I’ve been an IRONMAN magazine reader since 1983, the year after Arnold hit the big screen in Conan the Barbarian. Back then, if my memory serves me correctly, the magazine was a smaller size (with a staple in it), it had the signature yellow mastheads and Peary Rader was still at the helm.
I was a 14 year old freshman in high school… scrawny and weak… and flabby too (“skinny fat”, they call it – the only thing WORSE than being either skinny OR fat).
During my teenage years, my entire education – and a large part of my motivation – came from reading the magazines. I always had the inspiring photos from IRONMAN plastered all over my walls and I experimented with hundreds of exercises, routines and techniques I read about from IRONMAN’s featured champions and experts.
By the time I enrolled in college as an exercise science major, IRONMAN had grown and so had I. The magazine had changed hands to new publisher John Balik and took the new format, closer to what you see today, and I still read every issue. At 17, I had gained 25 or 30 solid pounds and was benching 315, with dreams of standing onstage like Arnold and all my other bodybuilding idols.
By the end of my junior year, at age 20, I finally did it – I competed in the natural Lehigh Valley competition in Pennsylvania and took 2nd place. Later that summer I took home a 1st place trophy when I won the lightweight division at the Natural New Jersey. The next year, I took my first overall title, the Natural Pennsylvania as a middleweight.
Looking back on those humble beginnings, who’d have thought that I’d not only go on to compete a total of 28 times in natural organizations and in the National Physique Committee, but also publish bestselling books, become a bodybuilding writer and be invited by editor in chief Steve Holman to pen articles in the print edition of IRONMAN, that same magazine that inspired me so much as a teenager?
It’s now an honor to once again to join the team of IRONMAN as a blogger, and I’d like to thank John Balik and Steve Holman for this opportunity and for all the inspiration over the years.
Today, I spend a lot of hours behind my computer, but I’m not just a 40-something science geek and writer. I’m a hardcore natural bodybuilder and a serious student of the iron game.
In this blog, I’m looking forward to helping you reach your bodybuilding goals by posting my latest research findings, documenting what I’m doing in the gym these days and sharing everything I’ve learned since I first picked up a barbell – and an IRONMAN – almost three decades ago.
Train Hard and Expect Success,
Tom Venuto, Natural Bodybuilder,
Author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle