Joe Weider was a visionary and a true believer, and through his entire adult life he has done his level best to proselytize others to follow the path of physical culture. His first target audience, of course, was men, but as time went by that target expanded to include women, too, thanks in a large part to the influence of his wife, Betty. For example, Betty played a crucial role in the establishment of the hugely successful magazine, Shape, which focuses on women’s health and training and which has played a leading role in convincing women that they had as much right as men had to train hard and improve not only their appearance but their strength and fitness, too.
The photographs in this gallery feature men and women who inspired Joe Weider when he was a teenage boy growing up in Montreal in the 1930s. The gallery also contains images of men and women Weider used – as he created and expanded his worldwide fleet of magazines – to inspire other boys and young men to improve themselves by training with weights as he had done.