I was almost thirteen years old (in 1985) when the first edition of The Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding was published. I remember going to the bookstore, sitting on the floor and flipping through the several hundred page book. It featured bodybuilders of the past, tips on nutrition, diet plans and workout programs. It was fascinating. Around the same time, I watched the 1977 docu-drama, Pumping Iron. Let me clarify something for all of you Arnie die-hards out there. In an interview, Arnold was asked if the movie was a documentary on bodybuilding. He replied by saying that it was a “docu-drama”. It was a combination of both. Like many reality TV shows today. Real people were in real and contrived situations. And like any good movie, there needed to be a hero, villain, etc. Arnold continued by saying that some of the movie’s stories unfolded naturally and some of the drama was more directed.
Arnold’s physique was one many teenage boys, like myself and my brothers, were striving to achieve. Reading the book was a lot like reading a comic. There were pics of bodybuilders who looked like superheroes. And by some of the weights they could lift, they were practically as strong. So I saved my nickels and dimes and not long after picked up my very own copy.
Around this time my parents bought a free-weight set (two dumbbells, one barbell and weight bench) and put it in their garage. My big brother, Ken, would bring out his boom box and blast music while we “pumped iron”. Was that Motley Crue I just heard on the radio? Ahh, we had some epic workouts. It seemed like an almost daily ritual that I referred to “Arnie’s Encyclopedia”. It served as a great foundation, road map, how-to and first step towards weight lifting.
Almost 30 years later, it is still one of my favorites health and fitness books. Sure brings me back to when I first started lifting. The “Bible of Bodybuilding”, as it has been called by countless fitness-goers, gives concise and simple to understand workout regimens. It is a must in anyone’s health and exercise library.