About Joe and Betty

Photograph of Joe and Betty Weider


Joe Weider began lifting weights as a teenager in Montreal, Quebec, and was soon taking part in weightlifting competitions. Canada had no “muscle-magazines” in the 1930s and so, in 1940, Weider decided to begin publishing his own small magazine, which he called Your Physique. He was only 17 at the time, had just a few dollars to his name, and his office was his parents’ living room. From these inauspicious beginnings Weider built an empire around the activity he loved. Over the next decades he expanded and began publishing multiple titles each year. Eventually, his list of publications included such notable titles as Muscle Builder, Muscle & Fitness, Mr. America, Muscle Power, Shape, Fit Pregnancy, Men’s Fitness, Living Fit, Senior Golfer, and Flex. Weider also published dozens of books and training courses on bodybuilding and weightlifting and was named “Publisher of the Year” by The Periodical and Book Association in 1983.

Joe’s partner throughout his successful career in the fitness industry was his brother, Ben Weider, who died in 2008. Together they founded the International Federation of Bodybuilders, by far the largest national governing body for bodybuilding, and in 1965 they began the prestigious Mr. Olympia bodybuilding contest. Ben served as president of the IFBB and traveled around the world for decades promoting bodybuilding and spreading the word about the beneficial effects of weight training as a form of fitness training for people of all ages. In addition to Weider Publishing, the family also established an equipment company and a food supplement division, both of which have proven to be successful ventures. Weider Enterprises is now under the direction of Eric Weider, Ben’s son, who is the CEO.


When Betty Brosmer met Joe Weider in the 1950s, she was already a successful model and had appeared on dozens of magazine covers. A California native, Betty began lifting weights as a teenager to improve her figure and she got her start in modeling after winning several beauty contests. Once she and Joe married in 1961, Betty modeled exclusively for Weider publications and became an important role model for women who began to train with weights after seeing her in the Weider magazines. Betty did more than just appear in the Weider advertisements, however. She wrote regularly for the magazines and made sure that women would also find articles of interest in Muscle & Fitness and other Weider publications. Her advocacy on behalf of women eventually led to the launch of Shape in 1981, a magazine that changed the world of women’s exercise forever.