Jim Morris
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Who is Jim Morris?

Jim Morris was a Brooklyn, New York-born professional bodybuilder, and fitness instructor. In the early 1970s, when he won the title of Mr. America, he found success in the bodybuilding stage.

But he was never given the credit that people like Arnold Schwarzenegger did.

Short Career of Jim Morris

He was an African American who was openly gay and grew up during a time of severe prejudice.

Despite the success Jim Morris had in his bodybuilding career, fitness publications wouldn’t use his image on their front covers as a result.

Jim, however, devoted his entire life to fitness, attaining his fitness objectives while assisting others in doing the same. Later in life, Jim switched to a vegan diet, calling it the best choice he had ever made:

Most people struggle with giving up meat, but I have no choice but to adopt a vegan lifestyle to treat other living things with the respect they deserve. I would have to alter every other belief if I were to consume beef.

Body Measurements of Jim Morris

Full Name: Jim Morris
DATE OF BIRTH: August 31, 1935
ERA: 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990
PROFESSION: IFBB Professional Bodybuilder, Fitness Trainer
HEIGHT: 5’10 ” (177.5cm)
WEIGHT: 215-225lbs (93.0 – 102.1kg)
DATE OF DEATH: January 28, 2016

Jim Morris


Work Statistics

  • 1996 IFBB Masters Olympia – 1st (masters 60+)
  • 1996 IFBB Masters Olympia – 10th
  • 1977 NABBA Mr. Universe – 1st (tall)
  • 1974 WBBG Mr. International – 1st (tall)
  • 1973 AAU Mr. America – 1st (most muscular)
  • 1972 AAU Mr. USA – 1st (most muscular)
  • 1972 AAU Mr. America – 3rd (most muscular)
  • 1971 IFBB Mr. International – 2nd (tall)
  • 1970 AAU Mr. Los Angeles – 1st
  • 1970 AAU Mr. California – 1st (overall and most muscular)
  • 1970 AAU Mr. America – 7th
  • 1970 AAU Mr. America – 8th (most muscular)
  • 1969 AAU Junior Mr. America – 5th
  • 1968 AAU Mr. America – 10th
  • 1967 AAU Mr. USA – AAU – 9th
  • 1967 AAU Mr. New York State – 1st
  • 1967 AAU Mr. New York Metropolitan – 1st
  • 1967 AAU Junior Mr. USA – 1st
  • 1967 AAU Junior Mr. America – 8th
  • 1959 AAU Mr. New York Metropolitan – 3rd


Beginnings of Fitness

1935 saw the birth of Jim Morris in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of 19, he started bodybuilding by working out hard and using big weights. Soon enough, in a matter of months, he was able to add a significant amount of muscle.

People in the gym around him started to be fascinated by his training techniques as a result. They were curious as to how he had amassed so much muscle in such a short period.

Jim decided to provide his knowledge of fitness at this point. He might help others attain their fitness objectives while also achieving his own by doing this.

Jim initially copied the workout he was doing at the time on paper, but later he started making his routines specifically for each of his clients.

After some time, Jim established an Olympic weightlifting squad to advance his fitness profession. Soon after, his team had success when they dominated to victory in the state finals. Jim then built on this to advance his profession in fitness.

Beginning to Compete

Jim enlisted in the US air force in 1961. Nevertheless, this was a brief career. He was allowed to work as a fireman with the New York City fire department, which is why.

The hours he worked at his employment at the time were ideal for Jim. He was able to concentrate on both his work as a fireman and his competitive bodybuilding career as a result.

After appearing in contests like the Mr. New York State and the AAU Junior Mr. USA in 1967, Jim’s career as a professional bodybuilder soon took off. Jim stormed to first-place finishes in these events.

He finally relocated to Los Angeles in 1969 on the advice of bodybuilding legend Bill Pearl.

His competitive bodybuilding career might so advance to the next level as a result. With Bill’s help, Jim was able to win Mr. America in 1973 and set a record for the competition’s oldest winner.

The Bodybuilding Community’s Issues

Despite his accomplishments on the bodybuilding stage, Jim received little media attention. Unlike some of his bodybuilding peers, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jim didn’t go on to become famous.

Jim’s career was at its height when there was a lot of discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and ethnicity. Jim, an openly gay African American, struggled to get the respect he deserved.

Jim’s prowess as a bodybuilder was not acknowledged as the professional he was because fitness magazines would not publish his picture on their front covers.

Opening His Gym and Becoming A Bodyguard

Later that year, in 1973, Jim attended an A-list gathering in Hollywood where he met Sir Elton John, a legendary musician.

Jim and Elton struck up a friendship right away. Jim was hired as Elton’s bodyguard soon after they first met and stayed in that role for a total of 15 years.

He was able to maintain his training while serving as a bodyguard at this time.

As part of his employment, Jim was frequently in the spotlight, and he had the opportunity to interact with various famous people. As a result, Jim was able to start working as a personal trainer for several famous people he had met through Elton.

In 1978, Jim finally launched his gym in West Hollywood. Jim used this as a platform to advance in his fitness career and compete on the bodybuilding scene.

But to pursue his career as a personal trainer at World Facility in Marina Del Rey, Jim decided to sell the gym in 1985.

Jim decided to stop competing in bodybuilding competitions at this moment. But his training job allowed him to continue his fitness journey.

History of Later Competitions

Jim decided to return to the bodybuilding stage later in life. His objective was to demonstrate that, when it comes to fitness, age is merely a number.

Additionally, Jim wanted to show that vegetarians may develop an excellent physique just like meat eaters after quitting bodybuilding.

In 1996, Jim competed in the IFBB Masters Olympia, where he placed first in the 60+ division and 10th overall. This demonstrated that despite his advanced age and more than ten years since giving up meat, Jim was still able to compete successfully in the bodybuilding stage.

His Last Days

Jim kept working out after he stopped competing in bodybuilding, achieving his fitness objectives while also helping elderly people at Gold’s Gym.

This made it possible for others to develop the physique that Jim was able to keep up, even though he had quit competing on the bodybuilding stage many years earlier.

Jim continued to lead a full life right up until his tragic death. This demonstrated the enormous amount of commitment he had to keep his physique in shape. Jim was able to maintain his fitness well into his 70s as a result.

Jim consistently established goals for himself to develop while challenging the notion that becoming older requires giving up fitness. Jim made the following comments on it:

“When I’m training, that’s when I’m motivated and alive. I’ve continued to train for my goals and it has turned into a way of life. Making fitness a way of life is the only way to maintain this for the rest of your life.


Jim continually set new objectives for himself during his entire career in fitness so that he would always have something to strive for.

As a result, Jim was able to advance continually while gaining lean muscle mass, which let him compete well in the bodybuilding stage.

He followed a split for his workouts that looked like this:

Jim Morris Workout Split

Sunday and Thursday

  • Squats or Leg Press – 5 or 6 Sets
  • Thigh Extensions – 5 or 6 Sets

Monday and Friday

  • Lat Pulldowns – 5 Sets
  • Cable Flyes – 5 Sets
  • Dipping Machine – 5 Sets

Tuesday and Saturday

  • Dumbbell Side Laterals – 5 Sets
  • Forward Laterals on Low Pulley – 5 Sets
  • Triceps Pushdowns – 5 Sets
  • Straight Dumbbell Curls – 5 Sets


  • Rest Day

“The protein in animal products is so laden with fats and chemicals and all sorts of stuff that’s harmful to you. When I was competing and stuffing down all of that sort of stuff, I had lots of digestive problems. I know as a fact I would not be here and I would not be in this condition now had I continued eating the way I was.


Jim consumed a lot of protein from meat sources early in his bodybuilding career to maintain his growth. At the time, this was the traditional diet for bodybuilders. Jim believed that it was the ideal nutritional strategy to utilize as a result.

But in 1985, Jim stopped competing in professional bodybuilding contests and switched to vegetarianism.

He discovered that eliminating meat from his diet allowed him to get rid of the digestive issues that had plagued his body for years. Jim said the following about his dietary preferences:

“It was only after I retired from competition in 1985 that I started considering my health and eliminated what I had over the years identified as the cause of my digestive, respiratory and joint problems, namely all animal sources,(beef, fowl, dairy, pork and fish). I continued having fish on rare occasions as a treat”.

In the end, Jim decided to go vegan in 2000, keeping his diet straightforward and centered on the following foods:

Jim Morris’ Vegan Diet Staples

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Nuts
  • Beans

Influences and Idols

Jim sought expert guidance early on in his competitive bodybuilding career so that he could advance. Jim emphasizes Bill Pearl’s contribution to the advancement of his fitness career:

“I traveled to Los Angeles in 1969 to seek Bill Pearl’s opinion. I was so smitten with him that I moved to Los Angeles to study under him.

I learned how to train and train others from Bill. Bill’s advice helped me succeed in winning the Mr. America title.

Bill was also a vegetarian bodybuilder. Jim decided to go vegetarian after Bill showed that eating meat was not necessary to develop an amazing physique.

However, Jim was an extremely self-motivated individual throughout his entire life. As a result, he was able to keep moving forward and achieve all of his goals.

While also inspiring his clients to accomplish their fitness objectives, much as he has done,

What Jim Morris Can Teach Us?

Jim Morris spent his entire life working out. He was able to maintain his superb physical condition in this way up until his untimely death in 2016. Jim’s impressive 50-year fitness career attests to the fact that bodybuilding was a way of life for him.

However, he encountered prejudice along the way as a result of his race and sexual orientation while growing up. This had the effect of preventing Jim from receiving the respect he merited in his bodybuilding career.

Despite this, Jim maintained a healthy lifestyle throughout his life. He was committed to helping others while dispelling the myth that growing older requires giving up on pursuing your health goals.

Jim Morris demonstrated that consuming meat is not necessary to maintain a fantastic physique, which is something we can learn from him.

He was also an inspiration to everyone who knew him, and he will be sadly lost in the bodybuilding community.