“Sometimes the best way to convince someone he is wrong is to let him have his way.”

Hugh Roe O’Donnell

So, you’re feeling kinda bummed-out because you were born with a small frame, are ya?  Well, here’s a little old school Iron Guru for you — the man, the myth, the legend; Vince Gironda, circa 1947.  Nineteen-friggin-forty-seven, folks! Just look at how cut the man is (courtesy of Iron Guru.com, a great repository of Vince Gironda knowledge).  Check him out — all of the roughly 170 lbs of him:


I’ve written about Vince previously, so I won’t bore you with a rehash of that.  I will reiterate here, though, that if you look at what the man advocated as far as a trainee’s diet, you see that it was essentially Paleo in nature.  If you read through some of the man’s writings, you’ll see just how appalled he was by the average American’s diet.  And this was pre-1980’s — I can only imagine what he’d think now.  And make no mistake, Vince advocated the notion that if you wanted to look healthy on the outside, you had to actually be healthy on the inside.  True health, in his mind, radiated from within.

Now I’ve heard many in the S&C community dump on the man’s training philosophy, but here’s he thing — Vince never claimed to be, nor did he ever claim his methods were advantageous for, anything other than physical aesthetics.  I can appreciate that kind of honesty.  And If you leaf through some of his training manuals, you’ll see that the man knew what he was talking about.  There’s a stunning breadth of knowledge contained in his teachings, and an unparalleled understanding of human physiology and kinesiology.  Check out the Iron Guru site, it’s full of great Vince Gironda teachings.  And even if you happen to be more into athletic performance than the aesthetic side of things (like me), there’s still a boat-load of useful and interesting information here.

Next up, I’ll wrangle with a reader question pertaining to meal frequency, and a little later, I’ll discuss in a little more depth my take on the intersection of power production, exercise selection and MetCon work.  Stay tuned, and have a great rest of the week.

In health,



  1. Keith, regarding your upcoming discussion of exercise selection and MetCon work . . .

    Of late I’ve been short on time, and I’ve also wanted to focus my infrequent training on mobility and power. Hat tip to you for showing this is possible using the 5/3/1 protocol. I’m thoroughly enjoying it and am exceeding my own expectations.

    My questions pertain to metabolic conditioning with regards to perishability. I am operating under the assumption that strength/power takes much more time to develop than metabolic conditioning. So if I am forced to choose between them, I can choose the former and take solace in the fact that I can quickly regain any lost metabolic conditioning when I have more time.

    Of course I try to apply enough intensity to my power/mobility training to tax my anaerobic pathways, but recently I haven’t done much dedicated metcon work, and I want to make sure I’m not hurting myself long term by prioritizing in this way.

    I recall reading, in a Crossfit journal article, that one will adapt and excell more rapidly when beginning crossfit if they come in very strong and out of condition then if they were well conditioned but weak. I guess this is where I developed this notion.

    • My sentiments exactly, Bryce. I have no science to back this claim, but I’ve got plenty of n=1 (along with the empirical evidence of others I’ve trained) to go on. I’m under a severe work-related time crunch as well. At times like this, I focus my workout attention on that which is toughest to gain and easiest to lose — an elevated power/BW ratio. My truncated workouts as of late have therefor focused on power production at the expense of raw strength, metcon and hypertrophy.

  2. Vince Gironda is great. I’ve read a fair share of Vince Gironda philosophy and was really impressed with how Paleo his approach to nutrition was.

    By the way, that video is great. I believe I remember reading he had trouble winning competitions because his body was so extremely cut. I guess that was a turn off for judges back in the 50s. (I don’t know if you already mentioned that in your previous post about him, I am planning of reading that later.)


    • You’re right, VG was well ahead of his time, and a little too cut for 1950’s sensibilities. I don’t think he gave much of a rat’s ass, though, about mass opinion — another reason he remains dear to my heart 🙂

  3. I have always liked Vince Gironda’s 8 x 8 system … years later, thinking about it and taking into account things like amount of weight on the bar(not as much as usually with something like 8×8), bar speed, training density … it is still a great program.
    You learn to move the bar much faster if you do it right and keep the same rep speed throughout, not turning it into a slow-rep grinding fest.
    Vince was one of the first to refer to training density as well, claiming that you gain more muscle by performing the same amount of work in less time.
    Great stuff.


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