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Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder

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Five-time Mr. Universe, seven-time Mr. Olympia, and Mr. World, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the name in bodybuilding. Here is his classic bestselling autobiography, which explains how the “Austrian Oak” came to the sport of bodybuilding and aspired to be the star he has become. I still remember that first visit to the bodybuilding gym. I had never seen anyone lifting weights Five-time Mr. Universe, seven-time Mr. Olympia, and Mr. World, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the name in bodybuilding. Here is his classic bestselling autobiography, which explains how the “Austrian Oak” came to the sport of bodybuilding and aspired to be the star he has become. I still remember that first visit to the bodybuilding gym. I had never seen anyone lifting weights before. Those guys were huge and brutal….The weight lifters shone with sweat; they were powerful looking, Herculean. And there it was before me—my life, the answer I'd been seeking. It clicked. It was something I suddenly just seemed to reach out and find, as if I'd been crossing a suspended bridge and finally stepped off onto solid ground. Arnold shares his fitness and training secrets—demonstrating with a comprehensive step-by-step program and dietary hints how to use bodybuilding for better health. His program includes a special four-day regimen of specific exercises to develop individual muscle groups—each exercise illustrated with photos of Arnold in action. For fans and would-be bodybuilders, this is Arnold in his own words.


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Five-time Mr. Universe, seven-time Mr. Olympia, and Mr. World, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the name in bodybuilding. Here is his classic bestselling autobiography, which explains how the “Austrian Oak” came to the sport of bodybuilding and aspired to be the star he has become. I still remember that first visit to the bodybuilding gym. I had never seen anyone lifting weights Five-time Mr. Universe, seven-time Mr. Olympia, and Mr. World, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the name in bodybuilding. Here is his classic bestselling autobiography, which explains how the “Austrian Oak” came to the sport of bodybuilding and aspired to be the star he has become. I still remember that first visit to the bodybuilding gym. I had never seen anyone lifting weights before. Those guys were huge and brutal….The weight lifters shone with sweat; they were powerful looking, Herculean. And there it was before me—my life, the answer I'd been seeking. It clicked. It was something I suddenly just seemed to reach out and find, as if I'd been crossing a suspended bridge and finally stepped off onto solid ground. Arnold shares his fitness and training secrets—demonstrating with a comprehensive step-by-step program and dietary hints how to use bodybuilding for better health. His program includes a special four-day regimen of specific exercises to develop individual muscle groups—each exercise illustrated with photos of Arnold in action. For fans and would-be bodybuilders, this is Arnold in his own words.

30 review for Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder

  1. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Re-reading this one (1981 edition), just for kicks. Always enjoyed the stories of Arnold's rise to fame. I don't subscribe to a lot of the training methods laid out here, but reading this as a kid was hugely inspirational. It strikes me that people who are wholly consumed with becoming the best suffer a trade-off, just as we lesser known characters do. The single-minded drive that nearly always accompanies people who reach a level of success similar to Arnold's gives them opportunities and Re-reading this one (1981 edition), just for kicks. Always enjoyed the stories of Arnold's rise to fame. I don't subscribe to a lot of the training methods laid out here, but reading this as a kid was hugely inspirational. It strikes me that people who are wholly consumed with becoming the best suffer a trade-off, just as we lesser known characters do. The single-minded drive that nearly always accompanies people who reach a level of success similar to Arnold's gives them opportunities and experiences we can only imagine, but also sends them off alone into the night, unable to really connect in some way. It was great fun to read this book again, probably for the third or fourth time (the pictures and exercise segment have been perused hundreds of times, of course). In the edition I read, at least, it was refreshing to hear the unvarnished, rough-around-the-edges versions of some of Arnold's early striving. It is hard not to admire the guy. He decided what he would do, and it seemed impossible, but he did it anyway. There's a lot to be said for that. I think that, for more purposes and most people, a training program that requires fewer hours in the gym and uses less volume would probably work better, but you can't argue with the body that Arnie built with these methods. He has a lot of advice about freehand exercises and general fitness that are still fairly sound today, and could be used to good effect. One thing I like is that he recommends that beginners use freehand exercises for an interval before jumping into weight training. It's a damn good idea, if people would do it, but they're too impatient in most cases. If you're into lifting weights, this is pretty much a must-read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Henry Barry

    Published in 1977, during the peak of his bodybuilding career, this book reminds us why Arnold is THE MAN. The book is in two main sections: the story of his rise to prominence, and a bodybuilding guide. He came from a small village in Austria, and against the urgings of his entire family and friends, turned into a champion bodybuilder from sheer willpower. Yes, you may claim that he took steroids, etc, but if you applied the effort to anything in life that he put into building his body, you'd Published in 1977, during the peak of his bodybuilding career, this book reminds us why Arnold is THE MAN. The book is in two main sections: the story of his rise to prominence, and a bodybuilding guide. He came from a small village in Austria, and against the urgings of his entire family and friends, turned into a champion bodybuilder from sheer willpower. Yes, you may claim that he took steroids, etc, but if you applied the effort to anything in life that he put into building his body, you'd be the best in the world too. Arnold trained 6 days a week, usually 4-6 hours per day. He worked his butt off, day in and day out. His mantra is "stay hungry". He was never satisfied with the life he had, and always sought more. The bodybuilding section of the book is also very well done and worth reading. It doesn't waste time coddling you, like a lot of modern fitness texts. He preaches 5 sets of 10-15 on most exercises, 30-60 second rest periods, and a lot of work. You could skip most of the current fitness stuff and just read this, because after all, who doesn't want to look like Arnold.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kai

    The first half of this book is a little mind-boggling. Imagine having the raw physical talent to be the biggest, baddest bodybuilder mofo in the world. Now that would be satisfying! Read it for the pictures on the inset ;)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Eryk

    The first part of the book is Arnold explaining his rise in the profession, how he started, what difficulties he went through. Negative feedback from his parents, friends, no body believed in him but he kept going. In the book you can see a lot of old Arnold pictures through the story, when he works out, or win any competition, or any other important to Arnold memories. I found this book really motivating and interesting because Arnold gives out allot of his athlete hints and information that I The first part of the book is Arnold explaining his rise in the profession, how he started, what difficulties he went through. Negative feedback from his parents, friends, no body believed in him but he kept going. In the book you can see a lot of old Arnold pictures through the story, when he works out, or win any competition, or any other important to Arnold memories. I found this book really motivating and interesting because Arnold gives out allot of his athlete hints and information that I find useful. I think that people should read this book just so they can see why people should never give up. I did enjoy reading this book a lot and I would suggest to everyone to read this book because it will help down the road in life with about everything.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Yakov Pyatnitskov

    I was born in the 1990 and didn't know much about Arnold Schwarzenegger other than he was huge, he starred in the movies and became the Governor. I never asked myself HOW he build that body and the book explains exactly that. To me the most valuable aspect of the book was Arnold's hunger for victory. The man knew he was going to win and went all for it. This spirit comes through the book as a red thread and it is contagious. Setting goals and following through is something we all either heard or I was born in the 1990 and didn't know much about Arnold Schwarzenegger other than he was huge, he starred in the movies and became the Governor. I never asked myself HOW he build that body and the book explains exactly that. To me the most valuable aspect of the book was Arnold's hunger for victory. The man knew he was going to win and went all for it. This spirit comes through the book as a red thread and it is contagious. Setting goals and following through is something we all either heard or done but his goals were more ambitious than most peoples' and his persistence in reaching them deserves respect. I'm not sure I like him as a person and I appreciated his honesty about himself in the book. Arnold seemed too emotionally distant and too calculating to be considered a nice guy but it is probably irrelevant as his mental attitude is something every person would be good to pick up. Set a goal - break it down - adjust the plan if needed - persist – that's all you need to get the juices of life but how many of us will actually try until we get it? The man did it with bodybuilding, with movies and politics and it is admirable. After finishing the book I went to the gym and my workout was totally different because I never paid attention to the mental side of it, to talking to the bar, feeling your muscles, imagining your results. His coverage of mental aspects of bodybuilding is as invaluable (maybe more given the time since the publication) as training plans. It is written in an easy conversational language that makes you feel like he is talking to you. That book was a very pleasant surprise and I was so hooked that want to read his Total Recall to see how he got into the movies and politics.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kelvin

    The Education Of a Bodybuilder. The book was great very inspirational. The book shows awesome images of Arnold and his journey to becoming Mr.olympia. He teaches you about the sport and how muscle movements can effect that specific area when lifting. This book gave me motivation when i was tired, down and felt like giving up. Arnold telling me his struggles and success stories motivated me because they made me realize and think "If Arnold can do it i can too". I highly recommend this book to The Education Of a Bodybuilder. The book was great very inspirational. The book shows awesome images of Arnold and his journey to becoming Mr.olympia. He teaches you about the sport and how muscle movements can effect that specific area when lifting. This book gave me motivation when i was tired, down and felt like giving up. Arnold telling me his struggles and success stories motivated me because they made me realize and think "If Arnold can do it i can too". I highly recommend this book to everyone who needs a little motivation in life and for anyone trying to understand fitness and bodybuilding.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sunday

    The first half of the book is about Arnold's life and how he left his home in Austria to pursue a career in bodybuilding. The second half of the book is all about training methods and techniques so definitely a good read for anyone into bodybuilding.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    This book has changed me. I've gained so much more motivation, realised so many new things and had my knowledge confirmed. This book is now my bible.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Wyatt Daily

    This is not the type of book that needs to be read cover-to-cover, but definitely deserves a permanent place on the bedside podium. Written in 1977, the same year the documentary Pumping Iron came out, this book has Arnold's voice in all its confidence, self-delusion, and arrogance at the height of his body building career. This makes it a quaint period-specific text, considering it was written well before Conan the Barbarian, Predator, Terminatoror the Governator were present in the public This is not the type of book that needs to be read cover-to-cover, but definitely deserves a permanent place on the bedside podium. Written in 1977, the same year the documentary Pumping Iron came out, this book has Arnold's voice in all its confidence, self-delusion, and arrogance at the height of his body building career. This makes it a quaint period-specific text, considering it was written well before Conan the Barbarian, Predator, Terminator or the Governator were present in the public consciousness. Arnold's unwavering drive clearly predestines his continued success outside of bodybuilding. Like The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, this book tells a great story from a first person perspective, but doesn't get close to the breath of the character himself. It's essential message makes the greater story even more compelling. Arnold haters will not like this book. That's ok, he doesn't care and neither do I. The second half of the book is a bonafide workout manual featuring exercises Arnold specially developed. The first half is part inspirational story, part self-help intervention. I found a 1st edition without a dust jacket in a neighborhood book-swap, the previous owner's bookmark still tucked into the back with exercise sets written on it. I keep this book around because for all his shortcomings and questionable actions, I'm still inspired by Schwarzenegger's personal story. Have been since I was a kid. When I crack it open it's like having a workout partner yelling in my ear, telling me to get serious, be the best, and quit making excuses. For instance: "I knew I was destined for great things. People will say that kind of thinking is totally immodest. I agree. Modesty is not a word that applies to me in any way - I hope it never will." These are great things everyone needs to hear regularly, and I like hearing them from one of my heroes.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cat

    I read this book in a day. I couldn't put it down. The first half is amazing. Schwarzenegger chronicles how he started bodybuilding and takes us through the first half of his career in the 1970s. It's inspiring to see how dedicated he was to the sport, though there were a few passages (women were disposable to him) that made me want to read a biography of Arnold Schwarzenegger to get more information about that period in his life. I ended the book wanting to know more about the rest of his life I read this book in a day. I couldn't put it down. The first half is amazing. Schwarzenegger chronicles how he started bodybuilding and takes us through the first half of his career in the 1970s. It's inspiring to see how dedicated he was to the sport, though there were a few passages (women were disposable to him) that made me want to read a biography of Arnold Schwarzenegger to get more information about that period in his life. I ended the book wanting to know more about the rest of his life as well. Arnold's confidence leaps off the pages. He makes it sound as though the most difficult part of his career was choosing to the best; once that was done, all he had to do was put in the work to get there. Just read this passage about his second Mr. Universe contest as a pro: "I arrived at the contest in London in that same spirit. I was every inch the winner. I knew that. I walked as though I already had the title won, as though were was no question that I would win and that the second-place man would be trailing points behind me. I was so huge and confident. And naturally I won. It could not have been otherwise." What amazes me about Arnold's story is that he considers mental training to be more of a challenge than physical training. Throughout the book he's constantly talking about mental fortitude and strength - admitting when he has a weakness, taking steps to correct them, learning from the best, doing everything you can possibly do to improve yourself - and that's something that I never expected to read about from one of the world's top bodybuilders.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Leonardo Gulyas

    En One of those books that everybody should read. Arnold split this book in two topics, his atletic carrer on bodybuilding, how he managed to achive everything that he has achieved, and how discipline and mental power over the body made him keep growing until he became the best in the world. The following chapters focus more on the importance of exercises in anybody lives, being an Athlete or not, how to execute them, and how to study and grow your muscles towards your lifestyle. - Pt-Br Um livro En One of those books that everybody should read. Arnold split this book in two topics, his atletic carrer on bodybuilding, how he managed to achive everything that he has achieved, and how discipline and mental power over the body made him keep growing until he became the best in the world. The following chapters focus more on the importance of exercises in anybody lives, being an Athlete or not, how to execute them, and how to study and grow your muscles towards your lifestyle. - Pt-Br Um livro excelente que todos deveriam ler. Arnold divide o livros em duas partes, na primeira contando sua carreira no fisiculturismo, como conseguiu ganhar todos os prêmios que ganhou e como sua rotina de treinos era executada. O primeiro capítulo trata mais de sua extrema disciplina e como o controle da mente sobre o seu corpo permitiu-o tornar-se o melhor do mundo. Nos capítulos seguintes Arnold introduz o esporte para leigos, explicando como o fisiculturismo é benéfico seja você atleta ou não, e como executá-los através de rotinas e imagens ilustradas por ele mesmo, focando também no desenvolvimento muscular pra cada tipo de atividade e estilos de vida.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Steve Ready

    The Education of a Bodybuilder is a great book by Arnold Schwarzenegger. It mixes his past and the goals he started with, with what he learned to help him achieve his goals and eventually make new ones. It goes into detail about all the things to learn about Arnold’s life. In this book, Arnold talks about his childhood and when he first started lifting. He talks about the older role models the guys he looked up to and how they helped him get into lifting. He said he loved it right away. The book The Education of a Bodybuilder is a great book by Arnold Schwarzenegger. It mixes his past and the goals he started with, with what he learned to help him achieve his goals and eventually make new ones. It goes into detail about all the things to learn about Arnold’s life. In this book, Arnold talks about his childhood and when he first started lifting. He talks about the older role models the guys he looked up to and how they helped him get into lifting. He said he loved it right away. The book talks about his journey from going from lifting to starting to do competitive bodybuilding. It talks about what his goal were and you learn alot about his determination and drive to achieve his goals which were to beat all of the bodybuilders in America and become a moviestar in America. I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys lifting or wants to learn more about bodybuilding. Anyone interested in Arnold’s life would enjoy this book also. If you want to learn a few of Arnold’s tricks to achieving his goals, you would want to read this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andres Rodriguez

    Respect. That's what I felt when I first read this book. It really made me appreciate the hard work that Arnold dedicated and put into becoming such an amazing body building athlete. How he was inspired, how he continued to try and achieve his goals, how he was humbled by American body builders, and the story of him driving himself to be better, bigger, stronger. This book really helped me to form that passion I have when I'm in the gym, and old gym with iron weights and concrete walls not the Respect. That's what I felt when I first read this book. It really made me appreciate the hard work that Arnold dedicated and put into becoming such an amazing body building athlete. How he was inspired, how he continued to try and achieve his goals, how he was humbled by American body builders, and the story of him driving himself to be better, bigger, stronger. This book really helped me to form that passion I have when I'm in the gym, and old gym with iron weights and concrete walls not the new dating scene hot spot gyms colored cutely in purples and yellows. This is what it took to be the best. You have to know your weaknesses, you have to embrace your strengths and continue to work your hardest on your flaws. You only give up if you fail but if you want, you can be a foreigner, you can be young, you can be second place, and you can continue to break down walls to be the best.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    "Strength and confidence, plus a firsthand knowledge of the rewards of hard work and persistence, can help you attain a new and better life." This book was written shortly after Arnold stopped competing in the 70s. It's an early bio of his time in high school through winning his many competitions. It mostly focuses on his training and the lessons learned. It also details a workout and eating plan for someone brand new to strength training. Perhaps the most important part of this book though is "Strength and confidence, plus a firsthand knowledge of the rewards of hard work and persistence, can help you attain a new and better life." This book was written shortly after Arnold stopped competing in the 70s. It's an early bio of his time in high school through winning his many competitions. It mostly focuses on his training and the lessons learned. It also details a workout and eating plan for someone brand new to strength training. Perhaps the most important part of this book though is his emphasis on the importance of a positive mental attitude, work ethic, vision, and goal setting. It's the key to his - and any athlete's - success, but it goes far beyond the field of sports into every person's daily life.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dan Bailey

    I didn't even mean to start this book for awhile, but thumbing through a few pages led me straight into it. The first half is memoir... Arnold is still a young man (pre Movie Star days) when he writes this book. He's honest with who he was, is and what he wants. Not a perfect man as we would see in later years, but there is that up front honesty. The second half gave some fitness tips that are still usable 40 years after the book was written. I recommend this for any aspiring athlete who is I didn't even mean to start this book for awhile, but thumbing through a few pages led me straight into it. The first half is memoir... Arnold is still a young man (pre Movie Star days) when he writes this book. He's honest with who he was, is and what he wants. Not a perfect man as we would see in later years, but there is that up front honesty. The second half gave some fitness tips that are still usable 40 years after the book was written. I recommend this for any aspiring athlete who is transitioning from couch potato. It's inspirational and has a lot of good points in it... including mindset. There's a good chance I'll revisit this book periodically.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Teemu Suoranta

    The Education of a Bodybuilder has two parts: a biography of Arnold's bodybuilding career and later exercise and nutriton. If you have read the later published full biography Total Recall, the biography part has some details that Total Recall is missing. If you are not into bodybuilding, it is probably not worth while. The exercise part lays great foundation for weight training. There are some details for example in nutrition that are seen differently nowadays so you should look into other The Education of a Bodybuilder has two parts: a biography of Arnold's bodybuilding career and later exercise and nutriton. If you have read the later published full biography Total Recall, the biography part has some details that Total Recall is missing. If you are not into bodybuilding, it is probably not worth while. The exercise part lays great foundation for weight training. There are some details for example in nutrition that are seen differently nowadays so you should look into other sources as well. It's a must read for Arnold fans and would also recommend it for anybody starting weight training.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nishit Chauhan

    The tale behind the man himself! If you've heard about Arnold Schwarzenegger (who hasn't?), this is where we find out how it all began for him. The book is divided into two sections, the first half follows his journey in becoming a boy from a small town in Austria to Mr. Universe. In the second part, Arnold describes how every muscle is to be developed followed by a detailed workout plan for beginners and veterans alike. If anyone's interested in bodybuilding must read this book at least once. Those The tale behind the man himself! If you've heard about Arnold Schwarzenegger (who hasn't?), this is where we find out how it all began for him. The book is divided into two sections, the first half follows his journey in becoming a boy from a small town in Austria to Mr. Universe. In the second part, Arnold describes how every muscle is to be developed followed by a detailed workout plan for beginners and veterans alike. If anyone's interested in bodybuilding must read this book at least once. Those who are not interested in the sport can also get something out of this book in the form of motivation and learn the value of working hard.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sam Tan

    Somewhat similar to the other book by Arnold (Modern Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding). This book reads more like a self-help and biography book where you get brief glimpses of Arnold's life after he decided he wanted to be a bodybuilder, his motivations and attitude towards the sport and life, and his setbacks. A key takeaway from this book is his consistent emphasis on proper form when executing exercises. Sadly, as with the encyclopedia, this book does not include in-depth detail of nutrition and Somewhat similar to the other book by Arnold (Modern Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding). This book reads more like a self-help and biography book where you get brief glimpses of Arnold's life after he decided he wanted to be a bodybuilder, his motivations and attitude towards the sport and life, and his setbacks. A key takeaway from this book is his consistent emphasis on proper form when executing exercises. Sadly, as with the encyclopedia, this book does not include in-depth detail of nutrition and diet. After Chapter 4 he suggests some program outlines for interested newbies to follow. Good introduction book for beginners and amateurs.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Piotr P

    This book really resonates with my situation. I can sum it up as: no matter what you achieve, your family will tell you that it's worthless when you don't go along their suggestions. Another part of the book consists a training, out of which I tried two days and it's really working. It's super intense even with small weights.

  20. 5 out of 5

    John

    Absolutely loved reading this book, not just from an athletes perspective either, Arnold has truly conquered the American Dream. Some of it was luck, but most is attention to detail and hard work. All of which he outlines in this book that he wrote just before transitioning from bodybuilding to acting.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Zac Ames

    Inspiring account and look inside the pre-film/ bodybuilding career of Arnold. An entertaining read into his mindset of success and a great starting point for anyone interested in weight training. The nutritional advice is a bit dated (reading the 1982 edition here, advocates a milk heavy diet in his example eating plan), but a lot of his advice on routines is still solid today.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alan Walton

    Solid autobiography of the young Arnold I think the dietary and exercise tips are a bit dated, but the rest is a fascinating and inspiring look into the mind of one of the all time greats.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anh Vu

    Even though there are some outdated advices regarding training (he briefly mentioned spot reduction for the adomen), this book is definitely among one of the most inspiration book I have ever read, not only for weight training, but also for life as a whole. A must-read for any aspiring bodybuilder!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Martin

    Surprisingly honest and personal. Some good wisdom for anyone setting early goals in life. First few chapters are the best. The second half of the book has a bodybuilding/workout routine. Interesting, but not so useful.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Josiah

    this book was amazing it was realy good

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jason Roberson

    Arnold is always interesting, but the book is poorly written.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jason Hassler

    Very interesting book. After watching several of Arnold's movies, it was fascinating to read his story.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Lim

    The most motivational non-self help book I’ve read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Wow I have never felt about anything the way Arnold feels about bodybuilding.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Inspiring read to motivate yourself to succeed in the gym and life. A little short but otherwise great way to absorb Arnold's success mindset.

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