The perfect workout. It’s that moment when the rest of the world fades away and there’s nothing left but you and the weights—and the welcome pain of every rep, every set taken to the limit and beyond. You’re in the hurt locker, and there’s nowhere else you’d rather be because that’s the cost of progress. You’re paid up in full. The battle with the weights never ends, so you keep on fighting the good fight. Here’s to winning the war.
“One set at extreme intensity does the muscle-building job. It must be stressed that the one final, all-out set I do takes me to the very limit of my capabilities. If you feel you can attempt a second set, then you couldn’t have been pulling out all the stops during the first set. It's not pretty, but it works."
-Dorian Yates, Mr. Olympia, 1993-97
"I always go heavy and I always go to failure. Even when I tell myself I'm gonna go easy, once I get to the gym and start working, I never end up going easy. I hate leaving the floor feeling like I could have done more weight or more reps. I just love working out and going further than I ever did before.”
-Branch Warren, Arnold Classic Winner, 2011
“Bodybuilding has been the tool that single-handedly taught a little black boy from the projects to use his mind to achieve success. it taught me to see things for what they can be. I had 17-inch arms; I imagined them to be 24 inches. The power of my mind allowed me to achieve what I imagined."
-Kai Greene, Arnold Classic Winner, 2009-10
“Experiencing pain in your muscles and aching, that’s what makes the muscle grow. and that divides one from [being] a champion and one from not being a champion. If you can go through this pain barrier, you may get to be a champion. If You can’t go through it, forget it.”
-Arnold Shwarzenegger, Mr. Olympia, 1970-75, 1980
"Motivation was never a problem for me. In the beginning, i went to the gym because i wanted to work out and build my body. The difference now is that I’m a professional, and this is how I make my living. But that love for training is still there, and I don’t think that will ever go away.”
-Dexter Jackson, Mr. Olympia, 2008
“You get as big as possible from becoming as strong as possible. When I started lifting I went into the gym with that ‘how much can I bench, curl, squat, and deadlift?’ attitude. That’s when I discovered how fast my strength could increase, and it made me crazy intense to get even stronger.”
-Kevin Levrone, Arnold Classic Winner, 1994-95
“Now there’s a lot more thought process when I train. Sometimes I have to close my eyes and think and bury myself in each repetition. It’s important to do that to focus the reps the way I want. It’s never been about moving the weight from point a to point B. It’s about making the correct muscles do the work that counts.”
-Jay Cutler, Mr. Olympia, 1006-07, 2009-10
“I’m always trying for personal records. The more intensity you can generate, the faster your muscles will grow, and nothing feeds intensity more than a life-or-death attempt to set a personal record. And I’m old-school, dawg; heavy weights give the muscles that dense look, and bodybuilders should be as strong as they look.”
-Chris Cormier, Ironman Pro Invitational Winner, 1999-2002
“Going to the gym was never about ‘working out’ like it is for most people. To me, It was a matter of life or death. It was either me or the weights–and I was going to win. I’ve always had that competitive streak, whether it was in the gym, on the stage, or In anything else I did.”
-Rich Gaspari, Arnold Classic Winner, 1989
“When I played basketball, I spent hours On the court practicing. When i became a body-builder, I was in the gym all the time. Like most beginners, I didn’t really know what I was doing, but the more I did it, the more I loved it. I guess you could say I was a gym rat. Seeing my body change made me come back for more.”
-Phil Heath, Mr. Olympia 2011