Saturday, September 1, 2007

Your Physique: Joe Weider's First Bodybuilding Magazine

In a previous post, we stated that our beginning date for the Golden Age of Classic Physique Building was 1940 - the year that Joe Weider published his first bodybuilding magazine, Your Physique. Here is a brief account of how Joe put together his first issue (August 1940, vol.1, no.1).

Joe was 17 years old. He went through back issues of Bob Hoffman's magazine Strength and Health and wrote down the names and addresses of guys in the "Pen Pals" section. With his 7 dollars in savings, he bought 600 post cards, sent them out to his mailing list, and sold subscriptions to his new magazine (75 cents for 6 bimonthly issues) - which didn't exist yet! With the money he received, he rented a typewriter and worked at night on his dining room table when his mother was asleep. He hand-lettered the big display type, drew his own muscle man illustrations, and typed 22 pages onto mimeograph stencils. He ran off copies on a rented mimeograph machine. Only the cover page was professional printed. He stapled the pages together and then sent them out. More subscriptions poured in! His second issue was sent to a real typsetter and printer.

Your Physique ran from 1940 to 1952 through 17 volumes. Many Weider magazines, exercise equipment, muscle-building courses, and supplements were to follow and the rest was history! Not bad for a 17 year-old kid with 7 bucks to his name!

Above is his first issue of Your Physique (August 1940, vol. 1, no. 1). Barton Horvath is on the cover. You can find an archive of Your Physique covers at You can also read more about Joe Weider in his book Brothers of Iron - which is available at most bookstores.

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