Arnold Schwarzenegger is still rocking the Styrian Oak bod at 76, and that’s saying something. The bodybuilding legend and former California Governor has tried it all when it comes to keeping up his physique. He’s shared his former diet and exercise regimens but now prefers to eat mostly vegan. And he’s got a few tips for anyone trying to slim down a little.
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Arnold Schwarzenegger Doesn’t Count Calories
In a Reddit AMA on r/fitness, a fan asked Schwarzenegger if he’s ever counted calories. It turns out that he doesn’t and never has.
“I didn’t measure anything. I have no patience for that! Never counted. I think overthinking fitness and nutrition can end up derailing a lot of people,” said Arnold. “Most of us know what’s healthy. From when I was competing to now, I’ve done the same thing: if I start developing a budl, I scale back my portions a little. I might cut bread and sweets. I do little adjustments and try to eat things I know are healthy at least 80-90% of the time, that’s it.”
He Drinks a Plant-Based Protein Smoothie (Sometimes With Schnapps) After Every Workout
Asked if he has any favorite shakes, Schwarzenegger gave this recipe:
“I do my Ladder plant protein, a banana, almond milk, some cherry juice, and if I’m feeling crazy, schnapps.” Ladder makes plant-based whey protein. Arnold has previously mentioned preferring the vanilla flavor. He also prefers Austrian schnapps.
While the former Governor doesn’t have anything to prove at this point, he also mentioned that he can still beat his own kids at a variety of sports including skiing. He works out every day but also finds time to play chess, paint, and play with his animals. But he still has some tricks up his [very large] sleeves for when it gets to a point that he feels he needs to adjust his diet. He shares a lot of these tricks in his free newsletter.
Arnold Eats About 80% Vegan, Which Has Lowered His Cholesterol
Prior to going vegan, Arnold Schwarzenegger had a propensity for eating animal products. But now that 80% of his diet is from plants, his bad cholesterol is almost non-existent.
“My bad cholesterol number is so low that my doctor thought I might be a different person,” Arnold wrote in his newsletter (via Insider).
Eating less animal products is also a point made in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Climate Initiative, which works to bring awareness to the climate crisis while helping people make proactive lifestyle changes.
Arnold Semi-Skips Meals Sometimes For Weight Loss (i.e., Brunch vs Breakfast)
But his biggest go-to is just skipping a meal or pushing it out a little.
“One thing that’s worked for me when I am trying to get more ripped for a project has been just dropping a meal,” wrote the Terminator star. “Sometimes, I get going with my day after my training and have eggs or yogurt with granola later than normal, almost as a brunch instead of breakfast.”
This strategy is known as intermittent fasting and may help boost digestion and metabolism if done carefully.
Arnold Schwarzenegger Has Some Favorite Go-To Meals to Stay Lean and Healthy
Schwarzenegger gave another tip: swap a part of your meal for vegetables or protein.
Here are some meal ideas that Arnold Schwarzenegger has shared via his newsletter:
Cucumber Salad with Pumpkin Seed Oil
“Pumpkin seed oil is a huge deal in Styria, the state in Austria where I was born. And it is delicious,” he wrote.
“Every night I eat a cucumber salad with pumpkin seed oil and a vegetable soup,” said Arnold. “I love vegetable soups. No cream, just puréed veggies. Different ones every night. I apologize that it’s boring.”
But he did give a basic rundown of one of his favorite vegetable soups. The vegetables can be swapped so you can make it your own:
A base of olive oil, broth, lemon juice, salt and pepper, cumin, fresh herbs, and low-fat yogurt. Add chickpeas, garlic, onion, spinach, zucchini, or whatever else you have around. Top it with a little bit of pumpkin seed oil.
It makes sense. Arnold Schwarzenegger has found his go-to meals that he continues loving every day. He’s mentioned the importance of enjoying what you do, so why not enjoy what you eat?
Vegetables Can Aid in Weight Loss by Adding Water, Fiber, & Important Nutrients
According to the CDC, vegetables can aid in weight loss because they add volume without the calories. The water and fiber in produce will make you feel fuller without actually making you gain weight. Feeling fuller for longer will also reduce your chances of grabbing the next candy bar that comes your way.
Researchers have also found evidence of micronutrients (the vitamins and minerals that produce is chock-full of) aiding in long-term weight loss solutions. While this isn’t specifically because micronutrients cause weight loss, it’s attributed to a healthy diet. Some fad diets can throw people off because they fail to incorporate everything our bodies need.
Arnold Says the Schnapps Can Help Protein in Smoothies Enter the Bloodstream Faster (This May Not Be True)
Apart from vegetables and proteins, Arnold is a big believer in his Ladder smoothies. He drinks them after every workout. In a video showing his “Top Secret,” he also gave a little insight into the “occasional” splash of schnapps thing.
“How do you get the protein in as quick as possible, into the bloodstream?” he asks rhetorically. “You’re right. A little schnapps directly from Austria.” He proceeds to pull the cork out with his teeth and laugh maniacally.
“And you pour it in,” he says. “Not too much.” For the record, he doesn’t use a pouring spout and definitely pours that stuff in his blender for at least 5 seconds before the camera cuts.
Let’s just call it a protein cocktail. Hey, you gotta live a little.