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California Dreaming

The California Dream, the California Promise. The romance of sun, sand and muscle—or is it sun, sand, muscle and romance? Isn’t that the siren call of California, the birthplace of the fitness industry, fabled Muscle Beach and iconic gyms like Tanny’s, Vince’s, Gold’s and World?

The magic hasn’t changed since Jack LaLanne stepped on Muscle Beach in 1934. It didn’t start out to be a revolution; it was “just fun,” as Jack has said to me about those early days. California has always been a state of mind and a transformative place (pun intended)—a place where you can follow your dreams and make—or remake—yourself.

Bodybuilding fits perfectly into the California experience because it is by its very nature transformative. Your body and mind are molded in the process. Arnold talks about how coming to California was an integral part of his own dream. A beach body is what we all wanted—and want—at least for three to four months of summer whether we’re in the Midwest, the East or the endless summer of Southern California.

Bodybuilding is much more than 20-rep squats. Arnold never spoke of the “agony” of the workout but rather the exhilaration that the workout produces. Arnold worked out at Muscle Beach often because he enjoyed the feel of the sun on his body and the cooling wind evaporating his sweat. He understood the profound pleasure of those simple ingredients. Beach, body and workout—the perfect combination for bathing all of the senses in the pleasure of the pump.

Speaking of pleasure, I hope you enjoy Mike Neveux’s take on a fun-in-the-sun workout that begins on page 98. Art Zeller’s early photos of fun on the beach are one of the reasons I’m sitting here today writing this. Thanks, Artie!

It’s interesting how photos define a moment—how they capture a feeling that stirs an emotion that becomes a memory that etches the image into the mind. In our new series, IRON MAN’s Iconic Images, which starts on page 142, we will feature photographs that we feel have the emotion to stand the test of time in your memory bank and become iconic. Some will be inflection points, and others will simply define the subject as nothing else could.

Grimek, Reeves, Pearl, Scott, Oliva, Schwarzenegger, Zane—their names and the images that belong to them have inspired millions to train with weights. The photography showed what was possible, creating a want. To quote Arnold, “You must want first.” In every issue we’ll showcase photos that have created the want in many and that, we hope, will fuel the want in you. IM

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