Ronnie Coleman THE LEGEND RETURNS?
“I wouldn’t have become a bodybuilder in the first place if I hadn’t walked in there and Brian hadn’t offered me a free membership if I agreed to compete. Brian is really what makes that gym special.”
Olympia? Did you ever feel it would happen for him, or for anybody so relatively “small?”
RC: I was. I would be happy for whoever wins, because I know how long and hard you have to work to get there and how you dream about that day for years and years before it comes.
FW: Did you ever foresee that a 230-pound man would win the title, after 25 years of freaks like you, Dorian and Lee Haney sitting on that throne?
RC: I never really thought about it. But these days, anything is possible. You know I never expected to win. My biggest goal was to someday make the top five at the Mr. Olympia. I was winning the Olympia at anywhere from 260 to 286 pounds, but that was my time. This is a new era, and Dexter brings something to the table that’s right for now and what people want to see in a champion.
FW: Do you think Dexter will be able to hold on to the title for another year? How about a few years?
RC: It will be very tough for him. He’s up against some stiff competition who aren’t too far behind him at all. The biggest question is what Victor will look like at the Arnold.
FW: This is a touchy question. What exactly happened to your left lat and triceps, and can the injuries be fully healed so that they regain their former look? We’ve heard from Chad, but never directly from you.
RC: I don’t have a clear answer for you, because there was never a time when I felt anything tear or anything like that. I’ve had X-rays and MRIs, and the doctors can’t find any type of injury. I really think it’s just wear-and-tear from about 30 years of heavy weights. That will do a number on any human being, and contrary to what some people say, I am a human being!
FW: Well, it is hard to believe at times, you know. You have always been known for using super heavy weights and what many would call ballistic form. Any regrets about that now, and how have you changed your training since 2006?
RC: No, no regrets. I still train that way. What you have to understand is that I train so heavy because I’m strong. It’s not like I ever set out to do any certain amount of weight. I use the weights that challenge me, and they just happen to be what most people would consider very heavy. And I think my style of doing the reps is actually safer, because I never lock out the joints. If I had been doing that all these years, I would have had major injuries long, long ago.
FW: Have you ever worried that some guy is going to hurt himself trying to train just like you, even trying to match the weights you use, when the average bodybuilder would never come near what you have done in the gym?
RC: Never. You got to have some common sense and not be stupid. It would be like me trying to imitate some stuntman or pro athlete in another sport. I can’t do what they do, so it would be foolish to try. Why would someone up and decide they are gonna try and squat or deadlift 800 pounds? Come on, now. If you can’t press 100-pound dumbbells, don’t try using 200s.
FW: This issue is the Hardcore Special and we have a lot about Metroflex. We interviewed Brian Dobson and all the training features were shot there, too. As its most famous member, can you tell us what is it about Metroflex Gym that makes it a special place? Would you have accomplished what you did in the sport if you had never set foot in that gym?
RC: I wouldn’t have become a bodybuilder in the first place if I hadn’t walked in there and Brian hadn’t offered me a free membership if I agreed to compete. Brian is really what makes that gym special. He put his heart and soul into making it what it is. He cares about everybody and wants them to succeed, and he will do whatever he can to help you. How many gyms and gym owners you know like that? The equipment is great, too, but it’s the atmosphere and the people that set Metroflex apart.
FW: You have the best home gym I have ever seen, with all the equipment any bodybuilder could ever need. I hate to even call it a home gym. Why do you still go to Metroflex when you could just walk from your living room into that killer gym?
RC: Again, it’s the environment at Metroflex. It’s just a lot more motivating. I’ve had all the best workouts of my life there. I could never stay away from that place for long.
FW: That being said, do you think someone can become a great bodybuilder at any gym if they have the genetics and the drive to be the best?
RC: Oh yeah, of course. Look at some of the places champions have trained. That Temple Gym of Dorian’s is a hole in the wall, but he won six Mr. Olympias working out there. All you really need is heavy weight and a lot of heart.
FW: Here’s one that’s always irritated me. Few people want to believe that when you first turned pro, you were a drug-free athlete. Would you like to go on the record now and set them straight?
RC: I never touched a drug back then. All the winners at the IFBB World Amateur where I turned pro were tested, along with anybody else they thought looked suspicious. You know they targeted me the minute they saw me. I passed the test. You know I wasn’t even 220 pounds at that show. If people can’t believe someone can look a certain way without drugs, that’s on them. They should understand that some bodybuilders do have God-given genetics.
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