Vince Gironda is described as one of the first Bodybuilding Gurus. During the classical Bodybuilding Era of the 50s, 60s, and 70s Vince was pioneering new training styles and diet principles that many still use to great effect today. Vince believed that Nutrition was the absolute key to getting the most out of your body and was an early advocate of a diet low in carbs and high in supplements such as liver tablets and digestive enzymes. He believed that all the food you eat should serve a purpose and thus prescribed bodybuilders with diets very high in Animal Protein and Fat. This generally involved a lot of meat, eggs and dairy (preferably unpasteurized).
A young Vince in a 'relaxed' pose during his competitive years, 1940-50s.
Interestingly, Vince believed that eating huge amounts of fertilised hen's eggs had similar effects on the body as the popular anabolic steroid Dianabol. However, these findings were never backed up by real science - but considering he was against the active use of steroids in bodybuilding, it showed he was thinking more outside the box then most people at the time in terms of the power of Nutrition, (The only exception being Jack LaLanne, who also preached low carb, high protein dieting as the key to health, longevity and strength).
Vince seen here with "The Myth" Sergio Oliva, Mr. Olympia 1967-1969.
The 'Iron Guro' was what Vince was nicknamed during the Classical Era of bodybuilding, but before that he was just like any other guy trying to get fit and strong. At the age of 22 he saw a photo of John Grimek (bodybuilder) and realised that he needed to start lifting some weights and get bigger, so he started training at his local YMCA gym in Los Angeles. After that he went and learned to be an instructor at Eastern Brothers' gym where he trained people and experimented with various training protocols for about 10 years. After that he decided to open up his own Gym, in North Hollywood California - named Vince's Gym! Vince's thirst for knowledge, his methodical emphasis on correct dieting and unique training principles thus landed him with his title, 'The Iron Guru' along with a legacy of knowledge that is still in use in many gyms today.
Vince standing outside his Gym, 1960s.
The Iron Guru had to many what seemed like 'outlandish' training ideas. For example, one of the most famous 'against the grain' ideas was his belief that Back Squats were not the most effective exercise to build the Legs. To many this seemed rather absurd, and even today a lot of people may object to the notion that the Back Squat should be omitted from their bodybuilding program. In reality, what Vince was pointing out was a purely objective observation; the Back Squat involved too many auxiliary muscle groups (like the Glutes) and did not fully isolate the Quad muscles - which was the target muscle group. Instead he advocated Leg Presses, Hack Squats, Sissy Squats and Front Squats to build the thighs. The only exception to his 'No Back-Squatting' rule were Ladies who needed more Glute development.
Vince displaying his Lat Muscles in a Classic Bodybuilding pose (in competition), 1940-50s.
The Bench Press was also another 'no-go' exercise in Vince's gym. He used to say that the Dip exercise was more effective at building the Chest - a similar angle of tension to the Decline Chest Press. It looks like The Iron Guru lived up to his name, much like many individuals who are classified as a 'Guru,' he saw the sport objectively instead of subjectively and in turn discovered things that no-one else saw or even thought about looking for. Vince Gironda's portfolio of client triumphs include some of the classical greats we all know and love; Larry Scott, Lou Ferigno, Frank Zane and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also personally holds a 4th place finish in the 1950 Mr USA contest, and an impressive 2nd in the 1951 Mr America. A trainer who talks the talk and walks the walk!
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