First off, I want to thank our whole gang of testers that have been training using my workouts after I asked for some volunteers in the last newsletter. I’ve been keeping track. Your feedback has been fantastic - we already learned so much that will help us when we roll this out to bring my fitness crusade to 2022 and make fitness accessible to everyone! I love seeing your comments about lifting more than you have since college or fitting into pants you haven’t worn for years. But most of all, I’ve been blown away by how much you support each other, making playlists and pumping each other up. The positivity is off the charts. Even though you’re all at different fitness levels doing different exercises, you’re all there for each other. It gives me hope we can really build a positive corner of the internet. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
For those of you who missed out on testing the training programs, we will be ready to launch soon, but we’ll only open it up for 5,000 people at the start. Sign up here to be the first to know: https://randomlygeneratedbeehiivdomain.beehiiv.com/subscribe
And in the meantime, you can grab some of our Arnold’s Pump Club merch. It’s all I wear to Gold’s now. Get yours here.
Now, what have I been up to?
I’ve been busy.
I finished filming FUBAR after five long, fun, intense, hilarious, explosive, wild and crazy months. But before I talk about the fun stuff, I want to be serious.
Auschwitz and Terminating Hate
While I was filming FUBAR, the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation reached out to me to let me know they wanted to give me an award for fighting hate. They’ve seen my work over the years with the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and recently, they’ve seen my videos for my online audience, whether it was after the neo-nazis marches in Charlottesville, or after lies led to the disaster of January 6, or my message to Russians about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
I told them I was in the middle of filming my TV series and I couldn’t leave the bubble during COVID, but we should postpone until I finished shooting because I have no plans to stop fighting to terminate hate. They wanted to give it to me anyway, so I made them a promise that during my next trip to Europe once I finished FUBAR, I would visit Auschwitz for the first time with the Chairman of the AJCF, Simon Bergson.
You all know I keep my promises, so two weeks after I finished filming, I headed to Europe, and took a flight to Poland with Simon to experience Auschwitz. Here is a video from my visit:
And let me tell you, it was an experience. If you have never been, I recommend it, just so you always know what humans are capable of. It is hard to explain to anyone how haunting it is, and how it just sticks with you. I am still thinking about it now.
I was struck by the deception at every turn, designed to prevent resistance. From the moment these poor people boarded those trains, they were being lied to over and over. When they got off the train, they were told to remember exactly where they put their suitcases, because people always manage to confuse their luggage with someone else’s. They were told to tie their shoes together before they showered so they wouldn’t misplace a shoe.
As part of my tour, I saw the piles and piles of their luggage and their shoes - they never saw them again. Think about that.
I was also blown away by how it wasn’t all as black and white as you would like it to be. The Nazis persecuting the Jewish people were pure evil - that was black and white, no question. But among the prisoners, there were grays. Some prisoners became kapos, or basically worked for the Nazi guards, supervising work or doing chores. The first thing you think is “How could you?” But then I was told that one of the kapos was caught several years after the war in Israel, and when they wanted to try him for aiding the Nazis, another victim stepped forward and said, “that man used his power to give me extra bread every day and keep me alive.”
I met a woman who was three years old when she was brought to Auschwitz. We sat together and I couldn’t believe her courage. As a toddler, she was one of Dr. Joseph Mengele’s victims. He did his terrible experiments on her, and during one, drained all of her blood, but in the end, she survived. She thought it was because he took a liking to her blue eyes. Think about the evil and the luck involved in her life. Think about her incredible strength, and the fact that she continues to tell her story to educate people. She relives the worst part of her life over and over to make sure the rest of us don’t relive it. That is power. That is bravery.
Finally, Simon and I talked about how far we can come in one generation if we are willing to move ourselves forward. We were both born in Austria after the war, me to a former soldier in the Nazi army, and Simon to Holocaust victims in a refugee camp. And here we were, one generation later, standing together, united against hate.
It is a powerful message.
But I keep thinking about why it has worked out that way, why I became what my friend Rabbi Hier of the Wiesenthal Center calls “a quintessential anti-Nazi.” I want to keep spreading an anti-hate message, and to do that, I have to help people learn how we can terminate hate in one generation, even if hate runs in your family or your area.
Fighting hate is an urgent mission right now. Most of us have seen anti-Semitic messages from people with huge followings who should know better - and that’s just since I came home from my tour.
I have a different view than people who use their megaphones to spread hate. I was given this gigantic platform. It’s my responsibility to use it for good.
And I think there are some lessons from how I have dealt with my family’s past that can be educational for almost anyone.
First, you have to be willing to ask what you are holding on to. What is it, exactly? Is it worth holding, or should you let it go? I remember when I was very little, my parents had an old album of trading cards the Nazi regime had sold with bubble gum. There was nothing about the hateful parts of Nazism in it. It was a celebration of locomotives, and railroads, and bridges, and other infrastructure the Nazis had built. When my brother and I were young, we loved to page through it. One day, it was gone, and we were devastated. As part of de-nazification, it had been turned in. I look back now and laugh that I was so sad about a bunch of cards of trains and infrastructure. I obviously let it go.
But you know what I never let go of? My love for my parents. On social media, when I share stories about my father, people assume I hate him. Absolutely not. I hate the regime he was part of. I hate everything it represents. I hate the hatred. But I love my father. I can separate him from the hate, and I can let the hate go but hold onto my love. My father created this will inside me that led me to be who I am today, how could I hate him?
Second, you have to be willing to educate yourself. It was easy for me to avoid falling into the trap of glorifying my father’s army because I started to learn about them from an early age. That was harder than it seems. In Austria, no one talked about the war much. And my father never, ever spoke about the war.
But I had a mentor, Fredi Gerstl, who told me all about the evil of the Nazis. Fredi was my friend Charli’s father. He encouraged us with our weight training and told us to also train our minds. But Fredi’s family also had Jewish roots, even though they had converted to Catholicism as the Nazis took power. He managed to lay low until he was accidentally drafted into the army and they figured out his roots. When he was supposed to be be deported to Mauthausen concentration camp, an Austrian officer helped him escape (remember what I said earlier about everything not being black or white?) and Fredi helped lead a resistance movement in Graz, near my hometown, until the end of the war.
I learned so much from Fredi. I learned about the horrors of the Nazis. But I also learned that being honest about your history is the only way to move beyond it. I learned that it takes years and hard work to overcome prejudice. And it is never over from one day to the next - it is a constant battle.
It was easy to see that Fredi was a fantastic male mentor, unlike many of my father’s friends who were always drunk. They weren’t honest about their history. They chose to ignore it like my dad or to glorify it, like some of the others. Ignorance or glorification didn’t help anyone.
My mother was also willing to help me understand, which was very rare in those days. She did not like to speak about the war either, but she told me one story that always stuck with me. One day, earlier in the war, as she was headed to work when she was not even 17, she saw bodies hanging from trees. She was horrified, and when she got to the office, she told her supervisor about what she’d seen, filled with outrage. Her supervisor pulled her aside and told her sternly but quietly to never bring it up to anyone else, or she’d be hanging alongside them.
When I arrived in America, I kept learning from my Jewish friends like Artie Zeller and mentors like Joe Weider. Eventually, I met Rabbi Hier from the Simon Wiesenthal Center when he was fundraising for the Museum of Tolerance. I knew how much education had helped me, so I told him I would support him in building the museum to educate others, but he had to keep teaching me. I also asked him if the Simon Wiesenthal Center, named for the greatest of the Nazi hunters, would be willing to investigate my father, who had passed away by then. I wanted to know what he had never spoken about, no matter what they learned. In the end, they found he was part of the regime as a Nazi sergeant but he hadn’t committed any war crimes or atrocities.
And that leads me to the final lesson. You will never change what your family did in the past. You have no control over it. It is not your job to defend it or to celebrate it. You can only control how you act, and how you move forward.
I see people say, “That’s my heritage.” I am sorry, but if hate is your heritage, fuck it, it’s time to create a new heritage. It isn’t worth celebrating or defending - let it go. You don’t have to pass this shit down to the next generation. I didn’t.
We all have some type of prejudice inside of us, whether we like it or not. It is enough to deal with that every day and to work on ourselves. It is a lot of work looking in the mirror and learning and growing. So let go of what the generations before you believed. You only need to worry about yourself and how you can be better than they were. Grow, grow, grow.
As a matter of fact, I recently saw a study that people holding onto prejudice live shorter lives than people without it. So if you really need a reason to give it up and nothing else I said worked for you, there you go. Do it so you’ll have a few extra years with your family.
I am sure I will have more ideas. I told Simon and the Auschwitz staff that I would be coming back and bringing friends because I want to keep educating people and myself. If every time I speak, I can make one person let go of a heritage of hate or their modern day prejudices, that’s a win. It’s impossible to visit Auschwitz and not want to do everything you can to make a difference to make sure that it never happens again.
So that’s what I’ll do.
Oktoberfest with my boys!
On a lighter note, I made my traditional visit to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany and, as usual, it was a blast - drinking beer, eating schnitzels, having delicious desserts, conducting the band, singing. What makes it really special for me is sharing these moments with other people. My sons Christopher and Patrick, my nephew Patrick Knapp and his wife, and my co-star Milan Carter from FUBAR and his friend all joined me and my team, and we had a wonderful time.
PUT THAT PHONE DOWN!
And on Sunday, before we went to Oktoberfest, I spoke at a big entrepreneur event while I was in Europe, Bits and Pretzels. Richard Branson and President Obama had spoken there before, and I have to say it’s the only motivational speech I’ve ever given where everyone was wearing lederhosen and dirndls in the audience! Someone asked me about how to actually find a vision, since I talk about it so much, and they seemed to like my answer so I’m sharing it with all of you.
I said PUT THAT PHONE DOWN. (Use the Jingle All the Way voice in your head for maximum impact).
But seriously. You have to have time to dream and think. I had nothing but time as a kid. Nobody has that now. But you can reclaim it for yourself, if you just lock that phone away for a few hours and let yourself day-dream. The same goes for our kids. We all want our kids to succeed, and sometimes that means we take away all their time to pretend and play and dream to put them in structured activities. Give them time to dream, too. If all of us had a few hours a week to do nothing but daydream, I guarantee we’d all feel better.
Now, all of this was planned, including dropping by my friends at BMW. But what wasn’t planned is that everyone in Europe kept giving me awards.
Suddenly I got a call from the Minister President of Bavaria for the Blue Panther Award for my videos on social media against hate and to the Russian people, so I want to thank him for his kindness!
Then I went to Vienna to prepare for next year’s Austrian World Summit, and there, President Van der Bellen surprised me by giving me the Niki Lauda Award for athletic lifetime achievement.
Think about how far weightlifting and bodybuilding have come! When I was a kid, bodybuilding wasn’t even considered a sport, and now the President of my home country is giving me a lifetime achievement award for athletes!
After School All Stars Charity Night!
When I got home from Europe, we hosted my annual fundraiser at my house for After-School All-Stars, and we raised 5.8 million dollars. I know you guys are great at math, so since programs cost $7.50 per kid per day, that is 773,000 days of programs! I want to thank all of our fantastic donors, and my co-host, John Simonian. I know my subscribers know all about the power of after-school programs because I talk about them all the time, but just to give you an idea of how this money helps: after the horrible shooting in Uvalde, Texas this year, the city reached out and asked us if we could help by bringing our program there, because they had 100 kids on their waiting lists for after-school programs. After-School All-Stars is in 60 cities across the country, and one of them was San Antonio, not far away. My friend Henry Cisneros, who was the former Mayor of San Antonio, a member of Bill Clinton’s cabinet, and took over as Chairman of ASAS for me when I became Governor, flew into action. Within 45 days we had a program up and running for that community. That’s the kind of work that makes me proud. So I know how much this money will improve lives. Check out the highlight video below!
And it was really great to see my whole team from FUBAR at the fundraiser and teach them about the work we do. Fortune Feimster, Milan Carter, Gabriel Luna, and Travis van Winkle, thank you for coming. I also want to thank Danny Devito, Dolph Lundgren and Sly because they gave us some real star power, along with my kids for always supporting everything I do. And of course, my apprentice, Matt Iseman, is the best MC you can ever imagine.
I auction all kinds of stuff off to raise more and more money, from my cars to my clothes, and this year, you might have seen the news that I auctioned off personal training sessions to two different people for $150,000 each. We had a great lift the next day, and I couldn’t stop thinking about what I would have said when I was managing and living in the little gym in Munich if you told me one day people would pay that much money to train with me. What a life.
Congrats Jamie Lee!
A day later, I was headed down to Hollywood Boulevard to celebrate my dear friend Jamie Lee Curtis getting her hand and footprints in front of the historic Graumann’s Chinese Theater.
Like I said that day, Jamie Lee has been a legend for FOUR DECADES! That is unheard of in Hollywood. She’s had hits with horror movies, hits with comedy movies, hits with dramatic movies, and of course, True Lies. What a pleasure it was to work with her. Her comedic talent, her acting ability, the way she handled weapons, her stunts, and of course, her famous striptease scene - what an icon. And you know that scene where she is hanging from the helicopter? She did that herself! That’s the kind of job you always let the stunt person do, but she insisted. Such a badass. I only have one complaint. People call her a supporting role in True Lies. That is bullshit! She was my co-star, both of our names were above the title. Please call her a star.
Being in one hit in Hollywood is hard enough. Being great decade after decade is almost impossible. It was such an honor to introduce her and be part of her special day. Check out the video of the ceremony below!
Getting Crafty with Sly
And of course, this week, you probably saw on social media that Sly asked me to film with him for his show, and I invited him to my office since he has never been there. I surprised him with Whiskey and Lulu. As if that wasn’t enough, I sprung a pumpkin carving on him at the last minute. All the sudden, here we were on my conference table carving pumpkins like little kids.
We had a fantastic time, and I do think there is a lesson there. Thirty years ago, you would have never caught us dead doing this. Our egos wouldn’t allow it. Now, at 75 and 76, none of that shit matters to us any more. We became friends instead of rooting against each other all the time, and now we actually cheer for each other.
Competition is good. It creates better performances, no matter what you do. But unless you are competing in a sport where you either win or lose, nothing is zero sum. There is plenty of pie to go around. You can be successful and still root for the guy two desks down to be successful. It took Sly and I a few decades to figure out we could both succeed and be friends and, man, it is so much better.
And look at the fun some redditors had with our pumpkin photo! You can see more of their photoshops here.
It feels great to be back with all of you guys doing our regularly scheduled programming. Thanks for subscribing and making this such a joy for me.
Here are a few of my favorites from last month:
Book of the month: Of Boys and Men - A lot of people have told me I need to read this because I have a strong voice and platform with men. I do agree that men seem to be drifting around aimlessly today, but I didn’t have time to really dive in and research. I wanted to focus on the anti-hate message this week, so I’ll do my homework and have more to say about this issue next month, since these newsletters will be more regular now that I’m not filming.
Archive Shot of the Month:
Speaking of regular, Joke of the month: When I got back from filming, I went in for a physical. It was all good news. I hate to get too personal here, but my doctor was even happy with my bowel movements. He asked me, “Are you having regular bowel movements?” I said, “yeah, every day at 5am.” He said, “That’s fantastic, Arnold.” I said, “Not really, because I don’t get up until 6.”
And speaking of comedy: Show of the month: Fortune Feimster’s Netflix Special, Good Fortune. During FUBAR, Fortune made me laugh every day, so now she can make all of you laugh!
While you are here, if you’re interested, you can check out these newsletters from my other projects: