Star Profile: Frank Zane – The Master Of Aesthetics Star Profile: Frank Zane - The Master Of Aesthetics

Quick Bio:

Born: June 28, 1942
Age: 74
Height: 5’9″ – 175 cm
Contest Weight: 185 lbs – 84 kg
Off-Season Weight: 200 lbs – 91 kg Star Profile: Frank Zane - The Master Of Aesthetics

Frank grew up in a tough Pennsylvania coal-mining town. A shy quiet guy when young, he often found himself trying to finish a fight his younger brother had started, only to get beat up. At age 14 Frank discovered bodybuilding when he walked into his high school math class and spotted a muscle building magazine in the wastebasket. Studying the magazine, he soon started training at the local Wilkes-Barre YMCA weight room. He also bought a 30 pound set of dumbbells and began training at home. His father was angry at him for devoting time to training when he should have been doing work around the house. “Build yourself up by cutting the grass” he was told. This only made Frank all the more determined to succeed and he worked out with weights for three years in high school, with two four month lapses during football season. He grew from 130 pounds at age 14 to 160 pounds at age 17 and felt great because he could actually see the visible results from his workouts.

During his junior and senior years in high school Frank spent his summers as an archery instructor at a Boys Scout camp in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, working out hard and drinking lots of milk. He would hitchhike home 20 miles on weekends and since his weights were all at camp, Frank would carry 55 pounds of weights along with him so he could train. This way he made sure never to miss a workout. His parents’ attitude about bodybuilding began changing as they realized his dedication. Frank’s mother especially encouraged him in his training.

Frank graduated first in his high school class and won his first two trophies ever–for academic achievement, along with a partial scholarship to Wilkes College, earning a BS in secondary education in 1964. All this time he continued to train and began entering bodybuilding physique competition. By now Frank had won over two dozen trophies and weighed 185 pounds. Spending the next two years teaching math in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, he moved to Tampa, Florida in 1966. Being very serious about competitive training and winning every contest around and now felt he was destined for bigger things.


Zane received a B.Sc (Bachelor of Science degree) in Education from Wilkes University in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania in 1964. For 13 years, he taught mathematics and chemistry while living in Florida and California. He also taught mathematics in Watchung Hills Regional High School, NJ, circa 1967 for two years. Taught Mathematics at Mark Twain Jr High in Venice California (1974). Later he earned a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts degree) in psychology from Cal State LA in 1977. Finally, he was awarded a Master’s degree in Experimental Psychology from Cal State SB, California in 1990. Star Profile: Frank Zane – The Master Of Aesthetics

Bodybuilding career

Zane is a three-time Mr. Olympia (1977 to 1979). His reign represented a shift in emphasis from mass to aesthetics. Zane’s proportionate physique featured the second thinnest waistline of all the Mr. Olympias (after Sergio Oliva), with his wide shoulders making for a distinctive V-taper. His abdominals were considered by some bodybuilders to be the best in bodybuilding history. He stood at 5’9″ (1.75 m) and had a self-declared competition weight of less than 190 pounds when he won all three of his Mr Olympias (he weighed over 200 lbs when he competed in the 1960s). He famously trained with light weights which saw him to many victories but still left him without an Olympia victory. Joe Weider had urged him to train with heavier weights, after finally giving in he found the size necessary for success at the Olympia. After his three consecutive Mr Olympia titles came the 1980 Mr Olympia. Shortly before the competition he suffered a near fatal accident. He managed to retain his muscular definition but lost much of his mass. This saw the end to his reign as Arnold Schwarzengger placed at the top of the podium in his comeback with Frank Zane in third, this resulted in him and many other bodybuilders boycotting the 1981 Mr Olympia. Zane is one of only three people who have beaten Arnold Schwarzenegger (with Chet Yorton and Sergio Oliva) in a bodybuilding contest (1968 Mr. Universe in Miami, FL) and one of the very few Mr. Olympia winners under 200 pounds. Overall, he competed for over 20 years (retiring after the 1983 Mr Olympia contest) and won Mr America, Mr Universe, Mr World and Mr Olympia during his illustrious career.

He has written many courses and books about bodybuilding. In 1994, Zane was inducted into the 1st annual Joe Weider Hall of Fame. He received the Arnold Schwarzenegger lifetime achievement award at the 2003 Arnold Classic for his dedication and longtime support of the sport. He was given the nickname “The Chemist” due to his Bachelor of Science degree and, as he puts it: “Back in the day I took a lot of supplements and tons of amino acids. Still do. But back then it was pretty unusual. That’s how I got the nickname “The Chemist.” There was also a perception that his nickname was given because he was very scientific in reaching his peak on the exact day of competition, year after year.

In 1985, Frank and his wife Christine owned and operated Zane Haven in Palm Springs, CA where they conducted one-on-one sessions with clients who wished to possess a symmetrical physique. Today, the Zanes live in San Diego, CA and his learning center is now called Zane Experience.

In 2005, Frank Zane played the IFBB Announcer and worked as the consulting producer in the movie “See Arnold Run.” As of 2006, Zane currently runs his own website, appears at seminars and book signings.

In 2011 Frank Zane appeared in the documentary Challenging Impossibility describing the weightlifting odyssey of spiritual teacher and peace advocate Sri Chinmoy. The film was an Official Selection of the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival. Frank was in attendance. Star Profile: Frank Zane – The Master Of Aesthetics

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 200 lbs, 4th)
  • 1974 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Under 200 lbs, 2nd)
  • 1975 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Under 200 lbs, 4th)
  • 1976 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Under 200 lbs, 2nd)
  • 1977 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Under 200 lbs & Overall Winner)
  • 1978 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Under 200 lbs & Overall Winner)
  • 1979 IFBB Mr. Olympia (Under 200 lbs & 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 after the controversial 1980 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)

Books by Frank Zane

  • The Zane Way to a Beautiful Body (1979)
  • Super Bodies in 12 Weeks (1982)
  • Zane Nutrition (1986)
  • Fabulously Fit Forever (1992)
  • Fabulously Fit Forever Expanded (1996)
  • Frank Zane: Mind, Body, Spirit (1997)
  • Frank Zane Training Manual (2005)
  • The High Def Handbook (2008)
  • The Mind In Bodybuilding (2009)
  • 91-Day Wonder Body (2016)
  • Since 1998, Frank Zane has written a newsletter (published four times a year) entitled Frank Zane Newsletter, that provides the latest information in all aspects of bodybuilding and to also promote the aesthetic physique. Star Profile: Frank Zane – The Master Of Aesthetics


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