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Bodybuilding Legend Frank Zane

A three-time Mr. Olympia and cornerstone of bodybuilding’s “golden age,” Frank Zane still owns one of the most coveted physiques in history

By Sean Hyson
Bodybuilding Legend Frank Zane

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M&F: Your new book, High Def Body, takes as much of a mental approach to bodybuilding as a physical one. How do you assess progress?

FZ: I taught mathematics for a long time, so I’m really into expressing English as equations. I use the EARN equation—Exercise, Attitude, Relaxation, and Nutrition. They’re all equally important components. Score yourself between 1.0 and 0.1 for each of these every day and then multiply the numbers all together. That will give you a percent- age of your best for that day. Say that number is 50%. It means you’re mak- ing progress, but only half as much as you could, so you need to concentrate on one or more areas.

I also encourage everybody to have photos taken. You have to have a good picture of your body in your mind before you can change it. Shoot them outside when the sun is at a 45-degree angle—either nine in the morning or four in the afternoon.

You don’t like the traditional practice of bulking up. How can we gain muscle while staying lean?

FZ: Do it gradually, especially if you’re young. When you’re a teenager, you’re already on steroids naturally. There’s no need to try to rush gains, because your hormones are going crazy. I gained 30 pounds between ages 13 and 17. So don’t eat too much and get fat.

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