How a former Aussie tradie transformed himself into 'Schwarzenegger II'

Natasha Christian

Calum von Moger is the former tradie from Geelong who has been donned ‘Schwarzenegger II’ after he was crowned Mr Universe.

He recently claimed the 2015 title in France adding to the junior and amateur Mr Universe titles he also had under his belt.

When Yahoo7 spoke him he said it was the first he’d heard of his new nickname.

However it was one he’d gladly claim.


Calum von Moger is Mr Universe 2015.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has been a solid inspiration for the 25-year-old bodybuilder, who had even been lucky enough to bump into his doppelganger during a recent work out.

“I used to watch Pumping Iron as a teenager, I met him (Arnie) earlier this year when I was training at the gym, he helped me out with a few poses,” Von Moger said.

His Dutch and Austrian heritage also explained why people drew a comparison.

“Having a good genetic background has its advantage. I’ve got the big bone structure… he (Arnie) always had a big, strong physique,” he said.

The former Oberton High School student found his own passion for the pump when he was just 14, he’s since gone on to compete in body building competitions across the world.

“I’m gifted with broad shoulders so naturally I’m quite good at it,” he said.

“I did my first competition at 19, the first time it was a bit funny in the little Speedos but it’s much different now that I’m used to it. It’s only for ten minutes and it’s not awkward anymore.

When he was given the chance at a crack at Mr Universe he said he jumped at the chance.

However the preparation wasn’t easy, training three hours a day for the 12 weeks up until the competition.

Calum von Moger is Mr Universe 2015. Photo: Contributed

“I’ve been pretty strict with routine and training and have been really focused on this competition,” he said.

“To be the best you have to devote the time and energy into training”.

To outsiders, it may seem a little extreme for a moment in the spotlight which lasts less than ten minutes.

For Mr Universe, Von Moger competed in three rounds in front of a dozen judges – a free routine to music, symmetry and mandatory poses.

While he said the poses ‘probably looked funny’ to those not familiar with bodybuilding, he felt it was an important part of the culture.

“You can never practice your poses enough. You could have the best body in the world but its no use if you can’t display it probably,” he said.

When asked what his secret weapon was when nailing the ‘perfect pose’, he said it was all about the ‘cheesy grin’.

“If you give them the pearly whites and a wink it helps…”

And despite his title, it seemed even Mr Universe had his body hangups.

“I’d like to work a bit more on my hamstrings and lower back but all in all it’s pretty proportioned,” he said.

A lot of work also went into assuring he looked his best under the harsh competition lights… meaning he wasn’t afraid of the fake tan.

Calum von Moger and his girlfriend Karina. Photo: Calum von Moger

“My girlfriend (Karina) tans me up. You do need a tan because the stage lights are very harsh.

“It takes a while because I have a lot of body mass to cover, one coat takes about 15 minutes and I usually need three.”

Karina, who von Moger says is his ‘biggest supporter’, travels with him whenever he’s competing.

“She helps with my meals and preparation and keeps my mind off things. It’s nice to share all of this with someone.”

But getting used to his newfound fame was something the couple was getting used to.

“When I go home and it settles down it does feel like a bit of a dream sometimes,”

“I do get guys and girls coming up for pictures a lot. We’re fine with it… I’ll always stop for a quick chat,” he said.

For von Moger, being Mr Universe has become a full time job thanks to the support of sponsors and his clothing line.

He’s also just released an E-book named ‘the road to Mr Universe’.

But before his bodybuilding career took off von Moger was your every day tradie from Geelong, doing landscaping works in his hometown.

“I can’t believe I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t need to clock in and clock out. I work on my own terms now,” he said.

And while he had ambitions for the future he said right now he was ‘living life each moment at a time.’

“I don’t like to plan too far ahead for the future,” he said.

However, in another similarity to Arnie, he was trying his hand in Hollywood.

“I was going to acting classes in Hollywood but I put it on hold while I was getting ready for the competition.

“Now it’s finished I’m focused on finding an agency and getting some roles”.