When you hear the name Frank Zane, you immediately think of his well proportioned, and symmetrical physique with a distinctive v-taper that earned him not one or two, but three Mr. Olympia bodybuilding titles in 1977, 1978, and 1979 respectively as well as three Mr. Universe titles in 1968, 1970, and 1972.
Frank was born in 1942, in Kingston, Pennsylvania, and was a force of bodybuilding nature. To this day, Zane is one of the only three people to have defeated Arnold Schwarzenegger himself, when he edged past Arnold in the 1968 Mr. Universe bodybuilding contest.
He was also a Bachelor of Science degree holder and taught mathematics, which earned him the nickname "The Chemist'. Well, that and the fact that he knew the immense value of supplements which he took a lot of.
'Back in the day, I took a lot of supplements and a ton of amino acids... that's how I got my nickname 'the Chemist.'
Although Zane has since retired for the second time after his injury from his freak accident as repeated injuries to his shoulders and lower back which caused him to train less heavy and use less weight, up until his retirement, he's still in incredible shape at 78 years of age, and he continues to share his tips, training routines, and from his competitive days.
'Injuries were catching up to me. My shoulders, in particular, needed surgery, and I wouldn’t be able to lift the same sort of weight with them or train the same way with them afterwards.'
Frank Zane on why he quit bodybuilding in 1983.
Frank Zane's Diet Routine
Workouts alone weren't responsible for Zane's beautiful body.
Frank was one of the only bodybuilders who weighed under 200 pounds. But most of his body weight was pure muscle. He had a competitive stats height of 5"9 and had a competition weight of 190 pounds and 200 pounds in the offseason.
"I always kept it simple, sticking to a basic low-carbohydrate diet. I tried to consume one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, which meant eating 200 grams of protein at a bodyweight of 200 pounds."
Zane usually had 4 meals a day which added up to about 2,000-3,000 calories which played a role in giving him his 190-pound contest weight and one of the best super bodies in the world.
For his first meal of the day, he had:
8oz of calf liver
3 soft boiled eggs
for his second, he had
8oz of steak
Some cottage cheese
For his third meal, Zane had
6 eggs made into an omelets
for his fourth and final meal,
8 ounces of ground beef &
A large salad
Frank was also huge on supplements (you take a guess where he picked that up) and frequently added these supplements to his diet:
Zane had an incredible career as a bodybuilder and set the standard for both Golden Era and modern bodybuilding as well.
From his bodybuilding philosophies and workout ideas which favored light weights while other bodybuilders would train heavy (for most of his career), getting arguably the most iconic physique to ever grace the stage.
He defeated Arnold, come back from a near fatal injury to compete against Arnold Schwarzenegger again, after getting back on course after immense weight loss from his injury, and even getting a masters degree and impacting knowledge however he can (Did we mention he also taught mathematics?)
The Sunshine State legend will always go down as one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time and we're only glad he's up and able at 80 years of age!
His reign represented hard work, dedication, and the know-how of getting things done.
Frank Zane's Bodybuilding Titles
1961 Mr. Pennsylvania (17th place)
1962 Mr. Keystone (Winner)
1963 Mr. Keystone (2nd)
1965 Mr. Sunshine State (Winner)
1965 IFBB Mr. Universe (1st, Medium Height category)
1966 IFBB Mr. America (1st, Medium)
1967 IFBB Mr. America (1st, Medium)
1967 IFBB Mr. Universe (3rd, Tall)
1968 IFBB Mr. America (Winner)
1968 IFBB Mr. Universe (Winner)
1970 NABBA Mr. Universe (Winner)
1971 NABBA Pro Mr. Universe (1st, Short)
1972 NABBA Pro Mr. Universe (Winner)
1972 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Under 200lbs, 4th)
1974 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Under 200lbs, 2nd)
1975 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Under 200lbs, 4th)
1976 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Under 200lbs, 2nd)
1977 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Under 200lbs & Overall Winner)
1978 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Under 200lbs & Overall Winner)
1979 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Under 200lbs & Overall Winner)
1980 IFBB Mr. Olympia (3rd, after suffering a near-fatal injury at his home, requiring lengthy hospitalization)
1981 – Did not compete (boycotted the Mr. Olympia contest)
1982 IFBB Mr. Olympia (2nd)
1983 IFBB Mr. Olympia (4th, after suffering another accident on his bicycle, requiring extensive shoulder surgery shortly after the contest)