culture and nutrition to this time. Randy's out of Ontario, Canada and it was at his home gym that we filmed the Volume I and Volume II DVDs. I feel that based on the pre-releases that Randy's sent me, and from the things that he's told me, that this will probably be the finest book on bodybuilding and nutrition that's ever been written.
I will keep you abreast and if I speak with you on the phone, I'll let you know how it's progressing. By the way, Randy and I have had some knock-down/drag-out debates about our differences concerning Vince's nutrition and exercise principles. But boy, did we have great fun and gained a mutual respect for each other.
Well, here comes the juicy part that I was hoping somebody else would speak out about or comment on. I do know that I might be cursed or applauded for what I'm about to say... so be it! The good thing is Vince said it all the time, so that's comforting. This is life's lesson on the infinite good guy and bad guy syndrome!
Good Guy/Bad Guy Syndrome
I know that some readers will think that I'm trashing people in this article, but maybe those people have done an excellent job of trashing themselves. Maybe some people are wearing different glasses than I am, or they're seeing something I'm not, or I'm seeing something that they're not! In life, there are two types of crimes: misdemeanors and felonies. I consider what some of the mentioned people have done to bodybuilding and to impressionable kids to be a felony!
teaching your daughters to be sluts..."
First of all, I see this trend of bad behavior, dishonesty, greed, low moral standards, and foul mouths being accepted as okay! Lack of common courtesy and lying also seem to be normal! All sports from high school thru the pros are infested with steroid use ala Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, etc., etc., etc., and now they are our heroes because they make billions of dollars!
Madonna, Britney Spears, and rock stars are teaching your daughters to be sluts and yet these "stars" wind up on the Jay Leno and David Letterman shows with audiences clapping and cheering for them. My friend, Nelson Montana of New York City says, "Even ruthless business tactics are now accepted as again okay."
Periodically, we speak on the phone concerning the history of bodybuilding. Nelson is a writer and has written for a few bodybuilding magazines. Bright man! I also speak regularly with my friends Daryl Conant (who is writing a book about Vince), Mike Bourgeau, Doug Schneider, Tony Semaan, etc., who all help me and who are Vince's apostles.
I grew up reading about Bob Hoffman, and in the Joe Weider and Bill Phillips eras. Another name in weightlifting and bodybuilding was John Perillo. I guess that I have to open my big mouth again and make comments about my interpretation or my reflections of what I see from Hoffman, Weider, Phillips and Perillo.
When learning that I was going to write about these four, a critic of mine said, "You can't do that!" I said to him, "Just watch me!" Ever since I can remember, bodybuilding publications, as we know them, and people who have sold gimmicks and bogus products, have just flat-out lied about them.
One thing that this country suffers from, which really disappoints me, is a disease called Greeditis. Again, mentioning our sports heroes of today, most of them have just turned into mercenaries and are selling out to the highest bidder. The question I ask is, "What is going from 60 million dollars to 65 million dollars going to do for you?"
Everybody seems to be very, very greedy. Nobody seems to just want to make a living and to want just his or her share. Americans are so afflicted with this Greeditis to the point where lies and deceptions are monumental. Now, some Americans (I say this tongue in cheek), are giving our jobs to India, China, Malaysia, Mexico, etc., so instead of making 60 billion dollars, they now will make 100 billion dollars.
To these traitors, what is enough for them that now they turn their heads as semi-slave and child labor is employed with atrocious work conditions to perform their tasks? (I had to say this!)
Randy Roach is going to address some of the things about Bob Hoffman, Joe Weider, Bill Phillips and John Perillo, but I'm going to share some of my reflections now of the people in our game who were so-called leaders, promoters, publication owners, and it's just things that I thought had to be said sooner or later by someone!
As I once said... In the Bible, it says: "Beware the man who wears the cloak of respectability." To me, it is just unbelievable how our morals have disintegrated in the last 30 years.
Leaders, Promoters, Publication Owners
Bob Hoffman, who was a little before my time, was the owner of York Barbell. He was also the promoter of the United States Olympic weightlifting team, and he made supplements. He literally controlled our sport and was a monopoly! He promoted soy, writing a tremendous book about it which deceived people about the benefits of soy.
He told people that it was the greatest thing since nickel cigars and he had people convinced that it was wonderful stuff. By the way, Rheo Blair first promoted soy, as well. Now we know just how dangerous soy and soy proteins are, and how they unnaturally affect the hormone levels, and how they affect the thyroid, etc.
There are many harmful, negative aspects of soy but he lead people to believe that soy was wonderful, and he made millions of dollars selling it. By the way, Vince called soy and whey protein "Sh!t!" I feel that making money dishonestly is, in essence, making dirty money.
Click Image To Enlarge.
Born in 1898, athlete, nutritionist, weightlifter, and coach,
Bob Hoffman, became famous for his massive York Barbell Company.
Hoffman also promoted bodybuilding athletes in the 40s and 50s,
most notably John Grimek and Sigmund Klein.
He died in 1985 suffering from heart disease and dementia.
Hoffman also lied to the American public about the fact that American weightlifters were taking steroids. He found out from Dr. John Ziegler, the weightlifting doctor who worked for him, that the Russians were taking steroids. To cover up the fact that, as a result of the Russians, the Americans were now taking steroids, he invented a word called "dynamic tension," a theory that pushing against something that's immovable will make you stronger.
One of his virtues was being a liar. He claimed that because of dynamic tension, the Americans went back and won so many Olympic titles. He would routinely treat bodybuilders with distain; he really hated them. He would do everything in his power to destroy the image of bodybuilding including calling them homosexuals and sissies.
Hoffman practiced dirty politics. There was a man named Dan Lurie who was an amateur that was stripped of his amateur status for some ridiculous incident because John Grimek was one of Hoffman's favorites, his golden boy. John Grimek used steroids and they awarded the Mr. America title to Grimek over Steve Reeves because Hoffman controlled the contest and Grimek could do handstands.
As far as I, as well as many other people, know, Dan Lurie never used steroids. Hoffman discriminated against bodybuilders that he didn't want to win. That's the dark side of Bob Hoffman. He was a virtual dictator for many, many years and not an ethical man.
By the way, Dan Lurie, Steve Spyrer and Alan Palmieri are bringing back Muscle Training Illustrated Magazine (MTI) for the natural bodybuilder. I hope that happens because that was a great natural magazine that will, hopefully, provide us with some new alternatives.
I'm certain that Dan Lurie was natural and he is now in his 80's and hurray for him! I'm really glad that this is going to happen. I think people are ready for a magazine with honesty and ethics and, as I understand from everybody, Dan is a pretty ethical guy, so, hopefully, we can be sure we won't be lied to. As I've related to our younger readers, there's nothing in this world that's worse than having your feelings hurt. You get sick to your stomach and it's a horrible feeling when somebody lies to you. So let's hope MTI will deliver natural bodybuilding!
I probably wouldn't have commented on the others, Weider, Phillips and Perillo, but they had such negative things to say about Vince and, of course, I'm going to come to Vince's defense when negative things are said about him.
When it comes to Joe Weider, I think his reputation is monumental, so I won't spend much time regarding him. He did as much for bodybuilding as he did to it. He rigged contests for years. He supported drug users, featured drug users, he knew how rampant drugs were in bodybuilding, but money was more important to him.
I recall someone in Vince's gym making fun of Weider's high-pitched voice and they said if somebody would have offered Joe Weider $1,000.00 for his mother, she would have been gone. He had that Crash Weight Gain product in the 1960's that was nothing but sugar.
I used it once and went into insulin shock and got sick! My friend at the YMCA used it for about six months and became a diabetic thereafter. He cheated me out of hundreds of dollars by his lies and his promotions. Dave Draper, who was one of the nicest people that bodybuilding has ever seen, was one of Weider's victims, and he could have sued Weider for millions of dollars.
I think Ray Raridon told me that Dave settled out of court for $17,000.00. Weider would continuously tell lies. When I first went out to California, I was looking for the Weider Research Clinic and they laughed at me and told me it was in his closet! He had no ethics. It's terrible, the garbage he sold to me and others. So much for him!
Of course, each and every one of you know how I feel about Bill Phillips, a steroid supporter, steroid user, magazine that featured steroids, tearing apart supplement companies with his supplement review and then elevating MET-Rx like it was some sort of a miracle, when there was nothing but aspartame and hydrogenated oils in it, and he said that Vince was "old-time bodybuilding."
Vince called him a punk for what he did to good bodybuilding supplements. Phillips practically ruined NSP and all the companies that sold liver tablets, glandulars and amino acids because he said that was old-time, outdated bodybuilding. He ruined what Vince had preached for eons.
He was on this low-fat kick. Don't eat eggs, don't eat liver, don't eat glands, they are all garbage and harmful. Yet, he used hydrogenated oils, which are so dangerous to the human body. Those are the trans-fats that block the receptors in the human body from absorbing essential fatty acids. They can actually kill people, and he is putting them in his products! Aspartame, the synthetic sweetener, is converted into wood alcohol and formaldehyde inside your body. Absolute poison!
Note: I consulted with a lady two years ago that had MS symptoms which turned out to be an overload of aspartame mimicking MS. When she stopped using it, her MS symptoms stopped. I say anybody who uses stuff like this should be thrown in jail, and I mean this. I compare this to drug companies and medical doctors who kill people with their drugs and who should be thrown in jail for that.
Vince once showed me a picture in Muscle Media 2000 where Phillips and Dr. Scott Connley, who was an anesthesiologist, were discussing nutrition and Vince said "what the 'F' do they know about nutrition? They don't know crap." Of course, I agree! If you look at Phillips' programs today, he says add fat to protein powders and do only one exercise per body part. Does this sound familiar? Didn't Vince say this 50 years ago? Copy cat!
I recall years ago when Phillips viciously attacked Joe Weider in his Muscle Media 2000 mag with a vengeance and a while later, they kissed and made up and did business with each other. You know, of course, this is much like the mafia motto: "Nothing personal, just business."
Unbelievable! Phillips' staff was stacked with criminals who spent time in jail such as James Bradshaw and Dan Duchene, the steroid guru who died at age 47 of kidney failure. Was it a concoction of his potions? Just asking... By the way, and I can't substantiate this, but a customer tells me that T.C. Leoma (T-Nation.com) who worked for Phillips is now trashing Phillips!
I'm training a friend's son who brought home a popular bodybuiding magazine and his daughter bought Phillips' book "Fit for Life." I showed their father, Dave, a Muscle Media from a few years ago that promoted drugs and T.C. Leoma's article showing where to buy steroids in Mexico.
Dave and his wife were totally shocked and, may I say, outraged. His sixteen-year-old son had no idea of this. I told Dave that this is what bodybuilding is today. The fact also is that these people are tarnishing the image of all the good and ethical supplement companies in the U.S.! The FDA is cracking down now on all companies, good and bad.
John Perillo made the nasty, egotistical statement that Vince Gironda was "okay" for his time, inferring that he was passé and possibly implying that John was now the guru. John Perillo's gym in Cincinnati was a known drug gym. I think that Donald Gay was training in Perillo's gym in the late 70's and 80's and I believe that you should ask John what happened to Donald Gay.
I've been told me that John Perillo just had a couple of knee replacements. Oh, is that new-time bodybuilding? Somebody sent me a candy bar that John makes that has hydrogenated oils, MSG, F.D.& C. Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Yellow 6 (which comes from coal tar) and sucralose. He also sells an MCT oil called "Captri" and it was impossible to know from what ingredients it was made... hydrogenated oil?
Note: you could use organic, unrefined, virgin coconut oil at a fraction of the price... buyer beware!
Do your own research on hydrogenated oils (trans-fats) and aspartame and find out how dangerous they are. I remember Ray Raridon (NSP owner) unknowingly made a product with aspartame in it. It was the "Burn Fat, Build Muscle Powder" and I would never sell it because it contained aspartame. Finally, he dropped it.
I wonder if Hoffman's, Weider's, Phillips', and Perillo's Creator would approve of what they stand for? According to a gym member friend of mine, John once said a man should consume 10,000 calories a day and a woman 6,000 per day - no matter what foods they come from. I wonder if he knows the function of the endocrines...
All of the people who criticized Vince - including Phillips, Weider, and Perillo, (I don't think Bob Hoffman even knew him!), weren't worthy to even carry Vince Gironda's gym bag. When it comes to ethics and integrity, Vince had it. They didn't - and still don't. Realistically, what should happen is that these people should apologize for their deeds in print, but we all know there's fat chance of that!
I just came up with an idea. After talking to Tony Semaan, my friend in L.A. who just adores Vince, I'm going to try to find out where Vince is buried. Bob Kennedy and all of us fellows, including Daryl Conant, Doug Schneider and Mike Bourgeau, are going to pool our money and try to build Vince a new headstone so that people will know him and can come from all over the world and pay homage to him.
We would put on his headstone that he is the father of modern day bodybuilding, a man that was far ahead of his time, and that he was a genius. If people can come from all over the world to pay homage to Jim Morrison and The Doors in France, they can certainly pay homage to Vince Gironda.
We are hoping to make it a beautifully inscribed stone. We're looking into it now. Doug Schneider interviewed John Balik, the editor of Iron Man, at the Arnold Classic 2006 and, quoting John, "Pretty much everything Vince said from 1946 to today, he was right on." Pretty much everything he said has been proven true. People are starting to realize just how brilliant this man was because he stood the test of time and that's the most important test that there is.
I'm not the smartest person, I know, and what struck me was Vince's ascended degree of intelligence and knowledge, his command of everything around him that pertained to nutrition, to bodybuilding and to kinesiology. That knowledge was just head-and-shoulders above everyone else. He had the intelligence that I didn't possess!
I didn't have time to spend 30 to 40 years to build a good body. I just didn't have it and didn't possess the intelligence to obtain it. This is why I desperately wanted to learn from him, because studying all the other pseudo-methods out there, I soon realized that this man was right and I could genuinely learn from him.
I often looked upon him in a fatherly way because I didn't have a father and this admiration and respect led to that degree of love that I possess for him today. I've often mentioned that whether you choose to believe it or not, and some day you will, if you do enough research and reading, that the man was 1000 years ahead of his time. I'm confident that someday you will agree with this also.
Note: A customer of mine told me that I am now Vince Gironda. No, I'm a voice and an extension of him - nothing else. I do believe that the pen is mightier than the sword and that the truth is a powerful weapon, and so did Vince!
Vince Gironda's passion for natural bodybuilding was unending, infinite. He stood alone. He was a man amongst boys. Believe me, there is not one day that goes by that I don't think of him. I guess you can extract that I have as much passion for what I do as Vince had for what he did, and we both had an enduring love for bodybuilding. We both want our sport to be clean and decent, as physical culture is supposed to be.
I have this degree of respect for him that I've never had for any other person in my life, although I've had great teachers, but he stands above them all. You can never truly like anyone until you respect him or her. Using a colloquial term, this man was in no way, shape, or form a phony.
He epitomized everything that was good and decent in our sport. I know that in writing this article I'm going to be redundant, but I do feel that it's tremendously necessary to repeat things in order to elaborate on them. I appreciate you bearing with me...
He was with us for approximately 50 years and those 50 years weren't empty years. From the minute he opened his gym until the day he died, his life was constantly searching, constantly testing, constantly researching, whether it was kinesiology, nutrition, new movements - he never stopped.
When you look at all of the things he's written from the brilliant Master Series which takes a person from January to December teaching him, step by step, the correct way to build the human body. When you look at his Pro Series for the professional and his Best Exercises, and his experimenting with "does it hurt here, does it hurt there, where do you feel it," you will admire his brilliance.
Look at his study of kinesiology and its application with the fantastic 10-8-6-15, and knowing that the muscle will go into a funk and not respond, and how to break that rut and funk (plateau) and make the muscle respond, understanding the nervous system and applying it. His many innovations in nutrition, the things he taught concerning kinesiology are being proved in colleges to this day.
Now, some bodybuilders say that these methods are right but, unfortunately, they're not giving any credit to the guru, and I know that's what upsets me along with a lot of people who advocate Vince. His Definition Course is truly brilliant. His Six Week Bulk Course, how the h*ll did he think of that?
What prodded him to devise a system, try a system, and test a system, in order to find out whether it worked or not? Day after day, week after week, month after month, he experimented again and again to truly understand the essence of the body and kinesiology, and the metabolic system.
His "Muscle Has Four Sides," his "How I Train the Movie Stars," his "File Part I" and "File Part II," are just monumental research of everything that pertains to nutrition in the human body. Vince did unbelievable research including studying again and again and again, the trials, the errors, the failures, the successes.
He developed the sissy squat to the nth degree. He didn't invent it, Monte Woolford did, but you'd never know it because Vince perfected it. To this day, periodically, when I have some free time, which I cherish, I will pick up some of Vince's manuals and read and reread them again and again.
I think if you do the same thing, after awhile you'll recognize the genius of the man. By the way, it was Denie of the old Denie's Gym in Jersey City, New Jersey that named Vince the "Iron Guru" and I called him "the Master" in my first article. Incidentally, it was Vince that spurred a collection drive to rebuild Denie's Gym when it burned down, which seemingly proved his sensitivity.
Vince took the science of kinesiology to its limit to find out how to employ kinesiology connected to that particular exercise, to work that particular head of the muscle. As the Guinness commercial on the television states, "Brilliant, just brilliant." By employing all of his masterful methods, he went from 1946 to 1958 and created the most dynamic, defined, symmetrical physique that I have ever seen in my life.
If you see the tape of the posing routine that he did in the United Kingdom in 1958 when he reached the pinnacle, he was 43 years old, you will be aghast at the phenomenal physique that he created by his methods, through nutrition and they were all natural! Whenever anybody comes to my office and I show them this tape, their chins drop to the floor and they make the statement, "in 1958?"
They say they have never seen anyone like him. I hope that someday each and every one of you will be able to view the tape to see for yourselves just how far ahead he was. He was eons ahead of his time, and again, a thousand years ahead of everybody else. Sadly, being the father of bodybuilding, he never won a contest because he was "too defined," whatever that meant! They knew he had something going, but he was "too defined" to win.
You can go back years and years to the infancy of bodybuilding with Eugene Sandow, Sig Klein, John Grimek, Bernard McFadden, etc., and you will see that they all had their own methods. They all advocated one thing or another, but progress was slow until the minute Vince opened his gym in 1946 until he closed it in 1995 he surpassed them all in brilliance and knowledge. There was no one who could even hold a candle to his vision!
I have people calling me almost daily saying that they just can't fathom what they read in his courses. The thing that impresses me the most is when they say the magic words, "This man made sense." So this is the reason why I hold Vince in such high esteem and, yes, even love him.
In many ways, he was an extremely complex man and in many ways he was a very simple man. Of course, now we're separating his genius and his knowledge of bodybuilding from the man himself. He was complex because he had an I.Q. above genius level and on the other hand, he didn't love money at all. He bordered on being a lousy businessman.
It still bothers me to this day that he died a pauper. He was $160.00 overdrawn on his checking account three days before he died. Can you imagine that? At one time, while being interviewed by T.C. Leoma, he was asked what his biggest fear was and he said that it was being homeless and living under a bridge. That's simplicity and the same fear that we all have.
Here was this genius and he had the same fears that we all do. I was thinking the other day, it's been 1997 since he's been gone. It still is just extremely difficult for me to accept the fact that he's gone. That's the impression he left on me, as well as thousands of people. In January, a customer from Australia called to talk about Vince - for 3 hours – he didn't care about the phone cost!
I feel that I knew Vince better than most because I made it a point to study him for about 20 years. It was always intriguing for me to return to California yearly, not only because of Vince, but also because of NSP. I would always go and workout and just study him. I would sometimes go to the gym and not workout at all.
I'd pretend to be studying a few magazines when really, all along, I was studying him, his views, his moods and viewing how he would react to people, and how he would test people to see if they were serious or, if they were just "BS'ers." Of course, there were plenty of those who would hang around the gym. It was a fun place to hang out. Vince had a h*ll of a sense of humor in the early days... only.
When I wasn't studying Vince, I would ask people about him. Ray Raridon, owner of NSP, would give me a lot of information because he was a personal trainer at Vince's gym, as well as being Vince's friend and business partner for two years. One thing I earned was the badge of honor and courage of being yelled at by Vince.
He took what he did seriously and he wanted people to succeed. A lot of people misinterpreted that. One of the things that I observed about him, which I relished simply because it showed his vulnerability and his flaws, was the fact that he didn't know how to say thank you. He never said thank you to me personally.
When he would send me a new pamphlet or a new course, he would write a note thanking me for my support or thanking me for promoting him, but he would never express it verbally. I've known people throughout my life who just could not say thank you and I guess you could call it a flaw which we all possess. Also, if somebody did something right in the gym, Vince would address it in the third person by pointing the good student out to others in the gym rather than complimenting that person directly.
When Ray or I bought dinner, Vince wouldn't say thank you but, upon returning to the gym, he would announce, "Hey, these guys just took me out to dinner." That's the way he said thanks and we knew it!
I think that Vince was intimidated by big (tall) people. He was 5'8" and I am 6'4" and I noticed that he teased the tall members of his gym a little more. I can understand that he did have a small man's complex, but he did have a tremendously, tremendously big heart. He was such a decent person. I've mentioned before about the alcoholic that he took in. Vince let him live upstairs, he fed and trained him and gave him supplements. This was the kind of man that Vince Gironda was.
A lot of my customers say that they wish they had met Vince and wish that they could have just been around him, talked to him and gotten to know him. I consider myself very fortunate in that I grew up in the golden age of bodybuilding. I wrote all those articles about Steve Reeves and Larry Scott, and about being trained at the gym, and being around all of these people, seeing them, understanding them, reading their personalities. I was in the right place at the right time.
I have customers that call asking me to tell them more stories about Vince! I feel that if I can relate these things to you and if you read enough about Vince that, hopefully, someday, even though you didn't meet him, you'll know him and you'll understand him. Then, believe me, because of his genius, honesty and decency, you will someday also say that you love Vince.
I always tell the younger guys who embrace his methods that they will someday also think highly of him. When they succeed, they will know in their hearts that Vince was right, and they too will become disciples and teachers and pass on the teachings of Vince Gironda. This is how Vince will endure.
Vince was a man who just couldn't say 'no.' If he knew that somebody was serious, he'd spend time on the phone giving them advice. He was very serious about people who were serious about his beloved sport. If he didn't think that you were serious, he'd hang up on you. He wasn't afraid to be different.
Today we are all so brainwashed by Madison Avenue to have to be the same as everybody else. I call it the Homer Simpson mentality. There doesn't seem to be that many different and unique people these days. Bodybuilders are taking massive amounts of drugs and their bodies all look alike. Their bodies no longer have personality.
My friend, Brice Haller and his mother, Linda, went to the Arnold Classic and saw a guy that was so huge that he looked like a freak from another planet. I hope it does reach that point because then maybe even the average guy at those bodybuilding contests will become sick and tired of what they see and they will reject steroid bodybuilding as we know it and, hopefully, resurrect natural bodybuilding.
When I spent 6 weeks at the gym and Vince trained me, he didn't even want to take any money. He would just have me pay the gym fee for the day and not charge me for anything else. How many people in our business would do that? He had such a big heart that he would let people such as the Icarian Brothers and Larry Scott come into the gym and copy all of the equipment that he had invented. He didn't prevent them from doing that even though the equipment was his design.
Then they never gave him any credit for the design. They just took him for granted and I'm speaking to the people who don't or didn't give him credit: You know who you are. By the way, I just discovered that a former gym member of Vince's (who obviously has some dollars) bought all of Vince's equipment when Vince closed the gym and resurrected it at a secret location not too far from the gym!
His passions were in teaching and in the love of bodybuilding. He taught that the easy way was the wrong way. He said, "That until somebody improves on my methods, they are the best there are for building and sculpting the human body." What a simplistic way of saying, with the utmost confidence, that he was right. In fact, he was brutally truthful.
I would witness people coming into the gym that were trying to take advantage of Vince by bullsh!tting him, or trying to get him to endorse some shoddy machine or some undesirable supplements, or to just get free advice, which he willingly gave, and I saw what a soft touch he was. He was a marshmallow despite his sometimes mean and nasty demeanor, which was just a cover-up anyway.
In his hay day, the 50's weren't good to him because he was so revolutionary. In the 60's and 70's, once his methods proved to be the best there was, his gym became a hotbed of bodybuilding and that's when he really shined. His stature started to regress in the early 80's as he became older and bitterer. His bitterness was because he had given so much knowledge of bodybuilding to the world and they would not accept it.
It was funny because everyone knew he was right, but if they would have admitted that he was right, they would have also been admitting that they were wrong and then all of their phony exercises and exercise equipment and drugs and lying and deceiving would have driven them out of business.
As the years passed, I noticed that it became harder and harder to get a smile out of Vince. One of the tragedies in his life was that his son, Guy, was a very big disappointment to Vince, because of problems which I won't get into. After his first wife, Peggy, who he loved dearly, died of that brain hemorrhage, Vince was deeply affected.
Somewhere along the road, Vince started to drink. He wasn't recognized as he should have been recognized and that's when he took that dangerous spiral downhill. He became very temperamental and started on the path of being very abrasive. When he drank, it wasn't Vince talking, it was the alcohol. My stepfather was an alcoholic and when he was drinking, he was the nicest person in the world. When Vince was drinking, he was the exact opposite, and he became mean and bitter. It was very troubling for me to see that this brilliant mind was starting to regress.
I did an interview with Vince in the fall of 1995 and I could tell that he was starting to deteriorate mentally and physically. He kept coughing and his gym was in disarray, not as well maintained as it used to be. Vince was at times rambling and he was going in and out of lucidness. Ray Raridon was with me and when we left we were both very, very sad. I have a tape of the interview at home and that's where it's going to stay because I do not want anybody to hear it.
Ray and I prefer to remember back in the earlier days when Ray and I wanted to take Vince out for his favorite meal, filet mignon and a salad, which Vince couldn't often afford. When Vince insisted on driving, Ray and I gave each other "the look." Vince had an old Chevy El Camino with the open-back trunk, which was filled with so much junk that it looked like a sheeny wagon.
The guys in the gym used to tease him about it. So there I was, sitting in the middle, and Ray was sitting by the door. Vince got in the driver's seat, brushed back his long, gray hair and pulled out onto Ventura Boulevard right into the line of cars! The other drivers slammed on their brakes, we gasped and he didn't even care.
He got into the left lane, without using his blinker, and was doing 25 miles an hour, all the time talking. Ray and I thought we were going to pee our pants. The guy behind us was blowing his horn. Vince pulled into the restaurant parking lot without signaling the driver behind us. At this point, Ray and I were already concerned that we would never make it back to the gym.
Once in the shopping center, we spotted a Coney Island and we told Vince that we were going to get him a gourmet Coney Island hot dog. He gave us a startled look until we explained that we were kidding and would get him a filet and salad. Ray was about 5'9," Vince was 5'8"and I'm 6'4" and, as we walked into the restaurant, I just gave them both a hug and told them that I cared for them both so much.
We had a great old time that day and I was sad when we had to come back to the gym because we just had a riot there at the restaurant. That's the day we took a picture outside of the gym with me in the middle, Vince on my left and Ray on my right, the three owners of NSP. That was a day I'll never forget.
I still think of that precious moment. I know that when I put my arm around him that day, it made him a little embarrassed, but he loved it because we all need somebody to put their arm around us and tell us that we're important. It's a basic human need. Vince just wanted to be appreciated, loved, and recognized. That's the thing he wanted the most. I've noticed that about a lot of brilliant people who don't get the recognition they deserve. He really deserved it.
I've had dreams and aspirations of building a monument to Vince. I've collected about $400.00 from customers and I've tried diligently to contact as many people as I could about building a monument.
I spoke with a woman at the North Hollywood City Hall who remembered Vince with respect and fondness and she told me that it would probably be impossible to build a monument to him because of all the red tape involved. It would involve going to the city and the county as well as petitioning all the businesses in the area. It would require permission from the person who presently owns the building, decisions on placement of the monument as well as hundreds of dollars to pursue each step of the process.
I got the bright idea of asking Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor of California, if he would help because if it hadn't been for Vince, Arnold wouldn't have succeeded on his path to where he is right now. I emailed Arnold several times and have never heard from him. Maybe it'd be a good idea if each and every one of you emailed him and, if we bugged him enough, it might work.
He's the only one who could really cut through all the red tape and say that by governmental decree we could have a monument to Vince, period, and that would be it. That would be so easy but, for a little guy like me and all the people who donated, it is almost impossible. I still have hopes.
One of the reasons that I buy one lottery ticket a month is that I'm hoping that some day I might win 50 to 100 million dollars. If I did, I'd be a little selfish by buying a Ferrari Testarossa and customizing it; I would give $500,000.00 a piece to all my friends who have helped me through my life and on my way up; I'd give a h*ll of a lot to the Salvation Army; I'd upgrade my house; I'd continue with NSP and I'd tour the country promoting Vince and his seminars; then I'd use the bulk of it to fight a corrupt government organization called the Food and Drug Administration because the government has forgotten that it is supposed to be a government of, by, and for the people, not a government of, by, and for big corporations.
The U.S. Constitution says that the government is responsible for the health and welfare of all of its citizens. The Constitution does not mention that the government is responsible to help fill the coffers of big business. With my lottery winnings, I'd also fight medical doctors and drug companies for suppressing nutrition so that we'd give nutritional freedom to all Americans; then, of course, Vince would have his monument. With all that money it would be easy to build the monument, so please pray that I win the lottery!
It's just a shame that Vince's voice, for all practical purposes, except for the Internet, is dead. But, I see signs of resurrection that natural bodybuilding and Vince Gironda are coming back and that hopefully, this drug culture will die and come to an end. Note: I've been told that some magazines are again talking about Vince – wonderful!
As mentioned, in our sport and related businesses, there are many lies and deceptions told by our so-called leaders and promoters, who, by the way, come from the same toilet! These people never really learned right from wrong and their goal will always be to make big money, which is their god. They have no conscience, are sleazy flim-flam men, hucksters who just aren't responsible for their actions.
It will never end as one con-man will replace another, all of who have total disregard and contempt for the kids who pursue the bodybuilding dream and are exploited because of their adolescence. These con-men, sooner or later, must be held responsible for their actions! So, if we can direct and guide the new students to Vince, he will, in turn, show them the way naturally.
Remember, there will be no legacy for these con men, liars, hucksters and promoters because they didn't earn anything, certainly not a website tribute. Even all the people, including myself, who have promoted Vince will pass and fade into oblivion and not be remembered, but make no mistake that decades from now and beyond, Vince's legacy and legend will be embraced by the intellects, and his ingenious principles and methods will continue to grow.
He really will never die because of the self-evident truths of what he promoted, invented, and pioneered. I thank the Creator for giving me the gift of knowing Vince and I thank Vince for influencing my life and I hope he does the same for yours. And always, always remember that Vince Gironda never sold out - and that will be the enduring part of his legacy.
If you have any questions, don't hesitate to give me a call!
Ron Kosloff N/C
Last but not least, I would like to give special thanks to special and extremely bright people who are my friends, and who have helped me personally, and in keeping Vince alive, as he is the glue that bonds us all. We are all driven to preserve Vince! I could not have done it without them!
In alphabetical order:
- Mike Bourgeau
- Daryl Conant
- Ted Leithart
- Alan Palmieri
- Ray Raridon
- Doug Schneider
- Tony Semaan
- Steve Spyrer
- Sally Van
Copyright ©2006 Ron Kosloff. All Rights Reserved.