Ever since the fitness craze in the 1980’s, we have become a
nation increasingly aware of our health and physique. Millions of
dollars are spent every year in the quest for a perfect body. Gyms are
big business, personal trainers are making a tidy living helping people
stay fit, and body building supplements are at an all-time level of
In actuality, the sport of body building has been around for quite
some time. In the late 19th century, the man known as the “father of
bodybuilding”, Eugen Sandow was credited with inventing the sport by
inviting people to view his body in muscle display performances.
Sandow built a stage performance around displays of strength
and agility as well as showing off a “Grecian” physique which was
considered the ultimate body. He became so successful, he created
several businesses around his fame and was among the first people to
market body building products bearing his name. As he became more
popular, he was credited with the invention of the first exercise
equipment marketed to the masses.
Sandow was also credited with beginning the first body building
contest called “The Great Competition” held in London. This
competition was the basis for many others to follow including the Mr.
Olympia competition that remains the most popular body building
contest to date.
When World War II broke out, men in the country were inspired
to become bigger in their physique, stronger, and more aggressive in
their behavior. Training techniques were improved, nutrition was
focused on more than ever, and body building equipment evolved into
effective means for working muscles in ways never thought of before.
It was also around this time that many body building
organizations came into being including the Amateur Athletic Union
and the International Federation of Body Building. In 1970, body
building was taken to a new level when the film “Pumping Iron” was
released starring Austrian newcomer Arnold Schwarzenegger.