Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Top Five Fitness Tips Every Beginner Needs To Know

Schnapps is Arnie's secret sauce.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Top Five Fitness Tips Every Beginner Needs To Know

Image: Getty

The bodybuilding legend and former governor of California imparts his wisdom to kickstart your fitness journey, from priceless workout tips to the ultimate protein shake with a secret ingredient we really, really doubt you’ll guess…

Arnold Schwarzenegger, the iconic bodybuilder and former California governor, may have a ridiculous supervillain car but is otherwise an emblem of fitness excellence and the prime example of the right path for a man to take in the latter years of his life. Recently, he surprised fans with an “Ask Me Anything” for Reddit’s r/Fitness community.

During the online discussion, the Terminator star plumbed the depths of his vast fitness knowledge to share tips and tricks about his workout routine, opinions on public gyms, and even his go-to protein shake recipe, which we guarantee won’t be quite what you’d expect…

WATCH: The bodybuilding legend is still pumping iron well into his seventies…

Kicking off under the username u/GovSchwarzenegger, the seven-time Mr Olympia winner received an overwhelming but unsurprisingly enthusiastic response from fans, who posed over 1,200 questions to the fitness pioneer. Taking over five hours to respond in full, Schwarzenegger provided some invaluable insights.

The people who are most in luck are fitness beginners, whom Arnold — with characteristic compassion — took the greatest amount of time to respond to. Without further ado, here are his five must-know tips for training newbies.

Baby Steps

Compiling some of the best highlights from his weekly newsletter “The Pump Daily”— where he specifically addresses workout advice for beginners — Arnie’s message was clear:

“My advice to beginners is really simple: begin, and then don’t stop until it becomes a routine.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Emphasising the importance of first steps over complex workouts or expensive gym memberships, Schwarzenegger suggests a 30-minute walk as a great starting point. If strength is what you’re after, he recommended starting with five push-ups and five squats, gradually decreasing the count each set until you complete one repetition of each.

Ultimately, the goal is to complete 15 push-ups and 15 squats. Once that becomes easy, start with ten reps of each and repeat the pattern.

Momentum Is Everything

Getting your first workout is one thing, but keeping up the momentum until a habit is formed is quite another. But what’s the key to staying on track? Setting small, achievable goals during your first few weeks and months.

As an example, he suggests training ten minutes every day for a month, increasing it to fifteen minutes the next month, and so on. “Motivation is fleeting; routine is what carries you”, he said.

Arnie still works out every day. Last week, he was joined by comedian Bert Kreishcer. Image: @bertkreischer

Keep A Record

When asked about whether tracking your workouts is all it’s cracked up to be, Schwarzenegger revealed his own old-school secret to success: the former bodybuilding champion revealed that he meticulously tracked every workout he’s ever done using a gigantic chalkboard in the gym.

He was also keen to impress the importance of writing down a workout plan in advance and then marking off each set as it is completed, both as a measure of progress and for a sense of achievement. While Arnie was happy to concede that phones are probably a more convenient and realistic method of tracking in the modern world, that’s the only reason he allows phones in the gym. More on that later…

Protein Is Power

Fitness gurus disagree on many things, but something that always has and likely always will unite them is a shared love of protein. For beginners embarking on their fitness journeys, Schwarzenegger strongly recommends incorporating protein into their everyday diets, especially for those aiming to gain weight and build muscle: “Focus on simple things and get protein with every meal.”

Arnie loves a shake, but can you guess his quintessentially European secret ingredient? Image: Men’s Health

As with his habit-building timelines for workouts, he similarly encourages newbies to ensure that every meal includes a protein source for a whole month. Once you’ve found your rhythm, then you can look at additional supplements, shakes, and alike.

For breakfast, Schwarzenegger enjoys omelettes or scrambled eggs loaded with veggies, along with a protein-heavy salad for lunch. Yoghurt with granola or a protein shake work as a snack. As for his go-to shake, Schwarzenegger likes a plant-based protein powder with banana, almond milk, some cherry juice, and one special ingredient:

“If I’m feeling crazy, schnapps”.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Phone Stays Home

Perhaps the hardest tip to bear for our younger gymbunnies is this: Schwarzenegger strongly disapproves of gym-goers being glued to their phones.

One fan expressed disappointment at having missed the AMA due to being engrossed in a workout, but Schwarzenegger commended them for being brave enough to disconnect from the digital world before pointing out a study that suggested using phones before exercise could potentially reduce strength by up to 30 percent.

So, if you’ve been thinking about starting your fitness journey for a while but needed that last boost of confidence to get you into the iron paradise, the GOAT has spoken: put down your phone, grab a bottle of Schnapps, and get to work.