Of all the sporting legends I grew up with the one who has had the most influence on my own training is the one and only Frank Zane. The quiet man of body building not only won the Mr. Olympia (The biggest title in the sport) for three consecutive years from 1977 to 1979 but is also without a doubt one of the most intelligent original thinkers that body building has ever seen.
From early on in his career Zane realized that his genetics would not allow him to be the biggest body builder in the world so he cunningly came up with the idea of becoming the best proportioned body builder of his generation. This tactic along with transforming posing into an art form is what set him apart from his competitors and enabled him to become a dominant force in a sport that had far bigger rivals and is a great example of how original ideas can win in the face of adversity.
Along with a great intellect Zane also possesses many other admirable qualities that all of us should try to emulate as he has shown these gifts have the capacity to overcome any obstacle put in the way of a persons aspirations if they are used as they should be.
The Qualities that enabled Frank Zane to become a Legend
Frank began meditating as well as weight training when he was only 15 years old. For a youth of that age to follow such a path would be unusual now but back in the 50s it was unheard of. This unique concept which Zane believes was a major factor in his success is far more common now as we begin to understand the connection between the mind and body but this was spotted by Zane and capitalized on when most of his competitors thought he was simply eccentric.
Attention to detail
Imagine somebody who lives and breathes the goals they have set, who leaves nothing to chance and who has every possible angle covered and you will imagine Frank Zane. The scientific way he followed his diet plans, the reports he wrote about every single workout in his training journal and the practising of his posing routine until it resembled living art were all methodically worked out in a way that was way ahead of his competitors and his time.
To live a life that revolves 100% around the things you strive for and requires personal sacrifice not just for weeks or months but for years needs a commitment that most of us can not compete with. Just imagine if you will, living a life that not only necessitates monitoring every single bit of food you eat and every rep and set of every training session you complete but also everything you think, feel and dream about, such was the commitment of Frank Zane.
Of all the qualities this legend displayed his amazing persistence above all else is what undoubtedly made him the champion he was. Not blessed with the best genetics for a career in body building he none the less trained fanatically for years whilst working as a teacher to support himself before he was rewarded with his first title. The same persistence was shown with his exercises to develop the less familiar muscles of the body which took him years of hard work before they showed the quality that separated him from his peers.
It is not just one thing but the sum of all his great qualities that enabled Frank Zane to become such a prominent force in the sport he loved but was not ideally suited to. If a study of his life shows us anything it is that I dream can come true if you refuse to accept failure and persistently show commitment, attention to detail and intelligence.
For me the most inspirational fact about this gtreat man is not the titles he won or the records he broke but the fact that he still trains religiously, sets goals to strive for and dreams to live for at the young age of 67. The quit, intelligent, trail blazer of body building is the model of a life well lived and anyone who lives as he has will not go far wrong.