A question which a lot of us bodybuilding fans gets us curious is- How much do professional bodybuilders earn? We’re all aware of the fact that bodybuilding is the most expensive sport owing to the expenses incurred by the athletes on diet, training & supplements. So after having incurred these costs what is their return or profit from it? For starters- A bodybuilder doesn’t solely rely on just one income stream that is the prize money from the competitions. In fact, it is not even enough to cover their expenses and not everyone wins shows. So a bodybuilder has many income streams and some do pursue bodybuilding as a side hustle alongside their main jobs. Some of the common and well-paying income streams many bodybuilders have are- competition earnings, brand sponsorships, own nutritional supplements range, self-owned/managed gyms, selling training courses and personal training. Some have even embarked on becoming actors and politicians. So the question after knowing this is- Who is the richest bodybuilder? Whom amongst these thousands of bodybuilders over the year is the richest one of them all. Let’s take a look-
The richest bodybuilder also the most famous bodybuilder is none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger with an estimated net worth of $400 million. Most of us might have already known this knowing the popularity of the former 7 times Mr Olympia, one of the greatest Hollywood action superstar, a politician and an author.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Bodybuilding Career
Arnold Schwarzenegger without a doubt is the most famous bodybuilder. Not just famous, he is also amongst the top ones ever. He has won the Mr Olympia title 7 times in the years- 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975 & 1980. Mr Olympia is the most prestigious title awarded in the sports of bodybuilding to the bodybuilder who wins the men’s open bodybuilding class at the Olympia festival held annually. He is tied with Phil Heath at the second position of most numbers of Mr Olympia titles won- 7 times. The first position is held by Ronnie Coleman and Lee Haney having won the title 8 times. Ergo Arnold Schwarzenegger is easily in the list of top 4 greatest bodybuilders of all times considering the most number of Mr Olympia titles won.
Arnold Schwarzenegger first attempted to win the title in the year 1969 when the reigning Mr Olympia was Sergio Oliva. That year he placed second but that didn’t stop him and in 1970 he took the title home and went on to do so consecutively for the next 5 years. In 1975 after beating Franco Columbo and winning the title 6th time he announced retirement and ventured into the acting sphere. While preparing for the movie Conan, Schwarzenegger sculpted back into great shape and in an unexpected turn of events, he ended up on the stage one last time in 1980 to win the title for the 7th time making him the greatest bodybuilder that time because he was the first to accomplish this feat beach then. After that win in 1980, it was a final goodbye to the bodybuilding career of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Prior to going on a Mr Olympia winning streak, Arnold Schwarzenegger had won the Mr Universe title 3 times in the years- 1968, 1969 and 1970. Bodybuilding wasn’t the only sport Schwarzenegger competed in. He was also a powerlifter and weightlifter. In the year 1966, he placed 1st at the International Powerlifiting Championships. In the year, 1968 he placed 1st at German Powerlifting Championships. In the arena of weightlifting he placed 1st at the 1964 Styrian Junior Weightlifting Championships and 1965 German Austrian Weightlifting Championships. Arnold Schwarzengger has certainly built a legacy which will be remembered for many coming years in the sport of bodybuilding.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has contributed a lot to the sport of bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongmen etc by providing the second-largest platform after Olympia- Arnold Sports Festival. The bodybuilding championship popularly referred to as the Arnold Classic is IFBB affiliated and the champion of Arnold Classic is one of the most prestigious titles after Mr Olympia for bodybuilders. Not just bodybuilders, this platform has proved to be a win for the Strongman and Powerlifters as well.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Acting Career
Arnold Schwarzenegger took the first step into his acting career in the year 1970 where he debuted in the movie Hercules in New York. Despite witnessing a success in the bodybuilding career running simultaneously, his acting career wasn’t exactly smooth as it was still in the struggle phase. It was in 1976 with the movie Stay Hungry where people first noticed the bodybuilding champ. His role in the movie was important compared to his previous roles in 2 other movies. He even won the Golden Globe for New Star of the Year- Actor for the same movie. Things didn’t come easy in the film industry for the champ as he was criticised for his accent and the too muscular body at the time.
With the movie Pumping Iron (1977)– A movie about bodybuilding, he drew even more attention as he was in his own territory in the movie. But it wasn’t until 1982 when he finally attracted the attention that made him what he is today. Conan the Barbarian (1982) proved to be a hit at the box office and it was the step forward for the actor. Soon after 2 years, he was signed for the role which was going to define him for generations in the movie The Terminator. From there on, there was no turning back for Mr Olympia turned actor as he went on delivering epic performance in the action movies- Commando, Raw Deal, The Running Man, Predator & Red Heat. The ’80s was the decade when the action genre, in particular, was witnessing an overall success and with Schwarzenegger giving out such movies his name was for sure engraved in the list of top action Hollywood actors.
Arnold Schwarzenegger went on to deliver some of the greatest performances in numerous box office hits like- Total Recall, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, True Lies, Junior & Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. The Hollywood presence of the actor started declining when he took a break from acting and ventured into politics. He did make some cameos including the one in Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables.
Mr Olympia turned Actor turned Politician made a comeback into the film industry in the year 2011. He appeared in the two sequels of The Expendables- The Expendables 2 and The Expendable 3. He did a lead role in the 2010 movie The Last Stand and co-acted with Sylvester Stallone in the 2013 movie Escape Plan. Schwarzenegger acted in the 4th and 5th instalments of the Terminator franchise. He continues to do movies now and will be seen in some movies in 2020 as well.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Political Career
Arnold Schwarzenegger has been inclined to the Republican side since the time he stepped foot in the United States of America. In the year 1968, he first expressed his inclination towards Republican as he saw the Democratic similar to the Austrian Socialists at the time. His political views stayed firm and were presented more openly to the mass public when he was seen accompanying Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush on occasions. His political career took a flight in 1990 when he was appointed as the chairman of President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports for the period 1990-1993. He was also a red cross ambassador from 1993 to 1994.
It was in the year 2003, he announced his candidacy for the position of Governor of California in the 2003 California recall election. On 7th October 2003, Schwarzenegger defeated Democrat Cruz Bustamante by approximately 1.3 million votes. During the period, Schwarzenegger got himself a new nickname- Governator. Schwarzenegger has played a significant role in supporting and opposing some laws and propositions and has dealt with his plate of controversies over the year.