Frank Zane: Mind Body Connection Through The LEARN Formula

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Our guest Frank Zane is a legend in the industry, a shy guy from Pennsylvania. Frank found himself   usually getting bullied by his brother at age 14.  His parents didn’t support his body building, but asked him to build up his body from cutting grass.  However, Frank was determined to succeed in lifting weights at his local high school.  His dedication shine bright over the years as he went from 130 pounds at age 14 to 185 pounds at age 18 when he won multiple body building titles.  21 years later of intense training, devoted to his passion, he won the Mr. America title, the Mr. Universe when he defeated Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mr. World and included, Mr. Olympia three times.

Frank has multiple degrees, one being in psychology and he runs a renowned fitness business at His program trains people all over the world including world champions.

Question And Answer

You’ve been in this industry for decades as a legend, can you tell us about your early years?

It all started when I was age 14, I was in 9th grade, and we live in a tough neighborhood as minors there. I started body building as self-defense which worked pretty well because two weeks of working with dumbbells, nobody bordered me after that because nobody wants to fight a guy with muscles.

I went to college, graduated and got a teaching job as math teacher at New Jersey.  I had a friend in Florida in 1968, who was Mr America and also competed in London.  I met my wife; we dated for a year and got married in 1969.

I got a chance through Joe Weider who brought me out to California for publicity engagements, In May 1989 I was nominated for the New York 1968 Mr. Universe and we did a lot of photo shoots I liked it so much and I said to myself “this is it”.

What was your inspiration for bodybuilding?

My inspiration was the need to create my own body. I always wanted to do better and look better, I did bodybuilding and I fell in love with it. During these times, I was deeply involved with archery, yoga and meditation which I still do till today.

How long do you engage in meditation per day?

I do it all day. Basically I just pay attention to what I’m doing, not letting my mind wonder away and start fantasizing imaginary false things.

What is the first process to meditation you would recommend for a person to practice daily?

You could read a book on it or learn simple techniques.  Focus on your internal dialogue and put something positive in that will push all negative things away. It could be prayer or anything else, but just make sure it’s something positive.

Please tell us about your mind body connection process.

There is something we are developing; it’s called the bodybuilding equation, a formula for total growth given as:


Where L is getting feedback of growth progress, E is exercise which includes weight training, aerobic and stretching. A stands for attitude, this includes what we think and say and how we behave. R is relaxation, recuperation. It involves getting quality sleep and learning the relaxation response. N stands for nutrition. What you eat is very important because without good nutrition you will never get good results. You need to eat correctly.

What do you suggest to someone to connect the mind and body to balance the LEARN equation.

You need to focus on all aspects of the equation, because it’s not a one thing, but a total package. You can score yourself on each variable.  Let’s say you had a good exercise and scored yourself a 9, which is 90%, then attitude a 7, which is 70%. If you didn’t get enough sleep you can score yourself 5, which is 50% and finally, Nutrition. If you had junk food, let’s say 6 points which is 60%. You can find the total average to know your overall performance.

When you go for a workout, what is the psychological difference between your days of competing and now?

Decades ago when I was competing it was totally a different story. I was motivated by stepping onstage to show my body to the world, I didn’t want to mess that up so I had to be disciplined about it. But now, things are not the same. I train two to three times a week, I want to train more, but there are other things going on in my life.

How do you teach people who come to you for guidance and mentorship?

Basically what I teach them is what they need to know most and the most obvious thing is developing a good form in exercise. That’s what they came for and when I do that, every other thing falls into place.

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Peak 5

  1. Do you have someone influential in your life, maybe a past coach or anybody?

It’s my wife. We will be married for 50 years by next December. She’s very smart and talented. She made a painting of me. She’s being doing water and alcoholic painting. Before that she was doing Jewelry.

  1. What is one influential quote that inspires you through all these years?

“What’s in your mind is what’s on your mind”

  1. What is the most influential book you’ve read?

Wake up by Jack Kerouac

  1. If you could tell your 20 years old one thing what would that be?

There’s a Pennsylvania saying that we ate two soon old and too late smart. If you think you are smart and you are not, you know nothing.

  1. If there were no limit to what you can contribute to the world today, what would you contribute

I don’t believe in negative things, I believe in creating balance in the world.

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Whats in your mind is whats on your mind – Frank Zane

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