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Frank Zane – What You Can Learn From This Legendary Bodybuilder

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Frank Zane Legendary Bodybuilder
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Why should you care about Frank Zane, a former bodybuilder, and Mr. Olympia? By understanding the history of bodybuilding, the success, and the failures, you increase your chances of success.  Frank Zane, the bodybuilder, rose to prominence as a three-time Mr. Olympia champion. He set numerous milestones in the bodybuilding industry. Before Arnold, Jay, Big Ramy, Lee, or Phil, there was Frank!

The greats like Frank Zane established many bodybuilding workouts, diets, and principles we use today. But it was not easy! Frank experienced many failures before achieving success. By understanding Frank Zane’s story, we can duplicate their successes and avoid disappointment. So let’s take a trip down bodybuilding memory lane.

Frank Zane’s Bio

Height 5′11″ (180 cm) Weight 200-210lbs (91–95 kg) Offseason weight 235lb (107 kg) Contest weight 185 lbs (84 kg) Chest 50″ Arms 19.5″ Forearms 16.25″ Thighs 25″ Calves 18½” Waist 34½”

Birth name Francis Joseph Zane Jr. Nickname The Chemist, Gentleman Frank Height 5’11” Born February 1938 in Kingston, Pennsylvania Died 3 September 2003 in Del Mar, California Cause of death Heart failure Career Profession Bodybuilder, powerlifter years active 1957–1982.

The Career of Frank Zane

Frank Zane is well recognized for winning the coveted Mr. Olympia title (1977–1979). He did, nevertheless, win Mr. Universe three times, Mr. World once, and Mr. America once. He was recognized for his slim waist and well-defined muscular physique, which reflected perfection. Frank went up against and defeated the greatest bodybuilders of his day, including the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger. We should note that Arnold was not pleased with his defeat against a much smaller Zane. However, from the time Zane arrived in California in 1969 until the early 1970s, he and Arnold trained together. Zane worked hard to construct a great resume and did it with grace and style.

Finally, the 1980 Mr. Olympia signaled the end of his illustrious career. He boycotted the 1981 Olympia because of the 1980 contest but returned to compete in 1982 and finished second. His final competition was the 1983 Olympia, where he finished fourth after suffering another injury that necessitated shoulder surgery. During the 1983 Mr. Olympia contest, he announced his retirement.

What Diet Did Frank Zane Use to Win 3, Mr. Olympias

Zane was not a big believer in dieting, as he felt it would only make him “skinny and weak.” However, he had a few basic tenets to his eating habits: He avoided processed foods and mainly ate whole, natural foods. He also got plenty of protein and healthy fats with his diet.

Some of Zane’s favorite protein sources included eggs, fish, chicken, beef, and whey protein powder. As for healthy fats, he loved nuts, seeds, olive oil, and avocados.

Zane’s diet was not about deprivation; in fact, he believed that if you ate good foods, you could enjoy yourself and still maintain a healthy physique. This is likely why his diet was so successful for him–he could stick to it for years with no major issues.

So, if you’re looking for a healthy and sustainable way to eat like Frank Zane, focus on eating whole, natural foods and getting plenty of protein and healthy fats in your diet. Also, track your calories and nutrients. It’s the only way to adjust your diet for better results.

The Many Faces of Frank Zane’s Workout

Frank Zane’s designed a workout that helped him become a three-time champion. So what can we learn from his training? First, he had many years of experience and experimented with different methods to find the most efficient routines for his body type. That’s why he changed his training routines throughout time, but all of his workouts were successful and helped him build the physique that many consider the best in bodybuilding history.

Here is his first workout routine that he used when he was a teenager:
  • Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: chest, arms, and abs training
  • Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday: back, shoulders, and legs training

Some people might think that this routine is too monotonous, but it’s imperative to balance the muscle groups to achieve the best possible results.

Now let’s see what his second routine looked like (the one he used when he became Mr. Olympia):
  • Monday and Wednesday: chest, triceps, and abs training
  • Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday: back, biceps, and legs training

This famous quotation from Frank Zane explains the main thing about bodybuilding: “Don’t train six days a week. You do not grow in the gym. You grow outside.” So if your workout is extremely exhausting, it means that you’re doing something wrong.

As we can see, Frank Zane’s workout routines were practical and very simple to follow. And this is one of the most important things for a training routine. It should be easy to stick to so that you don’t get demotivated and stop working out. That’s why so many people cannot get the body they want–because they can’t find a workout routine that suits them and is easy to follow.

But with Frank Zane’s advice, we can all achieve the body of our dreams! So try his routines and see how it works for you. And always keep in mind that the key to better results is not doing more workouts or spending more extended time in the gym. Instead, it’s all about proper nutrition and the correct training principles! So don’t forget to incorporate progressive overload and periodization into your workout plan.

What Can Be Learned from Frank Zanes Workout Ethic

Like Frank Zane, focus on your goals and be prepared to make some personal sacrifice not just for weeks or months but for years.  Track everything, including every bite of food you ate and every rep and set you completed.  Also, track your body metrics to understand how your body responds to nutrition and exercise. Finally, track your thoughts and emotions in a diary so you can reflect and learn from your mistakes while understanding your abilities.

Among all the attributes Frank Zane had, his incredible perseverance probably made him the champion he was. Despite not having the best genetics, he trained tirelessly for years while working as a teacher to support his family before winning his first championship. Next, he focused on building muscles that others ignored. Finally, it took him years of hard effort before he became the legendary Frank Zane we all know today.

The Last Word on Frank Zane, a Legendary Bodybuilder

Frank Zane was very athletic but also brilliant. Inside the weightlifting community, he is a cultural icon. Frank built his reputation the old fashion way. He earned it.  Thus, he had to put in years of effort to obtain his shredded and robust muscular body. We can infer from glancing at Frank Zane’s diet and exercise that we must put in the effort if we’re to be like him. But also we must try new things and focus on the details.

The lessons that Frank Zane has to offer about bodybuilding and dieting will resonate with those who want a better physique, but you can apply his advice beyond the gym. There are many parallels between what it takes for someone to achieve fitness goals and what is needed in other areas of life. For example, if you’ve ever worked towards an ambitious goal and lost motivation along the way because you felt like your hard work wasn’t paying off fast enough, then you know how frustrating this feeling can be. It’s no wonder so many people give up on their dreams before seeing any results! With perseverance, however, success becomes inevitable.

What has been your experience with bodybuilding? Have you ever trained as an elite athlete or participated in weightlifting competitions? We’d love to hear about it! Please follow us on social media using so we can keep up with how you’re doing!

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