The Iron Guru

Vince Gironda seen spotting the guy on the bench press.

Vince Gironda was a man who was way before his time. He’s known as the “Iron Guru”, but also as the greatest personal trainer and muscle-building expert ever to live. He was a guy that believed steroid users were cheaters. A guy who believed in simplicity over complicated training methods. And he was a guy who we’re still learning from today.

In every area of life there are lessons we can learn from our predecessors. The people who paved the way for us. The men and women who accomplished great things tens, hundreds or even thousands of years ago will always remain relevant. We get away from this in the fitness industry where fads rule, and methods that have worked forever are seen as old and out-dated.

The reality is that what worked 50 years ago, works today. Fads come and go, but guys like Vince, who gave the knowledge and the means to succeed to guys like Arnold will remain.

The Vince Gironda Principles

Vince saw training in two lights, his way, or the wrong way. And to be honest, he’s right. His methods work. You can’t dispute this. I incorporate a lot of them into the muscle aspect of my training, then add some athletic-focused training in as well. But when it comes to building muscle, Vince is the best ever.

Here are a few of the principles he believed in.

1. Eat up to 36 whole, raw eggs daily.

Talk about fads, egg whites have been one of those rare fads that have latest years and are just starting to disappear from the public eye. Starting to, that is. They’re still everywhere, especially in women’s and bodybuilding magazines.

Vince was one of the first people to recognize the ‘cholesterol myth’ of whole eggs. Scientific studies have shown that only a small amount of cholesterol actually makes its way into the bloodstream and that the body compensates for this by producing less cholesterol of its own.

Vince believed that bodybuilders should eat up to 36 raw, fertilized eggs every day. He said that the effects of this were equivalent to taking the steroid Dianabol.

When others were rushing to toss the yolk, Vince recognized it’s value. Only within the last year have I seen a larger sway in the fitness community towards eating the whole egg. As a large group we’re finally finding that what Vince was saying 60 years ago is the truth.

2. The full week off.

Bodybuilding is full of gaps when it comes to proper training, largely due to the fact that the vast majority of bodybuilders take steroids: drugs that help the body repair muscle tissue at insane rates. They allow for longer and more frequent training sessions. But also less need for proper recovery.

Drugs also have an immense amount of negative side-effect. Something that Vince also recognized before his time. When everyone was rushing to take steroids, Vince saw them as cheaters. You have to remember that the negatives to taking steroids is a very recent development. Again, Vince was far before his time.

To get the most out of our bodies, we need to effectively allow our bodies to recover. Training for 3, 4, or even 5 weeks for some, followed by a week off, is the best way to build muscle. Without that week of recovery, where our bodies repair themselves, we push our bodies too far. We enter a catabolic state that is toxic for muscle to grow.

That week off is just as important as the 3, 4, or 5 previous weeks of training.

A few more of Vince’s controversial ideas:

  • To improve digestion, put your legs and feet up higher than your stomach after every meal.
  • Don’t listen to music when lifting weights as it distracts you from your purpose. I have always said the opposite, that music distracts you from getting distracted. If you have no distractions around you and you’re in an environment where you can focus. It makes sense to not distract yourself from having your mind in every single rep. I like it!
  • Eating too much protein is counter productive. Vince firmly believed that excessive consumption protein produced the opposite of what you want to achieve.
  • “All you will get from a regular back squat is a big, fat ass.” Vince’s favorite squat produces far better results–learn how to do squats the right way and drastically improve your results.