Trends, no matter how old or young you are you end up succumbing to them. Sometimes, you succumb against your will and other times you do it gladly. Although I will likely reveal my seasoned age in years with this content, I admit, I am a part of the trends.
- Gym accessories
- All of it, really.
I remember when I was a kid my parents would listen to certain kinds of music. A lot of it drove me insane. I grew up in the 80’s, but they enjoyed the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. They’d turn that music up every weekend, extra loud on Sundays, and I would go to my room and close the door. I would cover my ears or damn near suffocate myself with a pillow trying to mute the “noise”. I wanted to hear INXS, Fleetwood Mac, Faith No More, and De La Soul. I wanted to hear Dead Kennedys, Queen, and Talking Heads and Metallica. My folks were digging disco type stuff, and baby making music. Don’t even get me started on the clothes and hair. I had an afro, against my will, in the 6th grade, and a jheri curl 7th and 8th grades. My middle school days are on display to the right. Sad.
Movies and Magazines
I also remember looking at magazines. Bodybuilding magazines. I remember movies like Rocky and Commando. I had the same hair as Apollo Creed, but wanted my hair like Mr. T.! Rocky Balboa wore tiny shorts, and a tight tank top or the grey sweat suit, equipped with elastic cuffs, that just didn’t really fit right. In the magazines, the great behemoths of the bodybuilding world wore very similar digs. It was the times, man. They wore them in magazines and photoshoots. Made the look famous. Don’t believe me? Watch Pumping Iron and then get back to me to tell me how right I am.
Then and Now
Back then there wasn’t a lot of razzle dazzle. I mean people got a little fancy at the gym. You have to understand during those years we had the likes of; Jane Fonda, Richard Simmons, Debbie Reynolds, Jazzercise, super aerobics, spandex, leg warmers, head bands and wrist bands, and high top sneakers and even higher hair, all to the anthem by Olivia Newton-John’s “(Let’s Get) Physical”! Even Ronald Reagan started the National Fitness Test in the 80’s. I almost forgot to mention the 70’s, 80’s, and the 90’s produced the greatest bodybuilders of all-time. Lou Ferrigno, Schwarzenegger, Bill Pearl, Sergio Oliva, Franco Columbu, Lee Haney, Flex Wheeler, Zane, Larry Scott, Yates, and Coleman. The list goes on, and, well, I have a word count cap. Bottom line is that these days now are nothing like those days, then.
Or are they?
They are exactly alike. I own a few magazine publications from a time when I just got into the double digit years of life, so I pulled them out and flipped through the pages. Then, I grabbed one of the many newer magazines that I own, and noticed something. The females wore spandex and so do some men. The women’s photoshoots look like runway fashion meets soft porn meets fitness. The men well, the men haven’t really changed much either. Bigger and bigger over the decades. Article after article about the supposed training splits that they use, and still shots better known these days as “selfies”. Seriously, if you do a little research, you will find even Arnold Schwarzenegger had his homie, Franco Columbu, take a few snapshots while Arnold posed at the end of training and between sets. It’s really all the same, old and new.
The subtle differences
For instance, back in the day, gym wear was more simple. You either wore a tank or tee from your favorite gym or a basic tank, or no shirt at all. These days, there are 100s of gym clothing companies, large and small. T-shirts and sleeveless shirts, covered in cliche one-liners. Compression pants, which I have to admit are better aesthetically than the spandex onesies dudes used to wear. There are still those that wear stringy tank tops. The shorts are still short, but mostly on the ladies (thank God). The selfie game is strong these days, too. Training buddies. Solo locker room photo shoots. Check-Ins. Everybody on Instagram is an expert uploading their “tips and tricks” for training, and countless pictures of their food. Oh, and everyone on Facebook has an “athlete page” to supplement their “personal” page. Don’t get me started on YouTube. Everyone that trains in any strength training type has uploaded a video or two.
The overall image
There is no doubt that the “fashion” and socialized image of fitness has changed, drastically. Even throughout the years when bodybuilding of all sorts have been on an up and down roller coaster. The good and bad press, untimely deaths, supplement recalls, and supplement surplus. Not to mention the cash prize for winning the top competition events like the Olympia and Arnold Classic. Even the physiques of the champions have changed both in aesthetics and size. Mass monsters these days but like every thing has and will continue to since history repeats itself. The future of the sport of bodybuilding is revisiting the days of aesthetics balancing out huge mass with the up and coming competitors.
Let me not forget to mention the newer categories of competition. What used to be bodybuilding ONLY shows, have become bodybuilding, figure, fitness, physique for men and women, and the bikini division. These huge events draw in hoardes of people of every walk of life, becoming massive festivals of fitness. Strongman, Powerlifting, Mixed Martial Arts, and a whole bunch of other sports related events. What does that mean? It means the difference between old and new– that money!! In 1965, Larry Scott won the Overall earning, get this $1,000!! In 2014, Phil Heath won his 4th Sandow, and a check for $275,000!! That’s over a quarter mill!! One can safely assume this year’s Olympia winner will bring home a nice $300,000 prize. That’s a $274,000 increase over 49 years. The more that people flock to these events, the higher the purse. New school.
It’s an evolution
I admit I am a part of this evolution, the new school. In my heart I am an old school bodybuilder. I’ll always go for heavy weight for a lot of reps. Nothing fancy, no chains, no bands, and no super fancy equipment. Periodization training works, but I believe in the lift. It’s vital to increase the weight weekly, pushing for as many reps as I can, and a skin splitting pump. I will hit poses between sets. Yet, still I will take a moment to take a selfie. I will make almost any food to fit macros. I like my shirts with the huge logos or the cliche graphics. Although I won’t use the term “bro”, I will refer to guys and girls simply as, “dude” or “bruh”. Despite other’s opinions, I will consume whey protein and a fast digesting carb source, or a meal, immedietly after a brutal training session. Why? It’s old school and I’m old school. My headphones will remain big, my socks low, my shorts long (and loose). No more afro for me. I’ll keep the bald. I’m a mixed bag, I suppose… I’ll call it, New Old School and on display here.