Bodybuilding’s two tribes: how social media changed fitness

Arnold Schwarzenegger won his first Mr Universe title 50 years ago at London’s Victoria Palace Theatre. Bodybuilding then was a niche affair – two years later, when Schwarzenegger won his third consecutive Mr Universe title, the Pathé newsreel covering the event called him simply ‘an Austrian’.

Half a century on, thousands attend bodybuilding and fitness events like Fitcon, which took place last weekend at London’s Olympia Exhibition Centre.

Bodybuilding has gone mainstream in the age of social media, and the stars of the sport can make thousands from just one Instagram post. But the new fitness devotees are not all like the supermen of 1967.

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