The last of three Muscle Beach Venice bodybuilding and physique contests of this season will feature fitness pioneer Joe Weider. Recognized as the “Father of the Fitness Movement,” Weider will be given a Muscle Beach Lifetime Achievement Award Monday, September 4th.
The yearly Labor Day contest, called the Muscle Beach Championship, draws male and female bodybuilders for a contest to mark the end of the summer season. The contest begins with pre-judging at 10:30 a.m. and continues throughout the afternoon at the Venice Beach Recreation Center, 1800 Ocean Front Walk, Venice. Finals in each division get under way at 1 p.m.
Spectator admission is free; and the contest is open to participants for a $50 registration fee. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. the day of the contest.
The ceremony will include the induction of three champion bodybuilders into the Muscle Beach Venice Bodybuilding Hall of Fame, including Rachel McLish, who won the first Ms. Olympia contest in 1978; Leroy Colbert, believed by many to be the first person who achieved 21-inch biceps from weightlifting; and Gene Mozee, accomplished bodybuilder, photojournalist and bodybuilding historian.
Three Muscle Beach Venice bodybuilding contests are produced annually by Joe Wheatley Productions in conjunction with the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. World Gym, formerly owned by the late Venice fitness legend Joe Gold, is the local sponsor.
Next season’s contests will feature inductions into the Muscle Beach Walk of Fame, with placards honoring fitness greats. The project has been approved by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and sponsored by Bodybuilding .com, according to Wheatley. Wheatley and his wife Christine pushed for the idea to become a reality, says Wheatley.
Information, (310) 399-2775.
JOE WEIDER — Weider, now 84, is credited with altering the approach worldwide of athletes, coaches and sports scientists to training, nutrition and recuperation. Weider has pushed for the medical community, once hostile and later merely skeptical toward resistance training, to embrace it as a vital weapon in the war against aging, according to Weider’s publicist. Weider has also pushed for psychologists to accept exercise as a vital contributor to mental health.
Weider is best known for the fitness equipment and products he developed with his brother Ben, and his founding of the International Federation of Body Builders (IFBB) in 1946.
For decades, Weider oversaw a successful fitness publishing empire that included the titles Muscle & Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, Flex, Men’s Fitness, Shape, Fit Pregnancy and Natural Health.
According to his biography, Weider grew up in a tough neighborhood in Montreal during the hard times of the Great Depression. When he left public school at age 12 to pull a small wagon ten hours a day delivering fruit and groceries for a market, it was an act of survival for both him and his family. Standing five-feet-five and weighing a mere 115 pounds, Joe became easy prey for teenagers looking to score some quick change, which prompted him to head off to the Montreal YMCA and request a tryout with the wrestling team. The coach turned him down, for fear he would be hurt.
Not dissuaded, Weider made his way to a local newsstand and purchased two used magazines for a penny, including a 1930 edition of the Milo Barbell Co.’s Strength magazine. Those publications inspired him to scavenge a local train yard for an old axle and two flywheels, which he cobbled into a makeshift barbell, and later, to start his own magazine. Weider’s publications helped change the public view of bodybuilding from a deviant subculture to a more mainstream, accepted activity.
Weider is also responsible for some of the sport’s most well-recognized contests, including the Mr. Olympia and Ms. Olympia contests.