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“If You’re a Bodybuilder, You’re Narcissistic”: Arnold Schwarzenegger Once Addressed Misconceptions About His Sport in an Unseen Interview

Radha Iyer

“If You’re a Bodybuilder, You’re Narcissistic”: Arnold Schwarzenegger Once Addressed Misconceptions About His Sport in an Unseen Interview

For decades, Arnold Schwarzenegger grew popular for his ripped physique which got him some of the most iconic Hollywood roles. His experience in bodybuilding also helped him grow famous as a fitness enthusiast, with a daily science-backed newsletter to his credit. However, things were not as rosy during his prime, when he had to fight for the validity of his passion.

Schwarzenegger took the crown for being the youngest Mr. Universe at 20 after he began training for bodybuilding at a young age. However, instead of walking directly into a popular sport, he had to train under the pretext of contesting for powerlifting championships since bodybuilding was looked down upon.

In an interview from 1975, a strapping young Schwarzenegger sat down to talk about the plight of the sport he loved. People formed stereotypes against bodybuilders at the time as the athletes would be in front of the mirror all day.

“In some countries I go, people think that if you’re a bodybuilder, you’re narcissistic because you look in the mirror.”

He explained how the notion was wrong because bodybuilders would resort to the mirror, weighing scale, and several other tools to measure their progress. They had no other option but to constantly scrutinize their physiques regularly to train appropriately.

However, the sea of misconceptions flooded the community for a long time until bodybuilders gradually got used to it. Until then, Schwarzenegger took up weight training and won several powerlifting competitions before finally winning the Mr. Universe at 21.

“They think that maybe if you train ten years, and you stop your workouts, you’ll fall apart…that’s obviously wrong because muscles never contend with fat!”

Proving all these misconceptions wrong, Schwarzenegger has still been active in the fitness world, pumping away at 76. He doesn’t regret fighting for bodybuilding one bit, although he once confessed how he wished he was taken seriously.

Arnold Schwarzenegger once admitted how his parents delayed their approval

Schwarzenegger’s parents belonged to a small town in Austria, and to see their son be passionate about bodybuilding felt like a culture change. While his father, back then, thought it was a vain sport where athletes only looked at mirrors, his mother launched on a different tangent.

Consulting the doctor for her son’s obsession with growing muscles didn’t help, even though he found it hilarious in retrospect. His father ultimately wanted him to not be useless and put his physical training to some use. This delayed approval triggered a confession from Schwarzenegger at a podcast with Steven D. Levitt, where he talked about how they only believed in him once they understood he was serious about his dreams.

Post Edited By:Shraman Mitra

About the author

Radha Iyer

Radha Iyer


Radha Iyer is a US Sports writer at The SportsRush. With a Master's degree in Media and Communication, and a background in content creation and production, sports journalism has been a part and parcel of her demonstrated history in the said field. Olympic sports hold a special place in her heart, and she is particularly interested in sports like track and field, gymnastics, and swimming. She also draws inspiration from legendary athletes like Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Simone Biles, and many more.

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