Not a Fan of Glorifying Oneself, Father of 7-Time Mr. Olympia Arnold Schwarzenegger Made Him Follow This Boxing World Champion to Draw Inspiration and Help Others

Published 10/04/2023, 2:47 PM EDT

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Who would have thought one of the greatest names in bodybuilding drew inspiration from a boxer? In a recent interview, the world-renowned bodybuilder and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger sheds light on the inspiration behind his book’s name. What’s the book called? Well, it’s “Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life.” Believe it or not, all the credit for the title goes to Arnold’s father, Gustav Schwarzenegger.

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Over the years, Arnold has amassed a collection of various books he wrote. But his recent work is perhaps the most meaningful. The book takes the reader through Arnold’s toolkit for a meaningful life. While appearing in an interview with Tim Ferriss, ‘The Governator’ looks back at the time when his father made him look up to László Papp to become a better person who helps others. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger claims his father was against bodybuilding

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During the interview, Harris asked Arnold about the inspiration for the book’s title. Confidently, Arnold responded, “It comes from my father.” He asserted his father would always push him to help others and not focus on himself too much. He even cited the same belief for his father’s objection to bodybuilding. “That’s why my father was so heavily kind of against bodybuilding,” Arnold told Harris.

Elaborating on his father’s objection to bodybuilding, Arnold explained his father’s view. Arnold’s father felt, “You are kind of glorifying; you’re treating yourself rather than worrying about others.” Interestingly, Arnold’s father had an alternative to going to the gym and lifting weights. In Arnold’s words, his father said, “Why don’t you go out and chop some wood? Why don’t you go and shovel some coal?” 

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Arnold’s father claimed by doing these things and helping people, “You get also muscles. Then you also get strong. Then you also can kind of look good.” Then, his father pushed him to get inspiration from László Papp, a Hungarian professional boxer. “ Look at those guys like László Papp. How does he train?” Arnold’s father told him. His father claimed, “There’s pictures all over the place where he’s chopping wood in the forest.” So, Arnold realized that’s how Papp trained and became a world boxing champion while helping others. Arnold finished by saying, “So that’s where it [Title of the book] kind of came from.” But the question remains – who exactly was László Papp?

The Hungarian boxer made history by winning a gold medal in the Summer Olympics three times consecutively. He achieved these feats while fighting in the middleweight and light-middleweight divisions. In 1962, Papp became the middleweight champion of Europe, and in 1989, the WBC made him the honorary world champion. Papp later made his way into the International Hall of Fame in 2002. He is indeed an inspiration for many people, including Arnold. However, how was Arnold with his own children?

Arnold once threw his son’s mattress in the pool

Arnold’s father clearly played a key role in Arnold’s life. But it turns out Schwarzenegger himself is a pretty strict parent. While appearing on The Jimmy Kimmel Show to promote his book, Schwarzenegger revealed his parenting techniques. Arnold highlighted one incident when he threw his son’s mattress in the pool for not making his bed. 

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According to Arnold, he had a strict rule in his household where children were supposed to make their own beds. However, his son, Patrick Schwarzenegger, made their nanny make the bed. When Arnold found out about it, he picked up the mattress and threw it out of the balcony and into the pool. During the show, he even claimed that his kids had to clean their own shower, toilet, and clothes. 

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Arnold’s father pushing him to look up to László Papp helped shape who Arnold is as a person today. It also helped Arnold come up with the title of his book. However, we want to know about your thoughts on the matter. What did you think about Arnlod’s father’s view in life? Would you read his new book?

Watch This Story: Sylvester Stallone on Weightlifting, Change in His Workout Regime and Why He’d Beat ‘Great Bodybuilder’ Arnold Schwarzenegger in a Boxing Match

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Written by:

Sudeep Sinha

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Sudeep Sinha is a Boxing Writer at Essentially Sports. He is an avid fan of the sport and remains in awe of the fighters. He is inspired by the grit and the passion that boxers possess and feels that those are essential elements in order to do well in all spheres.
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Edited by:

Arijit Saha

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