I've known Arnold Schwarzenegger for over 40 years, and in that time I have never known a person more driven to succeed than him. Through a unique combination of drive, discipline and focus, he has managed to reach a broad range of goals, both in the long term and the short.
Whether it was winning his first bodybuilding competition, winning Mr. Olympia, becoming the highest-paid actor in Hollywood or getting the chance to head the most populous state in America, Arnold has never let adversity hold him back. In fact, he sees naysayers and obstacles as a challenge to which he must rise.
Q: I'm trying to decide whether to join my local gym, or purchase a Bowflex home gym system or possibly another kind. I'm a 38-year-old father of two who works a 9-6 job five days a week. Although I enjoy going to the gym (it's a chance to "get away from it all"), the extra driving takes away from quality family time. Any recommendations?
Joe: It all depends on your personal preferences. Some people need the motivation provided by a gym's surroundings to make their workout every day. Others are more self-motivated or prefer the controlled environment of the home.
When I was a younger man, I enjoyed going to the gym. There was a level of camaraderie and kinship that made for a great experience. As I got older, however, and my days became more full, I switched over to home gym training. As you've noted, having a home gym eliminates the necessity to travel for your workout, saving valuable time. Also, by this point, exercising for me is a no-nonsense affair. I know exactly what I want from each workout, and with every piece of equipment in my gym at my disposal, I can train with the utmost efficiency.
It sounds to me like you're the kind of person who can do well training at home. As far as getting away, you need to make sure that wherever you set up your home gym, it provides you privacy for the time you're in it. That time to yourself is important and something not enough of us take. Whether it's in a guest room or the basement or garage, the home gym should be off-limits to distractions. Along with a good workout, you'll regain clarity and recharge your mental batteries during that hour or so and be better able to deal with all the things you have going on outside of the gym.
Q: Joe, what do you think about the bodybuilders of today when you compare them with guys like Steve Reeves, Larry Scott and even Arnold? They are obviously a lot bigger now, but do you think they're also better?
Joe: While there are a lot of terrific young bodybuilders competing today, as a whole I feel that the sport of bodybuilding has lost its way since the days of Arnold, et al.
All too often in recent years, I've seen big bellies where there should be trim waistlines, and lumps and bumps where I'm accustomed to seeing contours and curves. While a slight degree of vascularity (the bodybuilding term for veinyness) used to indicate that a bodybuilder was in shape, today I'll see men and women with undulating veins streaming across their torsos and limbs in a distracting and unattractive pattern.
They say you can't stop progress, but I'm afraid unbridled growth isn't progress in my book. I'm all for bodybuilders adding as much lean muscle as they can, so long as they stay true to the aesthetic ideals set forth in classic depictions of the male form by artists like Michelangelo and DaVinci.
The original goal of bodybuilding was for men to create a larger, stronger and more ideally proportioned version of the common man. Nowadays, we certainly have the larger and stronger part down pat, but I'm afraid the more ideally proportioned part isn't always recognized. Fortunately, our current Mr. Olympia, Dexter Jackson, embodies bodybuilding's original spirit quite well. I hope that others use him as a model on which to build their own physiques.
Joe Weider is acclaimed as "the father of modern bodybuilding" and the founder of the world's leading fitness magazines, including Shape, Muscle and Fitness, Men's Fitness, Fit Pregnancy, Hers, Golf for Seniors and others published worldwide in over 20 languages.