Arnold's approach to bodybuilding was more mental than physical. For him, it was, and still is, all or nothing. While competing, he did not go through the motions; he worked out to be larger than life. In one of his most powerful philosophies he connected bodybuilding to the mind, explaining that, " the secret is to make your mind work for you, not against you" (Schwarzenegger, 2005, p.177). Here Arnold is stating that the goal of a rational bodybuilder should be to fully actualize your potential as a human being, not simply your physical potential, but your intellect and spiritual development as well. After all the body includes not merely the muscles, but the brain and the sense of self that concentrates on using both effectively. He also believes that focusing so obsessively on only one aspect of the body will result in a lopsided development of one's human physique.
Arnold always reminds beginners that they have to start somewhere and that it is better to start slowly rather than quit quickly. According to him, "it is preferable to spend more time at the gym doing your sets and reps properly rather than rush through your routine, see no results and ultimately give up" (Schwarzenegger, 2003, p. 47). He warns that novice bodybuilders should not neglect any body parts and advises that they should always face obstacles instead of shy away from them. When Arnold first came to America, he had a huge upper body but twiggy legs and calves, and always wore long pants to hide them. To combat this weakness, he purposely started wearing shorts to expose what he was least proud of. This idea in fact worked towards Arnold's advantage. The humiliation forced him to develop some of the biggest calves in the business. Too many men, according to him, cover up their weaknesses. Instead of covering these weaknesses he believes that, "by facing your flaws, you will gain the drive to conquer them" (Schwarzenneger, 2005, p. 67). He warns against using exercises just because others do them. He realizes that in bodybuilding, you are essentially conducting a research experiment on yourself, so one should not use an exercise because it is popular. In order to bulk up, Arnold believes that you must have the correct attitude. When he used to work out for competition, he would completely zone out and concentrate on the muscle and set at hand. This philosophy is at the core of his approach to life in general. In his novel he explained that when he exercises certain muscles, he imagines them growing and growing, until they fill up the entire gym. Arnold believes that, "mental strain and worry can drain the body and adversely affect both your workouts and muscular growth" (Schwarzenegger, 2005, p. 193). A good positive mental attitude ought
to go beyond the gym. It should extend to your eating habits, your sleeping habits, and the way you conduct your life in general. The time you spend walking to the gym should be used to outline some immediate goals for yourself, to decide what you want to accomplish in that particular workout session.
Today Arnold admits that in the past, bodybuilders had the wrong idea when they bulked up to gain mass. These individuals did not know as much about dieting as we do now and did not have the supplements available today. Bulking up is the process of consuming as many calories as possible to gain as much weight as possible....