The Immortal Arnold Schwarzenegger: Insights From Those Who Have Known Him Best!
Arnold Schwarzenegger: the name is synonymous with bodybuilding, even 28 years after the man-referred-to-in-iron-circles-as-the-Austrian-Oak last set foot onstage.
Ask anyone at any level within bodybuilding which iron champion, regardless of era, they respect most and who they feel best represents the iron game in its broadest possible sense.
They are likely to speak of the man who single-handedly revolutionized bodybuilding and, through his unique personality and endless capacity for promotion - for both himself and physical culture generally - pushed bodybuilding into the public consciousness more so than any other person, dead or alive.
In the early 1970s, when Arnold first hit the bodybuilding scene in earnest and used his enormous biceps to captivate masses to develop their own, bodybuilding was not taken all that seriously by the public at large. Bodybuilders were viewed as a strange crowd, a group obsessed with bodily perfection and showing off the muscles they sweated day in and out to build.
In California - Venice Beach in particular - crowds would gather to watch these behemoths sun themselves, and pump iron in the - now famous - Muscle Beach weight pit and at the original Gold's Gym on Pacific Avenue.
And Arnold was the leader of this tribe of obsessive balls to the wall iron-pumpers known as bodybuilders. But more than that, he used his appeal - muscular and personal - to transcend the bodybuilding mentality of the day, to broaden his approach to building, demonstrating and marketing his massive physique to where he eventually became known as much more than just a bodybuilder.
Indeed, not long after arriving in California, Arnold had not only established himself as the greatest bodybuilder ever, but had become a successful businessman and emerging actor.
That Arnold had become the greatest bodybuilder of all time, having been in the US for only a few short years, tells much about the unwavering commitment he has subsequently used to become one of the most successful men in human history, period.
As current Governor of California, top bodybuilding contest promoter with his annual Arnold Schwarzenegger Sports Festival, and one of the greatest action movie stars of all time, Arnold has lived a life many can only dream of. With determination intelligence and charm he has secured his place in entertainment, political and sporting history.
But it is his bodybuilding roots Arnold is most proud of, as he himself has stated many times. It is in those Gold's Gym days of the '70s, training with fellow bodybuilding stars, and developing, through the hoisting of mind-bendingly huge weights, the mindset necessary to prevail on many levels, that Arnold really began his climb to the top.
And who better to provide insights into Arnold at this pivotal time of his life than those he lived, trained, ate, partied, worked and competed with? In this Bodybuilding.com exclusive, several champions and bodybuilder insiders of the 1970s and '80s speak out about their time with Arnold, how he influenced them, his mindset and what made him one of a kind.
It is men like Frank Zane, Ed Corney, Dave Draper, Danny Padilla, Bill Grant, Boyer Coe, Samir Bannout, Robert Nailon and Bill Dobbins that, in various capacities, knew Arnold best. For the first time, all these bodybuilding legends join to share their Arnold insights.
As most who follow the history of bodybuilding would know, Arnold Schwarzenegger was back in the '70s, and is even to this day, bodybuilding's greatest champion for many reasons. When he first arrived at Gold's how did its clientele respond?
Ed Corney: (Laughs) It was funny: when he got there the place lit up. Now it was time to train. He brought that with him. You are upstairs changing into your clothes and you can't wait to get out there and right into the mainstream of top training.
Ed Corney: It was kind of basic, meagre. But when he got there everyone started training hard.
We all know Gold's had a large number of big guys training there. Was Arnold the biggest guy to come along?
Ed Corney: Yes he was. He was a big man then, but not only was he big he also had a mystique about him. He walked into a room and all eyes were drawn to him.
Dave Draper: People in Venice in the '60s were not easily excited. The kicked-back nature of the stony beach community in a time of questioning and doubts influenced our reception of Arnold. And bodybuilding was yet a novelty, an anomaly remember, a half-pint in a rolled-up brown paper bag.
"Arnold, he's the big kid with muscles and an odd accent from Europe. He won bodybuilding contests over there, Germany, I think, and dresses funny. Looks like he learned to lift at Camp Munich." We liked him, helped him, taught him by not teaching him, and watched him grow and grow.
The rumble you heard in the background was bodybuilding in its early stages of take-off... Five, Four, Three, Two, One ...
Frank Zane: Well I wasn't there when he first arrived. He got there around September of '68 and I arrived there in May of '69. But one thing about Arnold is he never let little things bother him. He was very goal driven and basically would do anything to win. Not the kind of guy you want to compete against, because he will do whatever it takes to win.
Arnold could completely change his approach depending on the situation, Frank?
Frank Zane: Yes, he basically was able to display the appropriate behaviour when it was required for winning a competition. Plus he was really the first big guy in that era. He is not big by today's standards but he was a big guy with a small waist. And when he was in shape he was really in shape.
And Bill, what do you feel Arnold brought to Gold's?
Bill Grant: I didn't get back to LA (from New Jersey) until 1972 although I met Arnold in '69 when a lot of the guys were training at the famous Vince's Gym in Studio City. From all that I have heard they where very intrigued but took to him right away.
He was immediately a hit, but remember when he arrived at Gold's, Dave Draper was one of the staples there. But Arnold and Dave hit off very well. They even became training partners.
I have seen some impressive photos of you and Arnold training together. How influential was Arnold on your training and bodybuilding progress Bill?
Bill Grant: Arnold was a great influence on my training but also on the rest of the crew at Gold's. He had a great attitude about everything. This was a guy who never let up and was one the most competitive bodybuilders I have ever met. This was a guy that never had a losing attitude - he hated to lose at anything.
He trained with great intensity and it rubbed off on everyone around him. Arnold was always encouraging and if he sensed there was something wrong he would try and help you through it. I can clearly remember one of our photo shoots. One of those pictures is still running today, matter of fact it is in a (2007) Muscle and Fitness article: It is the photo of me and Franco sitting on Arnold's back while he is doing donkey calf raises.
Robert, Can you give me some background on the time you spent training and socializing with Arnold?
Robert Nailon: I first met Arnold back in February 1972 at The Mr. Southern Universe, Surfers Paradise Queensland where he was the guest star. His other trips to Australia were in 1974 and 1975, during which time we trained together every day for a couple of weeks.
Sometimes I took him home to my place for lunch or dinner, which was cooked by my mom. I drove Arnold around Sydney to show him the local sights and to seminars he gave at various gyms.
In 1981, I returned to Australia with Arnold after a holiday in America and we spent some time socializing. Arnold was last in Australia for the promotion of his film End of Days and we managed to catch up over the phone during the little time he had.
What were some of the things you learned from Arnold? What did he teach you about yourself?
Robert Nailon: He motivated me to become more disciplined in my training.
How would you describe Arnold's personality?
Robert Nailon: Confident, direct, down to earth, outgoing, friendly, honest, supportive and positive.
Danny Padilla: Arnold had a special charisma. You know, Arnold was a smart man and a hard working guy. One thing: he would set goals and set a time in which these goals would have to be done.
So when I first met Arnold what I saw was a hard working guy who had goals and he would basically get almost everything he was after. Arnold was the kind of guy who would train and do his thing and take a school class on the side that nobody knew about.
He was a hard working guy who would surround himself with winners. You didn't hear about Arnold getting drunk and drugging out- he wasn't one of those guys. He was a hard working guy.
Samir Bannout: Arnold is an awesome guy. Last week he called my cousin in Riverside. I own a restaurant with my cousin in Riverside, California, and the owner (who owns the building the restaurant is situated in) is a good friend of Arnold's so Arnold was visiting Riverside and he said, "Let's go and eat at Samir's restaurant."
But my cousin didn't get the message until late and Arnold was only there for a short time. He got the message like two hours later (laughs). It would have been nice; I would have gone down and had lunch with him. And my cousin said, "God d@mn it, I didn't check my messages." I said. "What the h#ll is wrong with you, you missed the message when Arnold was in the area (laughs)?"
Definitely a missed opportunity
Samir Bannout: Yes it was a missed opportunity, as it would have great for business to have Arnold come down to eat at our place. So Arnold, he's a nice guy. I do like Arnold. Today he's more down to earth than ever.
I have seen some impressive photos of you and Arnold in the gym together. How influential was Arnold on your training and bodybuilding progress and what was your first impression of him?
Robert Nailon: I had been training for 15 years before I met Arnold. Because we belonged to the same era we both looked up to bodybuilders who came before us including Reg Park. However, Arnold impressed me because of his size and it was great to train with the man of the moment. Because of his height and size he stood out from the crowd. As we walked through the city people would take a second look at him even if they didn't know who he was.
Arnold seemed to have had two sides: the relaxed side where he would joke around and the serious side where he was all business
Danny Padilla: Yes he was a very serious guy, absolutely. Arnold had everything planned and he went after it. He did everything possible. There was no such thing as failure for Arnold. That's what made him special. When Arnold walked into the gym you knew he was there because he brought charisma with him. He was a special guy.
Robert Nailon: His serious side was his business side. Once, Arnold was asked to do a promotion for a particular product and the guy wanted to know how much he expected to be paid. Arnold said, "Fifty thousand dollars" and the guy replied, "C'mon Arnold, can't you do it a bit cheaper?" To which Arnold answered "Yes, $49,999!" That was his serious side.
How did Arnold's personality change outside the gym or the business arena?
Robert Nailon: Outside of work Arnold was always relaxed and liked to have a laugh, he enjoyed going to the beach and even had the occasional Aussie beer with the boys. He was always easygoing and affable.
There are some great photos of you and Arnold training together Dave. The one where you are going to the "basement" on the squat rack is especially memorable. How influential was Arnold on your training and bodybuilding progress?
Dave Draper: Arnold was impressive then, almost as impressive as now. I was a loner who, like a wolf, knew and trusted and attended his own territory. I could live beside a good man without doubt, envy or antagonism. Arnold was a strong force and his energy and drive were infectious. His training at first was clumsy - nothing to emulate - and gained grace and meaning day by day.
He and I and the rest of the small mob fed upon each other generously. Our unity was evident as were our developing training styles and individuality. Intensity begets intensity and our wills to win rose to the surface like helium-filled life preservers.
Arnold and Franco were a pair, two restless racehorses in the starting block with an absolutely fundamental approach to training and life. They seemed to ride their own wave, the crest I might add, and they were a pair of Middle-European descent. Come on in, that water's fine. In fact, it's fantastic.
What was it training with Arnold like for you Frank?
Frank Zane: He was an incredible training partner. I really have to say that he was probably the best training partner that I ever had. There was another good one too - and this might sound strange - and this was my wife (Christine). But it was more about me when I trained with her. And she worked right along with me and was really good at it.
With Arnold it was just the aura he had when you trained with him. He was so focused on everything. When he did a set he put everything into it. Just when he was there you would do better.
So he would inspire people to work much harder than they otherwise would
Frank Zane: Just his presence would do this.
Describe some of the training sessions you would have with Arnold. What strategies would you use to push one another past you previous bests?
Frank Zane: We never really challenged one another. Basically when we did a set it was all about working up in weight for every set and we would do about four or five sets. We just did what we thought we could do on that set. If we were training with somebody else they would spot us.
Actually I was a better squatter than Arnold. We had a squatting showdown. It was 1972, five weeks before the Professional London Mr. Universe, which I was competing in, and it was also five weeks before the Mr. Olympia in Essen, Germany, which I ended up going in too.
So we squatted and we worked our way up to about eight sets. We worked up to 405 pounds. I did ten reps with the 405 and Arnold did eight. And the next day my lower back went out and I couldn't bend forward for a week. And that year Arnold dislocated his knee and I think it all traces back to that session (laughs).
Editor's Note: Arnold beat Sergio Oliva to win the 1972 Mr. Olympia.
Did Arnold dislocate his knee before or after the Essen Olympia?
Frank Zane: It happened after the show during a guest posing he did in South Africa.
What are your thoughts on Arnold beating Sergio at the 1972 Olympia?
Frank Zane: I think maybe Sergio had the edge on him in the contest itself. Arnold didn't quite reach his peak for that show. He maybe needed two weeks. The thing is, you have to reach your peak on the day of the contest, not before or after. But Arnold was so popular and it was in Essen, Germany, so they gave it to him anyway.
Were your workouts as long as Arnold's?
Frank Zane: Yes. Each workout was about an hour and a half.
It is thought that Arnold often trained up to five hours a day
Frank Zane: Maybe, if you consider he often trained twice a day. But I don't think it was that long. Maybe three and a half to four hours, total.
We hear all these stories about Arnold being somewhat of a practical joker who would also often use different tactics to psych people out before competing against them. As far as you could tell, to what extent is this true, Frank?
Frank Zane: Oh he fooled around a lot. We had some good times. But I told him once: "Arnold, you have a good sense of humour, but only when the joke's not on you." And that is true. He does have a good sense of humour and loved to play practical jokes. But to him it is really funny when the joke is on someone else, not on him.
We had a bit of a falling out over that at one point. But the thing with Arnold is you can get mad at him when he does something to turn the wheels against you but you can't stay mad at him. That is pretty much his history.
A lot of people get mad at him but he wins them over. He charms them back, gets them back under his spell. He is good at it. Look at him now: he is Governor. The same thing he did in bodybuilding and acting he is doing it in politics now. It just goes on and on - the same strategy.
A master manipulator even?
Frank Zane: That is true.
Dan, your thoughts on Arnold's sneaky side?
Danny Padilla: Well Arnold was a fun guy. He never really hurt anybody but Arnold was the kind of guy who liked to have fun. So, sure he would play a joke here and there but it was nothing somebody would get suicidal over. From what I saw it was just funny stuff we would all laugh at. It was no big deal.
Robert Nailon: Confidence was his best weapon. He was no stranger to the game and was aware of his ability to psyche people out. As far as his practical jokes were concerned, he preferred setting them up then sitting back and watching them being played out.
Samir Bannout: He never pulled any tricks on me. I always got along with him and the last time I saw him was backstage at the Olympia with his wife Maria Shriver and it was really cool. I also saw him at Joe Gold's memorial in Marina Del Rey where I was standing with Frank Zane. And here is Arnold going, "Waz going on guys, it's like the Mr. Olympia here."
By the time we started talking to him there were about 200 cameras around us. And we couldn't have a conversation. It was like a minute and a half and everybody was around us.
I love him. I've been with Arnold to a couple of places and have done exhibitions when he was the MC. I was with him Hawaii, Seattle and Washington and in Pennsylvania. And I like his nature. I have a similar attitude to Arnold's. I love always laughing and playing and he is that kind of person. He is always playful and happy. And these are the people I want to be around.
Arnold is my hero and the very first bodybuilding magazine I picked up in Lebanon had Arnold on the cover. I collected every picture of Arnold from when was 16 years old. I still have all these pictures now. And I told Arnold and he said, "God d@mn Samir, you really like me." And I said, "But I never tell you that I do, huh?" And I never did.
A lot of people come down and talk to Arnold and they just want to be in one of his movies of stuff like that. And I never said anything. Then one day he comes to me and says, "Samir, I'd like to use you one time as a terrorist in my movie." I said, "You want to use me as a terrorist, do I look like a terrorist (laughs)?"
If anyone else said this it would have caused an outrage. Only Arnold could get away with saying such a thing, right?
Samir Bannout: Oh yeah. Anything that comes out of Arnold is always fun. He is a life loving person, a happy person. I will tell you another funny thing.
I was eating with him one time in Seattle and he said, "Samir, why don't you have this drink?" I said, "What kind of drink is this"? He said, "It is called a 'nice and comfortable screw against the wall'." I was like "What, come on Arnold. You know I don't drink alcohol." But he was having his way. And I said, "No Arnold you are bullsh!tting me." He said,"No, no, no, no."
& On Top Of The World."
So he told the waitress and she came in and he gave her a quick hug. Before you know it she was sitting on his lap. And he said, "Give my friend Samir a nice and comfortable screw against the wall." The girl went five different colors (laughs). This was in 1980 and we were with John Brookholder, a gym owner from Seattle Washington. His brother Dr. Rich Brookholder is a dentist and we had some fun photos taken with him.
I remember that day and John was also getting married and we had a bachelor party. Arnold was there. And you have to see Arnold in this kind of situation. He is like a normal person, but very funny and very happy. I mean he doesn't act like he is Arnold the Terminator or Arnold the movie star - he is just normal. He is normal and happy. And that is why I love him.
I had about 50 of my neighbors vote for Arnold. I was campaigning for him. So he is one of my main men. He is a smart man and he has deserved everything that he has got.
You want to know why Arnold is good? Look at him. He has a good family. He's a good businessman. And it is because he is happy and he is positive. He's not a downer. He's not boring. That's why he's Arnold and on top of the world.
Samir described Arnold as being fun loving. Can you relay any personal stories where Arnold's humorous side came through?
Robert Nailon: One time, back at the 1981 Olympia when Arnold and his friends were gathered in a separate room, Maria had brought an apple pie (with lots of cream on top) with her.
Straight away it was obvious to me, when she started asking people to smell the cream to see if it was fresh, that she was up to one of Arnold's tricks. I would not smell the cream but a friend of mine did and it "accidentally" fell into his face! Cream was dripping everywhere. Arnold couldn't stop laughing.
Funny Story. Arnold was known to have much charisma and charm. In what ways did he express this in his training and social environment, as far as you could see Robert?
Robert Nailon: When Arnold walked into a gym he would say "hi guys" and all would be in awe of him. However, because Arnold was such an approachable and friendly person, after a while, people began to get to know him and the atmosphere became more relaxed.
Socially, his charm and charisma was always evident to those around him, including when he attended parties. It never took Arnold long to have guests' eating out of the palm of his hand.
Boyer. I have a photo of you standing alongside Arnold on the same stage back in the late 1960s. You competed against Arnold early in your career?
Boyer Coe: I first met Arnold at the 1969 AAU Mr. America in Chicago. He was there with Sergio Oliva. I didn't compete against him the first time I met him but the first time we were onstage together was in 1969.
I won the NABBA Amateur Mr. Universe and he won the professional. Then the next year we competed together at the 1970 Professional Mr. Universe in London. The following day we flew back from London to Columbus, Ohio and competed in the Mr. World. This was the first time that Arnold met Jim Lorimer. It was also the first time that Arnold beat Sergio.
What was Arnold like to compete against. What can you tell me about his personality backstage and on the posing platform?
Boyer Coe: I never really paid any attention to anyone backstage, so I can't recall how he or anyone acted. About the only thing I can remember after the 1970 Mr. World in Columbus was that Arnold kept saying over and over, "I can't believe I beat Sergio."
What other recollections do you have of Arnold?
Boyer Coe: I always got along okay with Arnold. I never had any problems with him, but I understood his need to be always in the spotlight. And I never felt I needed to do that. I just wanted to go about my business. Nothing wrong with that, we were just different in that sense.
I think, later on, he began to believe that he was a little more important than he actually was. People have asked me a thousand times, "Why did Arnold go back to the Olympia and compete again?" I have no idea and even if you ask him today he probably couldn't even tell you why in the h#ll he ever did that. I think now he is now probably mature enough to look back and say that it was a mistake. It certainly didn't help his popularity.
He did say a short while back that he was training for a movie at the time and decided to take advantage of the shape he had achieved
I remember I had a gym and was living in New Orleans at the time and he came into town for the big Muhammad Ali/Leon Spinks fight that was on at the Superdome. Arnold let me know he had arrived and we got together and had a great weekend and every time he would come to town we would spend time together.
There is so much speculation about what happened at the 1980 Mr. Olympia and I think this is wrong. Everybody talks about the big confrontation between Arnold and Mike Mentzer. It never really happened like that. What happened was before the 1980 Olympia we (the contestants) decided to change the rules governing this show. We all got together and voted to change the weight classes.
I kept telling Ben Weider that having two weight classes was really not fair. What happens if the guy in the under-200-pound class, for example, places second in that class? And what if he was in fact better than the guy who wins the over-200-pound class?
Instead of just having an overall winner, why not have one winner but then have second, third and fourth and so on and eliminate the weight classes. So everyone said yes that made sense, and all the competitors agreed to it. So when we got to Australia we just assumed that that was the way it was going to be.
Then the night before, Bill Pearl told me that Arnold was trying to change the rules. I said, "We can't change the rules, we have already voted on them." But I think Arnold's reasoning was if he only had one guy to beat and it was a guy in the under-200-pound class, he knew he could appear bigger and more dominant. But if he competed in the show and there were no weight classes, where you had six or seven guys in the contest who were actually better than he was, which is actually what happened, the result is really going to look more controversial.
Therefore I think it was a smart move on his part to try to re-introduce the weight classes. So we all took a vote that night again. I think there were 24 guys in the contest and 23 guys voted no to weight classes. Only one voted in favor.
So what happened was the next day at the meeting everybody was complaining and I said, "Look, there is only one guy who wants the weight classes. Why not give him an opportunity to voice his opinion." And I went to stand up to turn the floor over to Arnold.
Well Arnold wasn't expecting that and he didn't know what to say. So the only thing he could come back with was the most idiotic statement I have ever heard in my life: "Why don't you quit acting like a boy and act like a man." That had nothing to do with what I was trying to do, which was to give him the opportunity to speak.
Well by that time, Mike Mentzer had become short tempered and he jumped up and tried to defend me. I didn't need anybody to defend me. And that is what most people think happened, that there was a big confrontation between Mike and Arnold. But that wasn't the case at all.
And I want to remind you that even though Mike was in incredible condition and ended up placing fourth, he never, ever, claimed that he should have won the Mr. Olympia contest.
All he ever said was that it was unfair for Arnold to win. And I think everybody else who was a contestant in that contest, with the possible exception of Tom Platz, who idolized Arnold and wanted to be like him, didn't think Arnold deserved to win. There were a lot of good guys in that show, probably four or five who could have won.
There is also talk of Arnold bad mouthing Mike Mentzer backstage
Boyer Coe: Yes, you see that is what happened also. When Arnold came back to me with his statement after I offered him the opportunity to speak, Mike jumped in. Well, Arnold did not know what to say. He wasn't expecting that.
People don't realize that Arnold was sitting down and Mike was standing over him. And if there had of been any kind of fight, Mike would have knocked Arnold's head off - it was just the way they were positioned.
The guy that prevented it from escalating, by stepping in between them, was Bill Pearl. And yes, Arnold did try to ridicule Mike. He said, "Everybody knows the reason you didn't win the 1979 Mr. Olympia was because your belly was too big." Which of course was certainly not the case but was probably the best Arnold could do at the time.
I think Arnold today would probably look back and regret having said that and would have realized all these many years later, that it (the situation) certainly was not that important.
It seems that everybody who knew him has his or her own Arnold story. Any interesting Oak accounts Ed?
Ed Corney: One time we were down at the beach getting some sun and there are always female groupies around. This one girl goes, "Arnold, Arnold." He looked at her and said, "Vhat is it." She says, "I can't take my eyes off you." He looked at her and he said: "I don't blame you." And that was just the way he was.
Danny Padilla: I can tell you one thing. I will never forget Arnold was training with some guy and he would do his reps whether it was 12 or 15. The other guy didn't do his and Arnold got annoyed.
Like in the seated row, if he did his 15 reps and you didn't do your 15 reps he would get pissed off. It was like, "What's wrong, I got to do your reps now, what's up with that. If you can't hang go back to something else." He was a hard working guy. Arnold never messed around that way. The gym was business, especially before any of his big shows.
He didn't except anything but the best from either himself or others
Danny Padilla: Right. Once Arnold chose you to train with him you had to keep your mouth shut and train. That's what Arnold was about. Just do your workout, do another set.
Any Arnold stories to share Robert?
Robert Nailon: Once we drove into the city in my corvette and I parked in a side street so I could go to the photographic shop. Arnold didn't want to come with me and said, "Don't be too long". Because all the new cameras had caught my eye, I became totally engrossed in them and forgot all about him. I hadn't realized I'd been away for two hours.
When I returned to the car, he wasn't too happy, of course. Even so, he let the incident go easily and said, "Let's go to lunch."
Ed, I understand you had a bit part in the film Stay Hungry alongside Arnold. Tell me more.
Ed Corney: We did the movie Stay Hungry in Birmingham and a bunch of us had bit parts. We did the movie then came back to California. Sally Field had a major part with Jeff Bridges and Arnold, of course. She (Sally) threw a party at her Bel-Air home. So Arnold and I went to this party and those kinds of parties usually don't start until after 11:00 o'clock.
Everybody was there. At ten o'clock Arnold said: "Eddie, ve go home now. Ve haf to train tomorrow." So we left. The focus was always there. I enjoyed training with him. It was tremendous. I learned a lot from the man.
And this perfectly illustrates the discipline you guys had back then. You would train regardless?
Ed Corney: And still do.
What were some of the things you learned from Arnold, Ed?
Ed Corney: I learned about his focus and determination, which was very similar to mine. He wanted to get better and I wanted to get better so we trained, we dieted. The diet was really funny. We would order a hamburger steak and get the napkins and pat the top to get the grease off. At home we would have tuna with eggs whites mashed up. No other food in the house, because then you can't get to it.
There was a memorable scene where Arnold and yourself squatted with an enormous weight, Ed. Can you describe that experience for me? And for the record, exactly how much weight did you use in that scene?
Ed Corney: It was just awesome. We were doing 15 reps. We started at 135, put a quarter on and did 15 more reps, a quarter off and another 45 on, 15 more reps, another quarter on. We just kept going until we got to 315, 345. Now we are doing five sets of 15. Your legs are like rubber.
And Arnold walked over to you and lifted you up after you had fallen to the ground, exhausted
Ed Corney: Yeah, I got 13 and he said, "Come on Eddie. Time to get serious now. More, no matter what." He pissed me off and that is when I said, "God D@mn!" You know how an automobile responds when it goes uphill - that chug, chug, chug slowing down. And that is exactly what I did. You do or you don't. I did.
And with Arnold standing behind you urging you on, chances are you will get that extra rep "no matter what"
Ed Corney: I'm going to get it no matter what. We motivated each other because you know whatever you are going to do, he will do. Whatever he does you are going to do.
Was the training ever very competitive?
Ed Corney: It never entered our minds. No such thing. Even when you got onstage it was not competition. The judges come to judge you and they have their own preferences, what they are looking at and what they want to look at. They would pick a winner and it would be: "okay, now lets go and have dinner."
Robert, can you describe Arnold's training style and the intensity he generated in the gym. Was he very competitive in the gym?
Robert Nailon: Arnold's training style was always hard, heavy and fast. He would put everything he had into every rep and set; from the beginning to the end he was relentless. He would squeeze everything that he could out of his body - a saturated work out. And no he was not competitive because he didn't have to be; he only ever competed with himself in the gym. He was always supportive of the other bodybuilders training around him.
Samir, what are your views on Arnold in relation to his involvement with bodybuilding?
Samir Bannout: Arnold is another who truly loves the sport. If he didn't love it there is no way he would have stayed in it for so long. I tell you, he is my hero. There are many things I can say about Arnold.
He used to come down sometimes and pick on me. He would go, "Samir, every time you lose it is your God d@mn f***ing fault. You got the body and you should be in the money every time."
And I swear on my children that Arnold would encourage me every time. One time in '88 I was in the gym at about 222 (pounds bodyweight) and Arnold said, "Just go like that, don't change anything. Go like that to the stage." After that I went down to 202 and ended up flattening out.
So he will make you hear it. He will just tell you to your face. "Why the f*** did you do that. I did this and that." He will give your examples of what he used to do. He was always complimentary and he would tell me in an obnoxious way sometimes but that was how he was.
My view of Arnold is that he is probably the ultimate lover of the sport of bodybuilding. I think he even loves the sport more than me. Mike Mentzer once said, "No one loves bodybuilding more than you." I told him, "Arnold loves bodybuilding more than anyone." And you can see why.
What is your take on the 1980 Olympia controversy Samir?
Samir Bannout: Mike loves Arnold to be honest with you. But what happened was he didn't feel very good. He took the 1980 Mr. Olympia result very hard. In fact the 1980 Olympia is probably responsible for why Mike Mentzer is not with us these days. Because it really got him depressed. It got him down to the point where he could not forget about it. He kept talking about it for years after that.
And it's sad because I think Mike Mentzer is one of the geniuses in this sport. He is very, very clean. I can't tell you how honest Mike Mentzer is. But he took the Olympia so hard. Some people say Arnold fixed the show. I mean Arnold didn't fix the show. He won just because they love Arnold.
Paul Graham, who was the promoter of that show, he liked Arnold and I think even the judges liked Arnold. So I think they were a little bit unfair because there is no way in h#ll Arnold should have won that show. And Mike Mentzer resented that.
The way I saw it - and I was in the show and had no business being in the top ten that year - I wasn't impressed with Arnold. In fact I was more impressed with Mike than Arnold. But Mike Mentzer should have gotten over it a week later or a month later but it stayed with him for years.
I can't take what happened with Arnold at the 1980 Olympia personally. I can't hold grudges against Arnold because he chose to compete. A lot of people said, "Why should he compete. He is a superstar and he already won the Olympia so many times." So what.
Even though he didn't deserve to win and won because he was Arnold, and everyone loves Arnold, he still won. I love Arnold and if I was on the judging panel that day I don't know how I would have gone. I am a little biased because I do like Arnold.
When you train hard and are a hardcore bodybuilder, even if he is your idol you know he would not have deserved to win. I probably wouldn't have given him first. I mean Arnold didn't deserve the top five to tell you the truth. But you know it doesn't mean he is not The King. To me he is The King.
Look what they did to Sergio in '84. Sergio came up to the stage and said, "You win them all and then lose one it doesn't mean anything." And so Sergio is great and if he were the real Sergio he would have killed everyone. But Sergio was not on. Whatever he did he did not peak the right way.
On that night I looked at Sergio's physique and he had beautiful balance but the muscle wasn't pushing out and he was too dehydrated. Whatever he did backfired. So the judges gave him exactly what he deserved. But if I think it was Arnold competing that year, who knows: because Arnold was so popular in many ways - not just as a bodybuilder.
People relate to Arnold's personality - they like him. If he deserves tenth one year, probably he would get second or third or even a win.
I understand you attended the 1980 Mr. Olympia Robert? What are your personal thoughts on Arnold winning this contest? Some say the contest was rigged, others say the judges simply liked Arnold's personality and this is what secured him the win. Do you have any opinion on this?
Robert Nailon: I was at the contest photographing the show, onstage and backstage. I don't believe the contest was rigged as some think. Even though Arnold wasn't at his 100% best, he still looked good and deserved to win.
Bonus Section Photographer Bill Dobbins On His Working Relationship With Arnold
One of your larger writing projects may have been your collaboration with Arnold on his Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. What did you like most about this process and what was it like working with Arnold in your capacity as writer?
Bill Dobbins: Each book I did with Arnold was different. The first, Arnold's Bodybuilding for Men, was pretty basic. Arnold always goes over every project carefully but he was pretty much satisfied with how I translated his instructions into a book.
The first Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding was quite different. I met with Arnold many, many times. I had worked out a chapter outline and he would dictate what he wanted in each chapter and give me a lot of his observations and personal anecdotes. I would write the chapters, combining my ideas with his, give him the pages and he would go over them again, using a tape recorder to dictate what changes or additions he wanted.
This was a long, time-consuming process and it ended up combing everything I knew about training and diet I had learned working for Weider for many years plus everything from Arnold's experience that he wanted represented in the book.
The second Encyclopedia was more problematical. I got very little direction from Arnold at the beginning, very few meetings and just general instructions that the book needed to be "updated" to reflect new ideas, information and trends in bodybuilding.
When I finally met with him at his office after finishing the first draft - thinking we were just going to do a final edit - I saw that he hadn't even opened the envelopes containing the pages I delivered. At that point Arnold finally began to concentrate on the book - and when he pays attention he really pays attention - so I ended up having to do a total rewrite.
The problem was that we were up against the supposed deadline for delivery of the book - which became impossible to meet. Instead of giving Simon and Schuster a manuscript in March or April I ended up still giving them material in November, just before the book was actually printed.
Of course, the new Encyclopedia turned out great in the end - but the extra six months of work and constant pressure was no fun and didn't do much for my relationship with Arnold - at least, not at the time.
How would you describe your working relationship with Arnold and what were some of his key positive attributes, other than what you have already discussed?
Bill Dobbins: Arnold is one of the neatest, most organized people I've ever met. Whenever I used to go over to his duplex when working on the first book, it always looked as if the maid had left.
When he finishes working on one project he gathers up all the materials and puts them away before turning his attention to working on something else. Working with Arnold hasn't made me neater but it has taught me the truth of the saying: "Seeing through the game is not the same as winning the game."
The so-called "artistic" mind is prone to try and understand what the underlying reality of a situation is. Arnold is more interested in understanding the literal reality and figuring out how to achieve his goals in any given situation.
I've actually written several versions of an article about "How Arnold Thinks" that was on the money enough that Arnold himself congratulated me on my insight. But people have also asked me if Arnold was "nice" and I've always said that is not an appropriate word to use in describing him.
He could be charming and funny or become an Alpha Male and take over any situation - but nice people are comfortable to be around and Arnold rarely was. But I suspect now that he has had to deal with people on a different level as a politician, plus he is a devoted father with a houseful of kids, that he has become a lot "nicer" over time and is probably easier to relax and spend time with at this point in his life.
- Follow This Discussion by: