MuscleWeek’s Special Ed and Blockhead’s Ronnie Coleman Interview
Assisted by Muscle & Fitness Editorial Powerlifting Advisor Jason Pegg
(Transcribed by Vendetta Transcription Services)
MuscleWeek: What’s up Ronnie?
Ronnie Coleman: Hey, what’s going on?
MW: How are you doing today?
RC: I’m doing pretty good.
MW: Well first, we want to congratulate you on your wedding.
RC: Oh thanks, I appreciate it.
MW: Well it’s official. Ronnie is officially off the market. Right?
RC: Oh yeah. I’m getting too old to be on the market so…
MW: We can tell those fitness girls to stop calling you, right?
RC: Oh yeah, I ain’t got time for that now.
MW: Your player days are behind you?
RC: Yeah, I’m all done. Too old to be playing now.
MW: By now, most of us have seen the photos of you and your beautiful wife on the cruise ship Carnival Glory. How was the cruise?
RC: The cruise was off the hook. I had the time of my life like I always do. I go on cruises every year.
MW: We’re big cruise fanatics as well. Now, in the bodybuilding, everyone recognizes you but how about on the cruise ship. Were you hounded by fans or did people leave you alone?
RC: Not too bad. It’s kinda hard to go anywhere. Being 8-time Mr. O and not get hounded at least by some people.
MW: Are most people hounding you because they know you’re Ronnie Coleman or do they think you’re a pro wrestler?
RC: Most people know who I am. Then I get the people who don’t know who I am and just want to take a picture with a guy with muscles. I get more people that know me than anything.
MW: I imagine after a few trips to the buffet line, the abs start to blur. Anyone try to capitalize on that with a posedown challenge by the pool?
RC: Oh no. Never! I didn’t even go to the pool to be honest with you. No matter how much I eat, I’m always going to be in some kind of shape.
MW: Seriously, people are very weird. People must come up to and ask you how much you bench or if you want to arm wrestle. What’s the strangest question you’ve ever gotten?
RC: Do I work out.
MW: And what’s your response — that it’s just pushups?
RC: I tell I work out sometimes every now and then. But for the most part, I just eat a lot.
MW: I know they have a nice gym on that ship. Did you actually go and work out there?
RC: No. When I’m on a cruise, I’m on vacation. I take 3 months off every year, so my vacation falls within that time period.
MW: I imagine with the dumbbells only going up to 50 lbs, it might be the first time you actually mean it when you say ‘Light weight baby’.
RC: Laughs. Exactly.
MW: Ronnie, there’s a misconception out there about you that you’ve retired from bodybuilding, but you actually have an announcement about your comeback show. Tell us when we’re gonna see you onstage again.
RC: When I said I retired, I meant that I retired from the Olympia. I never said I was retiring from bodybuilding. But I still want to compete in other shows like the Arnold and some of the shows in Europe that I haven’t done in the past. I want to do some other shows out there besides the Olympia — some of the smaller shows too.
MW: When can we expect to see you back on stage?
RC: Next year’s Arnold Classic.
MW: Okay, so you’re about 56 weeks out.
RC: Yeah yeah. (Laughs) I’m gonna start dieting in a couple weeks. By the time the Arnold comes around, I’m gonna be in pretty good shape.
MW: Ronnie, obviously you prefer to be the reigning Mr. O. Is there an upside to being able to just relax and not have so many demands on your time?
RC: Not really. With me, the more I have to do, the better off I am. I’m not really one to sit around and relax and take it easy. I always like having something to do. Even though I’m not competing, I’m going to be making a lot of appearances, doing guest posings and seminars. Making appearances for BSN. And of course being in Weider in the magazines. I’m still gonna be pretty busy. I’m not going to be sitting down and going fishing, swimming and jet skiing and all that kinda stuff.
MW: Can you give us an idea of what a day in the life of Ronnie Coleman is like now?
RC: Well right now, I’m not doing anything. I got up this morning around 2 o’clock.
MW: AM or PM?
RC: PM. I didn’t go to bed until around 5 o’clock or 5:30. I stay up late every night because I have so much email. I normally spend about 2-3 hours every night just on my email. I don’t get started until around 1:30 – 2pm. Plus, I have to eat. I’m still eating 5-6 times each day.
MW: So you’re usually going down when the sun’s coming up?
RC: Exactly. When I was on the cruise ship, I wasn’t going to bed until 6 or 7 in the morning. I was up so late doing all that kind of stuff.
MW: And doesn’t the rocking of the ship make you take a nap?
RC: Laughs. Nah, I don’t take naps. But I do like the rocking of the ship.
MW: You wake up around 2 in the afternoon. What do you do? Do you still go to the gym every day?
RC: No, I’m not training now. I’m coming up on my third month. I think I’ll start up around February 1st. I haven’t trained since my last guest posing — maybe in December. MW: No lifting at all?
RC: No. I haven’t done anything.
MW: Ronnie, you played college football. What position did you play?
RC: Middle Linebacker.
MW: You played under the winningest coach in the history of NCAA Football — the late Eddie Robinson. What did you learn from him?
RC: Well, I didn’t really deal so much with Coach Rob because he coached the offense and I played defense. So I dealt mostly with the defense coordinator.
MW: Did you have any aspirations to play in the NFL?
RC: I sure did. I was being talked about by some of the NFL Scouts at the beginning of the season but come close to the end of the season I didn’t hear from them anymore. So I just kinda gave up on it after I didn’t hear from them no more. After that, I just got a job.
MW: You’re obviously a goal-oriented man. What are your goals beyond bodybuilding?
RC: Uhh, I never really thought about that.
MW: Is there another area of passion that you could see yourself throwing yourself into?
RC: No, nothing besides bodybuilding. It will probably be something in the field. I’ll probably either be coming out with my own supplement line or endorsing somebody’s, coming out with my own equipment line or endorsing somebody’s. There will be something working out.
MW: And we can count on seeing you at the Arnold and Olympia expo for the next 20 – 30 years?
RC: Oh yeah, at least.
MW: Some of your peers have hung around bodybuilding for what some people might say is too long. Chris Cormier has said that he’ll milk bodybuilding until his arms fall off. What makes it so hard to give it up?
RC: It’s a hobby. At least for me it is. I’ve trained since i was 12 or 13 years old. It’s a hobby I just have so much fun with it. I get so much enjoyment from it. To have your job as your hobby — life don’t get better than that.
MW: Tell me about your phrase ‘Nuttin but a peanut.’ Where did that expression come from?
RC: Just something I said in the gym one day. And kept on saying it.
MW: It really caught on. Do you ever get a chance to say it in real life — like in response to ‘Ronnie, what are you eating?’
RC: No, no. Never like that. Doing something else I might say it.
MW: Whether people admit it or not, bodybuilding is all about genetics. Who had the better rear lat spread in the Coleman family, mom or dad?
RC: My mom. Mom had better everything!
MW: So you really got your genetics from your mom?
RC: Oh yeah. For sure.
MW: Tell us about your business. Any new projects? DVD coming out?
RC: Yeah, the new DVD should be ready by the Arnold.
MW: Will you be selling copies of your video?
RC: Yeah. I’ll have them at my booths.
MW: There’s been a longstanding feud on the message boards about who is the best bodybuilder of all time. You or Dorian? What’s your official response?
RC: Oh Jeez! To be honest with you, I’ve never really considered myself as being the best. I always try to let the people decide that. I just try to do the best I can do at whatever it is that I’m doing.
MW: If Dorian had come back and competed at the 1998 Olympia, would you have smoked him?
RC: Aw, naw. I think he would have kept winning as long as he was competing. I don’t think he would have lost.
MW: Ronnie, if you’re on a desert island all by yourself with nothing but a squat rack and some weights. Would you still train? Even if there was no one else there and you were going to be there for the rest of your life? Would you still squat?
RC: All day! So long as I had some water, I’d train all day!
MW: What’s going on with the tricep? Is it torn?
RC: Ummm…what happened was in 2005, I fell and hit my elbow on the floor and it hasn’t been the same since. As far as having an injury in the gym benching or doing overhead triceps extensions, nothing ever happened there. In terms of My strength is still there. I guess maybe I lost some of the feelings in there that caused the triceps muscle to go down a little bit, but that’s all I can really remember happening.
MW: Did you ever sit down and look at the pictures of you from 2001-02 and compare them to those from 2006-2007 and take an analytical look at the differences.
RC: No, I don’t even like watching myself on video.
MW: What else do you have going on — are you a part owner of Metroflex or do you just train there?
RC: I just work out there. I have a gym in my house. That’s the only gym that I own.
MW: So no desire to follow in the footsteps of Lee Haney and open up a chain of Ronnie Coleman’s Kingdom (fitness centers)?
RC: (Laughs)Nah, none whatsoever.
MW: Ronnie, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. God Bless you.
RC: You too.
The preceding interview was transcribed from MuscleWeek’s Big Nation Radio program that aired on January 22, 2008. To listen to the original radio broadcast as it happened, click on this link: BIG NATION RADIO – RONNIE COLEMAN INTERVIEW.