Arnold Schwarzenegger is a bodybuilding legend, and looked somewhat more like a human than today’s top bodybuilders like Ronnie Coleman, so it’s no surprise that a lot of guys aspire to look like him. To be specific, let’s say they want to look like Arnold did 35 years ago, and not like the flabby 61 year old politician he is today. It’s a lofty goal, but everyone should aim high, right?
The problem is that a lot of young guys in particular think the first step is to jump on Google and search for Arnie’s bodybuilding routine, as you may have done in order to come to this page. This is a bad idea, and following Arnold’s old routine, or the routine of ANY professional bodybuilder, is not the right way to go about achieving your goals. Why? Because you’re not a professional bodybuilder, and you’re definitely not Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you want reasons, here are three ways you’re different from Arnie, not even counting the fact that he’s a cybernetic organism, living tissue over a metal endoskeleton.
Let’s face it, most of the time you hear this term it’s a “hardgainer” complaining that he can’t gain muscle while skipping breakfast and generally eating like a bird. With the right training, everyone can gain muscle, even “hardgainers”, but there’s a difference between gaining a bit of muscle, getting stronger, a bit bigger, and looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnie was twice as muscular as you will ever be when he was in his late teens, and a large part of that is a genetic predisposition to putting on a crapload of muscle. If you’re over the age of 17 and aren’t huge already, I guarantee you aren’t as genetically blessed as he is, and following his routine to the letter won’t change that. More importantly (with respect to following his routine) Arnold had a great work capacity, enabling him to thrive on high volume training (volume = sets x reps x weight) and get massive. Genetics is a large factor in work capacity, and if you don’t have it, trying to follow a high volume program like Arnie’s is just going to wear you down and you’ll end up just as puny, only more tired and depressed. Enjoy.
2. Training age
This basically refers to how long you have been weight-training. This is significant because the more advanced a trainee is, the more volume they can typically handle, and the more conditioned their body is to the stresses of heavy weight training. Arnie’s routine, like almost all pro-bodybuilders’ routines, is high in volume, and not suitable for beginners or even intermediate lifters.
How to say this tactfully… Arnie used illegal, performance enhancing drugs in his bodybuilding career. While he used only a fraction of the doses top bodybuilders use today, it still makes a big difference compared to a natural trainee. Anabolic steroids allow you to put on more muscle, lose more fat, and recover much better from training. This recovery is particularly important because the day after a hard, high volume day of training, he could get up refreshed and ready for another hard day of training. If he didn’t have such great (medically enhanced) recovery abilities, he wouldn’t have been able to fully recovery from each of his 6 weekly weights sessions, and would have consequently gotten smaller and weaker as time went on and his body was unable to cope with the strain.
So what can you do?
Of the three points, you may have noticed that 2. and 3. can be modified. Unfortunately, your training age can only change with time and experience. Arnie started weights training at age 15 – how old were you when you started? And what about those years in between when you were too lazy (sorry, I meant “busy”) to train? They don’t count.
Finally, we come to supplements. Provided you have a bit of initiative, and good bit of money, you will be able to get your hands on some anabolic steroids and other illegal performance enhancing drugs. You’ll even be able to obtain and use more than Arnie did back in his prime, so that will surely compensate for your inferior genetics and training age, right? As much as performance enhancing drugs DO work (which is why they’re banned in the Olympics, and yet athletes keep using them), they’re illegal. Tsk tsk. Don’t break the law. Oh, and the other reason is you probably don’t know the first thing about how to use them, so rather than get huge and muscular, you’ll just get huge nipples, shrunken testicles and some serious back acne (you can abbreviate it to “bacne” when explaining to your friends how cool you are for taking steroids).
So what should you do?
First of all, don’t expect to look like Arnie overnight – it’s not going to happen, and I’d hate for you to be disappointed when it doesn’t. You can, however, make big changes to your physique including gaining muscle and losing fat. An upside of not looking like Arnie is you can buy clothes from regular stores, too. The simple answer, unfortunately not as easy as sticking a needle in your ass cheek, is to persevere with your training. Train smart and hard, and eat good foods by the truckload. If this advice seems very vague, well, it is. For more specific advice you’ll have to click around the site and read the other articles.