Lou Ferrigno talks about the difference between bodybuilding during his era and bodybuilding today.
Lou Ferrigno is a legend in the sport of bodybuilding due to his mainstream notoriety as The Incredible Hulk on television. He was also a powerful bodybuilder in his own right that was featured heavily in Pumping Iron. His rivalry with Arnold Schwarzenegger stands out as an epic bit of bodybuilding history.
That’s why we’re pulling out an extended clip from the cutting room floor of the original Generation Iron documentary. In this GI Exclusive Vault interview, Lou Ferrigno details what he thinks is the biggest difference between bodybuilding in his era vs modern bodybuilding.
As a key figure in the history of bodybuilding’s Golden Era, we wanted to take the opportunity to ask Lou Ferrigno his thoughts on modern bodybuilding. Specifically, what he thought the biggest difference was during the Golden Era and the new era. His answer had less to do with the physiques and more to do with the overall mindset and culture of bodybuilding.
Lou Ferrigno first and foremost pointed out that today’s physiques are still incredibly impressive. He doesn’t seem to count himself among the growing opinion that the physiques have gotten worse. He does also take note that the muscle is getting bigger than it ever was in his era. Of course, it should also be noted that this interview was conducted in 2012, so “modern bodybuilding” represents the prime Phil Heath era.
According to Lou Ferrigno, the biggest difference between his era and the modern era revolves around camaraderie. Ferrigno believes that modern bodybuilders don’t share the same sense of togetherness and community as the Golden Era did.
Lou Ferrigno points out the kind of experiences he had during his prime in bodybuilding. Bodybuilders would train in shorts and tank tops at Gold’s Gym. They were unafraid to showcase their progress. They also all hung out, ate breakfast together, and enjoyed each other’s company despite rivalries and battles on stage.
Today, Lou Ferrigno doesn’t see that kind of camaraderie. “The only thing that’s different today is the camaraderie,” Lou Ferrigno states in our interview. He continues:
“Today I walk into the gym and most of the guys wear sweatpants, a hat, they wear sunglasses, they’re talking on their cellphone. There’s no personality because the public doesn’t emplace bodybuilding like it used to be.”
Lou Ferrigno seems to be addressing the modern trend of pro bodybuilders hiding their physique as they train leading up to a show. This ultimately leads to lack of camaraderie. It’s also important to note that he doesn’t blame the actual athletes for this. Instead, he thinks it is a direct results of the public.
Bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno truly brought bodybuilding into the mainstream, even if it was only temporary. There was an explosion in the public about what bodybuilding was. It made the entire sport celebritized for some time.
Later in the interview, Lou Ferrigno claims that the only two bodybuilding names people know are Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. Of course, that’s not true for the sport of bodybuilding specifically. Legends such as Ronnie Coleman, Lee Haney, Dorian Yates, Phil Heath and dozens more exist on the tip of every bodybuilding fan’s tongue.
What Ferrigno seems to mean is that the true mainstream public don’t know these names. That’s a big difference. Ferrigno thinks that leads to a different mentality for athletes. Lou Ferrigno might believe that the physiques are still impressive – but the spirit isn’t the same.
You can watch Lou Ferrigno’s full comments in our latest GI Exclusive Vault interview segment above. You can also watch Generation Iron on digital today. Click here or the banner below to stream or download!