MuscleTalk was born way back in November 2000 when it started life as a forum. It was the brainchild of Jason Barnham and James Collier (who is also the co-founder of Huel) who met at the University of Surrey back in 1994.
James had returned to Guildford to complete his final year of his Nutrition and Dietetics degree and Jason was just starting the very same degree. Typically, they both met in the University gym and only after a while of talking they realised that they were studying the same thing.
In a way they were bound to both get chatting as James probably one of the biggest training there and Jason was heavily muscled, an experienced trainer having also competed the year before.
Jason was slightly older having entered back into education in his mid-twenties so it was probably natural he’d get chatting to the final year students that were nearer his own age.
James’ biochemistry knowledge proved invaluable teaching this complicated subject to Jason while he revised for his own exams.
James started working as a clinical dietitian at Northampton General Hospital after graduation and stayed there for several years. They had become great friends and stayed in touch throughout this period.
When Jason graduated he worked in the NHS in a clinical setting for a while until he decided to move to Gibraltar at the end of 1999 and set up his own dietetic clinic.
During this time he also became increasingly fascinated with the internet and had started to teach himself web development. Often making use of the quiet times in his clinic!
Remember the internet was still fairly new at this point and while everyone knew about it, few were regular users.
One day Jason called James to discuss an idea he had. These were pre-Skype days and these catch-up chats were an expensive International phone call away. The idea was to set up an internet discussion forum focused on bodybuilding.
James is happy to admit that at that time he’d never been a member of a forum and he’d only used the ‘net occasionally. Still, he loved bodybuilding and it sounded a great idea.
A few forum categories were chosen involving nutrition, training etc. We also needed a name – MuscleTalk.co.uk was chosen, Jason put the site together and MuscleTalk was born on the 10th November 2000.
It was a slog at first. Friends were asked to join and they’d put up a few questions. Things plodded along at around 2 or 3 posts per day for a couple of months. We were getting found on the search engines though and we seemed to be providing what people were looking for – a British bodybuilding board!
It wasn’t long before things started accelerating much faster and we needed help! One particular member had caught our eye as he really knew his stuff and was friendly. It became obvious that ‘Trident’ was the perfect choice to be our first moderator.
In addition to bodybuilding.com another busy American board was EliteFitness both had plenty of UK members but it seemed they were keen to join a UK site.
This was our tipping point. As more people joined even more followed them. MuscleTalk was now a thriving community. As more and more posts were added we were found more on the search engines and we’d get even more new members.
Forums are notoriously difficult to get off the ground as no one wants to join an empty forum and you can’t really get going without posts. The early persistence making daily posts between friends had paid off!
There was a demand during that first year for more detailed articles so the articles section was born. James also wrote Informed Bodybuilding Nutrition ebook that year and it proved a huge hit, bringing even more traffic to MT.
These articles were providing very useful information and bringing in a lot of traffic too.
After many great years, MuscleTalk found itself at a crossroads in May 2019. While it still had plenty of traffic people just weren’t posting as much. However, the demands of running a public forum didn’t seem to diminish much. It was then that the painful decision was made to pull the forum. It made complete sense but was no less painful to see that part of the site go – after all, it had become quite a name in the industry and had forged so many friendships and memories.
It’s likely that social media is much to blame and that’s a shame because information stored there is much harder to find and tends to get lost quite quickly after the initial discussion.
We couldn’t have achieved what we did without the moderators. We needed more and more of them as we got busier. It takes a very special sort of person to step into that role as it can be a thankless task and we were very lucky to end up with a fantastic team helping to keep things running smoothly.
Obviously there were changes over the years as life gets in the way but, at the close of play our team consisted of; The_Lone_Wolf, Celt, RedHotF, iaink, LMC, Dr Z, kitty, PartyBoy, dirtyvest, Osagi, The Guvnor, Wrongun, scruffy and oasis. Other notable names from the past include; TonyStarks, diesel7, Mad Cereal Lover, Tuc Biscuit, Knorkop and biaggi. For their help we are eternally grateful.
So, MuscleTalk now finds itself in a new era. While the forum is no more, the site is still providing users with great information. It will continue to do so and articles will be added even more frequently than they were in the forum days.
That’s our story so far. We hope you find MuscleTalk useful on your bodybuilding and fitness journey.