Around 1997 a good friend of mine,
I think many would agree that “Iron Nation” is not for the faint of heart, nor would it serve as an effective recruitment tool for today’s modern, mainstream exercise facilities. In the preface of Volume I of “Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors,” I wrote on those I believed were the true pioneers of the fitness explosion:
These men are the root of the booming fitness industry we see today. They are the true die-hards, who in the decades past, trudged for miles to remote, dingy and often hard-to-find gyms. In many cases, they would simply build their own in basements or garages using any scrap material accessible to them. Take away all the modern conveniences made available by today’s super-fitness facilities, and you would lose 95 percent of those gym populations, leaving only the likes of these men.
They have been pointed at, labeled, clinically categorized, and even laughed at, but to the men of the Iron Game, the way they are is simply the way they were wired.
Well, herein lies the likes of these very men chronicled within the pages of Bob Whelan’s and Drew Israel’s 2010 release, “Iron Nation.” I say “likes” because this hardcore training nature was not confined to the days of old, but actually traversed the decades as clearly demonstrated in this book of well over 120,000 words. I would venture to say that no matter how much the fitness craze has proliferated in various directions over the recent years, these men, like it or not, are the anchor for the entire industry.
As an amateur historian myself, I enjoyed reading the historical
backgrounds for every single one of the contributors to this book. Nonetheless, “Iron Nation” offers much more
than personal histories and tough workouts.
Bob Whelan and Drew Israel have sequestered a great cross section of trainers and compiled their histories and advice into an engaging format and appropriately named it, “Iron Nation.” I read the book right through from cover to cover and thoroughly enjoyed every story. This style of book easily begs further volumes, but hopefully their next release won’t be in 2024. But then again, who am I to advise on releases!
Author of “Muscle, Smoke & Mirrors”