Joe Weider, known as the “father” of bodybuilding, died of heart failure on March 23. Weider helmed Weider Health and Fitness, which offers everything from fitness equipment to workout DVDs to nutritional supplements.

As a scrawny teenager, Weider became interested in bodybuilding as a way to avoid being bullied. After changing his body through information he learned in a magazine, he was inspired to start his own publication. In 1940, he launched Your Physique, which was almost immediately a success. He quickly realized that, aside from providing education, his magazine could become a vehicle for equipment and supplement sales. Thus began the mail-order Weider Barbell Co., and an empire was born.

Over the decades, Weider mentored Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno and many other bodybuilders, and launched or published numerous magazines, including Men’s Fitness, Shape and Muscle & Fitness. Together with his brother Ben, Weider founded the International Federation of Bodybuilders in 1946—an organization that now has 170 countries affiliated with it.

“Today it is universally accepted that to be healthy one must exercise and eat a nutritionally balanced diet,” says a statement on www.joewei “But it wasn’t always that way. The world owes this understanding, in large part, to the lifelong efforts of Joe Weider.”

Ryan Halvorson

Ryan Halvorson is an award-winning writer and editor. He is a long-time author and presenter for IDEA Health & Fitness Association, fitness industry consultant and former director of group training for Bird Rock Fit. He is also a Master Trainer for TriggerPoint.

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