Daryl Conant and Vince Gironda

I started weight training when I was twelve years old. The first time I picked up a dumbbell. I was hooked. To be honest, I didn’t know what I was doing during the early years of my training. Looking back now, I realize I was overtraining but at the time, I didn’t care; I just enjoyed working out.

I loved the feeling I got from pushing my body to its limit.

The primary reason I started to weight train was to be better at baseball. Baseball was the only thing I cared about during those prepubescent years and I was told by a friend that weight training could help me become stronger and faster.

I trained diligently for three years and made significant progress in my physical stature, which improved my baseball ability. But through a series of tumultuous events on the high school baseball team, my dream of playing college baseball was derailed. Facing the harsh reality that I wasn’t going to play baseball anymore, I put all of my energy and focus into bodybuilding.

I enjoyed the solitude that weight training provided. I didn’t have to be accountable to a team or a coach. Win or lose was based strictly on my discipline and motivation.

The more advanced I became at weight training, the more I wanted to learn about true natural bodybuilding.

I went searching for the truth about true natural bodybuilding and my search ended with the ultimate teacher in bodybuilding history, the Master, the Iron Guru — Mr. Vince Gironda.

I was led to the teachings of Vince Gironda by a great man named Ron Kosloff. Ron was the instrumental person who forever changed the course of my life. He taught me more than anyone else about nutrition. Not even the nutrition courses I took in college and graduate school could compare to the nutrition education Ron provided me.

Ron was sincere and forthright I consider Ron as one of my best friends and he will forever be a part of my story.

During one of our early conversations, I asked Ron if he could teach me how to body build. He replied by saying. “No. I can’t help you in that endeavour. You need to talk to the Iron Guru. Vince Gironda.” I called Vince and connected with him.

At the time, I was living in Tennessee, going to college, and I didn’t have much money. I couldn’t travel to Studio City, California to train with Vince at his gym. He told me that he would train me through his mail order program and that is what he did for the next five years.

Every month Vince would send me a new program to follow. Each program consisted of an exercise program as well as a nutrition and supplement plan.

I would send pictures of my physique to Vince to critique. He was brutally honest. He would tell me that I needed to put on more muscle or that I needed to work more on my chest, arms, back, thighs, and calves.

I listened to him and followed his suggestions and it helped with the development of my physique. I entered into many bodybuilding shows and placed in the top three every time. I was very happy with my results and I owed it all to Vince.

In December of 1997, after hearing Ron tell countless stories what it was like to train one-on-one with Vince, I finally had the opportunity to fulfil my dream of going to California to meet him, thank him and train in his gym. I arrived in Los Angeles and searched unsuccessfully for his gym. I went to a nearby Studio City gym and learned from the owner that Vince had died in October and his gym had Closed in 1995.

My dream would never come true. And I was devastated that I would never meet Vince to thank him for all he had taught me. For the next twenty years, I continued to follow the programs that Vince designed for me.

I guess you could say that I am probably Vince’s most successful mail-order student. I continue to teach his methods to the members of my gym, The Fitness Nut House, in Kennebunk, Maine.

  1. I want to do something to build up my body. I am 60 yrs. old and I am in and out of town 2-3 X a week. .But frankly, I have no idea where to even start. I would like to have any equipment I need in one of my homes rather than go to the Gym. I am 6’0″ and 230 lbs. I’ve seen your books. And a few posts on Iron Guru. How about a plan of action? What do I need and where do I start?

  2. Daryl, I appreciate you carrying on Vince’s legacy. I was fortunate to have met Vince and I trained in his legendary gym a few times. Your book ConVinced has taught me even more than I already knew. I hope one day to visit your gym and see the Vince’s Gym Museum. Thanks, Mark

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