Frank Zane | Bio, Age, Height, Before After, Training and Diet

Written by James C., M.S.(C), PT

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Three-time Mr. Olympia, famous for scrupulous focus on body-symmetry and proportion—Frank Zane is one of the iconic names in the history of bodybuilding and an inspiration for many.

What he’s achieved is nothing short of phenomenal—and it’s all thanks to a magazine.

Join me to discover how Frank Zane became the Golden Era’s definition of pure perfection.

Frank Zane Wiki

Age:                                       78 years.

Date of birth:                        28 June 1942.

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Height:                                  5 feet 7 inches (175 cm).

Competition Weight:         185 pounds (84 kg).

Profession:                          Bodybuilder, author and personal trainer.

Nationality:                           American.

Nickname:                            The Chemist.

About Frank Zane

About Frank Zane

Frank Zane was born in 1942, and he lived in Kingston, Pennsylvania with his parents and younger brother.

Growing up, Frank was considered the “quiet” type—his sibling, however, was the opposite. Zane was always bailing him out of fights—he would come off worse, but it made him tougher.

Little did Frank know, these altercations would condition him for future battles of a different kind.

His interest in bodybuilding was triggered by chance—at the age of 14. While heading to his math class, he found a bodybuilding magazine in the trash. That evening, he read it from cover-to-cover—and was hooked.

Frank Zane began training at the local weight room—he also invested in a set of dumbbells for those extra sessions at home.

However, his newly found pastime wasn’t welcomed by everyone.

His father disapproved—he felt Zane was spending too much time working out when he should have been helping the family. But this didn’t deter Frank—in fact, the negativity had the reverse effect.

It fuelled his motivation, and he started to train even harder.

Through sheer dedication and determination, he went from weighing a lean 130 pounds at 14 to a solid 160 pounds—and he was still only 17 years old.

Now, you could say a 30-pound gain is nothing compared to today’s bulking standards—but given his small body frame, this was a massive accomplishment for him. What’s more, this made his parents realize how serious he was.

It was a turning point in his life—he decided never to look back.

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After a few years of extreme effort, competition was the natural progression—more on the Frank Zane bodybuilding career later.

Frank Zane is a legend of the Golden Era of Bodybuilding. Yet he continues to be immensely popular in the present day. His large following on Instagram (88K) and numerous subscribers on his YouTube channel (5.7K) are a testament to that.

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In terms of family, there is a Frank Zane wife—who was crowned Miss Universe in 1970. Both Christine and Frank live in San Diego, California.

Frank Zane Net Worth

Net Worth

The estimated net worth of Frank Zane is an impressive $37 Million dollars.

Workout Program

Frank’s approach was to train smart—regularly seeking alternative techniques to improve and fine-tune his workouts.

Initially, he took on a high reps with light loads concept. This worked well for definition and a shredded appearance—but he soon realized it wasn’t gaining him the competition awards.

To attain more musculature, he switched his routine to lower volume with heavier weights. Frank Zane had finally nailed it—the trophies came rolling in.

When he started training for Mr. Olympia, Zane opted for a split workout—divided into an intensive 3-day schedule with a rest day on the fourth. He focused on progressive overload and “the pump” to achieve an awesome aesthetic physique.

Here’s the workout plan Frank followed to train for the competition:

Day #1—Back, Biceps, Forearms, Abs


  1. Wide-grip deadlift                                         3 sets              15-12-10 reps
  2. Wide-grip deadlift (from box)                      3 sets              10-10-8 reps
  3. T-Bar rows                                                     3 sets              12-10-8 reps
  4. Front pulldowns                                           3 sets              8-10 reps
  5. Dumbbell row                                               3 sets              8-10 reps


  1. Dumbbell concentration curls                   3 sets              8-10 reps
  2. Alternate dumbbell curls                            3 sets             8-10 reps
  3. Incline dumbbell curls (45-degree)           3 sets              12-10-8 reps


  1. Barbell reverse curls                                   2 sets              12 reps
  2. Seated barbell wrist curls                           2 sets              20 reps

(Superset workout—no rest in between).


  1. Crunches/leg raises (superset)                                         50 reps
  2. Hanging knee-ups/seated twists                                      50 reps

(Perform as many sets as necessary)

Day #2—Thighs, Calves, Abs


  1. Barbell back squats                                    6 sets              15-12-11-10-9-8 reps
  2. Leg press                                                       3 sets              15-12-10 reps
  3. Lying leg curls                                              3 sets              12-11-10 reps
  4. Leg extensions                                             3 sets              12-10-8 reps


  1. Calf raises (standing)                                  3 sets              15-20 reps
  2. Calf raises (donkey)                                    4 sets              20-25 reps
  3. Calf raises (seated)                                                             (see below)

(Drop set—120 x 5, 110 x 5, 100 x 5, 90 x 5)


  1. Crunches/leg raises (superset)                 4 sets              25 reps
  2. Seated twists                                                                        100 reps

Take a look at the legend himself in action:

Day #3—Shoulders, Triceps, Chest, Abs


  1. Barbell bench press                                     6 sets             12-10-8-6-4-2 reps
  2. Dumbbell press (70-degree incline)         5 sets             10-8-6-4-6 reps
  3. Dumbbell flyes (10-degree decline)         3 sets             12-10-8 reps
  4. Cross bench pullover                                   3 sets             12-10-8 reps


  1. Close grip bench press                               3 sets              12-10-8 reps
  2. One arm overhead extensions                  3 sets              12-10-8 reps
  3. V-grip pressdown                                         3 sets              12-10-8 reps


  1. Bent-over dumbbell lateral raise               3 sets             15-12-10 reps
  2. Side cable raise                                           3 sets             12-10-8 reps


  1. Crunches/leg raises (superset)                 4 sets              25 reps
  2. Seated twists                                                                        100 reps
  3. Hanging leg raises                                      4 sets              25 reps

Day #4—Rest Day

Use this day to allow your muscles time to recover.

Frank Zane Diet


Frank Zane knew he wasn’t built for monster-like mass—but he could achieve quality. To meet his goals, Zane followed a protein-centric approach.

In an interview (1977) he revealed:

“I eat around 200 grams of protein per day. That averages to around 1-gram for every pound of body weight.”

Furthermore, his ethos didn’t just revolve around what he ate—timing was a crucial factor for Zane. To keep his blood sugar levels steady—he consumed a combination of protein and complex carbohydrates every few hours.

Here is an example of a Frank Zane menu plan:

Meal #1

  • Three soft boiled eggs.
  • Four wheat crackers.
  • Cup of coffee.
  • Yeast supplement/tomato juice.

Meal #2

  • Amino supplement.
  • One avocado.

Meal #3

  • Grilled chicken breast.
  • Mixed salad.
  • Baked yam.
  • Yeast supplement/tomato juice.

Meal #4

  • Amino supplement.
  • One banana.

Meal #5

  • Fillet of fish or Sirloin steak.
  • Steamed vegetables.
  • Yeast supplement/tomato juice.

Meal #6

  • Amino supplement.
  • One large apple.

Here’s Frank discussing nutrition and what he eats for breakfast:

Frank Zane Bodybuilding Career

Frank Zane Bodybuilding Career

Frank’s bodybuilding reign spanned over 20 years. In that time he accomplished many things that very few can stake a claim to.

He won his first-ever title in the year 1960—Teen Mr. America. From this point onwards, he proceeded to win more than two dozen trophies. The most notable has to be the title of Mr. Olympia—in three consecutive years.

Here are his IFBB Mr. Olympia stats:

1974   2nd place.

1976   2nd place.

1977   1st place.

1978   1st place.

1979   1st place.

1980   3rd place.

1982   2nd place.

1983   4th place.

In 1980, Frank Zane’s ambition to take back the Mr. Olympia title took a turn for the worse. He suffered a severe back injury at home—which meant a lengthy recovery in hospital.

Against all the odds—Zane still managed to scoop third place in the competition.

His final attempt was in 1983. This was another tough year, he was plagued by injury again—from a bicycle accident. However, his positive attitude and determination didn’t falter—even with a damaged shoulder, he was awarded fourth place.

Although, Mr. Olympia is the ultimate recognition, here are some of his other numerous accomplishments:

1966   1st place        IFBB, Mr. Eastern America

1966   1st place        IFBB, Mr. America (medium class)

1967   1st place        IFBB, Mr. America (medium class)

1968   1st place        IFBB, Mr. America

1968   1st place        IFBB, Mr. Universe

1970   1st place        NABBA, Mr. Amateur Universe

1971   1st place        NABBA, Mr. Pro Universe (short class)

1972   1st place        NABBA, Mr. Pro Universe

What’s more, only Frank and two others have earned bragging rights over defeating The Terminator—Arnold Schwarzenegger. Zane clinched the title of Mr. Universe from him in 1968:

“I was in shape, had a good tan and was cut, so I beat him and won that show pretty easily.”

Was Frank Zane on Steroids

Was Frank Zane on Steroids?

The Golden Era attitude and laws on steroid abuse were far more relaxed—tighter controls were enforced in 1990.1

In one interview, Frank expressed his opinion:

“I am against young athletes using anabolic steroids when there is no call for it. They have enough hormones.”

Yet, Frank Zane never confirmed or denied whether he was using steroids. However, when you look at the generation of bodybuilders he came from—most were open about their choice of synthetics.

It’s easy enough to make your own conclusions.

Watch the Frank Zane steroid interview in full here:

Frank Zane Before and After

Frank Zane Before and After

Pictured above is Frank Zane, aged 17. At this point, he was three years into training and weighed 160 pounds.

Frank Zane Before and After 1

Eighteen years later—this photo was taken by Frank Zane’s wife (1977)—two weeks before the Mr. Olympia competition. It’s evident that his transformation didn’t happen overnight, but as the man himself once said,take your time and do a good job.”

Frank Zane Now

Frank Zane Now

Zane retired from competition in 1983.

Frank Zane today spends his time as a personal trainer—teaching others the Zane training ethos. He’s also active on social media and frequently blogs on his official website—which doubles as an online store.

Frank Zane Supplements

Frank Zane was nicknamed Mr. Chemist for a reason. It stems from his bachelor’s degree in chemistry—but his passion for experimenting went further than teaching in the classroom.

In the 60s and 70s dietary supplements weren’t as widely available like they are today. Most bodybuilders relied on a food-based approach to meet their intake requirements. However, Frank wasn’t afraid to try new tactics and loved to get creative.

“Back in the day, I took a lot of supplements and tons of amino acids.”

His supplement philosophy mirrored his diet—focus on protein for that prime anabolic state. Zane was a fan of Blair’s milk and egg protein powder, Brewers Yeast and liver pills.

He also backed-up his nutritional intake with a multitude of vitamins and minerals.

Frank Zane Books

The published Frank Zane books are:

  • Super Bodies in 12 Weeks (1982).
  • The Zane Way to a Beautiful Body (Through Weight Training for Men and Women) (1984).
  • Zane Nutrition (1986).
  • Fabulously Fit Forever (1993).
  • Frank Zane’s Mind, Body, Spirit: The Personal Training Diaries (1997).
  • Symmetry (2012).
  • 31 Day Wonder Posing.
  • 91-Day Wonder Body (2016).
  • 91-Day Wonder Abs (2017).
  • Zane Bodybuilding Manual (2018).

Frank Zane Quotes: Motivation and Inspiration

Frank is a true champion, and his words are a testimony to this. A legend may retire, but his thoughts continue to motivate.

Here are some of the memorable quotes from both the Frank Zane old days and the new:

Being weak is a choice, so is being strong.”

“Live your life by the hour, not by the day. What will you achieve in the next hour?”

“Continuity is how you build a physique.”

“To be successful in bodybuilding, you have to be a good observer.”

“A lot of guys have better genes, but if you work hard and consistently, you can outperform them.”

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Times Did Frank Zane Win Mr Olympia?”

Frank Zane has won the title of Mr. Olympia—three times in a row.

“What Is the Frank Zane Height?”

Frank Zane’s height is 1.75 m (5 feet 7 inches).

“Where I Can Find Frank Zane on Social Media?”

You can follow Frank Zane on Instagram and subscribe to his Youtube Channel.

“Where is Frank Zane Now?”

Frank Zane 2019 is still actively involved in the bodybuilding world—training “future Zanes” on how to achieve their goals through hard work and dedication like him.

Frank Zane Summary


Frank Zane is an inspiration and a true legend.

He bucked the “mass” trend and showed everyone that the perfect physique doesn’t have to be all about hulk-like proportions.

What Frank accomplished took perseverance, dedication and pure determination. Yet, if there’s one thing you could learn from him, it would be this:

It’s not about short-term goals, look beyond, at the bigger picture—take your time, “and you’ve got to be focused—focus is everything.”



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