Joe Weider was a Canadian bodybuilder and entrepreneur who co-founded the International Federation of BodyBuilders (IFBB) alongside his brother Ben Weider. He was also the creator of the Mr. Olympia, the Ms. Olympia and the Masters Olympia bodybuilding contests. He was the publisher of several bodybuilding and fitness-related magazines, most notably Muscle & Fitness, Flex, Men’s Fitness and Shape, and the manufacturer of a line of fitness equipment and fitness supplements.
Weider was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, to Louis and Anna, Jewish immigrants from Poland. He published the first issue of Your Physique magazine in 1936 when he was 17 years old, and built a set of barbells out of car wheels and axles the same year out of the family garage on Coloniale street in Montreal. He designed numerous training courses beginning in the 1950s, including the Weider System of Bodybuilding.
Joe married Betty Brosmer, who was then the highest paid pin-up girl in the U.S. In 1961 Joe and Betty married, and she began working alongside him as Betty Weider. Betty and Joe together authored books on bodybuilding. Joe, Betty and Ben together were the co-founders of theInternational Federation of BodyBuilders. In 1995, he appeared in the Charlton Heston and Peter Graves film, America: A Call to Greatness, directed by Warren Chaney. In 1953, Your Physique was renamed Muscle Builder magazine. The name changed again to Muscle & Fitness in 1980. Other magazines published by Weider’s publishing empire include Mr. America,Muscle Power, Shape magazine, Fit Pregnancy, Men’s Fitness, Living Fit, Prime Health and Fitness, Cooks, Senior Golfer, and Flex. Weider has written numerous books, including The Weider System of Bodybuilding (1981), and co-wrote the 2006 biography Brothers Of Iron with Ben Weider. In 1983, Weider was named “Publisher of the Year” by The Periodical and Book Association. In 2003, his publication company, Weider Publications, was sold to American Media.
On Labor Day 2006, California Governor and seven times Mr. Olympia winner Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Weider protégé, presented him with the Venice Muscle Beach Hall of Fame’s Lifetime Achievement award. Schwarzenegger credited Weider with inspiring him to enter bodybuilding and to come to the United States. That same year Joe and Ben received the lifetime achievement award by the Young Men’s Hebrew Association.