Doug Eidd, owner of Doug’s Gym, the oldest barbell gym in America at the time of its closing in 2018, joins us today to share his perspective on health and fitness after over 60 years of experience training himself and thousands of others. In his own words, after a lifetime of training he has realized he already knew what he needed to know at 16, when he began training with weights to develop his strength and build muscular size.
Looking for work after the Korean War, Doug briefly considered PT school but was steered away by a friend in the field struggling to make ends meet (the nascent industry had yet to fully integrate with the existing healthcare system, and did not bill insurance at the time). Instead he entered the gym business, opening Doug’s Gym in downtown Dallas in 1962. Doug’s was one of just a few gyms in the area, but as bodybuilding began to enter mainstream American culture, demand for gyms grew, and the term “working out” entered the lexicon of modern working man.
Doug has since trained thousands upon thousands of people, and seen fitness trends and fads come and go. He still relies on the old, basic barbell lifts for the core of any training program, and he preaches moderation in diet and lifestyle. One might chuckle at his moderation comment, as you were likely to find Doug toking his meerschaum pipe in his office while reading the newspaper, but Doug still trains with weights 5 days a week, moves around with ease, and possesses a sharp and curious mind — at 88 years of age.
You don’t have to take it from us… listen to Doug. He’s probably been training longer than you’ve been alive, and he’s learned a thing or two about training during that time.
Some articles on the history and closure of Doug’s Gym:
Dallas photographer Norm Diamond has taken some beautiful photos that capture the spirit and essence of Doug’s Gym. You can view his portfolio and order prints of his work here: https://www.afterimagegallery.com/Diamond2.htm
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I really, really loved this episode. I’ve loved all your podcasts so far, but this one really resonated with me. You just can’t argue with the results that come from sticking to the basic exercises. It was just a fantastic discussion with Doug. Thanks also for the links so I could take a look at the gym. I look forward to hearing Doug on your podcast again. Thanks Darin and Trent.
Thanks Travis! If anyone knows the secret to health, it would be Doug. He’s living proof!
A great listen. So many valuable insights to lifting and life. Excellent!