528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, NM 87108
PO Box 51236, Albuquerque, NM 87181-1236
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A Visitor with Magazines and a Message

Retirement a Time for Growth

Trip Report, Photos--and More

When Carol pulled up to the Ripped Enterprises office building, Norman Cogliati was waiting with a post office crate full of muscle magazines from the ‘50s and early ‘60s—Strength & Health, Your Physique, Mr. America, Muscle Power, Muscle Builder, American Manhood—and a wide selection of Weider courses and booklets. He was visiting friends in Santa Fe and invited us to look at them over the weekend—and keep all but a few to which he had a special attachment. Looking through them brought back wonderful memories from Clarence’s earliest days of training. While he was seeing some of the publications for the first time, most of the names and bodies were in his memory bank from long ago. The surprise was Norman himself, who came for lunch the following Monday.

November 1950 issue of Strength & Health—the magazine which introduced Clarence
 to the world of weight training—is one of the earliest in Norman Cogliati’s collection.

Norman’s can-do character arrived before he did. He had a blow out on the interstate driving down from Santa Fe and called to let us know that he’d be delayed while he put on the spare. We soon learned that Norman is 79 and driving cross-country alone. That told us that he is something special—and we were not disappointed.

Norman is from Whitestone, New York, and has five grown children, one daughter and four sons.  He retired at 62, after 40 years of maintaining oil burners and other heating equipment. “If anything goes wrong, I can fix it,” he told us. The emphasis was clearly on “anything.” The one thing he didn’t take care of in his middle years was himself. He weighed 180 when he retired; too much for his five-foot-five frame.

 Norman brought along this framed photo of wrestler/weight lifter Gene Stanlee,
who inspired him to begin training. (He kept the photo.)

Inspired in his youth by professional wrestler and bodybuilder Gene Stanlee, Norman lifted weights and did other forms of exercise in the years covered by his magazine collection. As often happens, however, he stopped working out for about 20 years to devote full time to his family and his job. That’s when his bodyweight creeped up to 180.

“I was smart to retire at 62,” he told us with a twinkle in his eye. He bought Ripped 1, 2 & 3, and the first Ripped video (and probably some other things he didn’t tell us about) and started getting back in shape. He lifted weights, spent time exercising at the beach near his home—he has a wonderful tan—and did other activities that interested him. He has a well-equipped gym in his basement. One of his favorite pieces of equipment is the Ab Wheel, which he had with him. He showed us how the handles come off to slip into a suitcase. “I use it every day,” he told us. Whatever he’s doing is working, because he now weights a trim 155.

He is a happy and healthy man having the time of his life. He’d been to New Orleans before coming to New Mexico and headed for Las Vegas after visiting with us. He seems to have friends all over the country.

We enjoyed seeing the old muscle magazines and courses, but the real delight was Norman himself. He is proof positive that retirement can be a time of renewal and growth. He let himself go in his middle years, but has more than made up for it since then.

GO NORMAN! We loved having you and hope you’ll come back the next time you’re out our way.

Trip Report, Photos--and More

Several weeks later we received a letter from Norman with news, photos, and an Ab Wheel. He was home after 7,500 miles of zigzagging across the country. He left Vegas just in time to avoid monsoon flooding, motored through the Rocky Mountains, visited Vale, Colorado, and mainlined across the Plains States, arriving home in the early morning hours of the fifth day. "No problems this time," he wrote. "What a beautiful country we have." 

Clearly, he was a man free to enjoy himself on his own terms.

The photos show his basement gym--spotless with an impressive array of free weights, benches, machines (including an antique but functional indoor rower with wooden oars and a leather belt tension adjuster), exercise balls, instructional posters, and framed photos of bodybuilding icons from Eugen Sandow to Arnold. Our favorite photo appears below; it shows Norman dead lifting a thick-handled train wheel. Where and how he got it is a good story, which he promises to tell us on his next visit. What the photo says to us is that Norman still has a cast-iron back.


The Ab Wheel goes together easily, just like Norman said. Carol was the first to put it to the test. The photo below shows her starting the basic Roll Out & Back. Looks easy, but looks can be deceiving. As mentioned earlier, Norman uses his every day.


Norman says we treated him like an old friend and that he won't forget it. "It's not too often you meet Real People," he added.

Now, he Really is an old friend. We're looking forward to having you back, Norman--and hearing about the train wheel--and your "funny story about Lou Ferrigno."

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Ripped Enterprises, P.O. Box 51236, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87181-1236 or street address: 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, Phone (505) 266-5858, e-mail: cncbass@aol.com , FAX: (505) 266-9123. Office hours: Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time. FAX for international orders: Please check with your local phone book and add the following: 001-505 266-9123

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