Eight Mr. Olympia’s in a row, as well as the record number of International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness (26) titles. It reads like the stuff of fantasy but it’s real and it’s the career record of Ronnie Coleman, a man who achieved everything there is to achieve in the sport. Although the 52-year-old has been retired for a decade, he’s still a gym addict who cant stop living the life of a bodybuilder. If there’s any athlete out there with the knowledge and experience to help you get that cover-model physique, IT’S ‘Big ron’.
SFME: You visited the UAE for the Dubai Muscle Show last year, tell us about your experience.
Ronnie Coleman: I had a great time! The people there were very nice and the food is excellent. I had chicken and rice in a Lebanese restaurant. I eat the same food all the time I was there!
SFME: Travelling has become a key part of your new business promoting your supplements brand and appearing at exhibitions – does it take its toll on you?
RC: I travel the world for around 300 days of the year, I’m always on the road and I’ve been doing this for a long time now so I’m used to it.
SFME: Do you manage to get some sleep while you are on the plane?
RC: Yes, I sleep for most of the trip. My trip to Dubai was 15 hours long and I slept for nine hours. I only woke up to eat!
SFME: How do you keep yourself hydrated on the road?
RC: I just keep drinking water whenever it is possible.
SFME: How often do you go to the gym nowadays?
RC: I go there five times a week. I just can’t lift as heavy weights as I used to, though.
SFME: After your latest surgery due to back injury, how is the healing process going?
RC: I’ve had the same surgery a few times before. It takes about two years to heal, so I’m looking at another year or so for me to be back to full fitness.
SFME: What advice would you give to an amateur bodybuilder who wants to compete in terms of tapering water intake ahead of the show?
RC: I think it depends on the athlete but for I would drink normal amounts of water until the day of the show. On that day I would drink four to five ounces of water with each meal, so hardly any. But a lot of people get confused about this issue – water is actually very good for your muscles so it’s important to keep them hydrated. So I don’t really cut back a whole lot.
SFME: What was your approach to protein intake?
RC: I kept it fairly high –two grams to every pound of weight, around 500-600 grams a day. I had my kidneys checked regularly and never had any problems.
SFME: What sort of nutrition would you advice for the people who want to bulk up and increase in size?
RC: I have always done low carb diet, 100 grams a day. I did a lot of cardio, two hours of cardio every day. Keep protein really high and the carbs really low.
SFME: Your career has earned you a decent amount of money but is there anything you still aspire to obtain materialistically?
RC: I have achieved everything that I wanted to achieve. My life is all set, my family is secured, I got them a house, I also have my own house, so I think I have it all.
SFME: What is the best car that you own?
RC: My best car would be Bentley. I don’t think you can buy a better car than that.
SFME: Did you have any role models that inspired you?
RC: No one really inspired me. I got into the sport because when I was young I got a free membership at the gym! Working out has always been a hobby of mine since I was 12. It is something that I have enjoyed doing.
SFME: When you were competing, how many times a day did you eat and what types of food?
RC: I would eat six times a day and that usually involves a lot of chicken and steak. Mostly just a lot of protein.
SFME: Do you think anybody will ever beat your Mr Olympia record?
RC: I think Phil Heath (six-time winner) will do it because he doesn’t really have a lot of competition like I had when I was coming up. I think he’ll do it easily and win it nine or ten times.