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Joe Weider, Bodybuilding Icon

Updated on March 24, 2013

Joe Weider

Joe Wider & Arnold Schwarzenegger

Ben Weider

Weight Lifting Guru, Joe Weider

Joe Wider was born November 29, 1920, in Canada. He had the entrepreneurial spirit of a true American. He took his fascination with strength and muscle building, and turned it into a business. Joe built his first set of bodybuilding equipment when he was in his early teens with left over auto parts, and he studied the great entrepreneurs of American business such as John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan. Joe wanted to turn his passion into his profession and his name became relatively known by the mid 1930's when he published his first magazine called, Your Physique in 1936 when he was still only in his mid teens. Joe was very close to his younger brother, Ben, who was born just three years after he. They were always together spinning ideas off of each other during their teens and early 20s, and would remain close in business and their personal lives.

Joe was doing well with his magazine but was not the household name that Jack Lalanne was, and this challenged his entrepreneurial spirit. He could see that Lalanne had branched out beyond magazines and had turned himself into a star by doing television. This led to Jack Lalanne becoming the name that was synonymous with fitness. Joe Weider was up against serious competition and wanted to brand his name in the muscle and fitness niche. It was not until until the 1950s, when bodybuilding was gaining popularity that Weider became known. Weider himself began developing his own customized workouts. This way the bodybuilding youth could buy and try out the Weider system of bodybuilding, and whereas Lalanne was the fitness guru, Weider would have a stronger hold of the hard chore bodybuilders.

Wider then met Betty Brosmer, who was one of the top pin up girls of the 1950s. She had the slender and small waisted figure that the Vargas girls made famous. With Betty promoting what bodybuilding could do for the female physique and Joe promoting the Weider system to young male bodybuilders, they had the market pretty well covered. Women would buy anything that featured Betty Brosmer Weider's picture promoting how any woman could develop feminine curves by following the Weider system.

The couple married in 1961and became a powerhouse business team that gobbled up the industry. Their most memorable publication is Muscle & Fitness. During the 1970s the Weider's become the founders of the International Federation of Bodybuilders. Ben Weider created Mr. and Ms. Olympia titles that and numerous bodybuilding contests that launched the top name bodybuilders such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rachel Mclish.

Ben Weider was a master promoter and knew that competitions were necessary to keep interest in the sport. The Weider's goal was to make weightlifting a respected sport. The used Steve Reeves, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Rachel McLish to gain a massive audience and interest in the equipment, articles and supplements that they promoted.

By the 1990s, the Weider name graced numerous products, events and gyms. It had become even bigger business than Jack Lalanne.

In 2008 Ben Weider passed away at the age of 85. Joe and the Weider business would never be quite the same again. Ben had lost considerable weight in the year before his death, but no one expected that he would die so suddenly.


Joe Weider continued to keep active in promoting his business and introducing new products into his early 90s. He, like his younger brother died unexpectedly of heart failure in 2013 at the age of 93.


Betty Brosmer Weider

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