It’s My Birthday!

Hello to all of you!

It's my 74th birthday today, and a lot of people ask me what I want for my birthday. I don’t need more stuff, so please don’t send anything. But here’s what I will ask from you. Do one thing every month this year, not for yourself, but for others. Once every month, instead of just thinking about "me," think about "we." Just give back once a month. That would be the greatest gift.

This can be anything - reaching out to a neighbor and telling them you’re there if they need something, volunteering at an after-school program, tutoring a kid in a subject you excel at, helping someone with their groceries, teaching someone to play chess, picking up trash in the park or a beach, helping a friend through a tough time, or if someone doesn’t have transportation to get to a COVID vaccine, driving them. Just one thing.

Now I don't want to limit you to one act of kindness, you can do as many as you want, but one is a good place to start.

That’s a gift I’ll be truly grateful for, because we need to start coming together. And I think you’ll love the joy you feel when you do a good deed.

In fact, I want this gift so much more than I want more artwork or cigars or shirts, I’m going to do something I’ve wanted to test for a while. Email me your act of kindness, and I’m going to jump on a Zoom call to thank the first 10 of you who reply. Make the subject of your email ‘Birthday Gift’ so it’s easy for me to find.

I also hope you had a great 4th of July weekend with your friends and family, no matter where you might be. I was in Graz, Austria during the holiday, after our environmental summit in Vienna. I went on long bike rides, stopped in the town square to have my usual sausage, krainerwurst, to see the store where I bought my first bodybuilding magazine when I was 15, and had something I was looking forward to for a long time, a great wienerschnitzel. Even though I am mostly off meat, I will always enjoy a schnitzel in Austria.

We also celebrated my daughter Christina’s 30th birthday last week. Time flies, and I am so proud of her. I’ve talked to you before about my painting, but her talent is unbelievable. We painted together to celebrate, and just look at it!

Our Austrian World Summit was a huge success. We reached over 2 billion people worldwide and hosted some of the most powerful voices in environmentalism. We heard from Lisa Jackson (Chief Sustainability Officer at Apple and former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Administration in the Obama Administration), Jim Farley (CEO of Ford Motor Company), Greta Thunberg, Secretary John Kerry, the list goes on and on. I am so proud of what we have built over the last 5 years with the Austrian World Summit and I can’t wait to see all of the amazing work we will continue to do to make the planet healthier and to terminate pollution.

Breaking through a Brick Wall

We host these large conferences every year, with hundreds of environmental leaders from all across the globe to accomplish one goal, stopping pollution. Too often, politicians talk and talk but don’t act. They will tell you that they want to make sure that environmental policy doesn’t crush the economy. I know that’s wrong because since I signed California’s historic environmental policies in 2006, which are the strictest laws in the world, our economy has literally DOUBLED from 1.6 trillion to 3.2 trillion. To give you an idea about how much that is, if the United States economy grew as much as California’s, our national GDP would be 27.6 trillion today - it is 21.43 trillion.

We have the fastest growth rate in the United States, and our economy is now the 5th largest in the world, behind only the US, China, Germany and Japan. California has its share of problems, from homelessness and drought to income inequality and wildfires, but our environmental policies did not hurt our economy. We have proven that green businesses can boom, because our green jobs grew last year by 35%, four times the global rate, but we have also proven that all businesses can boom, because we lead the nation in manufacturing and agriculture, tech and biotech, and obviously entertainment and tourism.

So any time you hear a politician talking about environmental policies hurting the economy, that’s crap. It just means they don’t have an interest in doing the hard work.

That is also why this year it was fantastic to highlight some heroes of the private sector like Jim Farley of Ford and Lisa Jackson of Apple. Lisa and Jim aren’t worried about getting reelected, they are worried about a sustainable future and getting their companies ahead of the curve. They know that going green means making money AND protecting the environment. Pretty soon other companies will follow their lead, and we won’t need to worry about the politicians failing to act because people like Lisa and Jim got off their couch and did something about it.

As you’ll see in the videos, they’ve created a lot of action. At Ford, I bet all of you have seen the F-150 Lightning, which is revolutionary not only because they’ve electrified the most popular car in America, but also because it’s affordable. Since Jim took over, they’ve increased their investment in clean cars by 30 billion dollars! And at Apple, they are beating everybody in terms of terminating pollution. They’re already carbon neutral, so by 2030 their goal is to make their entire supply chain worldwide pollution free. This is big stuff, and I was proud to highlight both of them. Watch below!

Old Friends

Now this month I wanted to talk to you all about the importance of staying in touch with old friends. Some of you have friends who you have known since birth, since high school, or since college, and some friends you have met recently. I have always had a special place in my heart for those friends I’ve known my whole life. Recently, in Vienna, some of my friends from elementary school came to visit me during my Austrian World Summit and we could not stop laughing and thinking of all the fun times we used to have growing up in Styria. It was like nothing had changed, we were all back in the classroom making trouble again, and we even almost got my friend Karl to crack a smile! He was always the stoic one. Take a look at a picture of us together in Vienna a few weeks ago!

There are things in this life I would not change for the world, like my family, my career, or the friends I’ve made along the way, but something that has always been strange to me is fame. I love meeting fans, I love signing autographs and taking selfies, but sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I could go to the grocery store without being recognized. I have been so recognizable for so long that sometimes I forget what my life was like before, back when I was just starting in bodybuilding and didn’t even know what an autograph was the first time a fan asked. That is why I love hanging out with my old friends, because they remind me of those old days. They are really proud of my accomplishments, but they also remind me that I am still just Arnold from Thal, and that is important for me to remember. My friends don’t care who I am or what I’ve done. They may think it is really cool that I’ve accomplished so much, but they knew me before all of that, and they were my friends because of me, not my money or my career. We just talk about normal things like our kids and grandkids, our aches and pains, and retirement. We still argue about who makes the best schnapps, and whether hazelnut or plum or pear is better. And we talk politics - we’re a mix of conservatives and liberals, but we still get along!

The bottom line is that it is always important to keep in contact with your old friends. Those same old friends that knew you when you were just a kid running around getting into trouble, learning to ice curl and ice skate and bicycle ride, playing soccer and on and on are the friends who you can count on to bring you back to Earth, and remind you that you are still the same person you were all those years ago. All the fame in the world won’t change that.

When I was in Graz, I was also reminded of my great friend and mentor Fredi Gerstl, who was a political leader in Austria. Fredi was a really smart guy and encouraged his son Karl and me in our workouts, but also reminded us that we needed to train our minds as much as our bodies. He was always recommending books, and maybe more importantly, letting us sit in when he had discussions with other adults, from philosophers to professors to politicians. He would always make sure we were paying attention and learning. It was his birthday on July 3rd, and to celebrate I went to the local synagogue that was destroyed during Kristallnacht, when the Nazis demolished synagogues, destroyed Jewish businesses, and terrorized Jewish people. The synagogue was then rebuilt after the war on the original brick foundation. Fredi always taught me about history and tolerance, and that if we don’t remember our history we are doomed to repeat it. The amount of anti-semitism and racism in general that has gone on in this country and all over this world lately is disgusting. Synagogues are being vandalized with swastikas, Congresswoman Greene is saying our wildfires are caused by Jewish space lasers, Asian Americans are being viciously attacked, and of course Black Americans are still fighting for equality and justice. All of this is inexcusable.

I will not sit here and keep quiet about this kind of hatred. If the next generation of Austrians can rebuild a synagogue that was destroyed by Nazis, then the next generation of Americans can create a more inclusive and equal America for everyone. Ask yourself every day, what am I doing to make this world more tolerant and equal? Progress is not passive - we all have a role to play. What’s yours?

Every single person on Earth is unique. We believe in different religions, have different skin colors, practice different traditions, and wear different clothing, but we shouldn’t see these differences as bad or threatening. We should want to learn about these differences, and study them. That is what makes our world interesting and great. I love traveling to all of the continents because every place has something to teach you. I love going to Asia and seeing the incredible architecture and the infrastructure. I love going to Africa and going on safari with the beautiful animals. I love the jungles of South America where I traveled with Jim Cameron to meet villagers who live with no phones, no electricity, nothing, like it was a hundred years ago, and I love the beautiful European Alps and the buildings from 600 years ago. And I love talking to the people in every place I travel, to learn about their challenges and their successes. Everywhere I go, I have something new to learn. We need to cherish our differences and make a better world for the next generation. To do that, we need to embrace a learning mindset. If you aren’t learning, you aren’t growing. Be curious.

Silly Stories

Now, on a less serious note, I thought I would share with all of you a funny story about my best friend, Franco Columbu.

As you know, Franco and I were always together. We were training partners, we were business partners, we were competing against each other in bodybuilding contests, but more importantly we were best friends. One thing that we always loved to do together was play tennis, so Franco would always come over to play at my house, and most of the time we’d eat and schmooze afterwards. So one day, Franco and I head over to the tennis court to play. The game was going well, very back and forth, when all of a sudden I hit the ball over the fence. Franco told me not to worry and that he would go get the ball. All of a sudden I hear a car starting up and zooming down the driveway. I am standing there on the court like a total idiot when I realize Franco has just gotten into his car and left in the middle of the game. I just stood there and shook my head, but that was just Franco! I mean this wasn’t the only time something like this happened when we were supposed to play tennis.

Another time, Franco and I made plans to play the next day and he said he would see me at 9 in the morning, sharp. I was sitting in my living room the next morning waiting and waiting for Franco, and at 10, I decided to call his wife Debbie to find out what the problem was. She picked up the phone, and when I asked her where Franco was, she responded “What? Franco has been on a plane to Sardinia for four hours, I don’t know why he told you he’d play tennis!” These stories are Franco in a nutshell, always unpredictable, always making me laugh.

The funniest part about these stories is I never complained about it, and the next time we saw each other, we would never even talk about it. We always just picked right up where we left off with no judgment, playing tennis, playing chess, making wine together, training. That was just our friendship.

I miss him every day, so please make sure to enjoy all of your time with your friends. Here is a photo of the two of us:

While we’re on the topic of friends and training partners, here is a video of my friend Doug pumping me up at Gold’s Gym the other week. The guy does not let me get away with anything.

Now, I saved the best training partner story for last. Back in the day, Ed Corney and I would always compete with each other during training. We had so much fun in the gym, and once a week, we would train with really heavy weight, so one day I loaded up 405 pounds on the squat rack and started repping it, really pushing myself. Sometimes we would have an oxygen tank by the rack when we did this because it really wiped you out. After I squatted, it was Ed’s turn, and he wanted to beat me so badly that he gave it all he had, rep after rep, until he stood back up, racked the weight, and fell over from exhaustion. You might have noticed the scene in Pumping Iron where we had our squat battles and I helped him up.

He looked like this:

Well, this time, I naturally saw an opportunity, so I stepped over him and kept doing my reps, and on every rep I was almost low enough that my ass would hover right above his face. The guys in the gym thought it was hilarious, and once Ed got back up he thought it was pretty funny too. The memories and laughter we had in those weight rooms never seemed to end. There was always something going on in there.

TV Interviews

I want to also share with you two interviews about saving the environment that I did recently on Fox News with Steve Hilton and on CNN with Chris Cuomo. I know some of you may be saying “I can’t stand Cuomo!” or “I can’t stand Steve Hilton!” Well, first of all, let me tell you that I like both of them, and I am very proud of how far they have come in their careers, but it is also important that we keep an open mind and listen to different perspectives. For me, the goal is to reach the widest audience. Not a conservative audience or a liberal audience, but the biggest possible audience. That is why it is important for me to do both CNN and Fox News. My goal is not political, my goal is to help educate people. Take a look at the full interviews below, and if you would normally watch Cuomo I encourage you also to watch Hilton, and if you normally watch Hilton I encourage you also to watch Cuomo.

Go to Twitter to see my interview with Cuomo!

And here is Hilton:

Community Action Heroes:

I told you last month I wanted to highlight community action heroes every month, so keep sending me the heroes serving your community. This month, I want to share with all of you a profile of Los Angeles resident, Pastor Kathy Huck. Pastor Huck founded a group called AMFB or “About my Father’s Business,” a homeless outreach ministry that helps homeless people in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Kathy and her team visit homeless encampments, provide residents with meals, water, tents, sleeping bags, seasonal clothing, personal hygiene products, and also help them register to vote. Pastor Huck is a total powerhouse. Not only does she provide these services for the homeless, but she also takes the time to get to know them, give them advice, and be their friend. Sometimes the greatest gift we can give someone in tough times is someone to talk to. If you want to learn more about her and her organization, go to .

Fan Questions

Do you think life can be fun and great as an adult? I’m a 19 year old, and I see so many adults, just depressed with life, stuck in jobs they don’t like with no social life and no goals or aspirations? I was talking to my mum and she just said “That’s life” and it’s just ugh I hate how accepting they are of it.

This is like holding up a mirror to my life. This is exactly the situation I was in as a kid. I would say, “I’m not happy here.” And I heard, “that’s the way it is.” I heard everything you’re hearing right now. It fueled my drive to prove that there is another way. It made me focus on finding a vision to create my own way and follow my own dreams.

You are 19 years old. When I was 19, I was still in Europe dreaming of making it to America, and I did everything I could to make sure that dream became a reality.

I think the key thing for leading a great life, and I end up saying this in every newsletter because it is so damn important, is having a vision. Sit down and really figure out who you want to be and why, not just what you want to be. I don’t mean sit down and look at Instagram and think “I want to be an influencer like this person.” Put the phone down! I had all the time in the world to think and train compared to kids today. We didn’t have a phone or a TV in our house.

I just saw a stat that teens spend 7 hours a day on their phones. I always tell people you only have 24 hours every day and you have to use every minute. Compared to you guys, when I was a teenager, I had 7 extra hours every single day to figure out my vision and start working on it. That’s 49 hours every week - more than a full work week. It’s 2,555 hours a year. 106 days! ON A PHONE!

Put it down. Take at least two of those seven hours to work on yourself, read books, try hobbies, and find what makes your passion click. Then you can build a vision, and I can promise you, whether your vision is having a normal job and being a great dad or mom or becoming a great artist, if you know who you want to be, life will never be boring. Because every step will mean progress toward your vision.

Let me explain what I mean when I say decide who you want to be and why, not just what. If you just think “what do I want to be?” and you decide to be a lawyer because that makes you money, you’ve decided what you want to be and your why is money. If you decide to be a lawyer because you’re passionate about criminal justice, or constitutional rights, or maybe even business law, you’ve decided who you want to be and your why is because it is your vision. So many people chase their parents’ visions of themselves, or they chase money despite not caring about how they make it, and I don’t think that will ever lead to fulfillment. Find your vision. Find who you want to be. And chase it. I promise it won’t be boring, even when you’re old like me.

Hell, I have had friends who worked into their 90s, whether it was Dino DeLaurentiis, the great film producer, or Jack LaLanne, the fitness expert, or Jim Lorimer, my friend who built the Arnold Sports Festival with me. My friend Warren Buffett turns 91 this year and he’s still going strong! The one thing they all have in common was that their job wasn’t just a job - it was part of their identity. It was who they were. It was their vision.

What is your bench press max?

My best bench press was 525 pounds, and in those days that was a big lift. I won international powerlifting championships.

I loved mixing in powerlifting with bodybuilding one day a week. This was my heavy day: I warmed up with 135, then 225, then 275, then 315, 375, then 405, then 455, then 495. From that I would know the weight I could do for 3 reps, sometimes it was 455, sometimes more or less, it depended on the day. I would do 5-8 sets of 3 reps. It was a way to get my body used to lifting very heavy. And then I would take off the weight so it was only 315 and do as many reps as I could, and then I was finished with my bench press.

There is a lesson in setting a goal and hitting it that has helped me all throughout my life, so if you’re young, set yourself some big goals and work on a sustainable plan to achieve them. What you learn is simple: failure is not losing, failure is part of growing. Before I lifted 500 pounds, do you know what I did? I failed to lift 500 pounds, not once, not twice, but tons of times.

One of the best lessons the gym can teach you is that failure is not an end - it's a means to an end.

I want to get my son Rocco into some resistance training but he is only 12, how do I make it entertaining so he will stick with it for life?

I think you are on the right track here, you have to make it fun. Since he is only 12, you might want to start with bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, knee-bends, and crunches.

I learned a lot from the way I was parented, which was incredibly strict, and the way Maria and I parented our kids, which was much more encouraging. When I grew up, a lot of times we didn’t do things because we wanted to, we did things because we were told to, like when my dad made us do push-ups before we could play. That method of parenting worked for me, but it doesn’t work for everyone. It can break some kids.

It’s much better to do the encouraging route, and use rewards. So maybe when Rocco wants to watch TV, make the commercial breaks your time for some exercise. To make it more fun, get a deck of cards, and deal yourselves both a card, and decide whatever number on each of your cards is the number of push-ups you will both do during that commercial break. That’s also a key - to make it fun, you need to be doing this with your kids, so they see that you enjoy it and you aren’t just making them do something you wouldn’t do yourself. I think a big reason my kids love exercise is that they grew up hanging out with me in the gym. You have to be part of it. You have to enjoy it, or why would your kids?

Sometimes a little discipline is ok. When I wanted my kids to learn to ski, and they would complain about the cold, I would tell them they just need to ski with me for two hours and then we would all get a big hot cocoa with marshmallows. Now that they’re adults, they love skiing and they thank me for making them ski to earn their cocoa. Now enjoy this photo of Christina and me in the gym from when she was a little kid and now!

I hope you and Rocco have a great time.

Here are a few of my favorites from last month:

Pump of the month: Bent-over rows.

Song of the month: Yakety Tak - The Coasters. I know you are probably excited I’m not recommending country music. What you might not know is I LOVE 50’s music, because that’s all I heard when I saved up enough money to buy my little radio in Austria. So this song wasn’t in Twins by accident.

Book of the month: Out of Many, One: Portraits of America’s Many Immigrants, by George W. Bush 

Joke of the month: I love Rodney Dangerfield and I always use this one on my birthday: “I can never get any respect. When I was born, the doctor came to my mom and said, hey, we did everything we could, but you know what? He pulled through. I can’t get no respect.”

Movie of the month: Tomorrow War

Archive Shot of the Month:

Keep pumping,