To get the most out of his busy day, Arnold takes Ladder Energy to increase focus, enhance attention, and provide vital nutrients for his brain.Shop Pre-Workout
Arnold uses Ladder Plant Protein as a sustainable source of vegan protein (pea and pumpkin) to build his body, protect his longevity, and help with recovery.Shop Plant Protein
What's the one ritual you practice/follow every day?
I refer to rituals as habits and routines. For me, a habit or routine is something you do without thinking. The first few hours of my day require no brainpower. I wake up at 5, have my coffee and read a couple of newspapers to make sure I know what’s going on. At 6, I ride my bike to the gym and I train for an hour. Then, I ride my bike to breakfast and have my oatmeal with berries and walnuts. After breakfast, it’s time for work, so I normally head to the office and have a chocolate plant protein shake (recipe here). For the first few hours after I wake up, I love that I don’t have to think about it; I just do it.
Do you use rituals to help you achieve your goals?
They are the blueprint for success because the more things you can do automatically the more you can achieve every day. You don’t think about breathing or eating, you just do it. You don’t think about putting on clothes before you go out. You don’t think about recharging your car when it’s low. I make as many things in my life as automatic as possible because you know exactly what you have to do to achieve your vision.
What was a big setback in your life? What did you do to come back from it?
My heart surgery last year is what most people would consider a setback. I expected an easy outpatient procedure but woke up to find out they had split my chest open and performed open-heart surgery. Anyone who has had open-heart surgery can tell you it isn’t an easy comeback. But, Terminator was starting to film 3 months later. So I was lucky: I had my vision. I had to be ready to do stunts. After heart surgery, you start out in the hospital with lung exercises and short walks. I counted those reps and marked them off. The walks got longer. Then, the doctors said I could go to the gym if I didn’t lift heavy, so I just did very light weights to get my body used to the motions again. I was 100% ready to fight when I got to set. The key was having the vision and counting every rep that took me to get to the vision.
Tell us something surprising that most people wouldn’t know about you.
I paint my own greeting cards for every holiday, from Christmas to Easter to Valentine’s Day. People love it because instead of just buying something, people know you spent hours on this.
Do you have any meal-time rituals?
No machines – phones, iPads, anything – at the table.
What advice would you give to anyone that feels unable to reach the next level of success?
First, you need to know your vision. No matter what you are doing, if you don’t envision the end result, the work is going to feel very hard. If you know where you want the work to get you in the end, you feel good doing it. Spend the time to figure out that vision. And after that, everything is reps, reps, reps. I knew in my bodybuilding days it would take 5 hours a day of training to be successful. So that became automatic. I never thought about “should I just train two hours today?” I knew the blueprint, so I just did it.
When you’re feeling drained, what do you do to recharge?
People can be drained physically because they have overtrained, they can be drained mentally because of working too much, or they can be emotionally drained because of what’s going on in your personal life.
If I’m emotionally drained and everything feels like it is hitting at once, meditation helps me a lot to put things in perspective. And training becomes a form of meditation for me.
If I’m mentally drained, I play a few games of chess and it wakes me up and sharpens my mind. It almost always works on movie sets when you’re shooting 12 hours from 6 pm to 6 am. And, when I’m fading during meetings where I can’t take a chess break, I have half of a Ladder Pre-Workout. That’s all I need, but I know my team uses a lot more.
Who has inspired or influenced any of your rituals?
So many people. My dad had me get up at 6 in the morning to do push-ups and knee bends to earn my breakfast.
Reg Park, my hero, who was Mr. Universe and then got into movies, invited me to train with him in South Africa. I was 19, and suddenly he knocked on my door and I looked at my watch and thought it must be broken because it said 445. We had cornflakes with protein powder, which was how we charged up in the old days before we really knew about supplements. By 515 we were squatting. I never thought the human body could do things that early. But Reg, my hero, taught me. I learned about waking up and getting the training out of the way at the crack of dawn from him.
If you could borrow someone else’s skill set, who would it be and why?
Oh man, would I love to stand on a stage in front of 70,000 people and entertain people like Garth Brooks does for hours.
And can you imagine flying through the air as if you’re floating, totally stretched out, and then dunking a basketball to the screams of the crowd like LeBron?