There are no shortcuts in bodybuilding: Ronnie Coleman

If you thought Arnold Schwarzenegger was the greatest bodybuilder in the world, you may want to take a step back. Meet American bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman, eight times winner of Mr Olympia, as he takes us through a few lessons in bodybuilding

At 5-feet 11-inches and weighing over 150 kg, Ronnie Coleman stands true to his nickname — The Big Ron. A staunch promoter of the right form in training exercises, Big Ron is only the second person in the world to win eight Mr Olympia titles in a row. He also holds the record for most wins (28) as an IFBB (International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness) professional.

The GUIDE caught up with Big Ron, during his maiden visit to Mumbai last week, when he inaugurated a new gym, Your Fitness Club (YFC), in the city. In this interview, the Big Ron busts a few gymming myths, and talks about what makes body building such an amazing sport. Excerpts from the interview:

How did you get into bodybuilding?
Bodybuilding is not something you chase. It’s inside you. You only discover it. Brian Dobson of MetroFlex gym was the man who guided me towards competitive bodybuilding and got me into the sport.

I was always a fit guy. I was a linebacker in American football and then served in the police force, so fitness and physical training was always a factor. Bodybuilding is about building your body. So yeah, I was always building it to be fit. But I took up competitive bodybuilding as a sport only in 1990.

Did you always want to be Mr Olympia?
The first time I competed in the Olympia, I was ranked 16th. Even then, I was in it to win, but it just wasn’t my time yet. You can’t compete in any sport professionally if you don’t have the desire to win it all. So yes, once I started competing, I not only wanted to be the best I could be, but also the best there can be — which was then, the Olympia. And, I did it eight times over.

You will turn 50 in a few months, what is the secret behind your strength and a fit body?
Bodybuilding has no shortcuts. Every shortcut you take will eventually cost you. So the only way to stay fit, stay muscular and to keep fighting the ageing process is to keep on training. Keep fooling your body that you ain’t ready to give up and give in to aging yet. Get your knowledge right, get your training right, get your fitness and strength high and then keep on building on it. Keep training to be stronger, better, greater than you can at that given moment. That’s the only secret if there is any at all in this sport. Everybody wants to be a great bodybuilder (have a great body) but no one wants to lift no heavy a** weight. And, that just doesn’t work.

Meet Ronnie at BodyPower Expo 2014
Ronnie Coleman is expected to return to Mumbai in March as part of the BodyPower Expo 2014, scheduled to be held on March 29 and 30 at the Bombay Exhibition Centre in Goregaon

Ronnie's six step-guide for the perfect body

Never skip your protein
The one thing that I never compromise on is protein — in any form, in any way. I’m surprised at how protein deficient diets here in India are. If you want a great body and a fit physique, there’s no way you can ever compromise on your protein intake. Meats, steaks, hot dogs, roasts, eggs scrambled or a la chef — the proteins got to be coming in.

Never compromise on your major lifts
No matter what I do in the gym, I do it heavy. And no matter what other exercises I do, there’s no replacing or compromising on the major lifts — the mother lifts of strength and bodybuilding — dead lift, squat and bench press. Do them with right form and technique and you won’t need to rely on sissy workouts and get-fit-quick plans being sold to you by cons out there.

If you are a newcomer...
Stay away from the machines: Avoid the machines as far as possible. It’s the free weights — the barbells and the dumbbells that will do you good in the long term. Start building your relationship with them as early as possible.
Always do the three major lifts: Your workout should be such that it gets you to do squatting, dead lifting and bench pressing heavy as soon as possible. And yeah, don’t wuss out.

Rest and workout are equally important
People think bodybuilders literally live in the gym. But they don’t understand that rest is as important as training. I workout just four days a week. And, never more than an hour and a half at the most, at a time.

Physical activities like football play a big role
I always loved football. I love travelling to new places and exploring places. I enjoy having a good time with friends. So yes, all of that gives me enough exercise outside the gym anyways.

Never skip a workout
Bodybuilding is a religion. It’s a way of life. You have to live it. You have to put in your worship and your offerings in pain and sweat at every session. Skipping a workout is like skipping a prayer; the only difference is that these prayers show visible, quantifiable results. As hard as you pray, and as correctly as you worship, the better your prayers are answered. It’s got to be driving you from the inside 24x7x365. And then, some more.

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  • irulefitness 13-Feb-2014

    Great Article. Ronnie Coleman and Lee Haney are tied for the most Mr. Olympia titles. They each have 8, Next is Arnold with 7, and then Dorian Yates with 6. Please do a story on each of these men. Winning 1 Olympia is a monumental task that takes years of preparation.

  • Glenn04-Mar-2014

    as a 37 year weight lifter I came to see his routine and he had little said in this article. so for that I was disappointed.

  • mike hicks12-May-2014

    Hi Ronnie Mike here from New Zealand all I want to be is half as good as you, I am 57 going on 58 and have been working hard out for the last 3 years and me and my family say I have great results, I have had some ladies say what a body and want to touch me or mostly say that I look 10 years younger. I am worried that because of my age that soon I will wake up and have shrunk after all it has taken me and I will look way older than I am. What do you think?

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