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Eric the Trainer Talks With Us at The Classic!

I had an exhausting but thrilling time at this year's Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, OH! "Festival" really does fit the idea of what this weekend has become, as there are more events and things to see than one is physically capable of over the 3+ days. The "Classic" part of it, or the Bodybuilding Finals, while still the main event on Saturday night to a sold out audience, is no longer the main reason most people come to Columbus. Whether you're an Arnold Fan, a fitness guru, a competitor or spectator at one of the 45 sports events, or just someone curious about what all the fuss is about, there's something for everyone at The Arnold!

I had the pleasure of talking with several cool people over the course of the weekend. The first one is Eric Fleishman, or as he is better known, Eric the Trainer! Eric trains many celebrities in Hollywood, including Arnold's own son Patrick Schwarzenegger! He has a program that is meant to add muscle and cut fat quickly so actors can get that ideal physique for a role, or just to be fit in general.

I met Eric at the Gold's Gym booth, where they were selling the great Howard Kleiner t-shirts. He is obviously a well-built, fairly big guy, and he is also extremely energetic and friendly. He just has the air of a genuinely happy guy who loves what he does. He brought me over to the massive MusclePharm booth which was perfect since it had images of young Arnold all over to promote the Arnold Series line of supplements. We sat down in their cushy inner-lounge and started talking.

TheArnoldFans: How far back do you go with Arnold and The Classic?

Eric: First of all you have to realize that I grew up on a farm in Maine in the middle of nowhere... we had pigs and sheep and there was no sense of strong masculinity or action other than the Arnold movies that I would see at our local theater and eventually watching it on VCR tapes and so Arnold was a very big influence on me early on because up until that point I'd only seen giant guys like that comic books. I was a big super hero fan. When I started seeing movies like the Terminator and Commando that made a huge influence on me and I think it helped shape my career as it is today.

TheArnoldFans: What is your philosophy of training?

Eric: My philosophy is it's all about good looks and good health one of one of my mentors was a guy named Jack LaLanne who is more of an ambassador of fitness than he was body builder but because of the influence of superheroes and guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger, my goal in my career was to be the guy that was half Jack LaLanne happy fitness guy and half serious bodybuilder like Arnold— to straddle those two worlds. Arnold has always been a huge influence on me also he's always been the alpha male in every situation he's ever been in. I think to succeed in life you have to rise to the top and take charge the way that he did. He also defied the odds and if you saw the house I grew up in this desolate wasteland they call Maine, you would understand how I defied the odds to come out to Los Angeles and build a massive fitness business out there with movie stars and television personalities, it’s been great.

TheArnoldFans: How did you get your start doing that?

I went to college in Connecticut and moved to New York City afterwards and worked in New York City for five years as a personal trainer and in New York in Manhattan I trained the heads of business I trained Broadway actors, some television actors, a lot of fashionistas because the fashion industry is in New York City, but I realized that to make a huge impact in this world it had to be done in Los Angeles that's where it all radiates from across the globe in so I moved to LA and and it all worked out man!

TheArnoldFans: Have you met Arnold, and do you have some good stories about it?

I have some great stories, I've met him several times and spent time with him extensively. The first time I met Arnold I was so excited to meet him I didn't know what I was going to say. I saw him coming towards me I knew we were to get a chance to talk and so he shook my hand I looked into his eyes and he only thing I could muster was “I train with Don Howorth” cause it turns out that I was training at the time with a guy named Don Howorth who was the Duke of Deltoids, Mr. America 1967 and I knew that Arnold when he was a young bodybuilder dreamed of having shoulders as amazing as Don’s, so I said to him, “I train with Don Howorth,” and he stopped and his eyes grew wide and he went “Whaat? What?” and started making all this noise— it actually terrified me I thought I’d done something to offend him, but he was so excited and and since then every time we see each other we’re very friendly I was with him two nights ago at Golds Gym in Venice. They had a huge party for Flex magazine and Muscle & Fitness magazine. Luckily, I’ve been able to train his son Patrick and he is on his way to Columbus right now… as soon as he lands, he and I are going to gym for big workout here in Columbus so I'm very close to Arnold and his family.

TheArnoldFans: How is Patrick doing?

He’s doing great, I trained him all summer long he got a lot of press for the way his body changed, he was in People magazine he was on TMZ… people were talking about what incredible changes he had gone through and then of course he's in college so when he went back to USC in the fall, we haven’t worked out as much as we wanted to, because his studies take first priority. He’s being considered for some giant roles and... he's really making education the priority in his life right now because he doesn’t want to get seduced by Hollywood and put that behind him so I think he's smart in getting an education first and getting a degree and then he can jump right into the movie world just like his dad.

TheArnoldFans: Have you tried any of the MusclePharm Arnold Series products? 

I have… because I'm actually the official Hollywood physique expert of MusclePharm… which is yet another way Arnold and I are connected, we’re both MusclePharm guys. I think it's so exciting Arnold has a product that he's put his name behind, it’s so high quality. MusclePharm is really notorious for the highest level of product, they do amazing development, they’re connected with the UFC… it's just it's a great company and so for Arnold and I to be connected with MusclePharm is a true honor. 

TheArnoldFans: So you know Chef Robert Irvine, how did that happen?

I was introduced to Robert Irvine at the Olympia this past year because he had just signed with Gold’s Gym and I'm a Gold's Gym guy... so Robert and I were introduced in that capacity and he been working out for a while and had a pretty commanding physique, but nobody had ever made him look like a movie star- nobody had taken all the exercise he had done and really funneled it into a strategy where his waist would be small, his shoulders would be broad and he would look larger than life on screen... like Arnold Schwarzenegger. I got a chance to work with him starting in early October, and he's gone through such a physical renaissance- his body’s changed so much that even the executives at the Food Network reached out to me saying "Congratulations man, we can’t believe how good he looks!" I'll be training with him this weekend here and and then in two weeks he and I are going over to Abu Dhabi together- I’m going to be training the troops over there and he's going to be cooking for them, it’s going to be an amazing time. 

TheArnoldFans: We talked to him recently and he mentioned wanting to work on a project with you about nutrition in schools. 

Eric: Robert and I have been asked by people in the government to use our influence and our knowledgebase to help them find ways to combat childhood obesity. It's a topic that Robert and I are both very passionate about and so we have things in the works... going to schools, meeting with administrators, working directly with the kids, and helping them become more active, eat healthier food, and all in all become healthier little kids, because that’s the future. 

TheArnoldFans: What are your top three Arnold movies?

Eric: Okay that's a tough one- I saw a little bit of Sabotage already, and I have to say that that's in the top three. I was lucky enough to work with an actor named Max Martini, who’s also in Captain Philips and Pacific Rim… and so to get Max ready to to be on screen with Arnold was a real thrill. Commando is one of my favorite movies of all time- I love Commando, and actually True Lies, I mean that was just a terrific performance. I’m a huge Arnold fan when it comes to the cinema and I'm an even bigger fan when it comes to the gym, so I should join your organization, I’m with you, man!

TheArnoldFans: What do you think of Arnold's classic franchises like Terminator that he's coming back to?

Eric: The Terminator is one of those franchises where it could’ve been hokey, but because it was done with Arnold and Jim Cameron it was very dark, very serious, and beautifully executed. That was one of the highest levels of science-fiction where they take the normal world that you and I are used to and they insert this extra element of imagination into it and it just makes it makes it feel real and that's the kind of scary because there are things about that world you recognize, and there are things that are very foreign and dangerous. I loved it, I thought it was great.

Here’s a little ArnoldFans exclusive: I actually modeled my physique currently after Arnold Schwarzenegger and in many cases in gyms people that know Arnold will see my physique and they’ll say “That reminds me of the way Arnold looked” which is what I wanted. Here's an amazing thing— a guy named Tony Nowak who made the jacket you're wearing now made Arnold's pants for The Terminator. Tony looked at me because he used to work out with Arnold and he said to me “You have the same physique that Arnold had,” and he presented me with a pair of pants that Arnold wore in The Terminator, those custom made leather pants, and they fit like a glove. I have them at my house— the actual pants that he wore in the film… they fit perfectly, we have the same measurements. I’m exactly 235, like he was when he competed. 


TheArnoldFans: Where should someone start if they want to get serious about training? 

Eric: For you or anyone else that wants to start an exercise program or just become healthier, there are three things you have to remember, and number one is exercise. The exercising that you do you should reflect what your goal is, so if you’re a cross fit guy you should be doing activities that lead you toward cross fit success. If you're more of a bodybuilder like Arnold was, you should be in the gym lifting weights so you see the physical changes you desire. The second thing is diet: the diet you eat should reflect what you want to achieve, so if you're a guy that’s looking to lose weight, lean protein sources, fresh fruits and vegetables, and lots of water in relatively small amounts is the best way to go. If you’re looking to gain weight like a lot of guys are you have to be more aggressive with the amount of protein you eat especially eggs, dairy, and beef, that’ll help you grow. Lastly, sleep is the most important of the three because sleep is the only time the body changes… so there's no way you can lose weight or gain weight unless you prioritize sleep in your life. 

TheArnoldFans: Is there anything else you want to promote right now? 

Eric: I just want to say to all the Arnold Fans out there that he's a great guy to follow and emulate. He’s a terrific example of success and hard work paying off and I lend my support to everything you guys do.

Thanks, Eric! It was great talking with you!
Follow Eric on Twitter, and be back for my interview with Robert Irvine and more coverage from The Arnold!

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