Arnie and Franco leave their Venice Beach penthouse, ‘The Venice Apartments’ to head towards the nearby Gold’s Gym at Venice. Gold’s Gym is one of the most popular gyms for famous bodybuilders, as well as for the general public.
Arnie is on the phone to a few people, including bodybuilder and champion Ken Waller and then the media.
Before making their way to Gold’s Gym, as part of their daily training schedule, both have a hearty, deluxe continental breakfast downstairs, put on by the owners of the penthouse specifically for Arnie and Franco and other bodybuilders staying at the prestigious apartments.
The breakfast includes cereals with Muesli, oats and others; eggs, bacon and sausages; beef, chicken and fish; seafood; a variety of fruit and vegetables and salads; different fresh juices and deserts plain and Neapolitan ice-cream, rice and fruit cake pudding, cakes, cream caramel. Both champion bodybuilders have a pre-workout drink to top off a filling and nutritious and wholesale buffet. Franco states to Arnie towards the conclusion of the meal, ‘Breakfast of champions’. Both sit and talk over their weights routine for a while and let their food digest.
All stocked up and ready to go, the media are at the entrance to the apartment, mainly due to Arnie’s phone call earlier on. The media follow the two through the main streets of Venice Beach to Gold’s Gym. Arnie and Franco are wearing soft and light sporting tracksuits ready to reveal their competing bodies on reaching the gym.
The media are asking plenty of questions to the two, including, How their preparation was? How was the deluxe continental breakfast this morning? What will be their routine today at Gold’s Gym? What have they learned along the way to Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia? Who are the bodybuilders to look out for in this year’s competition? To the last question, Arnie answers, ‘Me of course, and Franco here too. There are others too, but we’ll beat them all’.
As Arnie and Franco finally enter Gold’s Gym at Venice, there is a memorable eruption of joy and adulation among the other bodybuilders and Gold’s Gym staff; the two champions had entered the building. The two deserved this kind of respect and admiration as they had worked so hard to get where they were today over the years.
Both then went to the change rooms once again, with Arnie stating, ‘No one allowed, ha ha’. Arnie came out in a yellow Gold’s Gym singlet and black shorts and Franco in a light silver Gold’s Gym singlet and navy blue shorts. They were ready to train.
Before commencing training, Arnie and Franco say hello to some of the other bodybuilders and friends, despite the strong air of competition among them. Some shook their hands while others jumped on their backs for a friendly wrestle or even kissed them out of sheer love for the two. To the last welcome wish, Arnie said, slightly shocked at being kissed, ‘I’ve never been kissed before like that, this is definitely not your first time, ha ha’.
Arnie and Franco were in the cutting and toning stages of their training schedule with 100 days to go before competition. This is where they would mold and shape their huge, bulky and muscle bodies to a lean and ripped muscle appearance and be competition-ready.
There was a bit of everything in their workout that day with Chest and Abdominals; Legs and Calves; Biceps, Forearms and Triceps; Shoulders (Trapezius and Deltoids) and Back (Neck and Upper, Middle and Lower Back). It was called station training, going from muscle group to muscle group and was meant to shock and exhaust the muscle. It was almost like something like a Biology lesson with Arnie and Franco providing perfect anatomical models.
To an external observer, this seemed like a walk-in-the-park for Arnie and Franco who were power-lifters and used to lifting heavy weights. But it was still hard work as it involved a lot of repetitions and focus and perseverance.
This was also an opportunity for not only Arnie and Franco, but all the bodybuilders to learn and grow and improve and develop themselves by seeing how each other compared to one another. Some would help while others would use mind games and try to deter the other bodybuilders.
It was sometimes difficult for Arnie and Franco to finish their routines as so many other bodybuilders, some champions like themselves, and others in the middle somewhere, would ask their precious and helpful advice. Arnie and Franco had this aura and presence about them; when they are in the room, the other bodybuilders just lift. They have a knack of pumping up, pushing and motivating them to go that extra step, for instance, more repetitions or intensity.
Arnie stops his chest routine to advise an up-and-coming younger and smaller bodybuilder how to pose for the judges when on stage during competitions – ‘You see, the smaller man comes up against the bigger and taller man, like me, and he hides, thinking the big man has more to offer. But he has something to offer too. You need to fully extend yourself and your limbs, don’t be shy and be happy and confident you can be just as good as the big guys. I have the same thing with Franco over here and look how good he is. Isn’t that right Franco, you lazy bastard, ha ha’. Franco doesn’t know what Arnie has just said and laughs out loud anyway, and some of the nearby bodybuilders laugh along with Arnie and Franco.
Arnie and Franco thoroughly enjoy their training and competing in bodybuilding and weights-training, whether it be bulking or toning and cutting, cardio (walking and running) or strengthening. This is what they decided to do and they enjoy every minute of it. As Arnie has stated, ‘It is great being paid to do what you love.’
Arnie and Franco finish their routines with Gold’s Gym staff asking everyone to give them and all the participants training that day a round of applause for such a great effort. Both retreat to the change rooms once again with Arnie stating, ‘No one allowed, ha ha’. Both come out in their previously worn sporting tracksuits ready to go back to the apartments for a deluxe lunch and post-workout supplements.
The media, who were waiting outside the whole time, with only senior media representatives allowed into Gold’s Gym, followed Arnie and Franco once again back to The Venice Apartments. They asked questions like ‘How was the routines guys?’, ‘Did they ask for your help and advice in there?’, ‘What’s your post-workout nutrition looking like today?’ But Arnie and Franco loudly answered all the questions, confident, secure and convinced of the routines and training they just underwent.
In the meantime, the two champion bodybuilders sign a few autographs and pose for some photographs with fans and members of the Venice general public, passing on a positive, happy and electric vibe wherever they went.
Until Part 3 of Pumping Iron: Tales of Arnie and Franco.
- ‘Pumping Iron’ documentary (1977)
- Wikipedia, ‘Pumping Iron’
- Wikipedia, ‘Venice, Los Angeles’