LOS ANGELES – In 1977, the breakthrough docudrama “Pumping Iron” not only catapulted Arnold Schwarzenegger into the public eye, but it also broke down much of the mystery surrounding the lives of the mighty and muscle men as they prepared for the 1975 Mr. Olympia showdown. Now 36 years later, filmmaker Vlad Yudin has brought to life a revived version of the iconic flick, titled “Generation Iron,” in an effort to shed light on what today’s champions go through.
“The bodybuilding sport is very misunderstood and has so many stereotypes associated with it. I really wanted to focus on the lives of these athletes and explore what motivates and inspires them both in this unique world and in their everyday lives,” Yudin told FOX411. “Until now, the bodybuilders were always portrayed as one dimensional, unintelligent and uninteresting characters in the mass media which is far from the actual truth. In ‘Generation Iron,’ we go beyond the surface and actually get to know the guys and their extremely unorthodox profession.”
The film busts some myths about the sport along the way – like the notion that bodybuilders use steroids to get buff. Yudin acknowledged that while performance-enhancing substances are out there, not everyone is using them. And according to the reigning Mr. Olympia, and the documentary’s star, Phil Heath, who is preparing to take home his third Olympia title in Vegas on September 28, absolutely nothing can replace good old-fashioned hard work.
“We have to know how to eat right, train right and take the right over-the-counter supplements,” he told us. “There are always going to be misconceptions about what we are doing. When it comes to personal appearance, people are quick to cast judgment on people who look better than them. It’s part of the human inferiority complex.”
Heath, who started his athletic trajectory as a basketball hopeful and a college IT major, is currently consuming around 5,000 calories a day of “real food”--no extra protein drinks-- as well as doing an hour-and-a-half of cardio and another hour-and-a-half of weights each day.
“Yet the last thing you want is to go into completion exhausted, so getting enough rest is crucial,” Heath continued. “The body is dynamic. You can eat something and get bloated in minutes. You make one bad step and it could cost you the race.”
Narrated by Academy Award nominee Mickey Rourke, “Generation Iron” additionally features appearances by an array of former industry leaders including Jay Cutler, Lou Ferrigno and of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“Body building falls into a unique category of being a sport, entertainment, a way of life and hard work. You have to have a sense to really sculpt the body. It is about your vision of the finished product and how you get it there,” the famed bodybuilder turned California Governor said.
Heath – who credits Schwarzenegger with bringing bodybuilding into the spotlight– also noted that a lot of male bodybuilders are introverted and not likely to stir up any sort of trouble on the social scene.
“Generation Iron” aims debunk idea that bodybuilding is all about muscle mass – rather, it’s about developing symmetry and the “perfect” physique. And that requires a lot of self-criticism, plenty of dedication, and the power of a positive mind.
“There are days when you’re happy and there are days when you don’t like what you see and get discouraged,” Heath said, adding that his 2013 Mr. Olympia prep involves getting into the mindset that he has already earned the crown. “After I win, I’m going to do some interviews, hang out with my wife and stay out all night at a club. Maybe I’ll have a plate full of some things I like and nibble at that – ice cream, cake, some pizza and potatoes, and more ice cream.”
“Generation Iron” opens in theaters across the U.S on September, 20