Well Here We are Again

Well, here we are again, and it has been fantastic to hear from all of you!

My second newsletter is here, and I think that your input has been fantastic. I have absolutely loved reading all of your responses, whether you were telling me about your fitness journey or your favorite songs and movies. Some of you even started to paint!

I doubled down on my workouts and bike rides and cut out the bread this month and I’m almost at my goal weight of 218 - well, to be totally honest, I actually still have 5lbs to go, so I’m not there yet. But I am celebrating my progress so far! I normally ignore the tabloids but my kids sent me stories about my “toned” biceps on my bike ride, so it was nice to see people are noticing. Are you guys hitting your goals this month or reading anything interesting?

Beyond my bike rides and training sessions that I do no matter what, I also enjoy getting exercise by skiing, and I hit the slopes a lot this month. Here’s a video you’ll only see here . I think it’s so important to get your regular exercise, but also to participate in activities that make you happy and remind you why you train, even though somehow my thighs are always destroyed after a skiing weekend, despite my bike rides and workouts. What are the activities that bring you joy?

And I finally filmed the final two episodes of my first-ever cartoon, Superhero Kindergarten, where I take the students on a field trip to Vienna. I can’t wait to share this with you. I spent months during lockdown doing voiceover work with our director, John Landis, the King of Comedy who directed Animal House, Three Amigos, Coming to America, and Blues Brothers. Who better to direct a show? Although I have to admit, every episode takes three hours to record because John can’t stop telling jokes. This is such a fantastic project, with action, life lessons, and a ton of laughs. Stan Lee was a true visionary, and it is an honor to get to continue his work and see his vision become a reality.

I always love doing this kind of voiceover work, because I can go all out in the booth and try different things - like I always say, too much is not enough! That reminds me, here is a funny video my assistant took of me doing voice over work for Predator: Hunting Grounds:

Super Hero Kindergarten is out on the Kartoon Channel April 23, and I hope you all love it.

You might not know that I am obsessed with boxing. I grew up boxing in high school, and we all wore white shorts, because László Papp, the three-time Olympic champion, wore white shorts. I loved following the great boxers Sonny ListonMuhammad AliFloyd Patterson, and Ingemar Johansson, always at the strangest hours because of the time difference in Austria, and always either on the radio or at the electronics store because having a television at home was for rich people.

I was so lucky to become friends with Ali later in life. We always ended up in green rooms of TV studios together, and at one point we even auctioned off our watches together for our charities. I’ve never met someone like him. I’ll always remember when I asked him how many sit-ups he did and he told me he didn’t know, because he only starts counting when it starts hurting. That’s discipline. We had some great times. I remember one time in a green room for an interview, he asked me to push him against the wall to show his friends how strong I am. I thought it was a strange request, but I shoved him about ten feet, he smacked into the wall, and he and all of his buddies got the biggest kick out of it.

This past month, it was so sad that we lost the boxing legend Marvelous Marvin Hagler. My thoughts are with his family. My team is much younger than me so they don’t know as much about older boxers as I do, so one day this month for an assignment I asked them to watch Hagler vs. Tommy Hearns.

This fight was considered one of the greatest fights of all time, if not the greatest, when Hagler knocked out Hearns in round 3 to gain the World Middleweight Title. After they watched it, they couldn’t get enough. My team spent the rest of the day watching Hagler’s fights, and now they have a new appreciation for his life and career. They said they had not seen any boxer in the modern day fight like this, and I don’t think I have either.

I also became friends with Sugar Ray Robinson over the years. When Franco and I were hosting the Mr. International Competition in Los Angeles, we didn’t have money for the trophies, and someone told us to call Sugar Ray. Without even thinking about it, he gave us a couple thousand dollars to get the trophies. Think about that generosity. This is why I tell people there is no such thing as a self-made man and you have to remember the people who helped you along the way. Later in life, when I made my own money, I was proud to return the favor and support his foundation. The day he passed away, his wife called me and asked me to come over, and I was surprised that she called, but I immediately drove over and held his hand and talked with him. Never, ever pass up a chance to say good bye.

And speaking of boxing, I had a chance this week to sit down with one of the greats, my friend Mike Tyson. I love how he’s lost weight and gotten back in fighting shape and turned his life around.

One thing that you have all been saying is “Where are Lulu and Whiskey?” So I thought I would give you an update on how they are doing. Whiskey is as healthy as ever, devouring her carrots and celery, while Lulu is getting a little hefty because she has kept up her career as a cookie thief.

Now, I wanted to get into some of the questions I have been receiving since the last newsletter. Here are three questions that stood out to me:

  • How did I stay focused on my goals in my 20s, when people around me weren’t focused on their success?
  • How do I get in shape when I have a physical challenge that holds me back?
  • Do I feel fulfilled with my life?

To answer the first question: First of all, when I was in my 20s, I didn’t worry if the people around me were lazy or more focused on partying, because I took that as an advantage. If everybody was as ambitious and hard working as me, that meant more competition. But later in life, I realized I wanted to help everyone be successful. What I tell people is this: you have to start with a vision. I was always driven by my vision. Whether that vision was being the best bodybuilder there ever was or being a leading man in the movies or being a millionaire, that's all I ever thought about. I knew that if I just outworked everybody every day, if I did more bicep curls, if I spent more hours practicing my lines, or if I studied the real estate market more than anyone else, I would be a winner in whatever I did. People around me often thought these goals were crazy - my advice to you is to take that as a compliment. When people think your vision is too much, that’s a sign that you are on the right track. Once you have the vision, it takes reps, reps, reps. You have to do the work. And you might have a job right now to make ends meet while you chase your vision. That is not an obstacle! I was laying bricks at the same time I was taking acting classes and business classes and working out five hours. Luckily, there are 24 hours in a day, so I worked for 8 hours to make the money I needed to survive and then spent the rest of the time learning and chasing my vision. But it’s also crucial to have a good team of friends and supporters and mentors. Never be too proud to listen and learn from the people who have succeeded in what you want to do. It is so important to surround yourself with people who share your vision and your drive because they will always push you to be better. I always say I’m not a self made man, and if I didn’t have my friends like Franco Columbu or Sly Stallone to push me to be the best version of myself, then you would not be reading this newsletter right now, and I would be yodeling in Austria.

To answer the next question: A person I want you all to check out is my friend Miles Taylor. Miles is 25 years old and has Cerebral Palsy. But this doesn’t stop Miles, he continues to break down barriers. He has deadlifted more than twice his body weight, lifted atlas stones, and is currently even learning the log press. He is one of my heroes, check out more here. You don’t have to deadlift twice your bodyweight to get started - just start moving more. Just a week ago on reddit, I saw a post of one of the adaptive athletes at the Arnold Sports Festival doing stone lifting with one arm! He had to change the technique, but he did it! And for all the gym owners and fitness professionals out there, it is so important that you find ways for everyone to be able to succeed. Make your gyms accessible, and be inclusive. Fitness is for everyone. Give EVERYONE a place to train and compete.

Final question: Do I feel fulfilled in life? I think that question is tough, because even though I have accomplished so much, I still want to do more, and over the course of my life, my goals have shifted from being about me, to being about how I can help people in America and all over the world. I don’t seek fulfillment as much as I seek joy. The most joyful thing in life is the climb. Think about it, when you plan to climb a big mountain, you have so much joy in the training and the preparation and the climb, and then when you get to the top of the mountain, it’s over - unless you start planning the next climb of the next mountain. If the climb wasn’t where the action is, people would just fly a helicopter to the top of the mountain and take a photo. Embrace the climb, no matter what your end goal is. Fulfillment to me means the work is done, and I don’t think our work is ever finished. Retirement isn’t my style. I believe in always staying hungry and reaching for the next goal. But everything I do brings me great joy, and I believe that’s the secret to life. Whether it is helping After-School All-Stars raise money for kids, trying to terminate pollution, or fighting for a better political system, the work is never over. Those are goals that are so much bigger than we are and they will never be completed in my lifetime. I will continue fighting for everything I believe in until I can’t do it anymore, and then I will need all of you to pick up the slack and continue where I leave off. I believe it’s our duty to keep writing our life story until we can’t anymore, so I am filled with joy with how much I have achieved so far, but the story never ends. The work goes on, and I will never, ever sit back and relax.

Here are a few of my favorites from last month:

  • Pump of the month: Seated machine press
  • Song of the month: Toby Keith- should’ve been a cowboy
  • Movie of the month: The Irishman
  • Book of the month: Think Again- Adam Grant. This book has a great message about keeping a learning mindset throughout your life and never thinking you know everything. I can tell you that part of the reason I loved being Governor was that every single day I was learning. Sometimes it was something as simple as learning how many patients each nurse could take care of at a time, and sometimes it was something as complex as gerrymandering or diversity in the judiciary, but I was always happy to hear from everyone and learn everything I can. None of us are ever done learning, and this is a great book to keep you inspired.
  • Joke of the month: Here’s a cartoon my Hungarian friend sent to me. The text says “I’d love to report it, but I don’t see anything.”

Archive shot of the month:

Here I am with Tommy Chong in the gym. Back in the day, at Muscle Beach, the guys like Joe Namath and Wilt Chamberlain attracted all the autograph seekers, but the outsiders like me and Cheech and Chong shared the dream that we would become international stars. We did it!

Keep sending me your feedback and questions! I love reading your responses.

Keep pumping,