Six decades after Arnold Schwarzenegger first started bodybuilding, he still works out every day, he told Insider.
The bodybuilding legend, actor, and former politician who turns 75 on July 30, works out for up to 1.5 hours daily: cycling for 45 to 60 minutes, and lifting weights for 30 minutes.
Working out is as much a part of his daily routine as eating and sleeping, and always has been, he said.
“Now I workout to maintain as much as I can as I get older,” he told Insider from Toronto, Canada, via Zoom, while drinking the Austrian spirit schnapps.
Maintaining muscle is a lot easier than building it in the first place, personal trainer Luke Worthington previously told Insider. However, muscle mass gradually starts to decrease from the age of 40, known as sarcopenia, dietitian Nichola Ludlam-Raine previously told Insider.
“It’s half an hour of maintenance training every day,” Schwarzenegger said. “But the important thing is that I always have done it regularly.”
Schwarzenegger used to workout for five hours a day
Schwarzenegger began lifting weights as a teenager in his native Austria, and in 1970 at the age of 23 became the youngest ever winner of Mr. Olympia, considered to be the most prestigious bodybuilding competition, in his first contest.
Schwarzenegger went on to win six more times between 1970 and 1980.
Even though Schwarzenegger is still very active by most people’s standards, his current regime isn’t a patch on how the former Mr. Olympia used to train — as a competitive bodybuilder, he would lift weights for five hours a day, he said.
Over the years, this amount of time gradually decreased, he said, and Schwarzenegger has adapted his training depending on his goal or acting role.
For his role in 1976 comedy “Stay Hungry,” for example, Schwarzenegger was asked by the director to lose 30 pounds, he said.
“A great thing about bodybuilding and weight training is that you can really tailor it to sculpt your body no matter what the need is,” he said.
When he was cast in the eponymous role in the 1982 film “Conan the Barbarian,” Schwarzenegger had just won Mr. Olympia, but director John Milius wanted him to look “a bit more round, a little less cut,” the actor said.
His physique looked too much like that of a competitive bodybuilder, not an average person, Schwarzenegger said.
Fitness is like a game of chess, Schwarzenegger said
Schwarzenegger likens fitness to a game of chess in that there are so many different moves you can make.
Whether you want to change your physique or have a performance or health goal, these can be achieved with the right training and nutrition, he said.
“There are millions of moves that you can make, millions of exercises, millions of training principles, just like with food supplements and with nutrition,” Schwarzenegger said.
Schwarzenegger co-founded sport supplement company Ladder with four-time NBA champion LeBron James in 2018.
“If you want to gain weight, if you want to lose weight, if you want to sustain, if you want to get more energy, whatever it is, you can sculpt and make adjustments,” Schwarzenegger said.