Vince Gironda, the “Iron Guru”, and Original Paleo Bodybuilder

“Truly I say to you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.”

~ Luke 4:24

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Vince Gironda, the “Iron Guru”, check out this Wikapedia overview. The man was truly ahead of his time, a visionary in both nutritional thinking and  in sculpting an aesthetic physique. If you ever come across a copy of his book, Unleashing the Wild Physique, I’d most certainly snatch it up. No one, in my opinion, exceeded Vince Gironda’s  knowledge of how best to train specifically for physical aesthetics.  Vince’s forte lay not in the field of strength and conditioning, nor in the bettering of athletic performance per se; but then again, he made no such claims and never pretended to be anything other than he was.  His talent lay the in the art of  physique sculpting, and at that endeavor (and in his time), he was unequaled.  And he was was an advocate of the Paleo lifestyle long before such an idea was a movement.  He truly was idiosyncratic, and far, far ahead of his time.

And I say “in his time” because, only now — only and with the aid of scientifically directed empirical evidence — would I feel comfortable tweaking a scant few of his dictates.  For instance, I believe that the total rep range per exercise that he recommended was a bit high, and I’m a bit dubious about his penchant for dessicated liver and glandulars.  But check out some of the old photos of Vince here, at the Iron Guru site, and you’ll see that the man was the epitome of an anesthetic, drug-free physique and obviously knew what was right for his body.  And remember, the bulk of these photos are from the 1950’s.  Quite impressive, indeed.

In this Super Human Radio podcast, host Carl Lanore talks with Ron Kosloff (here’s a link to Ron’s site) about the Iron Guru.  Ron was a friend and business partner of Vince’s , and offers some interesting insight into someone who, from the outside looking in, might be tough to get a handle on.   This interview is full of interesting information and food for thought.  Once again, the notion of raw dairy consumption is raised (with Vince being a proponent).

I would have loved to have met the man in person.  It is an unfortunate travesty that the “fitness establishment” felt threatened by his unorthodox methods and saw fit to discredit, and, in some cases out-and-out silence him.   Listen to the show and you’ll see what I mean.

Late edit: I’d meant to add this link before I originally uploaded this post.  Better late than never, I suppose.  It’s a great T-Nation article by

In Health,

Keith

12 responses to “Vince Gironda, the “Iron Guru”, and Original Paleo Bodybuilder

  1. I remember reading Unleashing the Wild Physique when it first came out about 20+ (?) years ago. At the time I remember reading the chapter on diet and thinking it was crazy. Now it describes how I eat! I’ve since bought his booklet on diet – terrible production but some good nuggets of info – from Kosloff’s website.

    He was definitely ahead of his time.

    • Chris,
      “He was definitely ahead of his time.”
      And ornery as all hell, too, it seems 🙂 I can appreciate that in a fellow!

      Andy,
      I remain conflicted on the raw dairy issue. I specify raw dairy, because I think we can all at least agree that pasteurized dairy is of little nutritional value. I think I’m going to withhold judgment until I’ve heard what Dr. Scott Connelly has to say about dairy in general and whey in particular. Each side of the argument sounds plausible to me at this point. Right now I’d just assume that raw dairy is fine in moderation, and of course, if you can tolerate it. Personally, I’d like to get further clarification on the lactose/insulin response issue.

  2. Keith, it’s funny, but I was listening to that podcast last nite at work also. The passion that Ron Kosloff has about fitness and his admiration for Vince Gironda was clearly evident. I was shocked how Vince had been preaching the Paleo way 50 years ago in addition to how he was viewed as a freak.

    What does Ron say – that they considered Vince “Too Ripped”!!? Truly the guy had something working for him.

    One thing that came to mind was Ron’s take on protein and milk. His opinion is that protein is no good without lactose and whey protein is garbage. Whereas, Carl had a guy on a few weeks ago who said whey protein is the best thing out there. What’s your take on things?

    • Just don’t ever fall into the trap of “paralysis via analysis”, Marc; at a certain point you’ve got to trust your gut 🙂

  3. gironda war eine grosse persönlichkeit. ein mann der wusste was er macht. leider gab es nur einmal vinces gironda.
    r. eberhard

  4. Dude, Keith, thank you.

    Even though I’d been planning for (and planning and planning) to get back in the gym after the better part of a decade off, it was this post about Vince Gironda, and a couple other posts on your blog, that finally convinced me to get my ass in the gym yesterday.

    And I had fun. I worked out harder — if briefer — than a lot of their regulars, and I know I can work out harder today!

    In fact, your whole “paleo bodybuilder” frame of mind got me to thinking… and in my “plan” I’ll use both order and chaos.

    So rather than linearly try to space my workouts, I’ll work out a couple times in near proximity to each other (24-48 hours apart), take time off (7-10 days), and repeat. This enforced temporal variability will, I hope, overcome some of my statist thinking, reduce obsession with less than crucial details, and be enjoyable.

    But aside from the details of my plan subject to change, you are the man who motivated me from …

    Theory to Practice.

    P.S. And your photo for a man in his 40s, which I will be too sooner than later, is inspiring.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s