Frank Zane

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Frank Zane
Zane at the One for All Shorts program at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival
Personal info
NicknameThe Chemist
Born (1942-06-28) June 28, 1942 (age 81)
Kingston, Pennsylvania, USA[1]
Height5 ft 9 in (175 cm)[2]
  • contest: 200 lb (91 kg) [2]
  • off season: 220 lb (100 kg) [2]
Professional career
  • Mr. Pennsylvania
  • 1961
Best win
  • IFBB Mr. Olympia
  • 1977–1979
PredecessorFranco Columbu
SuccessorArnold Schwarzenegger
Active1961–1983 [3]

Frank Zane (born June 28, 1942[1]) is a retired American professional bodybuilder and author. He is a three-time Mr. Olympia, and his physique is considered one of the greatest in the history of bodybuilding due to his meticulous focus on symmetry and proportion.[4] He was inducted in the IFBB Hall of Fame in 1999.[1]


Zane was born in Kingston, Pennsylvania on June 28, 1942. He started bodybuilding as a teenager after reading Muscle Magazine.[5] He went from 130 pounds (59 kg) at 14 to 160 pounds (73 kg) at 17 through weightlifting.[6] In 1964, he received a Bachelor of Science from Wilkes University.[6] For 13 years, he taught mathematics and chemistry while living in Florida and California. He also taught mathematics and chemistry at Watchung Hills Regional High School (in New Jersey) for the 1965–1966 school year. He earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from California State University, Los Angeles in 1977. Zane was awarded a master's degree in experimental psychology from California State University, San Bernardino in 1992.[7]

Bodybuilding career[edit]

Zane is a three-time Mr. Olympia (1977 to 1979). His reign represented a shift in emphasis from mass to aesthetics. Zane's physique featured the second-thinnest waistline of all the Mr. Olympias (after Sergio Oliva), with his wide shoulders making for a distinctive V-taper. He stood at 5 feet 9 inches (1.75 m) and had a competition weight of less than 190 pounds when he won all three of his Mr. Olympias. 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."[8]

He famously trained with light weights which saw him to many victories, but Joe Weider urged him to train with heavier weights. Zane then 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 poolside accident in his home[9] and lost 15 pounds (6.8 kg) of muscle mass. This ended his reign. Arnold Schwarzenegger came out of retirement and won, with Zane in third;[1] the outcome was highly controversial.[10]

Zane is one of only three men to have defeated Schwarzenegger (with Chester Yorton and Sergio Oliva) in a bodybuilding contest and one of the very few Mr. Olympia winners under 200 pounds (91 kg). Overall, he competed for over 20 years (retiring after the 1983 Mr. Olympia) and won Mr. America, Mr. Universe, Mr. World, and Mr. Olympia during his career.

In 1985, Frank and his wife Christine owned and operated "Zane Haven" in Palm Springs, California where they conducted one-on-one sessions with clients who wished to possess a symmetrical physique. Today, the Zanes live in San Diego, California, and his learning center is now called "Zane Experience".[7] He is the founder of Zane Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA which features bodybuilding art and photography and is dedicated to bringing Golden Era Bodybuilding back into the mainstream. In addition to this, he operates a commerce site selling books, supplements and training equipment.

In 1994, Zane was inducted into the Joe Weider Hall of Fame. Since 1998, Zane has written a newsletter entitled Frank Zane Newsletter, that provides the latest information in all aspects of bodybuilding. He received the Arnold Schwarzenegger Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2003 Arnold Classic for his dedication and longtime support of the sport.[5]

In 2005, Zane played the IFBB Announcer and worked as the consulting producer in the movie "See Arnold Run". As of 2006, Zane runs his own website, and 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 Festival.[11]

In June 2020, Frank Zane began filming a feature documentary on his life directed and produced by filmmaker Alex Ardenti.[12]

Bodybuilding titles[edit]

Competitive stats[edit]

  • Height: 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)[2]
  • Contest weight: 200 lb (91 kg)[2]


  • 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)
  • 91 Day Wonder Abs (2017)
  • Zane Bodybuilding Manual (2018)


  1. ^ a b c d "Frank Zane". IFBB. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Frank Zane: Height, Weight, Arms, Chest, Biography – Fitness Volt". September 14, 2020. Archived from the original on July 22, 2021.
  3. ^ "Frank Zane". August 16, 2017.
  4. ^ Arnold Schwarzenegger. The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. p. 196.
  5. ^ a b Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award - Frank Zane. ArnoldSportsFestival via YouTube. Archived from the original on December 22, 2021. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Frank Zane's Biography - Frank Zane - 3X Mr. Olympia". Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Resume". Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  8. ^ The Life and Times Of The World's Greatest Bodybuilders
  9. ^ Joe Weider (1983). Building Arms for Mass and Power. Contemporary Books. p. 17. ISBN 9780809255009.
  10. ^ "Mr. Olympia 1980: What Actually Happened?". The Bodybuilding Archive. The Bodybuilding Archive. July 14, 2022. Retrieved May 29, 2023.
  11. ^ "Challenging Impossibility". Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  12. ^ "Frank Zane – Defined: The new documentary by Alex Ardenti". June 21, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2020.

External links[edit]

Mr. Olympia
Preceded by:
Franco Columbu
First (1977) Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Second (1978) Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
Third (1979) Succeeded by:
Arnold Schwarzenegger