Having once been the number one authority in bodybuilding, Arnold Schwarzenegger admits life is different now at 76 years old. In a recent episode of The Howard Stern Show published on October 5, 2023, Schwarzenegger opened up about getting older and struggling to accept his body when standing in front of a mirror.
In the 1970s and 80s, Schwarzenegger led a historic bodybuilding tenure, which resulted in a total of seven Mr. Olympia titles (1970-75, 1980). While he’s long stepped away from competing on stage, Schwarzenegger still serves as a top ambassador for the sport today, who hosts the annual Arnold Sports Festival in the Spring, co-founded by the late Jim Lorimer, which has been running since 1989.
Given his status as an all-time great, accepting his physique in retirement has been a challenging task for the former champion-turned-movie star. In May, “The Austrian Oak” discussed his physical decline in a candid interview, and while he acknowledged that he was once the ‘best-built man,’ Schwarzenegger only sees ‘a bunch of crap’ nowadays. Following his 76th birthday and a recent surgery on his elbow, Schwarzenegger’s attitude about his body hasn’t changed.
“What The Hell Is Going On Here?” – Arnold Schwarzenegger Struggles to Accept Age, Talks Getting Out of Shape
Despite his continuous efforts to stay healthy and fit, Schwarzenegger says “it’s sad” to see his physique, specifically his pectorals go from “firm” and “perky” to now “just hanging there.”
“The boodle. It’s funny. It’s funny in other ways I kind of smiled because every day I do look in the mirror and I say, ‘Yeah, you suck. Look at this body. Look at those pectoral muscles, they used to be firm and perky and kind of like really powerful with a striation. Now they’re just hanging in there. I mean what the hell is going on here?’ It’s sad also because as I said to people, it’s one thing to see yourself get older and more and more out of shape but most of the people never have been in shape.
So what does it mean getting out of shape? They’ve always looked at a shitty body so therefore it gets shittier as time goes on. It’s just when you have been hailed for years as this supreme body you know, and you have the definition and you see the veins coming down your abs and you see veins on top of your chest. You see all this stuff and now you cut and you put the clock forward 50 years and now you’re standing there and you don’t see that anymore,” shared Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Schwarzenegger admits he never thought about getting older when he was in his 30s and 40s. He added that leanness is the key to longevity and shared that he’s only eating two meals daily.
So that’s kind of like ‘Wow, I never ever thought about that when I was like 30 years old or 40 years old that this was going to happen.’ That we one time are going to look at this body, it still looks better than the majority of bodies but it just sucks,” Arnold Schwarzenegger said reflecting on getting older.
“You can only live longer and healthier if you are lean. I eat only two meals a day. I have breakfast and I have dinner. I don’t have lunch because the system just slows down and it just doesn’t burn off the stuff that well anymore.”
Before turning 50, Schwarzenegger endured heart surgery and said it affected his quality of life.
“Just before I turned 50, I had the heart surgery. That’s when I kind of afterwards kind of came out of it and I said, ‘You’re now damaged goods.’ This is the first time where I felt kind of vulnerable where all of a sudden the doctors say, ‘You shouldn’t lift that heavy anymore. Or just pay attention to your breathing when you exercise and when you exhale don’t keep the air pressed inside because that’s too much stress on the valves in your heart.’ All of a sudden there was dialogue like that. Life was no longer the same when I was 30 years old, 40 years old.”
As for his future, Schwarzenegger is focused on conquering one life challenge at a time.
“Am I upset about it? No, because there’s nothing I can do about it. I just feel like as those challenges come my way, I take them on. It’s the only choice we have. The bottom line is I’m 76 years old, I’m full of energy, I’m full of enthusiasm, I am as enthusiastic and excited as I was when I was 30 years old. I just always see mountains in front of me to be climbed. As long as I see those mountains, I keep my enthusiasm and I keep my excitement and that fire in my belly to keep climbing and climbing and climbing, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Days ago, Schwarzenegger took part in an interview with Rich Roll, where he discussed his current nutrition plan. The former California Governor confirmed he still fuels with a ‘70%’ vegetable-based regimen, and added that he cut red meat intake to aid his cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
While Schwarzenegger has nothing left to prove, longevity is of utmost importance to the bodybuilding icon. With plans of living until 100 with healthy living, Schwarzenegger is motivated to continue prioritizing nutrition and exercise.