If you are like most people, when you see a bunch of bodybuilders, it is easy to think they have a lot of muscle but very little above the neckline in the way of intelligence. But when the movie, Pumping Iron came out and the sport of bodybuilding exploded on the national scene, the men who were the “stars” of that movie were the best the sport had to offer.
If you were to ask yourself, which of these men flexing their muscles in Pumping Iron already had a master’s degree in education from Wilkes University and had taught chemistry and mathematics, that bodybuilder’s name would be Frank Zane. If you asked yourself which of them would go on to earn more advanced education from Cal State with a degree in experimental psychology, that bodybuilder would also be Frank Zane. While many of the bodybuilders who were showcased in Pumping Iron were highly intelligent and crafty individuals, there may be no better example of the perfect blend of brains and brawn than the wonderfully proportioned Frank Zane.
We should not be confused that when Frank Zane brought his impressive education and intelligence to the sport of bodybuilding, that did not mean he was not a serious contender for the top honors of the sport. Zane won the Mr. Olympia competition three years in a row.
What made Frank Zane stand out on a stage full of well-sculpted bodybuilders is he possessed the second smallest waistline in the bodybuilding sport. That tiny waist combined with Zane’s wide and muscular shoulders created a perfect V look that was striking, artistic and beautiful. This body design was no freak of nature. It was a careful creation of a man who understood the dynamics of bodybuilding and used his powerful mind to create a look that would serve him well in world-class bodybuilding competitions such as the one that is showcased in the movie, Pumping Iron.
Frank Zane may not have enjoyed the fame and success of one of his competitors in Pumping Iron, the intimidating Arnold Schwarzenegger. But Frank Zane held the distinction of being one of the few bodybuilders to have defeated Schwarzenegger in the 1968 Mr. Universe competition. That win was just a single victory in the 20 year career in bodybuilding that Frank Zane enjoyed. Before he retired in 1983, Frank Zane had won Mr. America, Mr. Universe, Mr. World and Mr. Olympia competitions.
The methodical and scientific approach that Frank Zane brought to the discipline of bodybuilding earned him the nickname “The Chemist”. Zane precise use of science and training as part of the reason he had a reputation of being able to bring his body to an exact perfection for bodybuilding and to do it precisely on the day of competition. Small wonder when Frank Zane walked out on stage to compete in a bodybuilding championship, he was a versions contender each time the other bodybuilders faced him.
Upon his retirement, Zane went on to write many bodybuilding books to pass his vast storehouse of knowledge on to others in the sport. Any bodybuilder who wants to set out to get that perfectly proportioned symmetrical body that was a Frank Zane trademark can do it employing his carefully formatted program that he called B=EARN which stood for Total Bodybuilding = Exercise x Attitude x Rest x Nutrition.
To win like Frank Zane, his students had to be just as smart and just as disciplined as Frank Zane. But the one thing that this phenomenal bodybuilder that audiences admired in Pumping Iron proved was that brains plus brawn results in a very successful bodybuilding career.