The Man Who Transformed Bodybuilding & Fitness

There are lots of legends. Joe Weider was one of a kind.



The most promient name in Joe Weider’s magazines was Joe Weider. He was editor and writer but also the ubiquitous pitchman of training courses and products like Power Twisters, Killer Karate Krushers, and Muscle Density RX7. In 1970, Sports Illustrated ran a lengthy profile of Joe prolaiming he had “replaced Charles Atlas as the world’s No. 1 bodybuilder.” Think of muscles and you thought foremost of Joe Weider. The man then known as the “Master Blaster” and “Trainer of Champions” had reached the rarefied status of icon. 

“Bodybuilding is about getting bigger, so I had to be a little bit bigger than life,” Joe wrote in his and Ben’s co-autobiography Brothers of Iron. “What I did, philosophically speaking, was to create a Platonic ideal of myself and make exciting images of this ideal to catch and hold the attention of millions of people so I could educate them about bodybuilding and provide products they required. The ideal was a lot like reality, because I was a muscle man and I truly deserved my titles Trainer of Champions and Master Blaster. All my life I followed my own advice, working out and watching my diet and health, and I loved bodybuilding with all my heart. If I didn’t walk the talk, as they say, people would have turned away from me long ago.”

Joe’s most distinctive characteristic appeared beneath his nose and over his upper lip sometime in 1970 and has remained there, almost continuously, ever since. Millions of people who couldn’t name the current Mr. Olympia knew Joe Weider—the man behind all those protein powders, weight sets, and muscle magazines—by his moustache. To those who've heard Joe, however, he has a greater distinguishing attribute—his voice. For the writers, photographers, and bodybuilders he worked with, mimicking Joe’s French-Canadian accent and pleasantly honking tone proved irresistible. Even Arnold has trouble quoting Joe without imitating Joe.