I am starting off my book report section with an autobiography from one of the greatest action stars in the world, Arnold Schwarzenegger. I must confess that the only reason I started reading this book was to pick up some tips on improving my own workout regimen. A few of my good friends in high school and I started working out together the summer before heading odd to college. I never took it very seriously, but I did enjoy spending time outside the house. Though we all improved a bit, my buddy Nikola took the cake and really showed the rest of us up when it came to power lifting. He said this book put him on the right track and helped him a lot. Though I thought it was a little silly, I couldn’t argue with the results. Thanks, Nik!

The book Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder has two main parts. The first half of the book recounts Arnold’s rise from humble beginnings as the son of the police chief in the small village of Thal to the superstar bodybuilder who took over the Mr. Universe competition and became an international star at the age of 20. The rest of the book is chock-full of Arnold’s personal workout plan to go from zero to pumped up in a span of a year or so. It all depends on how committed you are.

The first component of the book features Arnold’s tales of growing up in a household that refused to acknowledge him. He started weight training when he was 14 when his soccer coach advised it for all players. He soon came to love the training more than soccer and started going to his local gym a few times a week. His family was very cold about his new interest and harped on him to work on something that actually “mattered” but he found new father figures in a few of the older men who also trained in the gym. He soon fell in lo
ve with the idea of bodybuilding and began the long journey of pushing himself towards success, his final goal being the Mr. Universe competition which he ends up winning in 1967 when he’s only 20 years old.

The second component, Arnold’s personal workout guide, takes up the rest of the 256 pages. It goes from beginner to champion bodybuilder and gives step-by-step tutorials for each of his prescribed lifts coupled with pictures of the man himself pumping the weights like a pro. The language reeks of Arnold awesomeness with phrases like “that’s a sissy way to do it” and “I got incredible pumps.” Mr. Schwarzenegger uses a lot of positive language, and you can feel the excitement in his words as he describes the benefits of proper form and technique. It is very well-structured and easy enough that even the biggest sissy can figure it out.

All in all, this was a very nice read. It isn’t overly enlightening or intelligent, but the positive language and the Arnold Schwarzenegger-isms. It was much more fun than I expected a book on bodybuilding to be.  I’ve been lifting weights off and on since I started playing football in middle school. I’m not new to the gym and I already know most of the exercises in this book, but I never would have thought lifting could be so beneficial to my mental health until I read it.

Notable quotes:

 “You must approach all of your training with a positive mental attitude and the firm conviction that you will succeed.”
“Seeing tremendous growth and change in yourself can open new worlds for you.”

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