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Science says so, but he already knew

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  • In a new attempt to help you increase the efficiency of your training sessions, gain more muscle and burn more fat, we are going to remind you of four tips, tricks and techniques that, before science said it, Arnold Schwarzenegger already preached daily at the mythical Gold’s Gym.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger and how to gain muscle easily and quickly

    1/ Focus on multi-joint movements like squats or deadlifts

    Although light weights can be lifted for the typical pump, Schwarzenegger was clear from the start: to build big muscles, you need to lift a lot of pounds. As? Focus on large, multi-joint, “compound” movements that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously.

    “Every great bodybuilder I’ve ever met started with basic moves and training really heavy. Light weights and pumps aren’t going anywhere.”

    2- To lose fat, it matters how much you eat, and not so much what you eat…

    Although Schwarzenegger didn’t count calories like many other fitness buffs, he knew that focusing on how much you were eating would affect your fat loss much more than worrying about the types of food you were eating. In fact, Arnie was one of the first to advocate for dietary sustainability, realizing that cutting out the foods he loved was a fast track to failure and not sustainable in the long run.

    When it came time to lose body fat, he would simply reduce his portion sizes, keeping the same types of food he was eating, and simply reduce the amount.

    Since then, science has shown that being in a consistent “caloric deficit” is the only way to burn body fat, and that the types of foods you eat matter a lot less for fat loss than you think.

    OPTIMUM NUTRITION to gain more muscle and burn more fat

    to gain more muscle and burn more fat

    OPTIMUM NUTRITION to gain more muscle and burn more fat

    arnold schwarzenegger

    Jack Mitchell//Getty Images

    3- Pumping blood to the muscle can also help you gain muscle…

    In recent years, “the pump,” the feeling of engorged muscles achieved with high reps and high sets, has received a bad press, with many trainers labeling it a waste of time.

    “The greatest feeling you can get in a gym or the most satisfying feeling is pumping and watching your muscles fill with blood. Your muscles have a very tight feeling like your skin is going to explode at any moment and you feel fantastic” .

    4- The mind-muscle connection also makes you bigger

    One of Arnold’s favorite topics of conversation in his day was the connection between the mind and the muscles. Focus on the muscle you’re working on, no distractions, and of course now, no cell phones.

    “For a perfect workout, your mind has to be the guide of the body, thinking about each part of the movement, each contraction, each squeeze.”

    Headshot of Andrew Tracey

    With almost 18 years in the health and fitness space as a personal trainer, nutritionist, breath coach and writer, Andrew has spent nearly half of his life exploring how to help people improve their bodies and minds.

    As our fitness editor he prides himself on keeping Men’s Health at the forefront of reliable, relatable and credible fitness information, whether that’s through writing and testing thousands of workouts each year, taking deep dives into the science behind muscle building and fat loss or exploring the psychology of performance and recovery.

    While constantly updating his knowledge base with seminars and courses, Andrew is a lover of the practical as much as the theory and regularly puts his training to the test tackling everything from Crossfit and strongman competitions, to ultra marathons, to multiple 24 hour workout stints and (extremely unofficial) world record attempts.

    You can find Andrew on Instagram at @theandrew.tracey, or simply hold up a sign for ‘free pizza’ and wait for him to appear.

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