I hope everyone is having a good month!
First of all, happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. Fatherhood is my favorite job. I hope your kids gave you the celebration you deserve!
My daughter, Katherine, asked me to join her for her Instagram show about parenting, and I think you’ll love our conversation. We talked about my strict style, and we also discussed the importance of both parents being on the same page when it comes to raising the kids. You can argue about other things, but you have to present a united front for the children. Check it out here!
I sometimes play around and design different t-shirts, and then I go to the gym and sometimes people ask, “Where do I get this?” It started with my “Come with me if you want to lift shirt.” Just recently we came up with one with Conan lifting a barbell with skulls and it says “Bar-Barian.” You never know what design is going to be a hit, but this one was, so I decided to make it for all of my fans.
You can buy it here: https://represent.com/store/arnold
I also want all of you to tune in on July 1st to the Austrian World Summit. The entire environmental conference will be broadcast on my Facebook page, so mark your calendars! Here is the Facebook event page so you don't forget.
The weather has been beautiful in Los Angeles. I've been going on my daily bike rides, getting a pump at Gold’s Gym, preparing for the Austrian World Summit in July, and mostly staying on track with my daily routine. Now, that doesn’t mean I haven’t had an extra pastry with Lulu, but I don’t want to be too hard on myself. You never want to get caught up in being hard on yourself. As I told a friend on reddit, we all go through challenges and we all go through failure, but the key thing is you get up and take it one step at a time. Don’t beat yourself up over something like eating a tasty treat. Think about it this way: When you conquer a workout, do you celebrate yourself as much as you beat yourself up when you miss the gym or eat something you shouldn’t? We all have a tendency to be harder on ourselves than we would be to our friends. I am guilty of it, and you are probably guilty of it. So this month, I want you to focus on writing down a win you had every single day, no matter how small. Maybe you went for a walk - count the win and record it! By the end of the month, you’ll see that the little victories built a foundation for bigger wins. We are going to conquer the month together, whether it is doing a few pushups in the morning, or setting a new personal record in the gym. Now, let’s get to some fun stories.
Schnitzel Behind-the-Scenes Storytime
Last month I gave you my favorite on-set story of the time when Danny DeVito put marijuana in my cigar. I totally forgot my lines and stood there like a statue. But when my team and I were working on last month’s newsletter, I told them a story that I said I would save for this month. Most of you may know my True Lies costar Tom Arnold. He is a wacky guy, and he is also one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met. Even to this day Tom helps me at my charity events with After School All Stars, the nationwide after-school program I started 30 years ago which has spread like wildfire around the United States, or the Hollenbeck Center in East LA, one of the greatest community centers in Los Angeles, where we give away turkeys at Thanksgiving and toys at Christmas.
Anyway, one day Tom and I were filming True Lies in Washington DC, and Jim Cameron decided that he wanted to move the shot they set up on the street in Georgetown to the opposite corner. This might not seem like a big deal, but on a movie set, by the time I walk out to do my scene, the hundreds of crew members have spent hours rigging lights and cameras to make sure it looks perfect on the screen. And they have spent hours parking the cars along the street to look perfect on screen. That’s one of the many reasons I say I am not self-made. But I heard the crew tell Jim resetting the lights and moving the cars would take 2 and a half hours, so I thought we had at least an hour for some sightseeing. I knew Tom was from a small town in Iowa and had never seen the inside of the Capitol Building, so I thought I would show him around. I grabbed a van from the transportation guys and Tom and I took off for the Capitol across town thinking I’d show Tom some of my favorite memorials on the way. Well, before we could even get to the Capitol, we heard a commotion on the walkie-talkie in the car. Apparently they had pulled off a miracle and flipped the entire production in half an hour because Jim decided not to move the cars, and now they were looking for their actors. And we, naturally, were driving around DC in a van.
To say that Jim wasn’t happy would be a major, major understatement. We drove back right away, and I got the beating of a lifetime in front of the whole crew. Jim told me the whole movie was over budget and three weeks late because of me. I said, “Jim, how can we be three weeks late when we have only been shooting for a week?” That didn’t go over well, but eventually we made up and got the shot. In case you ever wondered, does Schnitzel ever get in trouble at work, the answer is yes, especially when Jim is directing.
Another fun thing I saw over the last month was a video on YouTube talking about how I admitted that Wilt Chamberlain was the strongest NBA player ever, and it's true! Well maybe not ever, but for a guy who wasn’t directly involved in strength sports, it was wild to see how much weight he could lift. I always tell people that Wilt was the only guy who could do the tricep cable pulldowns with the full stack of weight. He was doing it no problem, and all of us bodybuilders were blown away. When I saw this pop up on reddit I was brought back to all the good times I had with Wilt. We even filmed Conan the Destroyer together! He was such a great guy to have on the set, except when one of the 45 pound dumbbells in the gym went missing. I asked Wilt if he had it and he played innocent until one day I went to his room to pick him up and I saw him hiding it under his bed. That son of a gun was trying to do extra concentration curls alone so he could outshine me! Here is a photo of us both with Andre the Giant while we were filming. They made me look so tiny!
Porcupine 1, Dutch 0
And as promised, here is a pet update for you. They are all doing well! However, Dutch had a scare this month, when we were in Sun Valley, Idaho, and he came back from roaming outside with a face full of porcupine quills. I rushed him to the vet and I held him during the procedure while they pulled out all of the quills. He was completely fine as soon as we left, which made me think how dogs almost have superpowers. If any of us got a face full of needles, we would need weeks to recover. Dutch was back to his normal self immediately. And the vet told me he probably didn’t learn his lesson - she’s had several dogs come in five times for porcupine emergencies.
Also, I had my friend Frank send me over a clip of when the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica decided to have a mural painted of me above their gym. I thought the whole process was pretty fantastic, so check it out below and let me know what you think!
When I am riding around Venice on my bike, I laugh every time I see these murals of me.
Stop Trolling and Open Your Mind
Now let’s get serious for a second. Every day on social media I see people losing their minds. Social media has given everyone a platform, which I think is a major positive. But the way people use their platforms has become more and more negative. I see posts about Pride Month and Juneteenth where hundreds of people just comment “I don’t care.” OK, let’s be honest, if I don’t care about something, you don’t see me commenting on social media to let everybody know how little I care. And those aren’t the meanest commenters.
Pride Month and Juneteenth are celebrations of America and our ability to constantly do better and move closer to the goal of true equality. They shouldn’t make anyone upset. I think social media has taught people that everything has to be political, and I want all of you to think about that. I can’t even post about eating less meat, or my electric Hummer, or fighting gerrymandering without people in the comments calling me a communist. If you’re someone who gets angry on social media, I want you to think really hard about it. What are you accomplishing? You’re getting attention for being an asshole? What did you achieve? Some likes? Whose mind did you change? Absolutely no one’s.
I think we should all be very engaged in the issues facing our communities and our nation, but I also think we need to step back from this cliff where we make every subject political, and we change our mind based not on the merits of an idea, but on which party is talking about it.
Here’s a good example I saw of someone who supported Juneteenth when President Trump said he supported it and turned very strongly against it the moment President Biden signed the bill. If something was a good idea when a Republican was in office, HOW IS IT A BAD IDEA THE NEXT YEAR WHEN A DEMOCRAT IS IN OFFICE? STOP IT! If you act like this, take a week off from social media and really think about what you are adding to the world. If you follow people like this, think about whether you want to follow someone who has no interest in anything but partisan fighting. What a waste of time. It takes me back to what my father always said to me: “Be useful.” Instead of pissing away your time with stupid arguments, ask yourself if you have improved the world. Ask if you were useful!
Every political conversation I see on social media reminds me of my time fighting Triple H in the WWE ring. We made a big scene for the audience, and I was smacking him and hitting him in the crowd while Stone Cold Steve Austin watched me from the ring, but I hate to break this to you: Triple H and I are friends. Too many people on social media set out to be a heel or a hero without thinking about just having a conversation and learning from each other
Here is an example of a really constructive conversation I had with a redditor yesterday when she thought I arrived in America with a lot of money because of something she read. Neither of us got angry or defensive, so we were able to find common ground without fighting. I want to thank her for being a great example for the whole internet.
If you want professional wrestling, here’s that video of me with Triple H and Stone Cold.
We need to come together right now. My challenge for you this month is to post absolutely nothing negative on social media. You can post constructive criticism - but no trolling. Tell me how you feel at the end of the month. My guess is you will feel a lot happier, a lot more relaxed, and you aren’t going to miss the “likes” you would have gotten from dunking on someone.
The more we can have open and honest conversations and be inclusive, the more we can move forward as a country. We are in a major rut.
And if you think you can’t do anything to make things better, I have news for you. When I was getting ready to compete in the 1975 Mr. Olympia competition, they had scheduled it in Pretoria, South Africa, and the country was still under apartheid. For those who don’t know, apartheid was a mandatory segregation enforced by the government of South Africa between white people and people of color, and if you weren’t white in South Africa, you were treated as less than everyone else. Because of apartheid, black bodybuilders could not compete, and fans of color were not able to sit in the audience. Of course Ben Weider, the head of the International Federation of Bodybuilding, and I thought this was total bullshit, and at the 1973 International IFBB Congress when they were considering South Africa as a host, we decided if there were going to be no black bodybuilders competing, and if people of color were not going to be allowed inside, we didn’t want to be a part of it - there would be no competition. I met multiple of times with the Secretary of Sports, Dr. Koornhof, in South Africa and insisted that this would be an inclusive event. In 1975, Ben received this letter from the government.
Take this as a lesson. This was just the President of a bodybuilding federation, and a bodybuilder from Austria taking on one of the largest governments in the world. Even though we didn’t end apartheid, it was a big step forward for the country of South Africa. It was the first time there was an integrated sports event under the apartheid government, and I am so happy I got to be a part of it. You can create change, and it might not be the big solution you want, but celebrate every change in the right direction.
Community Action Heroes
Now here is a good news story that I wanted to highlight. If you live in California, you’ve probably complained about our dirty streets. I recently heard about a man named “Todd the Volunteer” who became homeless in 2015 after a motorcycle accident, and decided that the best way to get himself on his feet was to purchase a trash grabber tool from the 99 cent store and get to work. He has been cleaning up the streets of LA and Orange County ever since. If you drive on our streets and you see rows and rows of trash bags filled with litter that has been picked up, that’s probably Todd’s work.
The bottom line is, life is going to get you down sometimes. Maybe you got a parking ticket, maybe you are fighting with your girlfriend, or maybe you just lost your job. No matter what the case may be, it is important that you don’t let these setbacks get you down. Get up, get moving and do what you can. Todd’s motorcycle accident was an unexpected setback in his life, and he could have given up, but he decided to make his town a better place. Todd showed us how to be useful. Think about that. What are you doing to make life better for your community? How are you being useful? You can support Todd’s gofundme here.
I want to start highlighting community action heroes in my newsletter and I thought that Todd was the perfect guy to show you all to start it off. If you have good news or community heroes I should highlight, make sure to email them to me!
Now, let’s get into some of your questions…
How many days per week should a guy who is well trained train each muscle group. And how many exercises per muscle?
I just want to say that being “well trained” has nothing to do with how much you should train each muscle group or how many exercises you should do per muscle. What matters most is what your goal is. If you want to run a marathon, or if you want to lift 500 pounds, your training is going to be based on your goal. And then you need to adjust your goal to your body. Every single person is different and every single body is different. My chief of staff is a stockier guy and sticks to compound heavy lifts and he stays very physically fit. My assistant is tall and lanky and works out with lower weight and higher reps. He also stays in good shape. Again, every goal and every body is different, and the key thing really is to find out what gets you excited to train.
So before I can tell you how to train, tell me your goal.
My method these days is to train 6 days a week, hitting chest and back one day, biceps, triceps, and shoulders another day, and legs the third day, and then I repeat all three. I make sure I do 30 sets in the gym. So a chest and back day might look like this:
5 sets each:
Machine Bench Press x 20 reps
Lat pull down x 20
Machine flyes x 20
Rows x 20
Incline bench x 20
Pullover x 20
I am not training to win Mr. Olympia, I am training to stay as lean as possible, so I go through those exercises as a circuit with almost no rest. If you’re trying to gain more muscle, do less reps and instead of a circuit, do each chest and back exercise as a superset. Finish the 5 sets of bench and the pull down and then move on to the next two exercises.
But I really recommend experimenting in the gym until you find what your goal is, because once you have that in mind, that will keep you consistent. Some people want pure strength, some people want less fat, some people want more muscle, but the key is that you show up every day.
How do I find my energy? I am 52 years old and still getting started on fitness. How do you start your day?
First of all, it is never too late to get started on your fitness routine. The very fact that you want to get started is fantastic - congratulations!
This is really two questions. How do I find my energy? I find my energy by doing things I love and that bring me closer to my vision. I can be reading a script and I will fall asleep. But then I play a game of chess, which I love, and I’m wide awake and can finish the script. This morning, I woke up at 4:00 am to have a zoom with the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator. That’s even early for me, but I was wide awake because I have a vision of making my environmental summit in Austria a huge success. So find your vision and you’ll find your energy.
As far as what I do to start my day, I don’t think. I just do. I get out of bed, have my coffee and read the newspaper, then I immediately go on a bike ride to Gold’s Gym, have my workout, and then ride my bike to get some breakfast. At that point, my mind is clear, the hard part is over, and I can focus on work for the rest of the day.
What has kept me consistent is that I never have to think about this. It’s a routine, so it is ingrained in me. There is no thinking, no “should I skip the gym today?” I get out of bed at 5am and everything starts. The next three hours are automatic. Motivation is important, but routine is what builds consistency. The first month of building a routine isn’t easy, so start small. Maybe the first thing you do when you get out of bed is some pushups and squats. Add something to your routine every week, and then eventually, you’ll have an hour or two hours every morning that are purely automatic and focused on improving yourself.
This one wasn’t a question, but I loved this email and wanted to respond:
First of all, you have the right mindset. I have seen so many immigrants with the fire in their belly to move here, and they always seem to make it. Not just me, I’ve met so many people at the gym who moved here. I remember a French guy at the old World Gym who showed up barely speaking English trying to be a personal trainer. He worked his ass off, and a year later, he was pulling up in a Corvette. I have seen this story over and over and over. This is the beauty of America. If you come here ready to hustle, you will find a job. I don’t know how good your English is, but if you’re like me, you can go to a community college to improve it and who knows, you might get a degree like me. I still believe America is the land of opportunity that I found in 1968.
I remember when I was moving to America, I didn’t have anything but a gym bag, and I didn’t know anyone here yet. I was used to not having anything at that point because I had been living in the gym I worked at in Munich, so that gave me an advantage.
I was nervous, but my mind didn’t allow me to think about failure. I was coming to America to compete in the Mr. Universe, and then my goal was to never leave. I didn’t have a Plan B. Plan B was to try harder at Plan A. But you mentioned your fear of failure, so I want you to explore that. The worst thing that can happen if you fail is you’ll be back in Italy. You’ll be where you are right now. You won’t be a loser, you’ll just be living your current life.
I think a lot of people get hung up on a fear of failure because they think about how the people around them will judge them. But if failure just means you’ll be back where you are right now, what’s the fear? You are living your life right now, it can’t be that scary - unless you’re in an abusive situation, where this advice doesn’t apply. I use this mindset a lot. My agents will call about a movie and say “Hey, we don’t know if this deal will come together, the studio is being a real pain in the ass, this is a disaster.” My response is “It isn’t a disaster, I haven’t made this movie yet, and my life is good, so what’s the problem?" If I don’t make this movie, the worst thing that can happen to me is that I’ll just be where I am today.” When I think of failure, I try to ignore what other people will think and only focus on what I can control.
You said that if you fail, you’ll find another way. When you said that, I knew you’d probably succeed. You have your vision. That’s where everything starts. Now you just need to take the next step and put that fear of failure behind you.
Now, I have something pretty exciting for you guys. I tell you over and over that getting fit starts with your first step. You move more than you did yesterday, you walk a little farther and then you celebrate your success.
When OpenFit acquired Ladder and we became partners and I heard about their Every Step walks where people pump each other up while they burn calories, I knew I had to be involved. So I asked my friends at reddit for questions and sat down and recorded my answers. Now you can go on walks and listen to me! Check it out here!
Here are a few of my favorites from last month:
Pump of the month: Tricep dips
Song of the month: Ring of Fire-Johnny Cash - You might notice I share a lot of Johnny Cash. Country music has always been a love of mine. When I moved to America, I loved everything country western - boots, hats, music. Today in my gym, you almost always hear Johnny Cash.
Movie of the month: Gladiator. I watched it for the third time this month. Man, what a great film.
Book of the month: Battle for the Soul by Isaac Dovere
Joke of the month: One time I was driving through the countryside with my friend, and saw a group of cows. I looked to my friend and said “Did you know those cows are award-winning?” And then he said “For what?” I said “For out standing in their field.”
Archive shot of the month:
Here is a shot of me in Munich, Germany. When I moved to Munich from Austria, I managed a gym (and I also lived in it). I was always trying to find new ways to promote the gym and get new members, so one day I went with a photographer around Munich in my posing trunks. It was freezing cold, and I got a lot of strange looks, but we got 50 more members at the gym!