Who invented the gym & when did they do it?

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5th Century BC

The ancient Greeks invent (a basic form) of the dumbbell called a haltere.

haltere

1704

The term “kettlebell” is first used, in Russian. Kettlebell exercises were later popularized in the late 1800s by a Russian Vladislav Kraevsky.

Vladislav Kraevsky
Vladislav Kraevsky

1796

The Gymnasticon, an early exercise machine resembling a stationary bicycle, was invented by Francis Lowndes. Its function was to exercise the joints, either “in all parts of the body at once, or partially.”

Gymnasticon
Gymnasticon

1818

William Cubitt, a civil engineer, created the treadmill—which was also called a treadwheel in the early days. Cubitt later became famous for overseeing the construction of The Crystal Palace in London in 1851. Treadmills were initially used as punishment devices in British prisons – by 1842 more than half of British prisons had one. The likes of Oscar Wilde, imprisoned for gross indecency, worked the treadmill.

1832

Creatine is discovered by a French scientist, Michel Eugene Chevreul, who extracted it from meat.

1838

Protein was discovered by Jöns Jakob Berzelius. Named from the Greek word ‘protas’ meaning ‘of primary importance’. Berzelius is also credited with discovering the chemical elements cerium and selenium and with being the first to isolate silicon and thorium. Additionally Berzelius is credited with originating the chemical terms “catalysis”, “polymer,” “isomer,” and “allotrope.” 

Jöns Jakob Berzelius
Jöns Jakob Berzelius

1849

Hippolyte Triat opens the world’s first commercial gym in Brussels, Belgium.

Hippolyte Triat

1852

The Boston Young Men’s Christian Union becomes the first gym in America.

1871

William B. Curtis invented the Curtis rowing machine, the first piece of cardio gym equipment for indoor training.

1895

Gustav Gossweiler patents the first product similar to today’s resistance bands in Switzerland. He would take one out in the United States the following year.

1902

DOMS was first described in 1902 by Theodore Hough, who concluded that this kind of soreness is “fundamentally the result of ruptures within the muscle”.

1912

Harvard University researchers Otto Folin and Willey Glover Denis show that ingesting creatine can dramatically boost the creatine content of the muscle.

1927

Phosphocreatine is discovered.

1939

Constantine “Cus” D’Amato opens the Empire Sporting Club at the Gramercy Gym.

1951

Irvin Johnson, developed the first dissolvable protein – “Johnson’s Hi Protein Food”.

1953

Erling Asmussen first introduced eccentric training in his April 1953 paper “Positive and Negative Muscular Work” as “excentric”, with ex meaning “away from” and centric meaning “center”. Hence, the term was coined to mean a muscle contraction that moves away from the center of the muscle.

August 25, 1965

Gold’s Gym, Venice Beach launches.

1974

First electronic treadmill is produced by Woodway.

November 1, 1984

LA Fitness is founded.

LA Fitness

1989

Sarcopenia (a progressive and generalised skeletal muscle disorder involving the accelerated loss of muscle mass and function that is associated with increased adverse outcomes including falls, functional decline, frailty, and mortality) is coined sarcopenia because of the dramatic increase in incidence and prevalence brought about by the demographic changes of the 20th century.

Sarcopenia
Sarcopenia

1992

Linford Christie, Sally Gunnell & Colin Jackson are all named in press reports as users of creatine supplementation.

1992

Planet Fitness is founded.

Planet Fitness

1998

In the ten years leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games over 37 million square feet of outdoor gymnasiums were built across China.

1999

Virgin Active is founded. The first club opened in Preston, Lancashire. There are today 43 locations in the UK with more than half of the company’s 237 gyms being located in South Africa (133).

2009

PureGym is founded. It claims 1,000,000 UK members and, again claims, to be the UK’s biggest gym chain.

2019

The UK has 7,239 gyms with 10,390,000 gym members. The UK gym industry employs 189,000 people, of which 62,000 are fitness instructors.

2020

There are now an estimated 205,176 gyms in the world with 184,608,505 members globally. That’s 1 in 40 people on earth.

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