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Author Topic: Who is the greatest bodybuilder you have trained with.?  (Read 9368 times)
Jonsgym
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« on: August 18, 2017, 10:54:10 PM »

I thought this might prove interesting as a topic as some of us have at times been lucky enough to train with some fantastic bodybuilders and learn from them. In my own case i have been lucy enough to with one of the legends of the sport , Reg Park, Mr Universe and star of some of the best Hercules films. What a great guy, i learnt a lot from him, as I also worked for him, instructing in his gym in Johannesburg, South Africa in the 1960's. How about you guys?
 
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Jester
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2017, 04:34:32 PM »

Good thread.

We're pretty lucky that with the scene being like it is these days, we regularly get to link up with some of the top guys on our side of the sport to train at various meets etc.  I think I've trained with or around every WNBF Pro in the UK currently.

Had a superb workout at Lougars in Portsmouth a while back, which was Bob Woolgers old gym.  They still have the same squat rack they had in the Golden Era, and it was quite special knowing Arnold himself had shouldered a bar exactly where I was doing the same.

Had a couple of trips to Venice, and trained at Golds and Muscle Beach where again there were some big names around, although I never trained "with" them per se.

All excellent experiences.  I can imagine training alongside a legend like Reg Park was something special though.

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Jonsgym
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2017, 05:35:40 PM »

Interesting Jester that you trained at Bob Woolgers old gym. Wasn't he Diane Bennett's dad? I remember the great shows that Diane an Wag Bennet used to put on at the Stratford town hall in the sixties and seventies. They always had the top stars of the day guest posing, they were always standing room only and a fantastic knowledgeable, friendly crowed.
One year both Reg Park and Arnold Schwarzenegger were guest posing and I had to pick them up and take them to the show. I only had a medium size car and Arnold filled up the whole of the back seat and Reg took up almost all of the front of the car. I had to open my window and lean out of the car while I steered the thing and operated the foot pedals, while Reg had to change gear as I could not reach the gear leaver.
What a laugh, I'll never forget the looks of shock and surprise on peoples faces as we stopped at traffic lights. Folks kept on trying to see what kind of monsters had landed form Mars.
Do you know Diane Bennett, Jester? I was talking to her about a year ago, she runs a ladies only gym in Portsmouth now.
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Jester
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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2017, 10:47:30 PM »

Thats right, Bob Woolger was Diane Bennetts dad.  Lougars Gym is owned by Ian and Clare Hendy now, who are friends of mine, hence me training there when I visited them.

I've never met Diane in person, but have spoken to her on the phone before.  I used to see her on the judging panel at the EFBB/UKBFF finals when I attended but she wasn't there last time I went so I'm not sure if she still gets involved.

My names Lee by the way fella.  Pleased to "meet" you.  I'm guessing you're Jon?
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Jonsgym
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2017, 02:50:44 AM »

Pleased to meet you Lee, Jon would be me, not to be confused with the main Jon who runs this website I believe. Arnold lived with Wag and Diane Bennett when he first came over to England in 1966, when Chester Yorton, the founder of Natural Bodybuilding, in my eyes, beat Arnold in the NABBA Mr Universe. I remember it well, as we had just been judged in the Junior Mr Great Britain final and we were going back down stairs to the changing rooms, when Arnold appeared at the top of the stairs followed by Yorton, as they were to be judged in their class in the NABBA Universe contest. Both contests, in those days were held at the same venues for the judging, in the ballroom of the Royal Hotel on the Friday and shows on the next day at  the Victoria Palace theatre  on the Saturday.
We all just stood and stared at Arnold, as he was twice as big as anyone i had ever seen, and all the guys said he would win easily. Then, just behind Arnold, Chester Yorton appeared. He was big, cut, as they said in those days, tanned, crew cut all American, Californian bodybuilding personified. As soon as I saw him, I knew he would beat Arnold and win.
To this day that image of the two of them is burned in my memory. Good times and a great contest.
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Jester
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2017, 11:21:32 PM »

Now THAT is a memory to hold dear.

You and I could talk for hours......
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Jonsgym
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2017, 01:40:32 PM »

A thought about that 1966 NABBA Universe Lee, Chester Yorton had some of the best leg development I had ever seen. It is a well know story about his recovery from a serious car accident,and how he had several metal pins/rods inserted into his shattered legs. He must have worked those legs so hard during his recovery period, as they were sensational, with massive calves.
Arnold, at that contest, had no calves. I was at the judging as I have previously said and watched close up the line out, comparisons and the individual routines of all of the competitors. Then, at the judging at the Royal hotel ballroom, if you got in very early you could sit just a few feet away from the contestants, and stay all day, as the judging went on for hours. But of course all the attention was focused on Yorton and Arnold, the contrast between their leg development was dramatic, and along with, Yorton being more "cut", as they described physiques then, was the deciding factor in Yortons win.
That was in September time 1966, in December 1967 I was working in Reg Parks gym in South Africa, and training early morning, very early at 06.00 as did all the instructors at Regs gym and Reg himself. Arnold was training with his hero Reg, as Reg had brought Arnold to South Africa to do a tour of the country after Arnold won his first NABBA Universet in the September that year. They were working calves, on the seated calf machines, I was working calves with my training partner Eddie Silva, who won his class (short man) at the 1964 Universe, when it struck me how Arnold now had calves, they were quite high up, not a full sweeping calf. And as I took a breather between sets I was stood directly behind Arnold about four feet away from his back, and I noticed how sort of bunched up and high they were, though I have to say that Reg was really making him work them hard ----- Reg had huge sweeping calf calves, and like every workout I ever saw him take or trained with or against him, he gave 100% effort.
When I say against Reg, what I ment was that we used to have competitions some days. It could be squats, arm curls, whatever, and the different pairings of training partners would try and out lift each other.
This worked quite well for us shorter guys, as the leverage advantage gave us an advantage over the monsters. The strongest guys at Reg's gym were the short guys, except for Reg of course, who was on a different planet.
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Jester
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2017, 11:45:14 PM »

Absolute gold.  I'd have loved to have been around in those days.  Keep the anecdotes coming.

I was thinking the other night after we started chatting on this thread about the first few years I got involved in the backroom side of the sport.  I was pretty young (judged my first contest in June 1996 at 18 and promoted my first event in the September of that same year) and was lucky to be taken under the wing of a couple of real legends.

Doug Evans "marked" my judging paper at the first sanctioned contest I judged in 1997 (the first few were local shows) and gave me some great advice.  He'd judged a number of Olympias and appears in the credits of pretty much every Olympia video of the 80s and 90s thus.  I can still hear his words in my ears today when I sit at the table and have relayed them to many people since.  "Lee, always remember to judge with your head and not with your heart". 

Dennis Stallard of Pumping Iron fame (whose other claim to fame was beating Sean Connery in the Universe in the mid 60s) was the president of the WPF around the turn of the millenium and really instilled a huge amount of self belief in me when I spent time with him at the WPF Universe around that time.  He was so encouraging and keen to "pass the torch" to the next generation of promoters/officials.  A wonderful man who I remember fondly. 

They're the abridged versions of my encounters with the "legends" of "my side" of the sport so far.  The rest, and the really funny bits of the ones I wrote about here I'm saving for my book ;-)
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Jonsgym
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« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2017, 10:03:18 PM »

Srewth Lee, you started promoting shows young. You had good guidence from the two guys you mentioned, in fact I remember Dennis Stallard form the sixties, he entered and did well in quite a few NABBA contests. I started going to watch the shows and competing about 1963. The first Universe I went to watch was '63 when Tom Sansome won the amateur and Joe Abbenda won the pro.
Going back to Reg Parks gym in Johannesburg, It was a great place to train as the ethos and training atmosphere were created by the owner Reg Park.The gym was on. Two floors of an office block, 4th and 5th floors if I remember correctly. The gym was split, main bodybuilding gym on the 4th floor and the business men and women's gym and a seperate judo and karate gym and main reception on the 5th floor. Reg was way ahead of his time, as even then in the sixties he had separated off a sort of personal training gym, where we, the instructors would personally help the business men and women through their workouts, lifting in their weights, monitoring the entire workout. They paid a premium for the service, which was geared to that particular high end sector of the market.
The main bodybuilding gym was well laid out, lots of light due to windows along each wall. All the benches were made by a local guy who Reg used, he also made all of the Reg Park branded equipment that was sold through out South Africa and beyond. It is hard to grasp now, but Reg was mega famous as Mr Universe and Hercules, and his name was known by folks who never touched a weight or went to a gym. Everyone in South Africa knew of Reg Park.
Reg had this tall chair, sort of like a lifeguards chair, much higher than a normal chair. It was placed so that Reg could see the entire length of the gym and what everybody was doing. God help anyone who did not put their weights away after using them, or not unloading a machine after use. It was a loud bellow from the chair and you were made to feel like an idiot as you were singled out and told to " put your bloody weights away ".
Persistent offenders got a clip round the back of the head, the same as we did in my best friend double Universe winner Len Sells gym. Everyone helped each other, lifting in, or spotting during a lift, there were no sodding mobile phones then or ear phone music. Folks talked to each other, encouraged and took the piss out of them ------ we communicated, and this led to a great atmosphere. Len Sells gym, even more so than Reg's.
Shame hardly any of the gyms I visit world wide have this atmosphere any more. I am sure there must be a few somewhere, least I hope so.  
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Jonsgym
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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2017, 10:05:20 PM »

Sorry Guys, I have just realised how much I have rambled on. If this of no interest please let me know and I will stop.
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Nic
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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2017, 11:14:05 PM »

Not at all, it's amazing! Cheesy
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Maveric Matt
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« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2017, 09:51:16 AM »

Srewth Lee, you started promoting shows young. You had good guidence from the two guys you mentioned, in fact I remember Dennis Stallard form the sixties, he entered and did well in quite a few NABBA contests. I started going to watch the shows and competing about 1963. The first Universe I went to watch was '63 when Tom Sansome won the amateur and Joe Abbenda won the pro.
Going back to Reg Parks gym in Johannesburg, It was a great place to train as the ethos and training atmosphere were created by the owner Reg Park.The gym was on. Two floors of an office block, 4th and 5th floors if I remember correctly. The gym was split, main bodybuilding gym on the 4th floor and the business men and women's gym and a seperate judo and karate gym and main reception on the 5th floor. Reg was way ahead of his time, as even then in the sixties he had separated off a sort of personal training gym, where we, the instructors would personally help the business men and women through their workouts, lifting in their weights, monitoring the entire workout. They paid a premium for the service, which was geared to that particular high end sector of the market.
The main bodybuilding gym was well laid out, lots of light due to windows along each wall. All the benches were made by a local guy who Reg used, he also made all of the Reg Park branded equipment that was sold through out South Africa and beyond. I is hard to grasp now, but Reg was mega famous as Mr Universe and Hercules, and his name was known by folks who never touched a weight or went to a gym. Everyone in South Africa knew of Reg Park.
Reg had this tall chair, sort of like a lifeguards chair, much higher than a normal chair. It was placed so that Reg could see the entire length of the gym and what everybody was doing. God help anyone who did not put their weights away after using them, or not unloading a machine after use. It was a loud bellow from the chair and you were made to feel like an idiot as you were singled out and told to " put your bloody weights away ".
Persistent offenders got a clip round the back of the head, the same as we did in my best friend double Universe winner Len Sells gym. Everyone helped each other, lifting in, or spotting during a lift, there were no sodding mobile phones then or ear phone music. Folks talked to each other, encouraged and took the piss out of them ------ we communicated, and this led to a great atmosphere. Len Sells gym, even more so than Reg's.
Shame hardly any of the gyms I visit world wide have this atmosphere any more. I am sure there must be a few somewhere, least I hope so.  

I wish more gyms still had this ethos.. Undecided  I suppose these days it's harder to maintain a gym without bowing out to the consumer demand.

Enjoying reading the stories! 
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Jonsgym
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« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2017, 01:32:16 PM »

Matt, I agree if more gyms had this ethos, our sport would be in a much better place, both mentally and physically. Theses days many gyms are part of a chain of gyms, with the managers not being the owners and therefor not as concerned with the camaraderie but only concerned with the, sign ups, footfall, ect. The profit is now only measured in monetary terms and the bottom line.
Which is short sighted, as if you create a great atmosphere in the gym, everything else benifits as well. Then you really do have a great gym, with people queuing up to join. Because of this lack of commitment by gym managers the gym members are never taught proper etiquette. They never unload macines or put back dumbells/barbells. They let weight stacks crash down on their last rep ( I think it's ment to impress us all, how much weight they have been using. ), or drop 45lb plates on the floor or throw down big dumbells at the end of a set. The list goes on, believe me if these people were paying out 3 to 4 thousand pounds for a machine or 6 hundred pounds for a gym mirror, they would have more respect. And that is what is not taught/instilled into members any more.

Another fact about Reg Parks gym, and somthing I have never seen in any gym before or since was the
Gun Locker. Just by the side of the entrance door to the bodybuilding gym was a tall metal locker about 3 feet wide. Inside were rows of hooks, each one holding a large safety pin with a round metal disc attached to the pin.The brass disc had a number stamped on it, which corresponded to the number of the hook it was hanging on.
We had quiet a few members who were naughty boys, some of them very naughty indeed. But the ones who always impressed me were the Maffia chaps when they came to train. Always immaculately dressed, normally in a suit, very polite and friendly. They would hand you their gun, which you would hang in the locker and give them the pin and numbered tag. When they had finished their workout and were leaving their gun was returned to them. It was not only them, quite a few naughty boys used this "service".
And because, if you worked for Reg, you were treated differently to the rest of the population, the Italian boys always asked if I was OK, did I need anything, just let them know if I was in any bother?
I never did ------ I may be daft, but I wasn't stupid, there is never somthing for nothing. Though every few weeks at the Italian Club in the Jo'burg suburbs ----- a beautiful place, like a country club. We used to go and give a show, ------- but that's another story.  
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Jester
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« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2017, 08:33:02 PM »

Though every few weeks at the Italian Club in the Jo'burg suburbs ----- a beautiful place, like a country club. We used to go and give a show, ------- but that's another story.  

Sounds like the kind of story I like to share post contest in the boozer! 
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ben-howard
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« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2017, 04:57:17 PM »

Love this thread! Great stories from the golden era!
 Cheesy
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