THE STATEN ISLAND BODYBUILDING CLUB

 

The following are a couple of articles that appeared in the media

Growing Up on Staten Island: Bodybuilding gym opens


By Staten Island Advance - October 14, 2018
By Mario Strong/Community Contributor


STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- In 1976, bodybuilding was still somewhat of a sub-culture.
It was the running era, and weight training for sports was forbidden at many high schools, universities and professional sports teams; it was wrongly believed that weight training would make one musclebound. Arnold Schwarzenegger was very popular in the bodybuilding world, but virtually unknown in Main Street, USA.

The physique publications of the day were rarely found on newsstands, and the public at large laughingly frowned upon women training with weights.

At the time, Staten Island had a few local garage-type gyms and a small YMCA. There was a serious void on Staten Island for bodybuilders and athletes wanting more, and I eagerly stepped in to fulfill their needs.

Before opening my own gym, I trained at home with my brothers John and Domenic. We had quite a bit of exercise equipment, and after a while, friends and neighbors migrated over to train with us.

I was a bodybuilder who believed not only in the muscle/power building benefits of weight training, but more importantly, the health and longevity benefits.

Over the years, I had become well-read and I wanted to share my knowledge with others, so in September 1976, after several months of searching for a location to build a gym, and after acquiring tons of exercise equipment from various sources, I opened the Staten Island Bodybuilding Club on New Dorp Lane.

The gym was equipped with a huge variety of weight-training equipment and Nautilus Time machines.

The Staten Island Bodybuilding Club had two brightly-lit workout floors, which were designed for maximum results.

Its high-mirrored walls continuously echoed songs from the gym’s stereo system, which only played tunes from the Rocky Balboa films. This helped to create a unique atmosphere that energized the members to train as if there were no tomorrow.

The membership primarily consisted of high school and college students. Mixed in with them were doctors, lawyers, judges, civil servants and even some recovering from a serious illness or injury.

There was one factor that brought them all together: they were all there to improve their health and fitness.
The club was also known as the mecca for the Island’s top muscle builders, and was featured often in the national physique mags, as well as the Staten Island Advance.

On a personal note, I loved operating the gym. Its purpose was something that I believed in, and I looked forward to each and every day when I would open its doors for the members that waited to get inside.

It was a time that can’t be replicated.
The sport of bodybuilding was coming into its own throughout our country, and here, the Staten Island Bodybuilding Club was beginning to turn out natural physique champions and become a recognized name in the world of muscle.

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Muscle up and make out,' urges 1977 Staten Island gym commercial

By SILive - June 19, 2014

A commercial for Staten Island Body Building in New Dorp from 1977 has everything one would imagine from a bodybuilding commercial from the 1970s.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- From a bodybuilding era long, long ago on Staten Island is a 1977 commercial for a New Dorp Lane gym that urges folks to "MUSCLE UP & MAKE OUT." click here to view commercial

The fitness hub called Staten Island Body Building was previously located on New Dorp Lane.
"At last! Build giant muscles. Lose unwanted fat. Triple your strength. Build body appeal," reads text in the commercial. "FEEL 100% BETTER.”

Spotted on YouTube, the clip shows an assortment of jacked men while the "Rocky" theme song plays in the background.

At one point, Mario Strong (Mr. Staten Island) is quoted in the commercial saying "I'm going to bring out muscles in your body that you never dreamed existed before."

The cheesiest part of the clip features a muscular man with three scantily clad women, with text reading "If gals pass you up, you better sign up, to muscle up."

The YouTube page states that ad played alongside "Star Wars" for several months in Staten Island theaters.

Here’s a couple of selected comments posted with the article:

My husband and I - yes even the ladies had workout space - worked out there back in the day. Stayed in touch with Mario after the gym closed to keep working out when I could, but unfortunately drifted for many reasons. The brothers still are serious about fitness - Mario even wrote a number of articles for the Advance over the years about health and fitness.  This was the pre-steroid age and what you achieved you worked hard to attain. Wish I continued that path - would be looking a lot better these days!   :)

The owner (Mario) and his staff (his brothers) were childhood friends of mine in south beach. They were very sincere about their work, and bodybuilding was their life. It might seem funny to people outside, but they were very serious, and relatively successful in their passion for health and fitness. Mario, John, Dom and Mario's then girlfriend, Denise were at the center.


 

 

 


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