Ronnie Coleman – A Bodybuilding Profile

Ronnie Coleman

Yeah Buddy! It’s Ronnie Coleman, the most successful bodybuilder of all time.

With eight Mr Olympia titles and 26 IFBB Bodybuilding titles in all, Ronnie has definitely earned that success.

The former American Footballer is seen by many as having the greatest physique of all time [1].

Ronnie has had an incredibly long career in bodybuilding winning his first competition in 1990 and competing all the way until 2007 when his many injuries finally retired him.

He did all this while serving as a police officer in Texas from 1989 to 2003 (with the last 3 years as a reserve officer). He also runs his own supplement company “Ronnie Coleman Nutrition” which he founded in 2011.

Early Life

Young Ronnie Coleman

Ronnie Coleman was born on May the 13th 1964 in a small town near Monroe, Louisiana called Bastrop [2].

He had three sisters and one brother, both his parents did labour intensive jobs, and Ronnie says that he definitely did not get into bodybuilding through them.

He later attended Grambling State University in Louisiana where he began lifting weights to help him play better on the Football field.

He graduated in 1984 and became a police officer in Arlington Texas in 1989. At this point he was brought into the bodybuilding world by Brian Dobson a personal trainer who had opened Metroflex gym in 1987.

Just one year after joining, Ronnie won the 1990 Mr Texas Heavyweight and Overall award, he then came third in the NPC Nationals.

Between 1990 and 1994 he competed in a few competitions coming around 4th or 6th, but not really excelled.

He entered his first Mr Olympia in 1994 coming 15th. In 1995 he came 11th, and in 1996 he reached a new high of 6th. In 1997 he dropped down to 9th, and this was followed by a string of unimpressive results in a variety of IFBB competitions (though he did win the IFBB Grand Prix in Russia).

Mr Olympia Success

Ronnie Coleman Mr Olympia Success

In 1998, seemingly out of nowhere Ronnie Coleman won the Mr Olympia. Dorian Yates (who had won the last six titles in a row) had retired just before the competition, but Ronnie still had to beat some of the biggest names in bodybuilding.

This was a huge upset, but it set in motion one of the longest winning streaks in bodybuilding history.

Ronnie won seven more Mr Olympia titles in a row, spanning 1998-2005. He also won the Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic in 2001.

After his eighth victory, he came second in 2006, losing to Jay Cutler after having beaten him into second place on four previous occasions. He then finished 4th in 2007 (which was again won by Jay Cutler), and finally his constant injuries (he claims to have injured every muscle in his body) led to his retirement from the sport.

After winning eight Mr Olympia titles Ronnie Coleman was tied for most successful Olympian with Lee Haney who also won eight titles, between 1984 and 1991. His 26 IFBB Bodybuilding titles place him at the top of the list too, four ahead of Vince Taylor in second (none of Vince’s titles were Mr Olympias though he did win an Arnold Classic in 1991).

Post Bodybuilding

Ronnie Coleman Post Bodybuilding

Unlike other successful bodybuilders such as Arnold Schwarzenegger or Lou Ferrigno, Ronnie never really managed to transfer his bodybuilding success into public acclaim (though he is a legend in the bodybuilding world).

That being said, Ronnie has made a very successful life for himself through training DVDs that he has produced, and through his supplement line.

Ronnie Coleman’s Approach to Training

Ronnie Coleman Training

Ronnie tends to stand out from a lot of bodybuilders because he much prefers free weights to machines. Making him quite Old School in his approach.

This is because he believes that free weights can improve flexibility and range of motion when compared to machines.

But there is also the fact that countless studies have shown that free weight exercises cause increased testosterone release and muscle fibre activation compared to machine equivalents.

When watching videos of Ronnie training in his prime, it is easy to see why he was so much more successful than other lifters at the time. He would lift heavier weights, he would deadlift and squat more than anyone else. Or as Ronnie famously put it:

“Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but don’t nobody want to lift no heavy ass weights”

Time and time again, you’ll see the most successful bodybuilder of their age, was the one lifting the heaviest weights. Ronnie’s idiosyncratic style may have been borderline irritating to watch but his results were phenomenal.

Ronnie trained five days per week, resting on Saturdays and Sundays. He follows the same training program that he followed in the 90s, and got his program from Brian Dobson, who first got him started.

Following a simple program with absolute conviction led to Ronnie becoming the most successful bodybuilder of all time – something that a lot of up and coming bodybuilders should pay attention to!

Ronnie Coleman Diet

Ronnie Coleman Diet

Ronnie at his peak was consuming 600g of protein a day, that’s 2,400 calories just from protein.

He had previously been eating 400g of protein and 500g of carbohydrates, but when increasing the protein by 200g he reduced the carbs to 200g. As you can imagine his diet was a very high calorie one.

When Bodybuilding.com tried to recreate his diet, it ended up being 5,562 calories (150g fat, 546g protein, and 474g of carbohydrates).

Of course to get results like Ronnie you would also have to look at the supplements and the steroids/growth hormone/insulin etc …

Ronnie Coleman’s Legacy

Ronnie Coleman Legacy

There has been no bodybuilder who was bigger, stronger, or more successful than Ronnie Coleman. Which seems like a pretty decent legacy on its own.

Combine it with working as a police officer full time, before creating his own supplement company, and you have an incredible legacy of achievement.

There’s just one downside to Ronnie’s legacy, and that would be the injuries suffered. He frequently mentions the fact that he has injured every muscle in his body, and it was those injuries that ended his winning streak – not the competition.

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[1] https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/ronnie_coleman_interview.htm
[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNh2YIeNSCo

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