When Arnold Schwarzenegger was younger, friends called him “the garbage disposal.” His appetite was veracious, indiscriminate. At diners, he would order an omelette, and then, when asked what he wanted in the omelet, Schwarzenegger would say, everything.
“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,” says Schwarzenegger, one of our October cover stars. Even while training for competition, Schwarzenegger would eat. In 1970, three days before Mr. Olympia in New York, Schwarzenegger and Franco Columbu finished training and headed over to the House of Pies, where they sat down and split an entire cherry pie.“It was so good, and I think it really contributed to how pumped we got when we went to the Mr. Olympia contest,” Schwarzenegger said, laughing. “He won his weight category. I won mine. I won the competition. It didn’t hurt a bit.”
Of course, Schwarzenegger is quick to point out the necessary exchange, what one has to do if one decides to eat half a pie: calories in, calories out. And calories out isn’t as easy as it used to be. “I wasn’t always health conscious,” he says. “When you’re young, you get away with a lot of things.”
In November, Schwarzenegger returns as the Terminator, albeit a purposefully older, slightly-more mortal Terminator. It’s also a Terminator on a very different diet.
Schwarzenegger shows us around the kitchen of his California office. In the kitchen is a refrigerator. It’s a respectable size, about as big as one you’d find in any urban apartment. But, of course, it’s just for him; it’s Arnold’s fridge. And Arnold can still eat.
Since his garbage disposal days, though, Schwarzenegger has backed off, eating more oatmeals and greens and vegetables. His fridge contains a bowl of loose eggs and other new staples: lettuce, strawberries, grapes, blueberries, bananas, watermelon (cubed and stuck with toothpicks), and an entire pineapple. Schwarzenegger also hoards Radler, a German drink combining lemonade and beer, something he loves to a fault. “Most people don’t know it, but it’s my secret protein drink,” he says, grinning.
Schwarzenegger says he stays away from meats and animal proteins. “There’s this misperception that that’s the only way you get big and strong.” But Schwarzenegger says he actually feels better on greens. Of course, a beyond beef sausage in his fridge suggests that Schwarzenegger hasn’t fully kicked the meat craze, and he says his favorite thing to cook is still a steak.
“There’s this misperception that [animal protein] is the only way you get big and strong.”
Schwarzenegger’s exercise has also changed since his younger Terminator days.
He still works out everyday—at Gold’s Gym every morning at 7 a.m. and then later that night at home. (In between, Schwarzenegger bicycles for about 45 minutes.) But the lifting routine has changed. “I’m not training heavy anymore,” he says. “After my heart surgery, I was advised not to train heavy. Not go go three reps, heaviest weight, and all that stuff. So now I do lighter weights and more reps.” Schwarzenegger also says he’s begun to prioritize stretching in a way he never had to before, and he stresses the importance of warming up.
That the winner of 13 world championship titles in bodybuilding—7 times Mr. Olympia, 5 times Mr. Universe—that the legend still works out at his old gym remains a testament to Schwarzenegger’s character, as well as his new goal: inspiring the next generation.
To the myriad of lifters, athletes, and celebrities who would chose Schwarzenegger as their ideal training partner, he has only encouraging words: “I’m here, Gold’s Gym, every morning. If you want to work out, come on down.”