Those Golden Era Bodybuilding Days!


I'm not even sure I can write anything that will speak louder than this training video of Craig Monson, below.

When I see these videos, I sometimes think I was born in the wrong era. The Golden Era of Bodybuilding was beyond different, you can literally FEEL the energy exploding out of these videos.

Powerlifting in the 70s & 80s? The purity of hardcore gyms that were legitimately "hardcore" - there's not too many of those gyms around anymore. The word is, You can't survive being hardcore nowadays.

Does that mean hard work is out of style?

Some funny facts about me that I want to share:

  • I rented Pumping Iron on VHS when I was 14 yrs old from Blockbuster. My friend's dad had 2 VHS players, I convinced him to boot leg record it for me. I think I watched Pumping Iron 10+ times in one day before we had to return the VHS!


  • In my early 20s I spent 2 weeks in California. I planned on moving there and got to stay with my brother's friend from The Israeli Army. I went to Santa Monica and Venice Beach every day and night. I loved it there!


  • I trained at Gold's Gym Venice several times but what REALLY drew me was the energy I felt from the weight pit at Venice Beach. Why I never stayed is another story and I know I've shared it before on the blog or through the podcast......

We don't see this kind of energy much nowadays.

Instead, I see more separation in the iron game than gathering and togetherness. During The Golden Era, Bill "Peanuts" West and other powerlifters would also train in the weight pit on Venice Beach.

Heck, listen to the music in the background of Craig Monson's video. Is that Jackson 5?I have NO clue! But it got me thinking about the purity of music back then as well.

Aside from sounding like an "Old, Cranky Guy", my inspiration behind writing and sharing this article is to inspire others to infuse some purity into their training and life. Doing what you do for the passion and love. Imagine if no one knew what you were doing? Do we HAVE to record all the training we do on Instagram?

TOUGH Question. I wish we didn't. That tough set of Squats is more beautiful when you can focus and don't have to worry about positioning that iPhone in some fake, perfect place.

Back to the music......

From what I understand, Jackson 5 music was best before the family began arguing about the money. It was supposed to be about the Music! Training at Muscle Beach then became Venice Beach. Both were all about FUN. The weight pit was a place like no other.

Same for the original Gold's Gym, which is now a house I believe. Before it was a house, I walked by the empty building and I stopped for a few minutes. I could literally hear the weights clanging, I could hear Arnold & Franco talking. I heard Ken Waller's voice. The magic in the original Gold's was POWERFUL beyond words.

I'm not worried about Craig Monson locking out his bench press. I am fired up to see someone moving big weights and the atmosphere that is jumping out of these videos.

If you can find a special place for your training with atmosphere that wakes you up and changes your life, then you have found Iron Heaven! The other option? Create it yourself; in a garage, shed, barn, etc.

Just a lil' inspiration for you.

The beauty is in the purity of training.......

I wonder, if those who are reading this already "get it" while those who NEED to read this article will brush it off. I like to think the athletes and lifters at The Underground Strength Gym "get it". Some do, certainly not all.

Those who think it's all the same, I'm doing the same stuff at ________ Gym. I would say those kids don't get it. A squat is not a squat is not a squat. The energy is different in different places. The coaching, the intensity, the focus, the magic and the purity.

Live The Code 365,


The Gladiator Project

Old School Bodybuilding 

4 Responses

  1. Gordon Smith says:

    “Fanaticism” is a powerful force as we evolve. I always inspired by your experiences you share.

    1. Gordon, thanks my man!

      I miss those days from when I was younger.

      I fear many others don’t realize how powerful training can be when in the right environment, it is a magic that can’t be described!

  2. Gordon Smith says:

    Zach – Man, as a Manager, I work lots of hours. I maintain a three days a week work out regime. I do two full body “conventional” strength training workouts with compound movements, then I do a beach (I live in Daytona Beach) primal therapeutic workout ie running, burpees, push ups, squats to the point of transcendence for that mental and physical toughness you talk about.
    Thank you for the innovation and the inspiration.

  3. Jason Uga says:

    Well, I am fired up now. Time to go lift!

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