Every legend has a great story at its start. Arnold's first-ever serious upper-body workout is just such a story. Here's how he portrayed it in The Education of a Bodybuilder. He had been doing loads of pull-ups and handstand push-ups with local bodybuilders as a teenager, but the first time he hit the iron in a gym, his body got a lesson it wouldn't soon forget. He writes:
"I remember the first real workout I had as vividly as if it were last night. I rode my bike to the gym, which was eight miles from the village where I lived. I used barbells, dumbbells and machines. The guys warned me that I'd get sore, but it didn't seem to be having any effect. I thought I must be beyond that.
"Then, after the workout, I started riding home and fell off my bike. I was so weak I couldn't make my hands hold on. I had no feeling in my legs: they were noodles. I was numb, my whole body buzzing. I pushed the bike for a while, leaning on it. Half a mile farther, I tried to ride it again, fell off again, and then just pushed it the rest of the way home. This was my first experience with weight training, and I was crazy for it.
"The next morning I couldn't even lift my arm to comb my hair. Each time I tried, pain shot through every muscle in my shoulder and arm. I couldn't hold the comb. I tried to drink coffee and spilled it all over the table. I was helpless.
"'What's wrong, Arnold?' my mother asked. She came over from the stove and peered at me. 'What is it?' She bent down to look closer as she mopped up the spilled coffee.
"'I'm just sore,' I told her. 'My muscles are stiff.'
"'Look at this boy!' she called out to my father. 'Look what he's doing to himself.' My father came in, doing up his tie. He was always neat, his hair slicked back smooth, his mustache trimmed to a line. He laughed and said I'd limber up. But my mother kept on. 'Why, Arnold? Why do you want to do it to yourself?'
"I couldn't be bothered with what my mother felt. Seeing new changes in my body, feeling them, turned me on. It was the first time I'd ever felt every one of my muscles. It was the first time those sensations had registered in my mind, the first time my mind knew my thighs, calves and forearms were more than just limbs."
This is bodybuilding: The project of awakening a body to its untapped potential. Let yours know it's time to grow today.