On Saturday, March 23, 2013, I lost a dear friend and mentor, and the world lost one of its strongest health and fitness advocates. Joe Weider was a titan in the fitness industry, and one of the kindest men I have ever met.
I knew about Joe Weider long before I met him. He was the godfather of fitness who told all of us to "Be Somebody with a Body." He taught us that, through hard work and training, we could all become champions.
When I was a young boy in Austria, his muscle magazines provided me with the inspiration and blueprint to push myself beyond my limits and chart a much bigger future. I know that countless others around the world found motivation in the pages of Joe's publications, just as I did. However, as I read his articles in Austria, I felt like Joe was speaking directly to me, and I committed to move to America to make my dreams a reality. Joe helped me live the American dream, become the world's best bodybuilder, and transform into a Hollywood actor.
Joe didn't just inspire my earliest dreams; he made them come true the day he invited me to move to America to pursue my bodybuilding career. I will never forget his generosity. One of Joe's greatest qualities is that he wasn't just generous with his money; he freely gave of his time and expertise. He became a father figure for me. He advised me on my training, on my business ventures, and once, bizarrely, claimed I was a German Shakespearean actor to get me my first acting role in Hercules in New York, even though I barely spoke English.
As my career took off, Joe was always nearby, giving advice, promoting my movies or my crusade as the Chairman of the President's Council on Fitness in the pages of his magazines. He appeared at my fundraisers and events when I decided to run for Governor of California. He was there for me constantly throughout my life, and I will miss him dearly.
Joe leaves behind a fantastic legacy of a fitter world. Very few people can claim to have influenced as many lives as Joe did through his magazines, his supplements, his training equipment, and his big-hearted personality. Joe was known for urging everyone, "Exceed yourself!" There is no question that throughout his life, he did just that.