Ronnie Coleman Interview Exclusively for SwoleScience.com
Ronnie Coleman is a professional bodybuilder who has redefined training, strength and the bodybuilding world. He is tied for the most wins as Mr.Olympia with 8 consecutive titles, and holds the record for most wins as an IFBB professional with 26. Ronnie has appeared in numerous video’s displaying his unique training methods of motivational power, raw strength and intensity to climb his way to the top of the competition. Ronnie Coleman has helped usher in a new era of bodybuilding, as well as a return to old school strength and bodybuilding training.
Ronnie Coleman Interview for SwoleScience.com conducted by Papa Swole
SwoleScience– Ronnie, I would first like to thank you for agreeing to the interview and how are you doing?
Ronnie Coleman- Doing great.
SwoleScience- You hold 8 consecutive Mr. Olympia titles (1998-2005), what set you apart from other bodybuilders and how did you improve yourself so it that allowed you such incredible success?
Ronnie Coleman- Well first of all genetics set me apart from everybody else. My genetics is what enabled me to work as hard as I did. Because I was so genetically gifted, that made me even more determined because I had the genetics and it all worked out perfect, and allowed me to win those 8 Olympias.
SwoleScience- Can you describe your diet and training and differs in the offseason? Hard switching back and forth?
Ronnie Coleman- No, it doesn’t really differ. In the offseason, my diet is pretty much the same as it is precontest. The only thing I might change up is I might have a couple pieces of bread with a couple meals. But as far as diet, between offseason and precontest, there isn’t much of a difference. The other difference is, precontest I’ll wake up, eat and go back to bed, and in the offseason I don’t do that. This gives me more recovery time for precontest.
SwoleScience- What does your current training regimen consist of ?
Ronnie Coleman- Right now since I’m not competing anymore I’m lifting 5 days a week. When I was competing, I would do the same thing in the offseason but precontest I would add an extra day. The extra day gives you more time to build the body up and gives extra time to get more cardio in.
SwoleScience- What supplements do you feel are the most effective and helpful?
Ronnie Coleman- My number one supplement offseason and precontest I’d probably have to say is a multivitamin I take for energy, and to keep the body regulated. Also, I take a lot of vitamin C, and vitamin D. I might do a little preworkout drink from time to time and that’s basically where I get my energy from, especially during precontest.
SwoleScience- You’re known for your unique and amazing videos with tremendous strength and power lifting right up until competition, can you describe your philosophy behind blending such intense strength training with bodybuilding?
Ronnie Coleman- Well what I was genetically gifted with was tremendous strength and think that has a lot to do with genetics. Genetically I’m just gifted in the strength department. So once your strong, your always strong, precontest or offseason. You see small guys lift 5 or 6 times their weight, so once your strong, your always strong regardless of contest or offseason.
SwoleScience- Having placed 2nd to Jay Cutler at the 2006 Mr. Olympia, do you think that you won and can you describe the loss?
Ronnie Coleman- Course I thought I won. I think it’s the same with any other sport though, when your number one, especially when your consecutive number one, people always want to see you lose. It just the thing that people are always rooting for the underdog, and its just natural chemistry that people want to see you lose when you’re on the top winning. So regardless of whether I thought I won or not, I didn’t win because unfortunately bodybuilding is a subjective sport and that comes with the territory.
SwoleScience- What have you been up to since 2006 ?
Ronnie Coleman – Actually the last contest I did was 07’. What I’m doing now mostly is going all over the world doing seminars on bodybuilding, nutrition and working out. I also have been guest posing all over the world. I’m also been around the sport for so long, been with so many supplement companies and I’ve learned over the years what it takes to have a good supplement. So now, I’m getting ready to go and own my own supplement company. I learned so much in the twenty something odd years, now I’m going to go and do something else with the sport.
SwoleScience- Does that mean you’re going to cut your ties with BSN?
Ronnie Coleman- I’m no longer with BSN, and my contract just recently ended.
SwoleScience- Arnold Schwarzenegger came back and won his Olympia title back after a 5 year lay off, will we see you return to the stage in a similar fashion for a comeback anytime soon?
Ronnie Coleman- Well for the master’s Olympia, I might do that and that’s looking like a top priority for me right now. The only thing I have to do is continue to get my back stronger and stronger, and that has been what I’ve been working on lately. I had surgery back in 07’, so I’m still trying to come back from that and get my body strong to the point where my mind is strong. Once you’ve gone away from something for so long, you get lazy. When I was in the sport and I was completing all the time, I didn’t realize I was doing so much. It wasn’t until I stopped that I realized all the dieting, working out hard, all the cardio, it was only after, did I realize that I was doing a lot of work to get ready for these shows. Now that I’ve gotten away from it, I’ve gotten kind of lazy and its really going to be mind against body to get me back into it, just going to take me a lot to do it all again. I’ve accomplished so much in the sport, there’s really nothing left to prove, so if I were going to do it, it would be for the love of it. I’ve won all the accolades, I’ve broken the records, and I’m tied for most Mr. Olympia wins. Getting to that is a lot of motivation, trying to show people that you belong here, but I don’t have that anymore, so its going to be hard.
SwoleScience- This brings me to my next point, how did you stay so motivated and so intense?
Ronnie Coleman- Well, that goes back to the way I was raised. Basically, I was always in a competitive environment with everything that I did and coming out on top with everything I did. Having so much athletic ability and also being smart in school, it was easy for me to stay motivated because I always wanted to be the best at everything I did. So with me having that mentality and a dire love for the sport, it was easy for me to stay motivated because I always wanted to win and be the best. When I was playing football, track, even in college when I was getting my degree, I wanted to be number one. If there was someone smarter than me, I got with that person to find out how I could solve certain problems and learn to be better than them.
SwoleScience- Can you explain how and where your motivating chants came from- ‘light weight baby’, ‘an’t nothing but a peanut’, and ‘yeah buddy’. ?
Ronnie Coleman- Nowhere. That came outta nowhere. That’s just something I was just something I was just saying to motivate myself. That’s what everybody wants to hear me say, even to this day, all over the world.
SwoleScience- What is your height and weight? How much do you fluctuate in weight typically within the year?
Ronnie Coleman- It doesn’t fluctuate at all now, I stay 5’11 and around 295 pounds. That is my year round weight and I don’t really have anything to prove so I’m just trying to maintain good healthy weight. Something I know I can easily do and stick with.
SwoleScience- Having graduated Cum Laude from Grambling University with a degree in Accounting, how did you end up a police officer and then a professional bodybuilder?
Ronnie Coleman- That was easy, it was divine intervention. It’s just whatever God wants you to be, is what you’ll be. You don’t have any right to say what you want to be and what you want to do, and that’s what I found out the hard way. I always wanted to be a professional football player and when I didn’t get drafted, I figured ‘well ok, maybe I’m not supposed to be a professional football player’. So since I got this degree in accounting with honors maybe I’ll go be an accountant. So my roommate and friend from my hometown had a job in Dallas, so figured ok, I’m going to follow you to Dallas. When I came to Dallas, the first thing to do was get an accounting job, searched for three months and nothing happened. So I moved on and started working at Domino’s Pizza, they were the only ones who hired me out of college. I worked for Domino’s Pizza for about two years and the whole time I was working with Domino’s, I was putting in applications at all the accounting firms all over the United States. No one ever hired, and somewhere along the way someone said ‘hey how about you work for the police department’. When I first thought about it, I thought ‘no way, I didn’t go to school to be a police officer, I went to school to be an accountant’. I thought what the hell, I got nothing else to lose, so police office was the only thing that was hiring without experience. Every other accounting job required experience, I can’t get experience if nobody hires me, and so I just gave up on accounting. I figured it was time for me to change and there goes that divine intervention- Me wanting to be an account and God wanting me to be who he wants me to be. So I applied to the police department and three months later I was hired. One of the guys at the police department said ‘hey your kind of big where do you work out at?’ and I said ‘at the station’ , and he said ‘naw man, I got this gym here I’m working out and they got way more weights there and should come over there and workout.’ The first day I came to the gym the owner Brian Dobson, told me ‘I think you need to complete, you could be world champion one day’. I said ‘naw, I’ll pass, I just got a job at the police department and I don’t like dieting and steroids since I’m a police officer.’ He said ‘you don’t need to take anything, just compete.’ About the fourth time I went in, he said ‘I’ll give you a free membership to the gym if you complete in this show 3 or 4 months away’. When he said free…he got me.
SwoleScience- What is your favorite lift and why?
Ronnie Coleman– When I first started working out I joined the power lifting team. On the power lifting team we bench, deadlift, and squat. Those became my favorite three lifts because that’s all we did when I first started. Still today, even though I can’t do a couple of them anymore.
SwoleScience- What injuries have you sustained in your career?
Ronnie Coleman- Only sustained one injury, and it was a major injury. Back in 1996, December, I was squatting and I had a buddy of mine who was spotting me. I took off for about a month or so because contest season was over and wanted to take a break before I started up again. When I was working out I was doing 600 pounds for 12 reps, so me thinking ‘well I’ve only been out a couple of weeks, surely I’ll be able to do 600 for 12’. I remember it like it was yesterday, I was coming up on rep number 8 and I heard something go ‘PAAYAA’, and I go ‘what the hell was that’. Now we always hit each other before a set to get us fired up before a set, so my first thought was that the guy behind be spotting me just slapped the hell outta me. So I dropped the weight because it disturbed me so, and I turn around and ask ‘did you slap me?’ and he goes ‘no man I didn’t touch you’, and I said ‘well then what the hell was loud pop?’. I didn’t think nothing of it but a pain went down my left leg, a real hard pain. I didn’t think anything about that neither, just thought it was something normal that was just from lifting heavy, so…I finished the workout. I had to do leg press, extensions and curls. I finished it all up and went to work. When I’m getting into my car, I was like ‘my back still hurts’, now I’m used to pain and being in pain but this time it was lasting well beyond what it normally lasts. I went straight to the hospital and found out I had a herniated disc from that 600 pounds. That is the worst injury I’ve had to date.
SwoleScience- What is the most extreme physical thing, you that you personally know of a pro bodybuilder doing to gain a physical edge?
Ronnie Coleman- Probably me (laughs). Back in 1994 or 95’, I remember it was snowing outside, and freezing. There was snow and freezing rain, but I said ‘I got a show to get ready for, I gotta go workout’. So I go to the gym, its freezing in there and I’m thinking ‘I gotta get fired up’. I do my normal leg workout of squats, hack squats, and walking lunges. But the walking lunges are outside in the parking lot (laughs). So I’m like ok, whatever, rain, sleet, hell or snow, I gotta do walking lunges. I remember walking up and down in the sleet and snow with this weight on my back and the about to slip and fall. I didn’t slip and fall because I was strong, even back then, but now I think back I cant believe I did that on snow and ice and almost hurt myself, but you don’t think about that at the time. I don’t think anybody in the sport would be doing something like that besides me, and I wasn’t even Mr. Olympia, but I wanted to be the best.
SwoleScience- How do you feel if they were to introduce drug testing into the IFBB (international federation of bodybuilders) and is there even a place for it?
Ronnie Coleman- The fact is whatever they want to do, as long as the next man is doing it, I can do it too. So I don’t have a problem with drug testing. Back in the day, they used to do testing for diuretics, and that’s still some form of drug testing, they did that and some guys failed, but I withstood that test and I can withstand any other test. If that’s what they want to do, then ‘Bring it on’ is what I always say.
SwoleScience- You are currently are touring and promoting, you also offer a ‘Workout Weekend’ seminar to lift with you, where can our readers find more information on this?
Ronnie Coleman- Its been going on for about 10 years now. I started that back in 2000, and I just brought people in to workout with me, hangout, eat with me, go to church with me and go to a professional basketball game with me. It was always something I looked forward to and that’s what I want to with them. We do it every year, once a year in March and sometimes in end of February. We try and do it with a weekend when there’s a Dallas Maverick’s basketball game. We start to take the applicants November 1st. We’ll be doing it again next year and the first 20-25 people that sign up.
SwoleScience- What is the most important piece of advice you would like to give to aspiring bodybuilders?
Ronnie Coleman- When I first started bodybuilding I didn’t know the first thing about it because I had never done it. Brian Dobson took me in under his wing and taught me everything that he knew about it and gave me a basic foundation of tools to get started and go by. I would get a personal trainer; hopefully someone who knows a lot about the sport and that will be your ticket. It will help you minimize your trial and error. You will get further than going on your own. There is a lot of information and it is very complicated.
SwoleScience– Thank you so much for the interview Ronnie and we look forwarding to speaking to you again in the future.
To book a weekend workout with Ronnie Coleman, or purchase one of his books/dvds please visit his website at-
(Photos used with permission from Ronnie Coleman)
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