Favorite Bodybuilding Books? Difficulty: NO ARNOLD

I’m a nerd and love collecting books, especially workout and medical stuff (I generally don’t read a lot of fiction). Usually bodybuilding books are pretty generic with a bunch of workout info and pictures usually not of the author in some stainless steel gym in the 1990’s.

But some of them are great and inspiring or just fun to read.

Two of my favorites are:

  • Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder by Sam Fussell

I loved his first trip to the Y and the chapter with his two new workout partners…also his weight gaining diet while living at the “bunker” was mind boggling.

Although not a pro-bodybuilding book in the strict sense by the end of it, I still like it overall. Sam’s desperation to change himself and not being comfortable in his own skin is something I relate to.

  • Muscle Wars by Ricky Wayne

Just a great classic. I think the history of bodybuilding is interesting and the politics behind it enlightening. I have no idea how much of it was ghost written and how much was exaggerated but it’s still a good read.

I also like pretty much anything Dave Draper writes. I have “Brother Iron, Sister Steel” and “Iron on My Mind” which is not so much a straight read through but a collection of thoughts…good to read a couple of chapters to get some perspective and focus.

In the mail yesterday FINALLY was delivered “The West Coast Bodybuilding Scene” which I plan to get into today when work slows down. Not sure why but it took 2 weeks to show up and I almost forgot I ordered it.

So what are your favorite non-Oak bodybuilding books?

[quote]medevac wrote:
I’m a nerd and love collecting books, especially workout and medical stuff (I generally don’t read a lot of fiction). Usually bodybuilding books are pretty generic with a bunch of workout info and pictures usually not of the author in some stainless steel gym in the 1990’s.

But some of them are great and inspiring or just fun to read.

Two of my favorites are:

  • Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder by Sam Fussell

I loved his first trip to the Y and the chapter with his two new workout partners…also his weight gaining diet while living at the “bunker” was mind boggling. Although not a pro-bodybuilding book in the strict sense by the end of it, I still like it overall. Sam’s desperation to change himself and not being comfortable in his own skin is something I relate to.

  • Muscle Wars by Ricky Wayne

Just a great classic. I think the history of bodybuilding is interesting and the politics behind it enlightening. I have no idea how much of it was ghost written and how much was exaggerated but it’s still a good read.

I also like pretty much anything Dave Draper writes. I have “Brother Iron, Sister Steel” and “Iron on My Mind” which is not so much a straight read through but a collection of thoughts…good to read a couple of chapters to get some perspective and focus.

In the mail yesterday FINALLY was delivered “The West Coast Bodybuilding Scene” which I plan to get into today when work slows down. Not sure why but it took 2 weeks to show up and I almost forgot I ordered it.

So what are your favorite non-Oak bodybuilding books?
[/quote]

The following book gets alot of ridicule but was to me a savior: Brawn by Stuart McRobert.

This book is immortalized on my bookshelf and I go back and read portions of it every once in awhile. I don’t use many of the ideas therein much anymore as I’ve found out over the years what really works best for me, but personally I think it is one of the most important books a beginner can read.

The Wild Physique by Vince Gironda
In my opinion should be mandatory reading before being admitted into a gym…

Loaded Guns by Larry Scott
Lov larry… good guy, smart training.

Muscle Meals by John Romano
great for the doldrums of meal preparing.

Getting Stronger - Bill Pearl

First bodybuilding book I ever bought.

Wow, two great books that no one outside our little world would ever read -lol. I can’t tell you how many times I read Fussel’s book. I stumbled upon it by accident in a bookstore down in the village, just as I started grad school, so the whole ‘omigod NYC is gonna be the death of me’ struck a funny chord.
I must have tried to find out what he’s up to these days a million times, not too much on the internet, some small chatter bout another book her wrote, and a few years gao some people heard there was going to be an adaptation of his ‘muscle’ storyline into a movie, but notmuch else.

Rick Wayne’s book is an amazing look at what you don’t see in the magazines. So very cool to find out how Arnold and Franco stole several titles, and everyone (even weiders) just looked the other way -lol. Wish there were more books written like that. Lemme know how the ‘West Coast’ Book is.

S

[quote]buffd_samurai wrote:
The following book gets alot of ridicule but was to me a savior: Brawn by Stuart McRobert.

This book is immortalized on my bookshelf and I go back and read portions of it every once in awhile. I don’t use many of the ideas therein much anymore as I’ve found out over the years what really works best for me, but personally I think it is one of the most important books a beginner can read. [/quote]

Damn right. I have the Beyond Brawn book. Gave me a real slap in the face from all the stupid shit i used to be doing.

Agreed on the Brawn and got all the back issues of hardgainer. Basics done well and consistetly.

Thought i was training hard until then - 20reps squats really are a great foundation from which to learn how hard you can really push yourself

I have both Brawn and Beyond Brawn and I like them both. Although some may find his theories on overtraining a little too conservative, I did like the focus on consistent small gains in weight that = long term growth.

[quote]inthego wrote:
The Wild Physique by Vince Gironda
In my opinion should be mandatory reading before being admitted into a gym…

Loaded Guns by Larry Scott
Lov larry… good guy, smart training.

Muscle Meals by John Romano
great for the doldrums of meal preparing.[/quote]

I have to admit that I’ve never read the Wild Physique but I like a lot of his other writings. Even the stuff that doesn’t seem to make sense (don’t blend the eggs…or was it milk?) I still like his style.

I’ve had Muscle Meals for years and used some of the stuff. I like Berardi’s Gourmet Nutrition a bit better because it’s simpler and requires less understanding of William Sonoma. But MM is still good.

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
Wow, two great books that no one outside our little world would ever read -lol. I can’t tell you how many times I read Fussel’s book. I stumbled upon it by accident in a bookstore down in the village, just as I started grad school, so the whole ‘omigod NYC is gonna be the death of me’ struck a funny chord.
I must have tried to find out what he’s up to these days a million times, not too much on the internet, some small chatter bout another book her wrote, and a few years gao some people heard there was going to be an adaptation of his ‘muscle’ storyline into a movie, but notmuch else.
[/quote]

I’ve looked as well and I also recall a second book. It sucks because his name is often misspelled online and you get other authors, etc. I’ll have to search again for some of his stuff.

If anyone hasn’t read it, I found the book online for like $11 and you won’t be disappointed. Very down to earth view of BBing lifestyle and the desperation many people have on the road to reinvention.

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
Lemme know how the ‘West Coast’ Book is.

S
[/quote]

Well the “West Coast Bodybuilding Scene” wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I thought it was going to be more of reflections and “day in the life” commentaries. It was that to some extent.

What the book actually consists of are re-printed articles from the author back during those times. That is interesting but it was filled with the politics and influences of the time, mainly Weider-related stuff.

Not like that is any different these days to read a BSN "article " of four pages of Ronnie touting NO-Xplode, but it was strange to read words put into Arnold’s mouth like: “I eat a lot of protein and of course take Weider’s excellent Power Shake 101 four times a day. You cannot expect to be a champion without such nutritional support, and Joe Weider is absolutely the leading source for the serious builder.” I haven’t seen such product whoring since I watched “I, Robot”.

Also many of the articles reference how great Weider was/is and the fairness of all the competitions. Funny how Tyler’s recount of just how close Arnold’s defeat by Sergio at his first Olympia was, when Arnold himself (and anyone with eyes) put Sergio way in front. You could almost hear the mandate from Weider to shape Arnie into the people’s champion he hoped (needed) him to be.

The stories with Artie Zeller are great because I’ve always wanted to know more about the man who took so many of the greatest bodybuilding photos of all time.

And the photos! WOW, I have seen a lot of old school pics online and in books and I can honestly say I had never seen 90% of them. If nothing else, pick up the book for the pics and the hilarious commentary on each one by none other than Dave Draper. There’s Holworth, Reeves, Ricky Wayne pics…great pics of Sergio playing pool (yes the sleeves pic you’ve seen but also many more, apparently Serigo loved pool but kept loosing to “shit shots” that he says shouldn’t have counted)…and of course the Oak both young and old, training and not.

One series of stories that made me chuckle were of Arnold first coming to Florida fresh off the plane. He understood little to no English so when Tyler or Zeller would ask him things he would always answer with a booming “VOT???” and they would explain again to get another “VOT??? VOT???” before giving up. For some reason I kept seeing Conan punching out the camel and yelling VOT? as he bumbled through Florida.

Still reading it I wished that there would have been a contemporary look back to the Golden Age. Unrestrained by a Weider editing over his shoulder, I would have liked to read about those days and also his opinion on how BBing has changed during the 80’s and 90’s.

So, do I recommend it? Yes, absolutely. But there were some things I would have rather read about personally.

THat’s pretty crazy shit, but I know that Weider had a whole war going with the ‘fairness’ of the other federations early on. The fact that he allowed black athletes win his contests where the other main fed wouldn’t allow it is probably a huge part of why Weider succeeded the way he did.

Anyone’s who’s read any other accounts of the whole behind-the-scenes story knows that weider used his magazines to reinforce the notion that Arnold deserved to win so that he could stick it to Sergio, who was then banned from the IFBB for YEARS (the only reason Arnold was able to rule, if we’re going to be honest about it).

S