Arnold Schwarzenegger: ‘When I Look In the Mirror, I Throw Up’

You’ve already dedicated many years of your life and spent a small fortune on the goal of sculpting your body into a piece of art and yet, you never seem to be quite satisfied with the results.

You’ve taught yourself to follow strict dieting and training regimes without any excuses, you’ve accepted the fact that your friends don’t invite you to parties anymore because you’d rather drink protein shakes than alcohol and you can’t allow staying out late to compromise your gains. And still, when you look at yourself in the mirror, all you can see are your flaws and areas that desperately need improvement.


When your friends outside of the bodybuilding community compliment your physique, you remind yourself that they wouldn’t say that if they saw that jacked up guy with Herculean composition who trains at your gym. In general, you’re constantly unsatisfied with your progress and aim to obtain perfection, regardless of how impossible that might be.

If this is true, congratulations, you’re a pretty normal human being who’s a bit obsessed about his greatest passion. In fact, you’re a bit different than most guys, because you know that there’s always a huge room for improvement and as long as you keep on working hard to reach your goals, your current insecurities will pay off in the long run.

However, breaking the cycle of insecurity about your physique once in a while to give yourself a pat on the back for all you’ve achieved so far won’t hurt. Taking a moment to enjoy your accomplishments can provide you with a new level of motivation to keep moving forward and inspire you to keep challenging yourself.

Take it from Schwarzenegger, who revealed that he was always too critical of himself, even when he was in “top physical shape” in an interview with Cigar Aficionado magazine. The 69-year-old bodybuilding legend admitted that he was never happy with how he looked, despite the overwhelming success he has achieved during his career.

“I’d look in the mirror after I won one Mr. Olympia after another and think, ‘How did this pile of s*** win?’ I never saw perfection. There was always something lack¬ing. I could always find a million things wrong with myself and that’s what got me back into the gym – because I started out with that mentality”, says Schwarzenegger, admitting that his confidence issues have increased as he grows older.

Although the Predator never felt perfectly happy with his looks, he believes that his insecurities also gave him the motivation to work as hard on his body as he had, thereby setting the bar pretty high for his successors. “I knew that I had to look in the mirror every day and I could not look in the mirror and say, ‘You know something: You’re a f**king loser; you cannot even do the kind of sets and exercises and eat the kind of food that you wrote down.’ I didn’t want to face that”, adds Schwarzenegger, stating that his body image issues gave him the fuel to push himself as hard as possible to fix his flaws and eliminate his most prominent weaknesses.

“I do lack confidence, but I do the reps and do them enough that the thing itself will be doable when it’s time…when I got onstage, I was comfortable and confident”, he said about the way he dealt with issues that have haunted him for his entire career. And today, he doesn’t feel like he will soon be turning 70 because he’s managed to maintain the same lifestyle he enjoyed two decades ago. However, despite all of his efforts, his muscles weren’t able to keep up with his ambitions. “When I look in the mirror, I want to throw up,” he said about his aging body.

For gym rats who’ve been trying to follow into his footsteps for decades now, his interview is both kind of liberating and kind of sad. If top-level bodybuilders such as Schwarzenegger can’t seem to shake off their body image issues even when they’ve got the whole world admiring their proportionate, muscular physiques, what’s left for the regular gym goer?

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