The story of the “Austrian Oak”
Perhaps one of the most influential and inspiring bodybuilders of all time, a true pioneer in the sport, is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Also known as the “Austrian Oak”, he came from practically nothing. Once in America, Arnold turned into a 7x Mr. Olympia champion, created his own sports festival that is hosted every year, acted, got involved in politics, and overall became a role model for many bodybuilders, Arnold has truly done more for the fitness industry than most.
Below is a complete breakdown of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s profile, stats, biography, training and diet regimens.
Full Name: Arnold Schwarzenegger (Golden Era Bodybuilder)
|Weight||Height||Date Of Birth|
|Bodybuilding||1960, 1970, 1980
Arnold Schwarzenegger is arguably the most famous name in bodybuilding, if not within the community than certainly outside of it. He has also led quite an eccentric life — a 4-time Mr. Universe champion, and 7-time Mr. Olympia champion, an Emmy-award winning actor, and a two-term governor of California. The Arnold Sports Festival, held annually since 1989, is named after him as well, and now held in multiple countries each year.
Schwarzenegger was born and raised in Thal, Austria. He did his mandatory military service for Austria for a year in 1965 and then moved to America in 1968, at age 21, to further pursue his bodybuilding career. He had won Mr. Universe Europe in 1965, and the small amount of fame he generated from this was enough to propel his career to America
In America, Schwarzenegger trained at Gold’s Gym under Joe Weider. He won his first Mr. Olympia title in 1970, at 23, and remains the youngest person ever to win it. He went on to win the Mr. Olympia title seven times total. The story of Arnold and Joe was portrayed in the film Bigger, starring Calum Von Moger as the young Arnold.
He was approached by filmmaker George Butler in the months before the 1975 Mr. Olympia contest to star in the film Pumping Iron, which propelled him to film stardom alongside co-star Lou Ferrigno. From there he became one of the biggest movie stars of the 90s. He officially retired from bodybuilding in 1980, after coming out of his first retirement in 1975 to win the 1980 Mr. Olympia title.
In addition to his success as a bodybuilder, Schwarzenegger also won several titles as a powerlifter, placing first in the 1966 International Powerlifting Championships and the 1969 German Powerlifting Championships.
Schwarzenegger married actress Maria Shriver in 1986. They have four children: Katherine, Christina, Patrick, and Christopher, and divorced in 2011 after it was revealed Schwarzenegger fathered a child, Joseph Baena, with their housekeeper.
Quite honestly one of the most impressive aspects of Arnold Schwarzenegger is how he balanced his lifestyle. When he immigrated to the United States, he did not have much, so he and his late training partner, Franco Columbu, worked as bricklayers. On top of that, Arnold attended night classes, and still managed to train each and every day.
It is interesting to see, as now you see professional bodybuilders living almost like hermits, shying away from the public and having laser focus on their craft, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, Arnold is someone who always has had a smile on his face during his younger days, despite his extremely busy schedule. He is a man who had a positive outlook and made the most of each day.
Perhaps one of the most infamous things about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s bodybuilding career, was his training regimens. Arnold was famous for training countless hours in the gym, really sculpting his body. He has said that they would go to the gym for around 5 hours a day!
Some may say this was overtraining, some say you can only handle that much volume if you are on steroids, but the drug usage was typically not as heavy as it is today, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is a 7x Mr. Olympia. Bodybuilders in Arnold’s time relied more on diet and training than anything else.
He also was famous for the “Arnold split” which is a workout split that is still utilized to this day by many gym goers. Here is what the split looks like:
Monday: Chest and back
Tuesday: Shoulders and arms
Thursday: Chest and back
Friday: Shoulders and arms
Arnold was also famous for the high volume and intensity that he would put his muscles through, also known as “shocking the muscle”. He would make sure that his workouts were never exactly the same, so the body could not get used to the training, and in turn would have no choice but to grow.
So, what did a typical week in the gym look like for Arnold Schwarzenegger?
Chest and Back
|Incline Bench Press||3-4||10|
|Bent Over Row||3-4||10|
Shoulders and Arms
|Barbell Clean and Press||3-4||10|
|Dumbbell Lateral Raise||3-4||10|
|Standing Barbell Curl||3-4||10|
|Seated Dumbbell Curl||3-4||10|
|Close Grip Bench Press||3-4||10|
|Standing Barbell Tricep Extension||3-4||10|
|Reverse Wrist Curls||3-4||10|
|Standing Calf Raise||3-4||10|
As you can see, volume was relatively high for Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also trained the abdominals every day, as they are a muscle group that can certainly take the constant beating.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Diet
The diets of Golden Era bodybuilders was slightly different than it is of bodybuilders today, but still consisted of frequency and hitting macros. A typical day of eating contained about 5-6 feedings per day, with 3 of those being whole food meals and 2-3 being whole food “snacks”. The average caloric intake would be up to 5,000 calories per day, consisting of about 300 grams of protein, as Arnold was a firm believer in 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, but in order to build new muscle mass he would add in more.
When it came to post workout, Arnold did not play around, taking in carbs within 30 minutes after finishing a workout, to help fill the anabolic window. Protein shakes were also around back then, they just were not as popular as they are today, and utilized mostly by bodybuilders. Arnold stated that he would be in class at night mixing his protein up and his classmates would look at him as if he was crazy.
Here are some examples of food that Arnold would consume:
- Whole Eggs
- Bacon or Sausage
- Ezekiel Bread
- Sweet Potatoes
- Brown Rice
- Cottage Cheese
- Grilled Fish
- Red Meat
- Grilled Lean Meat
As you can see, a lot of Arnold’s diet consisted of whole foods, which is great as there are many foods out there that can actually lower testosterone and inhibit gains and progression
Arnold’s Life Outside of Bodybuilding
Aside from being a pioneer in the sport of bodybuilding, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a man that has truly done it all. After his bodybuilding career had come to an end, he still trained hard and stayed in shape, but instead of stepping on stage, he stepped on the big screen. Some of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s top films include:
- The Terminator
- Last Action Hero
- True Lies
- Total Recall
Arnold has had a long standing career as an actor in Hollywood, even starring in more recent films such as the Expendables and Terminator: Dark Fate.
Aside from his acting and bodybuilding careers, Arnold Schwarzenegger had even managed to secure a two term position as the governor of California between 2003 and 2011.
Nowadays, he hosts the Arnold Sports Festival, which consists of all sorts of fitness events such as bodybuilding, strongman, powerlifting, martial arts, and a full expo!
Arnold Schwarzenegger Wrap Up
Overall, Arnold is someone who has truly lived out the idea of “the American Dream”. He came from another country, became a pioneer for the sport of bodybuilding, acted in Hollywood, and had a political run. Despite his busy lifestyle, he still made the time each day for vigorous training.
Do you think there will ever be another bodybuilder like Arnold Schwarzenegger?