Power Players

Inside ex-bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger's wellness routine now that he's 72

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 24: Arnold Schwarzenegger is seen on August 24, 2019 in Los Angeles, California
Credit: BG004/Bauer-Griffin / Contributor

Arnold Schwarzenegger started pumping iron at the age of 15. By the time, he was 20, the Austrian native had won his first major bodybuilding event, Mr. Universe.

Schwarzenegger went on to win 13 more world championship titles in bodybuilding, and eventually became a Hollywood action film star with big roles like "The Terminator" and "Kindergarten Cop." In 2003, he became the Governor of California.

During his bodybuilding days though, Schwarzenegger says he was nicknamed "the garbage disposal" because of his rampant and voracious appetite.

"Anything that's in the kitchen sink. Anything you can find on the kitchen floor. Just scrape it up, put it in there, and I will love it," Schwarzenegger told Men's Health in September about his younger self.

AUSTRIA - CIRCA 1966: Young bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger poses for a portrait circa 1966 in Austria.
Credit: Michael Ochs Archives / Stringer

He even recalled eating half a cherry pie three days before competing in a worldwide bodybuilding competition, which he won.

"I wasn't always health-conscious," he told the magazine. "When you're young, you get away with a lot of things."

Schwarzenegger's diet now

Now at 72, and after having a health scare in 2018 (when he underwent emergency open-heart surgery to replace a pulmonary valve), he has changed his eating and fitness habits drastically.

Schwarzenegger says he now stays away from meat and animal proteins when possible, but still enjoys a steak every once and awhile.

"There's this misperception that [animal protein] is the only way you get big and strong," he said, but he finds that he actually "feels better on greens." (Indeed, plant-based eating and veganism has become something of a secret weapon in the NFL.)

Schwarzenegger says he now focuses his diet more on oats, greens and vegetables. When Men's Health looked inside Swarzenegger's work fridge during the interview, there were staples such as lettuce, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, bananas, watermelon and eggs.

The "Terminator" star is also a fan of the plant-based meat products that have been creating buzz recently.

For a treat, Schwarzenegger has what he calls his "secret protein drink" — a German drink called Radler that combines lemonade and beer.

And his workout

Schwarzenegger still works out at Gold's Gym (the first gym he went to when he came to America in 1968) at 7 a.m. every day. He also does another workout in the afternoon (a 45-minute bike ride) followed by an evening workout at home.

But his lifting routine has completely changed.

"I'm not training heavy anymore," he said. "After my heart surgery, I was advised not to train heavy. Not go three reps, heaviest weight, and all that stuff. So now I do lighter weights and more reps."

Additionally, he started to incorporate more stretching and warm-up moves into his workouts to help with recovery.

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