How did you feel this morning? Eager to get back to work and start week seven, or frantically searching for an excuse to take a second day off? If the answer is the second, well, Arnold had days like that as well. Reg Park may have been the ultimate inspiration for young Arnold to train, but when he needed more immediate pushing to get to the gym, he looked to Karl Gerstl, a doctor in his home town. Gerstl was Arnold's first serious training partner, and while he may not have a Wikipedia page like all the others who came afterward, he was perhaps even more important.
"Every month, I had at least a week where I really didn't want to train and I questioned myself: Why should I train hard if I don't feel like it?" Arnold writes in "The Education of a Bodybuilder." "These were the days Karl pulled me out of it. He'd say, 'Man, I feel great today! I want to do bench presses. Let's do 25 instead of 20. How about a contest? Ten shillings to the one who does the most bench presses.'
"It worked perfectly. He forced me to get off my butt, to get my sluggish body moving. It became extremely important to have somebody standing behind me saying 'Let's do more, Arnold. Come on—another set, another rep.' And it was just as important for me to help somebody else. Watching him work out, encouraging him, somehow drove me on to do an even tougher set."
Somehow. It's hard to explain the precise mixture of encouragement and harassment that makes the perfect training partner, but Arnold knew it when he saw it. If you're feeling tired and low with a dozen workouts to go, push through for your training partner!