Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Gym Success Mindset

Young Arnold Schwarzenegger
"For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer."


Arnold Schwarzenegger had one of the most incredible gym and life success mindsets. He demonstrated that bodybuilding and fitness training doesn’t only transform your physique, but it also transforms the way that you view and interact with the world.

Arnold Schwarzenegger relaxing in the gym
“The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.”

The strength and confidence that Arnold Schwarzenegger acquired from training hard in the gym he applied to almost every endeavor that he took on subsequently.

Here are a few of the many ways in which training helps you develop a success mindset:


When you train as a bodybuilder or as a fitness trainee, you get to apply this ideal on a daily basis in the form of progressive overload – where you progressively lift heavier and heavier weights to the point where you physically can not lift it anymore.

Arnold Schwarzenegger posing on stage
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

The willingness to fail at a specific weight in the gym just to try it again and again in the next few sessions – and to eventually successfully lift that weight allows you to interact with ‘failure leads to eventual success’ in a real and rewarding way.


How many endeavors outside of athletics and fitness allow you to apply single-minded focus and willpower on a daily basis?

Arnold Schwarzenegger training legs with barbell squat
“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.”

When you lie down underneath the bar on a bench press or step underneath the bar in a squat rack and you summon all of your energy to successfully engage that weight – in that moment, there are no lousy thoughts, no doubts, no questions, only a single-minded focus and a certainty of will.


Both athletics and fitness training teach you in a meaningful way that progress and success only come from the willingness to step outside of your comfort zone day in and day out.

Arnold Schwarzenegger training his back with bent over row
“What we face may look insurmountable. But I learned something from all those years of training and competing. I learned something from all those sets and reps when I didn’t think I could lift another ounce of weight. What I learned is that we are always stronger than we know.”

If you don’t lift progressively heavier weights or you don’t change up one of the variables that will make your training progressively more challenging, then you won’t reach new heights in your fitness or athletic journey.


With physical training you get to learn how to disconnect from the distractions of the world at large and to reconnect with yourself and your task in the in the here and now.

Arnold Schwarzenegger winning
“Just like in bodybuilding, failure is also a necessary experience for growth in our own lives, for if we’re never tested to our limits, how will we know how strong we really are? How will we ever grow?”

You learn how to powerfully and positively visualize the task that you are about to accomplish – with nothing else occupying your mind – and then you channel all of your focus and energy on the task in the moment.


When you consistently apply the ideals of resolve, focus and certainty of will through athletic and fitness training, you develop an irrevocable conviction that you can overcome any resistance or any challenge that you encounter in the gym or in the world at large.