Three Smart Things I Learned from Publishing Legend Joe Weider

If you’ve read Men’s Fitness, Shape, Muscle & Fitness, Flex or used a Weider piece of gym equipment or taken a Weider supplement or watched a Mr. Olympia show you can thank Joe Weider for being the mind behind all of them.

If you casually exercise or seriously lift weights, you’ve most definitely utilized one of the Weider principles or been given knowledge dispensed by Mr. Weider fifty years ago. He’s been called The Godfather of Fitness, the Father of Bodybuilding and as a lifter, my favorite, the Master Blaster.

I worked with him at Muscle & Fitness for several years, including collaborating on his monthly column. A fellow ex-Weider worker, Sean Hyson, recently wrote a Facebook post about the old Weider offices in Woodland Hills, California, and it got me thinking about my time working with the icon himself. Here are three things I’ll never forget.

Relentlessly Help People

Joe Weider once offered a contract to a young, gap-toothed, 19-year-old European bodybuilder who ended up flying to America with only a duffel bag and a dream. Weider saw something in that guy that nobody else did and proceeded to mentor him, train him and treat him like a son until he became the greatest bodybuilder of all-time, a movie star and the Governor of California. Obviously, that young man is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Weider was already the biggest name in American bodybuilding when he met Arnold, but by believing in the budding Austrian Oak, he took his sport and his industry to knew heights.

The thing is, whether it’s the Terminator or Lou Ferrigno or any other big name in the sport in the last 50 years before Mr. Weider’s passing, you’ll hear the same story. He ALWAYS made time for people who were willing to put time in to be better. He always helped those who asked for help. That’s a pretty great thing to be remembered for.

Start Right Now

Do you feel like you’re not in the perfect place to start your dream job or project? Are you frustrated with the fact that it’s never the right time for a giant undertaking or you don’t have things in place to make your dreams happen? Are you waiting for the right moment to launch your big idea? Stop making excuses.

Weider began his fitness empire by writing his first magazine issue on a rented typewriter in his mom’s kitchen, working under several bylines and doing all his own illustrations. “You will, no doubt, think us ambitious. Well, so we are!” Joe wrote from his mom’s table. And with that, a half-billion dollar fitness mogul announced his arrival.

I am quite certain that renting a typewriter wasn’t ideal, and that writing in his mom’s kitchen wasn’t the perfect creative environment, and that having to churn out all the copy for a magazine himself wasn’t the most efficient plan to start his publishing career… But Weider didn’t care. He had an idea. He let his passion fly and he went for it. Do the same.

Make Your Name Stand for Something

Joe Weider slapped his name on nearly everything he produced, from weight plates to protein shakes to events and magazines because he understood that if he was going to carve out his own space in the fitness landscape (or invent the space, in his case), he’d need his name to be synonymous with the industry.

While many shy away from putting their name out there, if you’re working in the world today, your name is your brand. Every Tweet, LinkedIn and Facebook post, Instagram photo and YouTube upload defines that brand. If you’re in an industry where you need to attract clients or you want to impress future employers, your brand is your resume. Have your own website. Feature your hobbies. Write about things you care about. You don’t have to just post pictures of your dog and your babies and your vacation. Don’t be afraid to make a name for yourself.

If you’re a dad and you’re reading this, you might like my book, The Dadvantage.

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