My relationship with Iron Man started when I was 14—my mother bought me my first issue. My mother’s brothers had trained with weights, and, in fact, my first few years of training were with a barbell set that I borrowed from my uncles. One of the attractions of Iron Man and bodybuilding in general was my perceived sense of a special community. At 14 my needs really revolved around a search for identity and personal expression. Bodybuilding and Iron Man provided that camaraderie and belonging that continues to nourish me to this day. I don’t think my experience is unique.
When I look at the content of IRON MAN now, I get the same human, authentic feel that first attracted me to it. I believe the authenticity comes not so much from the content per se but from the character and personalities of the people who create the magazine. Each one of the writers and photographers has a long, passionate relationship with bodybuilding, and it shows in the quality of their work and the “feel” they convey through their writing and images.
At the top of the editorial list is Steve Holman, a lifelong natural bodybuilder and the editor in chief. Writer, bodybuilder, editor and entrepreneur, Steve is not only a true professional but he also has the probing mind that’s always exploring ideas that could help our readers’ workouts be more productive. (For a great example, see his feature, “Stretch Overload,” that begins on page 118 of the May ’07 IRON MAN.)
I first saw Mike Neveux, now creative director of IRON MAN, at a Mr. Olympia contest in Columbus, Ohio, in the late ’70s. Later, in the early ’80s, we both worked for Muscle & Fitness and Flex. If you look at bodybuilding magazines prior to Mike’s involvement and after, you will see that he transformed the way bodybuilding was photographed. Today’s exceptional physique photographers have all built on Mike’s pioneering work. Thirty years later the passion that first brought him to bodybuilding is reflected in his ability to reinvent the image of bodybuilders. Between Steve and Mike you have more than 50 years of passionate involvement in bodybuilding.
If you get interested in bodybuilding and stay interested to the point where it’s a part of your lifestyle, you will probably find that most of your closest personal relationships are somehow tied to the gym and/or working out. I met the inimitable Lonnie Teper more than 20 years ago at World Gym. Lonnie has taught health and weight training at the college level ever since he got his master’s degree. If you read his News & Views or have ever heard him emcee a contest, you know what bodybuilding passion is all about. If you want to see and hear him in action, go to http://contests.ironmanmagazine.com and click on any of his video interviews.
I met Ruth Silverman while she was working for Flex magazine. All it takes is one read of her Pump & Circumstance and you will feel her love of bodybuilding and fitness and her empathy with the women who compete in those events. She’s a clever writer who helps make this magazine the quality publication that it is. You can also see and hear Ruth at IRON MAN’s web contest pages. These people are a part of the core that creates the passion that is IRON MAN. I’ll have more on relationships next month. IM