Arnold Schwarzenegger was the man who redefined the action hero. He’s been an action movie staple for over three decades, and is known for his iconic roles as well as his iconic physique, which he put on display during his bodybuilding days. 

Born in Thal, Austria on June 30, 1947. His family was poor, and he had to work to help support them. When he was a teenager, he began to compete in bodybuilding competitions, only to be discovered and tapped to play Conan in the 1978 cult classic “Conan The Barbarian.”

Of course, we all know what happened next. After appearing in “The Terminator” and other films, he was elected Governor of California in 2003, and now, he’s a multi-millionaire who’s built a successful career in politics as well as acting. 

All that being said, there’s no denying that what made the man famous is his body, which was the envy of every man in America back in the 80s. Well, read on because we’ll be getting into it below!

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Diet

The Success Behind Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Diet

People are always curious just what Arnold Schwarzenegger’s diet consists of and there are many theories on the topic. Some think that the Terminator’s diet is just about low-carb and high protein foods but others believe that his diet is more complex than that. 

Ever since he first became Governor of California in 2003, Arnold Schwarzenegger has had an on-again off-again relationship with his old foe – weight gain. Yet for some reason, after he had already served two terms as governor of California and an extensive stint as Hollywood’s top box office champion, he seems to still be incredibly fit for his age.

In some sense none of this should be surprising. After all, he has always been one of the fittest humans on earth. Indeed, he is often called the “greatest bodybuilder of all time”. 

Indeed, the man has an incredibly disciplined approach to fitness and eating. The Terminator’s simple philosophy on eating isn’t meant to be an exact science, but rather a guideline. But what we can say is that if you take his advice, you’ll reap the rewards.

In this article, we’ll share with you Arnold Schwarzenegger’s diet routines — routines he has used over the years to keep himself in incredible shape. So if you want to get started now and start making real progress, then read on.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Approach to Weight Loss Today

This is the approach that Arnold has been using for over 50 years, and it has helped him to maintain his physique for more than 5 decades.

As a pioneer of bodybuilding and weight training, he has been an inspiration to many fitness enthusiasts, athletes and celebrities. His approach to weight loss and muscle growth has been tried by many as well as it’s been successful for most people, the key principles of which are:

  •  Consistent workouts 
  •  Cardio sessions 
  •  Avoiding sugar and gluten
  •  East small meals
  •  Protein bars or shakes

To sum everything up in this section, In order to lose weight, or maintain the proper weight ‘Arnold Schwarzenegger’ style, you need to make changes to your diet. Avoiding sugar and gluten is a good start. It will also be a good idea to eat five to six small meals per day. This is because eating several small meals each day helps your body to keep its metabolism up throughout the day. Post workout, you should consume a protein shake to help rebuild and repair muscles. Finally, you should avoid snacks and drinks with sugar — in fact try to avoid sugar completely!

What was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Diet

Arnold Schwarzenegger now mostly sticks to a vegan diet, but at one point didn’t shy away from consuming meat. Indeed, his rule at the time was that one pound of bodyweight needed one gram of protein. Of course, he did weigh 250 pounds back in the day, which means he had to consume a lot of protein. 

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Even though he’s practically vegan these days, his diet routine during his elite bodybuilding days isn’t all that different from what bodybuilders adhere to today.

“The Terminator” was not just an ambitious dude who had a lucky break. He actually made sure to eat small meals every day, supplemented with protein shakes and vitamins, all of which contributed to his high-quality output that helped him maintain his physique. 

Schwarzenegger, all-in-all, consumed upwards of 3,500 calories a day, most of which he had to burn through with exercise. Of course, the man gave himself a cheat day to break through this monotonous cycle. On Sundays, he said he allowed himself to eat anything he wanted — burgers, pizza, anything that caught his fancy.

Food types Terminator Eat


So What Were The Kinds of Food Did The Terminator Eat?

Arnold is said to have now switched to a plant-based diet over the years. While some bodybuilders might see this switch as a big drawback, there are many bodybuilders who are able to compete while on a plant-based diet. 

However, we do know that Arnold, during his competitive years, was consuming a lot of meat and dairy. He had to be getting plenty of carbs for energy and protein to support muscle growth, too. This would have amounted to around 250 to 300 grams of protein every single day.

Although Arnold never released the exact meal plan he was following when he was still competing, based on his books and the interviews he’s given throughout the years, below is what we can say are the typical types of food he consumes:

Whole Eggs — There are many reasons why Arnold Schwarzenegger believes that whole eggs are good for the body. Here are just some of them:

Whole eggs provide a rich source of nutrients like choline, lutein and zeaxanthin which promote heart health and healthy brain function. They also contain cholesterol which is essential for the production of hormones like testosterone and estrogen. Additionally, they contain high levels of protein which help you feel full and satisfied with less food intake.

Oats — Arnold has said that he’s into oats, particularly whole grain oats. They are a nutritious and healthy food that can give more than 50% of the recommended daily fiber. They are also low-calorie and low-sodium, so they can fill you up without overloading your system with sugar and salt. Oatmeal also contains B vitamins which are essential for metabolism – think about it as fuel for your body!

Chicken Breast — Arnold Schwarzenegger eats chicken breast because it is healthy, not just because he loves it. It is a good source of protein, has less of the wrong fat than other types of meat, and can be grilled, baked or roasted.

Grilled Fish — Grilled fish is high in protein and low in calories. Grilled fish can provide about 20 grams of protein while having only around 150 calories per serving. Overall, grilled fish is an excellent, healthy option on so many levels. Studies have shown that eating more fish is linked to better brain function. Plus it tastes good too! It’s also a great way to save on food costs since it’s typically cheaper than other meats.

Lean Meats — Bodybuilders need to eat lean meat because it provides all of the protein, vitamins, amino acids and other nutrients needed for building muscle tissue. Lean meat has less saturated fat which makes it easier for the body to digest.

Vegetables — Having enough protein is important for bodybuilders to build muscle, but it’s not the only nutrient needed. Vegetables are often overlooked, but they contain vital nutrients that are essential for building muscle mass. Bodybuilders need to eat vegetables because they are high in fiber, low in fat and cholesterol, low glycemic load, rich in micronutrients and antioxidants, and full of phytonutrients.

What Supplements Does Arnold Schwarzenegger Take?

Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most popular celebrities to take diet supplements. Today, the pre-workout supplement he takes is called Arnold Iron Pump. Of course, this wasn’t the case during his elite bodybuilding days.

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It’s been reported that Arnold didn’t adhere to a complicated routine when it came to supplements. He took protein powders and nutrients like vitamins and amino acids to help his body recover from the workout sessions. Additionally, he would take a creatine-free supplement with agmatine before working out; when he was finished, he’d take a serving of creatine and BCAA in order to recover.

Dieting Tips From The Terminator

The best dieting tips for bodybuilders are to ensure that the diet is not just healthy, but thayt it also provides the nutrients that are necessary. It is important to find the right balance between protein, carbs, fats and fiber.

Another key factor is to drink lots of fluids because this will help with muscle building.

Finally, it is important to watch what you eat because even if you are on a strict diet, there are still plenty of bad foods you can eat. 

Arnold has given many diet tips in his books and interviews, but below are a few of the ones that we think are important for bodybuilders in particular.

  1. Eat more protein-based foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, beans, peas and soy products: 

Protein is the most important nutrient for bodybuilders. They need it for building muscle, losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Protein also helps with hair growth, skin health and mental well-being.

  1. Watch your water intake:

The primary function of water in the human body is to regulate the temperature of our cells and tissues. In other words, if our tissues are too hot or too cold, we’re going to have trouble carrying out the metabolic processes that keep us alive. When we sweat from exercise, our bodies lose both liquid and salt. The liquid helps dissipate heat from our skin while the salt helps maintain electrolyte balance in the blood so that we don’t overheat or get cramps from dehydration. So what does this have to do with muscle building? Well, we need water to help dilute and flush out acid buildup when we work out, regulate our body temperature, and keep us from feeling lethargic when we exercise.

  1. Cut out sugar:

Since bodybuilders are constantly in the need of more protein, it is vital for them to get sugar out of their diet. Sugar is used by the cells in the body to create energy which can eventually lead to an increase in fat tissue. Also, sugar can cause spikes in blood glucose levels which can impair muscle recovery after a workout.

Try to avoid all sugar or use artificial sweeteners instead which have no calories and are safe for diabetics. For those on a low-carb diet, Stevia may be beneficial because it is a natural product with no side effects and has been used for centuries in some countries as a sweetener or flavoring agent without any adverse health effects on humans.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout Routines 

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Workout Routine

As someone who’s been voted as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time and who is known to have dedicated his life to fitness, we’re sure many wonder about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s workout routines.

Let me tell ya, if you think Arnold’s diet is intense, wait till you see how the Terminator worked out back in the day! First of all, Arnold has released a number of workout routines, but let’s concentrate on how he typically worked out during his elite bodybuilding days — because we know full well that that’s what most are interested in!

Arnold’s Dedication

Back then, Arnold was a beast when it came to working out — obviously, he wouldn’t have become the man we all know him to be if this were not the case.

He trained twice a day at Gold’s Gym in Venice, where all his friends – bodybuilding icons such as Franco Columbu and David Draper – went to train. 

His workouts would last for hours on end, and would finish sets only to go through them another time. This was the kind of training only the elite of the elite did at the time, and most trainers now don’t advocate this much dedication as it can lead to muscle breakdown.

To give you an idea of just how much of a beast Arnold was at the time, below was his bodybuilding stats.

  • Weight: 225 – 235 lbs (102.1-106.6 kg)
  • Height: 6’3 (190.5 cm) 
  • Arms: 22” (55.88 cm)
  • Chest: 57” (144.78 cm)
  • Waist: 30” (76.2 cm)
  • Thighs: 28.5” (72.39 cm)
  • Calves: 20” (50.8 cm)
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Daily Workout Routine

Basically, Arnold’s workout routine can be divided into two. He does one set of workouts for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and then another set of workouts for Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. On Sundays is when he made sure to take a break from the grueling week.

Below are the exercises that Arnold dedicated himself to for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, where he targeted his chest, calves, arms, back, legs, and abs:

For Chest: 

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chest is often touted as the best part of his body, and it’s hard to argue with that.

If you want to get a chest like Arnold, you’ll have to do the exercises below. Take note, however, they aren’t for the faint of heart.

  • Bench Press: five to seven sets, 12 reps
  • Incline Bench Press: five sets, 12 reps each
  • Flat Bench Dumbbell Flye: five sets, 12 to 15 reps each
  • Weighted Dip: four to five sets, 12 to 15 reps each

For Arms: 

  • Standing Barbell Curl: five sets, 10 to 12 reps each
  • Seated Dumbbell Curl: five sets, 8 reps each
  • Inclined Dumbbell Curl: five sets, 10 reps each
  • Standing French Press: five sets, 12 reps each
  • Lying Triceps Extension w/ Bar: five sets, 10 to 12 reps each
  • Wrist Curls: five sets, 10 to 12 reps each

For Legs:

  • Squats:  six sets, 8 to12 reps each
  • Leg presses: six sets, 8 to12 reps each
  • Leg extensions: six sets, 12 to 15 reps each
  • Leg curls: six sets, 10 to 12 reps.
  • Barbell lunges: five sets, 15 reps each

For Calves:

  • Donkey Calf Raise: five to six sets, 15 to 20 reps each
  • Standing Calf Raise: five sets, 10 to 20 reps each
  • Seated Calf Raise: five sets, 10 to 15 reps each

For Back:

  • Deadlift: four sets, 6 to 8 reps each
  • Bentover Row: 4 sets, 8 to 10 reps each
  • T-Bar Row: 4 sets, 8 to 10 reps each
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Row: 4 sets, 10 to 12 reps each
  • Wide-Grip Pulldown: 3 sets, 10 to 12 reps each

For Abs: 

  • Standard Crunch: five sets, 25 to 30 reps
  • Reverse Crunch: five sets, 25 to 30 reps
  • Double Crunch: five sets, 25 to 30 reps

For Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, Arnold Schwarzenegger works out his shoulders, triceps, and biceps, using the following routines:

For Triceps:

  • Close-Grip Press: six sets, 6 to 10 reps
  • Tricep Pushdown: six sets, 6 to 10 reps
  • French Press: six sets, 6 to 10 reps
  • Single-Arm Triceps Extension: six sets, 6 to 10 reps

For Biceps:

  • Barbell Curls: six sets, 10 reps each
  • Seated Dumbbell Curls: six sets, 10 reps each
  • Dumbbell Concentration Curls: six sets, 10 reps each

For Shoulders:

  • Seated Barbell Shoulder Presses: six sets, 10 reps each
  • Standing Lateral Raise: six sets, 6 to 10 reps each
  • Rear-Delt Lateral Raise: five sets, 6 to 10 reps each
  • Leaning Cable Lateral Raise: five sets, 10-12 reps each

Schwarzenegger's Best Body Part

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Best Body Part

Back when he was still competing in bodybuilding competitions, it was generally agreed that the best part of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body was either his Chest or his arms.

Personally, we think they were both great (of course!) but we have to admit that if you look at the photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body from the ’80s and ’90s, he had some very nice looking arms. But then again, he had an amazing-looking chest too! But which was better?

I guess it depends on who you’re asking, but for our money, there’s no question that Arnold’s Chest was the best part of his body. It was huge. It was muscular. It was packed with definition.


There it is, ladies and gentlemen. Arnold’s diet and workout plan. It’s the blueprint, if you will, to get a body like Arnold’s.

Of course, the body of Arnold during his days as a top bodybuilder wasn’t had overnight. It took years of developing! So you shouldn’t expect it to come easy! He worked hard for it. And you can too!

Alan Anytime

Alan Anytime is one of the most experienced fitness experts and trainers in the USA


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