Saturday, September 1, 2012

After 50 years, Dallas 'Ironman' is still going strong - WFAA

by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAA

Posted on September 1, 2012 at 10:41 PM

Updated today at 11:34 PM

DALLAS â€" Walking through the doors of Doug Eidd’s Dallas gym is a step back in time. The equipment and the workouts have hardly changed in the 50 years since Eidd took over the small downtown gym.

Fading black-and-white photos of former bodybuilders line the peeling walls of Doug's Gym. Cobwebs gather in the corners.

Eidd figures a workout should mean work, so he refuses to install air conditioning.

“Hell no,” he declared. “You're supposed to sweat! I never had it!”

Eidd is not impressed by the pampered, big chain gyms filled with modern cable machines and cardio equipment complete with cup holders and televisions.

He prefers simple barbells and weights.

“You feel the weight here,” he said demonstrating a bicep curl. “You don’t feel the full impact,” he said, with machines that rely on cables for resistance.

On Saturday, Eidd celebrated the 50th anniversary of Doug’s Gym. Former clients and City Council members stopped by to congratulate him on keeping it “old-school” for so long.

“He’s never changed,” said council member Sheffie Kadane, who also considers Eidd a friend. “It’s the same thing â€" same routines.”

Eidd opened Doug’s Gym in 1962 in a once-bustling part of downtown after serving in the Korean War. He has run Doug’s Gym by himself ever since â€" he’s never had an employee.

Now Eidd caters to an older clientele and counts about 100 members.

The city grew and changed around him, but his gym never did.

“If I thought about being here 50 years, I’d probably never have made it,” he said. “What I did, I just went month by month, year by year, and that’s how it took place.”

At 81, Eidd is still passionate about physical fitness. He continues to work out three to four times a week for 20 minutes at a time.

“You know why I stay here?” he asked. “Because if I stay here, I keep working out... just keep my blood flowing and my strength up.”

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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