I love movies, always have, and probably always will. One of my favorite things to do as a young teenager was find a particular actor or actress, and then track down every movie they acted in. I’d utilize my hand Blockbuster Guide to the Movies (this was the 90’s, pre IMDB) to get a list and then I’d spend the summer bugging my grandma to take me to different video stores until I saw the entire filmography.
In the summer of 1996, Eraser was coming out and I couldn’t wait to see Arnold on the big screen. I’d seen Terminator 2, True Lies, and Predator, but I hadn’t seen much else he starred in. So, that summer Arnold was my focus, and I slowly worked my way through everything he had acted in.
I remember the two most difficult movies to find were Hercules in New York (his debut role) and Pumping Iron, which was out of print. I managed to find a video store that carried both, but they were the final movies I watched of his that summer.
It was hard to watch Arnold’s movies and not feel inspired to get into shape. Who wouldn’t want a body like his? I remembered the video we watched in elementary school where Arnold encouraged us to meet the President’s Council for Physical Fitness goals and I decided it was time for me to get into shape.
I began buying Muscle and Fitness magazines and put a large poster of Arnold on my wall. I picked up Arnold’s Bodybuilding for Men book and began studying it. Shortly thereafter, I ended up with a copy of Arnold’s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding which I read like my life depended on it.
I was thirteen years old. I was staying with my grandmother for the summer, and she was supportive of these crazy dreams I had. I didn’t end up with a weight bench at her house, but I started moving more and dreaming of one day having a body to be proud of.
As the summer came to end, I returned home to my father’s house, and he was less enthused about my dreams to become the next Arnold. I was always dreaming big, and he wasn’t interested in that. My request for a weight bench was refused and I wasn’t disciplined or motivated enough to find alternate methods of pursuing this goal. I gave it up and went back to watching TV and playing video games.
I continued to watch most of Arnold’s new movies, but his political career was not something I was interested in. I’d thumb through my Arnold books from time-to-time and there was a short period around 2002 when I lost a lot of weight and was working out regularly that I thought I might one day get that body I was proud of. That did not happen.
Nowadays, I mention Arnold often. I’ve been inspired by him once again, thanks to his Daily Pump Newsletter and The Pump App. The other day he commented on a question of mine in the app and my wife couldn’t help but mention what a huge grin I had on my face. In a way, I feel like I’m picking back up where on a journey I began some twenty-six years ago.
This time the goal isn’t bodybuilding fame. No, the goal is to just be healthy and be in the best shape I’ve ever been. I want to pack on some muscle and regain my confidence. Maybe look somewhat like the man I was hoping to be back in 1996.
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