Education of a Bodybuilder by Arnold – Review

August 21st, 2007 by Paul Johnson

Over the years the one book that has been most commonly read by bodybuilders is Education of a Bodybuilder by Arnold Schwarzenegger. A lot of it is because of who Arnold is, but also because it is very controversial among bodybuilders. Arnold did wonders for giving bodybuilding into the mainstream, so many bodybuilders have a lot of respect for Arnold as a bodybuilder.

About Education of a Bodybuilder:

The book is split into two major sections. The first goes into his life. The second is his workout and nutrition advice. In the first section you realize how goal orientated he is, he is the exact persona of a "A type personality". He seems to be willing to sacrifice many things in life to reach his goals. Some may say this is a sickness, while others may think it is admirable. Today, we know that many bodybuilders suffer from Bigorexia, I definitely think it's safe to say that Arnold did at one time.

The second section deals with training. I have to admit, some of his advice is pretty absurd. He recommends for the advanced workouts 2 hours in the morning 2 hours at night 7 days a week. Only the most genetically blessed juiced bodybuilder on steroids (such as Arnold) could grow off a routine like that! He also says a lot of bodybuilding myths, when he talks about spot reduction and targeting muscles.

In the nutritional section he mentions about his common use of alcohol. Everyone knows that alcohol hurts bodybuilding gains, so either he exaggerated or more proof he has probably the best bodybuilding genetics ever. With todays mass monsters in the Olympia, they couldn't even look at Alcohol, if they wanted to get to that ripped bf% they compete at currently. The overall diet recommendations aren't too bad though, certainly much better than his training recommendations.

Overall, it's a good book to read more for entertainment purposes. I wouldn't necessarily take a lot of it it as a serious reference for bodybuilding information, since most don't have his genetics and we have learned a lot since then on training, diet, and supplements.

You can purchase Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder at Amazon.

  1. Matthew on August 22nd, 2007

    Don’t forget that Arnold wrote the book back in 1976 or 1977. His training methods then were what was used at the time. Up until the 70s, most training was lengthy around 1-2 hours. It is only in the past 30 years that we’ve pushed the shorter, single bodypart, more intense sessions.

    I’d treat this as a history book, with insights into bodybuilding during Aronld’s time and into Arnold’s mindset at the time, rather than any kind of training guide or in depth biography.

  2. Admin on August 22nd, 2007

    There definitely was a lot of myths back in those days. Arnold still does train similiar to that(or at least when getting ready for a movie) and it seems to have worked for him alright. It’s just that it is very excessive for us mere mortals. 🙂

  3. PARK,DAVID on October 31st, 2007


  4. Tony on May 10th, 2008

    I agree with the last comment. The proof is in the pudding. WHo would you rather take advice from, Arnold or some other random? Exactly.

  5. Matthew on August 4th, 2008

    To David Park and Tony – you’re missing the point entirely. Yes, Arnold is a world class bodybuilder, and yes, he managed to build a world class physique on his insane routine. No one is doubting that this routine worked for HIM. It is clear however, that Arnold has genetics perfectly tuned for bodybuilding. You have to understand that in the second part of this text, Arnold is giving advice to the general public, and althouhg this advice may have been commonly accepted as true in the 70’s and even 80’s, most now know enough to know that arnolds routines would NOT work for them. Therefore, much of the book should be looked upon either as a historical document as Matthew pointed out, or just as entertainment.

    Its stupid to say you shouldnt criticize the book because Arnold is the best. That’s called heroification. Arnold can be wrong, believe me.

  6. Muscle Man on September 4th, 2008

    MOST elite athelites train a MINIMUM of 4 hours a day and some train much much much more. But you have to eat a ton of calories and sleep 9-10 hours or more a day. Not possible for the layman with a family and a full time job.

    Don’t forget Arnold also used to say there is no such thing as over-training, just under-eating and under-sleeping.

  7. John Doe on February 28th, 2009

    Heroification is exactly what it is. Arnold was a monster, his genetics were definently some of the best bodybuilding has ever seen. His work ethic was also extremely high, and the combination of the genetics and work ethic is what his training advice came from, and why it is a bit absurd. For the normal person, that is. In his book, he does mention that these workouts are not correct for everyone, and even goes so far as to say that they can be modified. Once you do take into account his nutrition and rest habits these workouts do become a little more reasonable, but still on the insane side of things.

    I am also not sure that some of the people who posted here have even taken the time to read the book. Before knocking the author, you really should know what he’s even writing about.

    David Park, CAPS lock stuck on?

  8. Mike L. on April 28th, 2009

    The book isn’t perfect, but I recommend it for everyone for obvious reasons.

  9. Wadrin on November 13th, 2009

    One thing about this book is that he starts you off from scratch. He doesn start hectic straight away i mean the first programme in the book is free hand exercises and the second programme is just basic exercises and he only suggests you train 3 times a week and an hour max, he starts of easy and its only the last programme in the book that is really hard working but by this time if you done all the other stuff properly you should be pretty built up.

  10. The Trufe on December 5th, 2009

    What the reviewer misses is that the “science” of bodybuilding is constantly in turmoil, and today’s “accepted truths” are often exactly what Arnold believed in the 60s and 70s, but were totally out of style in the 80s and 90s.

    In the 80s and early 90s all the bodybuilding gurus pushed high-carb low fat diets, and now the accepted wisdom is medium or low carb, high protein, medium good fats. And guess what? Arnold says his typical mix was 40% protein, 30% fat, 30% carb.

    Arnold says you can “expand the ribcage” with pullovers. In the 80s and 90s all the scientists said you couldn’t, it was impossible. And now in the 2000s they are saying that before the age of 30 you can definitely expand your ribcage with pullovers.

    The key to this book is that Arnold was always listening to his body. If high rep high volume had not worked for him, he would have dropped it and gone to lower volume stuff. Same with eating, sleeping, whatever.

    The example Arnold has set throughout his life (not just bodybuilding) is that when something didn’t work for him, he made changes, and that is something to emulate in bodybuilding and in life.

    Heroification not because Arnold was perfect, but because when he wasn’t perfect he recognized it and made changes.

    Also, the reviewer’s claim that today’s Olympia competitors can’t look at alcohol is bogus. Chris Cormier is (in)famous for his partying ways, as are many other bodybuilders. These guys may not win the Olympia, but they compete at the highest levels.

  11. wiisad on February 12th, 2010

    I received a copy of EOABB for my 16th birthday and I read it from beginning to end and followed it almost to the letter and I made great gains and even greater gains later in my life. I went from 150lbs. to 220lbs. in seven months following the training and diet advice given in that book. It will always hold a special place for me.

  12. INDIE on March 10th, 2010

    I have read the book. I used it as a bible. It worked for me.

  13. Jason on July 28th, 2010

    Try using resistance bands for your training.

  14. salak khanog aka arnie mali on October 1st, 2010

    hi guys education of bodybuilding is as arnold says fantastic book i had this book for around 4 years and i never get bored of reading it.. arnold is the greatest bodybuilder with such unbelivable drive to succeed he taught me alot to be a better bodybuilder i owe him alot for that. like arnold say i will always stay hungry..

    salah bye guys