Arnold Schwarzeneggers Diet and Workout Plan


As he’s soon approaching 72 years old we think it’d be a good time to look back at Arnold Schwarzeneggers diet and workout plan from his Olympia days, his diet and workout plan was insane and intense.

If you are anything like me you are really interested to know what kind of diet plan and workout program Arnold Schwarzenegger followed when he was training in the 70’s for the Mr Olympia.

Arnold followed a low carbohydrate, high fat and high protein diet, Which is less common nowadays with the diets that professional bodybuilders use today.

Arnold used to train two times per day consistently, due to that many people wondered what kind of exercises he did, what kind of foods he ate and what supplements he took.
So that’s what today’s post will be about.

Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s Physique

The truth is that Arnold worked really hard to build up his physique.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

His physique is still looked and marvelled at today and he had a very aesthetically pleasing physique despite having a lot of muscle mass.

He had a huge chest, tiny waist, big shoulders and gigantic arms.

For the most part he was instinctively doing a lot of little things precisely right, and those details paid off big as he went on to win Mr. Olympia many times (Some say he was even splitting muscle fibers, which is entirely possible). For example, he knew how to overload the muscle at the exact spot where maximum force can occur, the point along the stroke where muscle fibers are perfectly aligned for extreme fiber activation.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Diet

Bodybuilders in the 70’s used a low carbohydrate high protein and high fat diet.

Arnold said:

“I always lived off the rule that for every pound of body weight, I needed one gram of protein.”

Arnold Schwarzeneggers diet consisted mostly of eggs, meat, fish, tuna ,chicken, protein shakes, vegetables and cottage cheese, Arnold ate about 5 times a day and he says in one of his videos that he was not a big eater, He was easily satisfied with a medium sized steak which is very high in protein.

He chose to eat less food per meal but more frequently throughout the day rather than 3 big meals a day, however Bodybuilders back then did eat a little bit of fruit and rice but generally stayed away from most carbohydrate sources.

However many bodybuilders in the 70’s had cheat days one day a week when they would eat anything they wanted including pizza, ice cream, cookies and cake.

Bench Press

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Supplements

Back in the 70’s when Arnold Schwarzengger was in his prime there were not many supplements available such as BCAA’s, pre workouts or muscle gainers.

However there were protein shakes available, not in the same quality as we have today but bodybuilders back then used to drink protein shakes quite frequently.

It was made out of soy flower and tasted really bad, this was however one of the very few options bodybuilders had at the time for protein shakes so they had no choice but to have them no matter how bad they tasted as this was really the only muscle building supplement available at the time.

Creatine was not available to the public back then and bodybuilder back then did not use it, for anyone that doesn’t know, creatine improves strength, increases lean muscle mass, and helps the muscles recover more quickly during exercise.

Vitamins and minerals were of course available and likely that bodybuilders used them as well.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Training Program

Arnold used to train for hours every day in Golds Gym on Venice beach.

He trained two times per day and his workout program primarily consisted of compound lifts.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

He was a big fan of the “shocking principle” , which means not using the same repetitions and sets week after week, What he tried to do was surprise his muscle with a different training style every time he went to the gym and he also believed that you should go all out on every set and not save yourself for the next set.

So he really had no particular workout program with outlined sets and reps, he simply used these exercises below and mixed it up.

Arnold’s favorite Chest Exercises

  • • Barbell Bench Press
  • Incline press in different levels -he changed the deficit in the incline press to work more muscles.
  • • Flies with dumbbells – he went as far down as he possible could to stretch his muscles.

Arnold’s favorite back exercise

  • • Bent over rowing with a barbell 
  • • T-bar rows 
  • Deadlift
  • • Stiff leg deadlifts

Arnold’s favorite arm exercises

  • Barbell curls – He used to do very heavy barbell curls using drop sets
  • Bicep Curls on an incline bench
  • Concentration Curls – to isolate on the peak
  • • Narrow bench press
  • • Tricep extension
  • • Overhand tricep extension with one and two arms

Arnold’s favorite shoulder exercises

  • • Dumbell presses (Arnold press)
  • • Barbell presses in the front and the back
  • • Rear press behind the neck
  • • The military presses 
  • • Lateral raises
  • • Bent over lateral raises on a bench

Arnold’s favorite leg exercises

Arnold’s favorite abs exercises

Arnold’s Success


We all know that Arnold Schwarzenegger became a champion bodybuilder and won the Mr Olympia competition 7 times but many wonder how he managed to become a famous actor despite having a foreign accent and having no experience in acting whatsoever.

It’s interesting to know that Arnold says that he used the same principles to learn acting as he did with bodybuilding, What he means by that is that he put the same time into acting as he did when he was bodybuilding.

He knew he had to work hard for a long period of time to learn english better, understand acting and become successful, That’s why bodybuilding is such a great sport because the work ethic, patience and success you get there transfer to other areas of your life.

Many people in today’s society think it’s enough to work hard for 1 month in order to become successful, However bodybuilders know that it takes years of training, the right kind of diet to sculpture your physique and become a champion bodybuilder.

Arnold has 6 rules for success:

  1. 1. Trust yourself
  2. 2. Break the rules (not the law)
  3. 3. Don’t be afraid to fail
  4. 4. Don’t listen to the naysayers
  5. 5. Work your butt off (his most important rule)
  6. 6. Give back to the people

I hope you enjoyed this post about Arnold Schwarzenegger and learnt something new you could try yourself.

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