The Original Guru, Vince Gironda

admin March 2, 2015 Comments

There are many self-professed ‘gurus’ in bodybuilding, some of them certainly worth their salt, others certainly deserve some skepticism. Regardless, before bodybuilding was as widespread as it is now, there was a man who was the original guru: Vince Gironda. Gironda was a particularly fascinating character; a legendary trainer, author and bodybuilder. As a bodybuilder he helped further the sport, displaying a physique with so much definition heas penalized for being ‘too muscular’. He invented what we could come to term as ‘conditioning’. What is even more fascinating about Gironda, is that even today with the all of the supposed advancements in nutritional science and training knowledge, his ideas are consistently rehashed in magazines and by the current crop of ‘gurus’.

Vince GirondaRecently on a forum someone posted a recommendation from a current top guru advocating to separate food intake from fluid intake. Not surprisingly this is something that Gironda advocated in the 1960’s for maximum digestion. Gironda was also the first to pen the phrase ‘bodybuilding is 85% nutrition’ and advocated a ketogenic diet in his ‘maximum definition’ diet for pre-contest purposes. Recently, another guru advocated a rehashed Gironda ketogenic diet, with some modifications and was widely celebrated for his ‘revolutionary system’. Remember FST-7, the ‘training system of the moment’ not too long ago? Interestingly enough, it is remarkably similar to Gironda’s 8×8, in which he recommended doing 8 sets of 8 repetitions, with 30 seconds rest in between sets. One can gain infinite pearls of wisdom by reading his widely circulated ‘Wild Physique’ book, it should be required reading for any true bodybuilding aficionado, or anyone simply willing to improve their physique.

The term ‘genius’ gets thrown around with much frequency today, however it is no exaggeration when pertaining to Gironda. Like many geniuses he was obsessive in his pursuit and he applied a very Stalinist approach to his methodology and practices. Famously he insulted Franco and Arnold as ‘fat fucking pigs’ when they arrived at his gym. Gym patrons were forced to follow strict rules and failure to adhere to these rules would receive the punishment of expulsion. These rules included; refusing to not wear shoes during calf work, performing full sit-ups, starting a workout with bicep exercises, NOT using his working out system, mentioning the words ‘aerobics’ or ‘running’, etc. The list is quite extensive and an indication that Vince was very much like a dictator in his gym. His methodologies and nutritional guidance helped mold some greatest bodybuilding champions of all time including: Larry Scott and Mohamed Makkawy.

The proof is in the pudding, the greatness of Gironda and his pupils is not up for argument by any rational individual. Gironda was an ardent reader, thinker and inventor. He would perform different exercises and document where his body was sore and developed his training methods through gym experimentation. He was also an advocated of supplements, his list of accompanying supplements for the ‘maximum definition’ diet comprising of a meal all to themselves. Like many great thinkers, he was simply ahead of his time. We view bodybuilding as a fringe sport now, but imagine in Gironda’s time what it must have been like? It would have been truly a miracle to even discover bodybuilding at this time in its relative infancy. Gironda is the grand-daddy of them all; not surprisingly he is all but forgotten by today’s selfie-taking, Instagram, ‘GAINZ!’ culture. If a person gives a small exchange of their time to learn just some of Gironda’s teachings they will be rewarded with a treasure trove of knowledge to enhance their physique.

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