While going hard at the gym as a teen, Schwarzenegger noticed that his upper body was developing a lot better than his lower half, creating a disproportionate appearance. Realizing he needed to focus more on his lower half, the teen then cut off all his pants at the knee so that his self-consciousness would motivate him.
Definitely, a more creative and unique way to motivate oneself in the gym! But obviously, this technique worked for Schwarzenegger as he brought home the gold in his bodybuilding competitions more than a handful of times. And, looking at him today, his “whatever it takes” approach certainly worked!
An Uncommon Path
It may be difficult to imagine a world in which bodybuilding was not very popular. Nowadays there are a lot of gym fanatics out there that are very religious when it comes to their gym schedules and the way their bodies look.
But in Arnie’s early days bodybuilding and fitness were not the popular trend at the time and, when Schwarzenegger began pursuing it with all of his might, his mother grew concerned. On 60 Minutes, Arnold shared how concerned she was about his newfound hobby. Thankfully, his mother eventually understood more about her son’s passion and even condoned them.
Seems like everyone was part of the military back in the good ol’ days, and that includes good ol’ Arnold. Upon turning 18, Arnold served one year in the Austrian Army as a tank driver. He shared that this time “appealed to the part of me that has always been moved by any show of strength and force.” Perhaps his time in the military only further fueled his fire for pushing his physical limits.
Schwarzenegger gave his all (including breaking his military service) to participate in the Junior Mr. Europe competition. His hard work paid off when he came out number one! However, as punishment for insubordination, Arnold also served time in military prison.
First Plane Ride
After completing his service in the Austrian army, Schwarzenegger went to London in 1966, which was his first time on an airplane. He was headed to London to compete in the Mr. Universe competition. Unfortunately, he was not the winner this time around.
However, England had more in store for the Austrian bodybuilder. Little did he know that this time in England would open up other opportunities for him to further himself in the world. He was also clearly not deterred by this loss, and it probably only made him more hungry for the win in the years to come.
An English Lesson
After his loss to Chester Yorton, one of the competition’s judges, Charles “Wag” Bennett, offered to coach Arnold in his English. Bennet was very hospitable and even let him stay with him at his private home.
Reminiscing, Arnold said: “Being with them made me so much more sophisticated. When you’re the age I was then, you’re always looking for approval, for love, for attention, and also for guidance. At the time, I wasn’t aware of that. But now, looking back, I see that the Bennett family fulfilled all those needs. Especially my need to be the best in the world.”