Let's Get Physical #8: Old School Muscle and Fitness Magazine Covers

I know body building was around well before the 1970s, but I think that's when it came closest to hitting mainstream - a craze that continued well into the '80s.  Lou Ferrigno was big back then - mainly for his role on The Incredible Hulk, but he was in a lot of magazines and popped up on TV a lot (like in The Fall Guy and even Mister Rogers).

Of course it was Schwarzenegger who is most responsible for bringing bodybuilding to masses.  Pumping Iron was a pretty successful movie, and he also found his way into many a cameo and magazine article - well before he became Conan or the Terminator. Schwarzenegger has been very frank about his steroid use back then, but it wasn't illegal and pretty much every bodybuilder was using them.

I think the "sport" went nuts in the 1980's.  Looking at the magazine covers, you can see it digressing  from the very fit looking barrel chested Schwarzenegger in the late seventies to the late eighties and the guys (and now girls!) look downright scary: throbbing, sinewy, and lathered in oil.  It had gone from being cool to kinda' creepy.

Well, sit back and enjoy a selection of muscle and fitness magazines from yesteryear.  I'm not a huge fan of bodybuilding and don't know a whole lot about it, but it sure is interesting (and oftentimes amusing) looking at these covers.  Common thread through most of these: hot women and ripped shirtless dudes.  Sounds like a recipe for greatness to me - let's have a look.


  1. I did my part! I wore leg warmers and a headband!

  2. Well - I used to work out too ! mainly with a can of pop, and a Cigarette and the sofa, watchin TV, Like the Duke boys (Daisy mainly) - or BJ & the Bear, Johnny Carson at night then it was off to bed to go to work,, yip I worked out, tho you'd never know it looking at me now ! I'm however still the same size I was in the late 70's too, I can't gain a single pound no matter how much I eat ! Well, off to go Bar B Q me some Steaks, brautwursts for dinner - see ya'll !!

  3. Man, you can see how the use of steroids increased just from the progression of these magazine covers - Strength & Health the guys look muscular - yet naturally so - but Muscle & Fitness? Yech! Does ANYBODY find that attractive? Or to be the look of fitness? 0_o

    Sad part is, it's even WORSE now!

  4. I remember the first time I saw Arnold was on an episode of "The Streets of San Francisco". He played a body builder who accidentally killed a lady.

    Body building is a crazy sport. I like some aspects of it, but I really don't think it's as healthy an activity as people assume it is.

  5. I love shag. The modern (stupid) trend towards fake wood paneling is both bad for your health (dust is everywhere floating into your lungs!) and loud and ugly. Please, if you have any connections and you're reading this meager plea, BRING BACK SHAG!

  6. AnonymousJune 23, 2014

    The most powerful looking physiques are the ones where the guy not only looks like he can lift a great deal of weight but also run as well. You have always had guys who were really big and strong, but too bulky to look athletic ( think olympic super-heavyweights). Today's bodybuilders are so bulky and non-athletic looking that it is hard to see in some ways the difference between them and a big, fat guy. The bloated look not only doesn't look athletic, it simply isn't athletic.