Quotes from Mr. Olympia
Arnold on drive and determination (motivation)
I was always dreaming about very powerful people. Dictators and things like
that. I was always impressed by people who could be remembered for hundreds of
years. Even like Jesus, being remembered for thousands of years.
When I was ten years old I got this thing that I wanted to be the best in
something, so I started swimming. I won championships, but I felt I couldn't be
the best. I tried skiing, but there I felt I didn't have potential. I played
soccer, but I didn't like that to well because there I didn't get the credit
alone if I did something special. I just avoided team sports from then on. Then
I started lifting through the other sports and I enjoyed it the most. I won the
Austrian championship in 1964 but found out I was too tall. So I quit that and
went into body building. Two years later I found out that that's it-that's what
I can be the best in.
I admire America because it is a powerful country. I admire It's economic
system, It's freedom and It's money. It is a rich country. It's people are
open-minded. But I didn't understand all of this when I was ten years old. There
was something else. A subconscious drive to come here. When I came here, I had
come from Munich where I had been training. I gave myself no choice. I almost
made myself thrown out. I got in trouble with the police. Little troubles. I
created a situation that forced me to leave. Somebody told me-Split. Now you
have to go to America.
Arnold on posing
Number one, it runs through my mind it is very obvious that I am the king. Then
I thought to the audience, just keep screaming now because you're going to see
the poses for just a few minutes here, so eat your hearts out.
I find out which poses they really like. That's why I don't have a specific
posing routine, because you never know what they like and what they don't.
Sometimes you think a routine is good but the applause is going down. Like
Franco explained, he did one shot coming up for triceps from the side and the
sound went down, so he cut the shot. You have to be very flexible in these
things. You have to listen. When you hit the most muscular and they start
screaming, you know they like the more freaky poses, so you keep hitting it
again and maybe hold it longer to get the cuts out more. You know then they like
drama shots and you can forget the symmetrical stuff.'
A lot of things go through my mind while I am posing. When I pose, a very good
pose let's ay the most muscular pose. The audience starts screaming. In my mind
I say to them, kind of like Well, here it is here is the best body look at it
and just freak out because your only going to see one of them. That's it. I let
them know that what they get is mind-blowing. They are not going to get it
tomorrow, not the next day. Maybe never again. It's a once in a life time
experience. Especially since my career as a bodybuilder is almost over. I just
hope they appreciate my body. Obviously they do. I hear the applause.�
Onstage I�m always different than offstage. I can be very friendly offstage,
but onstage I will pull one trick after another on my competition to wipe him
out, you know-because It's my living and I have to win. Franco is my best
friend, but I will do as much as I can to make him look bad and make me look
Arnold on becoming a champion
The only way to be a champion is by going through these forced reps and the
torture and pain. Thats why I call it the torture routine. Because It's like
forced torture. Torturing my body. What helps me is to think of this pain as
pleasure. Pain make me grow. Growing is what I want. Therefore, for me pain is
pleasure. And so when I am experiencing pain Im in heaven. It's great. People
suggest this is masochistic. But theyre wrong. I like pain for a particular
reason. I dont like needles stuck in my arm. But I do like the pain that is
necessary to be a champion.
A beginner does eight repetitions of a certain exercise with his maximum weight
on the barbell. As soon as it hurts, he thinks about stopping. I work beyond
this point, which means I tell my mind that as soon as it starts aching it is
growing. Growing is something unusual for the body when you are over eighteen.
The body isnt used to ten, eleven, or twelve reps with a maximum weight. Then I
do ten or fifteen sets of this in a row. No human body was ever prepared for
this and suddenly it is making It'self grow to handle this new challenge, growing
through this pain area. Experiencing this pain in my muscles and aching and
going on is my challenge. The last three or four reps is what makes the muscles
grow. This area of pain divides a champion from someone who is not a champion.
Thats what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say theyll go
through the pain no matter what happens. I have no fear of fainting. I do squats
until I fall over and pass out. So what? It's not going to kill me. I wake up
five minutes later and Im OK. A lot of other athletes are afraid of this. So
they dont pass out. They dont go on.
Arnold on emotions (self discipline)
If you want to be a champion you can't have any kind of outside negative coming
in to affect you. So I trained myself for that. To be totally cold and not have
things going through my mind.
And it was a sad story when my father died. Because me mother called me on the
phone and she said, You know, your dad died. And this was exactly two months
before a contest. Are you coming home for the funeral? She said. I said: No.
It's too late. Hes dead and nothing can be done. Im sorry I can't come. And I
didnt explain the reasons why, because how do you explain to a mother whose
husband died, you just can't be bothered now because of a contest?
I can hide my feelings under my muscles. Definitely. I can hide them as long as
necessary. And when I feel they can come out, I let them out. I think this is
fantastic. It's great to have control over my mind. Other people get mixed up.
They can't control themselves. They can't go to work for a week or they can't
talk on the phone because theyre crying. I can switch myself back and forth.
When Im training for a competition, I can be what some people call inhuman, but
really I think It's more like being superhuman. Then after the competition, I
can switch off again be human and very emotional and so on.
Arnold on his upbringing and goal setting
My upbringing contributed a lot to my success. My father was a police officer
and wanted his family to be the perfect example to the town. We couldnt do
anything bad. He was very strict, checking out everything.if we were clean, if
our shoes were brushed. I was brought up under great discipline, which meant
that when I made up my mind I had to follow it through. I had a master plan from
the moment I arrived in America. Thats still in me. Every year I set a goal: to
win the Mr. Olympia or to get so many unIt's in business school, to make a
certain amount of money, to travel to five or six different countries. Every
year I make a plan. I do it. It will be done.
Arnold on the pump
�Not many people understand what a pump is. It must be experienced to be
understood. It is the greatest feeling that I get. I search for this pump
because it means that that my muscles will grow when I get it. I get a pump when
the blood is running into my muscles. They become really tight with blood. Like
the skin is going to explode any minute. It's like someone putting air in my
muscles. It blows up. It feels fantastic.
�Body building should be fun because you get a feeling of satisfaction which is
very hard to explain. A body builder knows when he pumps up his muscles it means
growth. The muscles grow. So therefore he knows when he pumps up well, that is
progress. And that satisfies him because he feels the progress in his body.
Therefore the pump feels good. It's actually the best feeling a body builder can
have. It's a difficult thing to explain. Like sometimes we joke around and we
get a good pump and we say you have to admit that a good pump is better than
coming. Somebody off the street wouldnt understand that, but sometimes a pump
is the best feeling you can have.
Arnold on power and authority
My relationship to power and authority is that Im all for it. People need
somebody to watch over them and tell them what to do. Ninety-five percent of the
people in the world need to be told what to do and how to behave.
I wish I could experience the feeling President Kennedy had speaking to 50,000
people at one time and having them cheer and scream and be in agreement with
whatever he said.
Arnold on being a Leo
I am a Leo. If you believe this kind of thing, then you find out Leos are more
aggressive people than any other people and they are more physical than any
others. I believe in this a little bit. Not everything, but a little bit.
Because when I read what the lion is supposed to be and I check what I am, It's
exactly the same thing. So thats why I believe in it.
Arnold on bodybuilding
My definition of a sport is that It's a physical activity that involves
competition. Since bodybuilders train and then compete, we are certainly a
sport. The unique thing about bodybuilding is that when I compete, it is just me
on a stage alone. There is no field, no bat, no ball, no skis, no skates. All
other athletes have to use equipment, like a football. As soon as the football
if thrown, where does the eye go? To the football. But I dont use anything in
competition except myself. It's just me up there. Me alone. No coach. No
I think the public thinks I am narcissistic because I look in the mirror. What
they dont understand is that is the only way I can check my progress. How do I
know that my muscles grow the way that I want? By flexing them and checking them
in the mirror, by measuring them with a tape or possibly by stepping on a scale.
The mirror is by far the best because I can see each muscles definition. That
is very subtle. Sometimes even another bodybuilder cannot see what I can. A
swimmer uses a stopwatch like a mirror. A jumpers tape is his mirror. But the
public is weirdly afraid of themselves. They are guilty about the mirror. They
think by looking in it theres something wrong. How many mirrors are there in
You dont really see a muscle as a part of you, in a way. You see it as a
thing. You look at it as a thing and you say well this thing has to be built a
little longer, the bicep has to be longer; or the tricep has to be thicker here
in the elbow area. And you look at it and it doesnt even seem to belong to you.
Like a sculpture. Then after looking at it a sculptor goes in with his thing and
works a little bit, and you do maybe then some extra forced reps to get this
lower part out. You form it. Just like a sculpture.
What Im doing is the thing I want to do. I dont care what other people think.
If the rest of disagrees and says I shouldnt waste my time, I still will be a
bodybuilder. I love it. I love the feeling in my muscles, I love the
competition, and I love the things it gives me. I have never really had to work
in my whole life. Ive never had an eight to six job. Ive always made good
money. Ive traveled all over the world competing and giving exhibitions. Ive
made a profession out of a pastime, which perhaps only five percent of the
population can do. The other ninety-five percent are frustrated office workers,
working for someone else. Im totally independent. So, I..feel if I would live
again or if I would be born again, I would do exactly the same thing.
The better you get, the less you run around showing off as a muscle guy. You
know, you wear regular shirts, loose shirts-not always trying to show what you
have. You talk less about it. It's like you have a little BMW-you want to race
the hell out of this car, because you know It's going 110. But if you see a guy
in a Ferrari or Lamborghini, they slide around at 60 on the freeway because they
know if they press on that accelerator they are going to go 170. These things
are the same in every field.
There are some girls that are turned on by my body, and some others who are
turned off. But for the majority I just use it as a conversation piece. Like
someone walking a cheetah down 42nd street would have a natural conversation
piece. Then when they get to talking to me they see I am not mean but gentle to
them and thats all they want to know.
I have a good sense of my body in a bathing suit around people who appreciate
what Im doing, like a contest. Then Im proud. On television I am proud. But on
a beach most people are not experts. The general public doesnt know how to
look. How proud can you be when they dont even know what theyre looking at?
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