October 2, 2008

Educating the Masses

By Weider, Joe

Harvard Medical School backs up what we've been saying for years: The bodybuilding lifestyle helps you live longer, stronger and healthier Staying at the forefront of fitness and nutrition science has always been Joe Weider's aim.

At last, I feel vindicated! one of my most important predictions - one that I made more than half a century ago - has finally been proven, accepted and embraced by one of the world's most prestigious universities and the entire medical community. * Harvard Medical School (Boston) recently published a special health report, "Exercise: A Program You Can Live With." This report endorses the importance, benefits and program components of building your body with weightlifting, general exercise, stretching, balance training and relaxation training. Fifty years ago no one would've thought it possible. But now, one of my most significant battles has been won.

I've spent a lifetime trying to convince the medical community of the many benefits of building your body with exercise. In the 19305, '405 and '505, they thought I was a heretic and that bodybuilding and/or weightlifting was dangerous and at best a waste of time. Yet I knew what bodybuilding had to offer society's state of wellness; it was obvious to me, as I had seen and experienced the results for myself.

In the July 1950 issue of YOUR PHYSIQUE magazine (the precursor to MUSCLE & FITNESS), I made 10 predictions about the sport, the third of which I considered pivotal to the health, wellness and fitness of future generations. I predicted that "bodybuilding will become the chief form of systematic exercise and physical activity, and that it will come to be looked upon as one of the greatest forces in the field of preventive medicine."

While it sounds like common sense now, it was the last thing anyone would've believed back then. Athletes were prohibited from lifting weights to avoid being "muscle-bound." Nowadays, can you imagine a football, basketball, baseball or hockey player not lifting weights? Building your body is the foundation of enhancing all physical performance.

But let me digress. It's easy for people to assume that when I talk about bodybuilding, I'm referring to the incredible specimens you see on competitive stages who lift massive amounts of weight. The truth is, my definition of bodybuilding is and always has been much more far-reaching than that. Since the beginning, I've believed that whether you use free weights, machines or elastic tubing, or you perform calisthenic, aerobic or isometric training, it's all bodybuilding - building your body - to me.

The athletes you see onstage are created from the extreme application of cutting-edge techniques. The beauty is that these same principles can be scaled down so they're effective in helping anyone at any age change the size, shape, strength, performance and well-being of their bodies. Now that's what I call bodybuilding!

Lou Ferrigno and Joe Weider were training intensely long before it was considered essential for good health.


One of my teachers and mentors, George Jowett, once told me that real change can take a full generation; you have to wait for the new blood to take over and change the old ideas. I knew that no matter how much information I amassed or how many research studies I commissioned, it would take decades to change the minds of an entire profession and what they taught in schools - and that's exactly the way it happened.

The notion that diet and exercise are synonymous with good health, which now seems self-evident, is a fairly recent development. In the 1950s, physicians didn't understand the effects of exercise or diet, nor their relationship to long-term health. Doctors would tell you, "Eat what you want; if it makes you sick, switch your food choices." Even most medical schools in the 1970s and '80s didn't offer classes in nutrition or exercise science.

By 1970, however, journals on exercise physiology, sports medicine, cardiac research and nutritional health began publishing research contradicting conventional wisdom. By the 1990s, these journals were advocating diet and exercise as the "new preventive medicine of the zoth century."

In 1995, the American Heart Association included resistance exercises in its prescription for cardiac health, saying, "There's a direct relationship between physical inactivity and cardiovascular mortality." They went on to recommend "developing and maintaining aerobic endurance, joint flexibility and muscle strength [as being] important as people age." Similar views are held by the American Medical Association and the American College of Sports Medicine.


In Harvard's special health report, the importance, benefits and program components of building your body with weights, general exercise, stretching, balance training and relaxation training are all addressed and endorsed. As it says, "Literally hundreds of studies conducted over half a century demonstrate that regular exercise pares down your risks for developing some of the most lethal health problems... simply put, exercise helps you feel better and live longer." I take pride in the fact that our magazines have stimulated so much interest and research in the arenas of fitness, performance, wellness and longevity.

The Harvard team goes into detail on how exercise affects and benefits the heart and blood vessels, lungs, muscles, bones and immune system; prevents diseases such as diabetes, cancer and osteoporosis, as well as arthritis and gallstones; and even battles depression and anxiety. The study mentions benefits such as enhanced quality of life, mental functioning, sleep, sex - you name it.

The report also discusses program design and training technique, and it contains pages of drawings of exercises for all major muscle groups. The whole thing makes me shake my head - and smile. I shake my head wondering what took them so long, yet I smile because my prediction has finally come to pass, in a huge way!

While reading the report is like experiencing an episode of deja vu (my magazines have been offering the same information and research for 60 years), I'm glad to hear it from them because now they believe and are spreading the word to the masses like we always have. That calls for some congratulations all around.

These principles can be effective in helping anyone change their bodies


In the July 1950 issue of YOUR PHYSIQUE, Joe Weider made 10 predictions concerning bodybuilding's impact on the future. More than a half-century later, it's amazing to examine the uncanny foresight of Joe's prognostications in light of subsequent developments in medicine, psychology and exercise physiology. Here, we revisit the list.


I predict that civilization will speed up in every phase, and that the stresses and strains on mankind will continue to increase.


I predict that the resulting increase in mental and physical illness will force the world to recognize the importance of systematic exercise and physical activities.


I predict that bodybuilding will become the chief form of systematic exercise and physical activity, and that it will come to be looked upon as one of the greatest forces in the field of preventive medicine.


I predict that a full realization of the importance of muscular development will sweep the world, and the sport of bodybuilding will grow by leaps and bounds.


I predict that the principles of good bodybuilding - which include a balanced diet, adequate sleep, plenty of fresh air, ample sunshine and regular workouts - will become basic principles of living.


I predict that bodybuilding will become the steppingstone to every other sport and physical activity.


I predict that the art of relaxation, one of the fundamental principles in bodybuilding, will become more and more important as tensions increase, and that relaxation will be universally taught and advocated.


I predict that those who practice bodybuilding will live healthier, happier and more useful lives.


I predict that bodybuilding will spread to every corner of the world and that it will one day be recognized as the king of all sports and physical activities.


I predict that bodybuilding will one day become one of the greatest forces in existence, and that it may be hailed as the activity that actually saved civilization from itself.

By Joe Weider, Trainer of Champions since 1936

Copyright American Media, Inc. Oct 2008

(c) 2008 Joe Weider's Muscle & Fitness. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.