by Christian Duque
Consistency has always been the name of the game for the man known as The Oak in the sport of bodybuilding. Ever since he first discovered the sport in his teens the Austrian native has taken to weight-training, regimented eating, and an attention to supplementation unlike any other. It didn’t matter if he was preparing for a competition or a photoshoot he was all in for a life where feeling and looking one’s best were the goals of the day. Whereas other celebrities yoyo from frighteningly skinny to morbidly obese looks this has never been an issue with the man known worldwide by his first name only.
Arnold is a living legend. How many stars do you know that are known by a name – let alone their legal first name? Sure there have been stars that have been known by nicknames and stage names. The list is almost endless (e.g Sinbad, Prince, Sting, Rocky), but to be known by your actual first name alone that’s starpower reserved for royalty.
You can go anywhere in the world and simply utter the name Arnold and you’re bound to get any number of reactions. Some will bring up acting, others might point to politics, but what’s most impressive relative to our sport is that the vast majority of people associate Arnold with bodybuilding. That’s the absolute best PR the iron game could have ever asked for and it just so happens that he’s one of the most committed people we have ever had. In many ways, Schwarzenegger is a modern Jack Lalaine. And while there have been times he has not been in his super fittest look he’s never strayed more than 10-15lbs from it. After all he’s only human but honestly I’d say he’s super-human!
At 74 years of The Oak is putting other quasi fitness celebs to shame. Take Sylvester Stalone. Here’s a guy who’s known for the Rocky and Rambo series who’s also had spurts where he’s super fit. Although I wouldn’t put his consistency at the same level as Arnold’s, here’s a guy who’s been in shape most of his adult life. I’d say he pushes himself considerably harder for acting roles but even when he’s not prepping for a major motion film he keeps himself close to his boxing roots. Still he’s not at Arnold’s post competition level! Another notable would be The Rock who is extremely active in the wrestling, acting, and bodybuilding worlds and stays in very good shape (he’s considerably younger than Arnold or Sly though). Although he’s not seen posing on stage or flexing for the cameras, the muscle is there. Mark Wahlberg is yet another name that comes to mind. As I said before there’s a growing number of celebs that are getting more involved in fitness and leading a healthy lifestyle but few can parallel Schwarzenegger. Nonetheless his journey has directly and indirectly inspired countless fit celebs.
I’d say that Arnold is responsible for carrying on a legacy of guys like Lalaine did but on a whole wider scale. It’s one thing to be a fit celeb or to be known by a stage name but Arnold has outdone himself.
Take his Arnold Classic for example. Since 1989 moving forward it’s been the largest fitness expo in the world. It’s a clearinghouse for all things diet, training, and supplementation. It features more amateur and pro sports than any other exposition of its kind. And it’s taken so well that the franchise has its own continent-specific spinoffs in Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It’s not the Fitness Classic or the Muscle Classic, it’s the Arnold Classic. This one man’s first name is so iconic and says so much that even though the event’s full name is a mouthful all people have to say is “The Arnold” and we know exactly what they’re talking about. For a contest that’s only been around since 1989 that’s pretty remarkable! Especially since the internet and social media weren’t a thing for the show’s first ten years and didn’t really dominate life as we know it until at least two decades in. The fact is the popularity of the show – owed largely to its namesake – has spread faster than wildfire. There’s no coincidence in this. There’s no brilliant advertising or stars magically aligning. It’s just the reality that anything that Arnold touches turns into gold and all of that is a direct result of a lifelong love of fitness.
Whether Schwarzenegger rides his bike like any other person would or makes an impromptu appearance at Muscle Beach he’s growing the sport unlike anyone or anything could. Since all of us now have smartphones and since people by their very nature love to talk, word of his appearances move faster than the speed of sound. He doesn’t need to say anything or do anything, he just needs to be seen living the life we all know he’s living. It’s both confirmation and validation. It’s pure inspiration.
Here’s the single most popular name in fitness game keeping fit and not doing so without camera crews following him around. He’s not hoping you’ll notice him but he’s also not hiding like so many celebs from Hollywood do. He’ll happily embrace his public but he’s not trying to get recognized. He knows his status is even greater than that of living legend but he doesn’t travel with an army of bodyguards who push the faithful away and treat them like trash. He doesn’t punch out the paparazzi and he doesn’t charge for photos. He also won’t take any bullshit and he’s no one doormat to walked all over either. He’s Arnold. He’s the man!
Oh yeah and let me go ahead include that yes he’s said things that have ruffled people’s feathers in the past. We can all agree to disagree on any number of political points. We can probably do the same with religion. These topics are highly divisive and this is why many of the most successful social figures avoid them at all costs. Even the people who say they’ll never support anything Arnold does again will slowly but surely get over the fact that Arnold is his own man and they can’t control what he says or how he thinks in order to keep being his fans.
We are all fans of Arnold for his approach to fitness and his lifelong consistency to being healthy. This is why we love seeing him at 74 being celebrated by the mainstream media for being in tip top shape. They can’t get enough – they’re mesmerized! We on the other hand would be shocked if Arnold wasn’t living the life he always has – whether at 74 or at 100. Yes the BIG 1 0 0!! You know Arnold will get to that age and you know he’ll be lifting, eating clean, and talking about the value of great supplements in our fitness journeys just like always. He is the sport’s greatest ambassador and its most interesting person.
Keep Pumping Iron!