Reading these stories about old gyms brought back memories of the time I journeyed to California from Cincinnati in the summer of 1976. (I drove an old '64 Chevy all the way.) I was nineteen years old at the time and loved weight training.
My oldest brother, a transplant from his Navy days, lived in Bellflower which was about 35 miles from Vince's. The next day after arriving I drove there and immediately signed up. Vince took one look at me and informed me that I was fat and needed to be more muscular. He told me to eat a pound of meat and a dozen eggs split into three meals.
I did this for three weeks and of course I lost weight but felt terrible. That's when he finally informed me I needed to have a carb meal every 4th day to balance things out. I recall thinking... Gee, thanks for sharing that with me now but of course kept my mouth shut.
His training program for me consisted of all the exercises that he was known for. Dips for pecs, short pulls for lats, side laterals for delts, preacher curls, tricep extensions, body drags, wrist curls, hack squats, leg curls with a DB, and calf raises on a cable connected with a belt.
This was a 6-day upper body and lower body split routine with no ab work and 6X6 on all exercises except calves.
I knew that Vince had been a competitive bodybuilder but I didn't realize just how good he looked back in the day. I ran across a 1958 Muscle Builder with a picture of him inside and he looked awesome especially his delts.
Vince did not mince words and could be very callous but also made many encouraging comments to me that I will always remember. I was in awe every time I went to the gym. Many bodybuilders and movie stars trained there. Don Peters, a great guy, worked out there, and what a physique! He was very symmetrical and had great legs. He was a really nice man who tolerated my numerous questions with a smile and a knowledgeable reply. It makes me sad that he is no longer with us.
The movie "Rocky" came out about this time and Carl Weathers trained there. He was loud and would always be singing when dressing or in the showers. This pissed Vince off and he would mumble "I wish I had that much energy."
My three months flew by too soon and it was back to Ohio and the start of college. I was 20 pounds lighter and had rubbed elbows with people I had only read about. I hope I haven't bored you with my reminiscing. If only I could go back and do it all again!!!