Ronnie Coleman has earned several nicknames and titles: Mr. Olympia, GOAT (Greatest of All Time), King Coleman, and now he has a new one.
Hall of Famer.
Ronnie was among five inductees honored at the International Sports Hall of Fame during the Arnold Sports Festival this year. Undoubtedly his career achievements speak for themselves, but others have been talking about Ronnie for other reasons.
He has been going through rehab after a serious surgery that involved three titanium screws and plates being inserted in his back. Some have questioned if his training style over the years is the reason he had to have the surgeries to begin with. Muscle & Strength went straight to the legend himself to get his thoughts on these topics and more.
What do you think about being inducted in the International Sports Hall of Fame?
I felt that this was a very prestigious honor not just to be inducted but to be inducted with the other great people that are going in this year. They have all achieved a lot in their sport like I have in my sport. It’s a great group to be sure. It’s going to be great to go there and be recognized among them at the Arnold this year.
You said your goal is to walk across the stage unassisted this year and that has been the focus of your rehab after your most recent surgery. Is that driving you to improve more than normal?
As great as the honor is, no not really. I’ve always been a stubborn person and driven and if it wasn’t the Hall of Fame it would be something else. I wouldn’t have done what I’ve done and I give 100% to whatever I do. I always find something to motivate me and I think of myself as being driven to succeed anyway. I can drive myself to improve anyway so I think I would be doing just as well as I have regardless.
No doubt you’ve heard and seen some of the conversations about your surgeries and the discussions about whether your training style over the years have played a role in why you had to have those surgeries. Do you think training the way you did is what led you to this point?
I mean I didn’t hurt myself lifting or squatting 800 pounds. I didn’t hurt myself while I was training. It might be a combination of everything over the years but I don’t know for sure. Personally I don’t think so.
Do you think you would’ve won the 8 Olympias if you trained differently?
I think the way I did it was the only way I could do it. I don’t have any evidence to convince me otherwise.
Related Video: Ronnie Coleman's Brutal Leg Workout at the M&S Gym
Any idea at this point when you think you’ll be back in the gym?
No not at this point. The doctors are going to monitor me every couple of weeks to see how I’m doing. With the last surgery, I did like I did when I competed. I took three months off and then went back to the gym. The screws that were in there ended up breaking because they weren’t made for a guy as big as me. This time they had to put special titanium screws in my back along with plates and the doctor told me it can be anywhere from three to six months before I can train again.
When that time comes will we see the same hardcore training style that you’re famous for?
Well I haven’t lifted heavy like that for a long time. I’ve been training more with weights that I can do for 20-30 reps. I gave up the heavy lifting a long time ago. When I’m able to get back into the gym, it will be that same thing. I’ll do sets of 20-30 reps. I don’t need to lift heavy like that anymore.
It’s been five years since Ronnie Coleman Signature Series was created. Did you think back then you would’ve reached the success you have?
It’s hard to say. I always expect more of myself. Although I’m successful I always expect more. I am satisfied with where things are. I have no complaints whatsoever. It doesn’t matter how successful I would be, I would expect more.
There has been a trend developing over the years in the supplement market. Rivals onstage have become competitors in the supplement industry. Lee Haney, Lee Labrada, and Rich Gaspari went head to head for years onstage and now they all have their own brands. Your biggest rival was Jay Cutler and you both have your own brands. Nowadays the big rivalry is Phil and Kai. They are still competing and they now have their own companies. Do you see this pattern continuing or will it eventually fade out due to too many companies in the market?
It’s going to depend on how they market themselves and their brands. If they do their business the right way then they will see success. If not, they’re going to fail pretty quick. I think one big difference between me and some of the others like Jay, Phil, and Kai is I am actually a majority owner of my company. I’m involved with a lot.
Any new updates or products coming out anytime soon with RCSS?
Oh yeah. We have “Yeah Buddy” coming out which is our preworkout. We also have “Ain’t Nothing But a Peanut” protein coming up. Our first flavor is peanut butter. We’ll have more products and announcements coming out a little later on.
You’re one of only three men to have won the Olympia and the Arnold Classic. The 2016 Arnold Classic is coming up. Any prediction on who you think will take the title?
Kai Greene is competing so he’s obviously the front runner. The other guys will have to be at their best to beat him. It all depends on how Kai shows up. If he comes in off then there could definitely be an upset. It’s hard to make a prediction in bodybuilding because nothing is ever set in stone.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has spoken out a lot about bodybuilding in recent years including criticizing how the athletes are judged, the importance of posing without shaking, and controlling their waistlines. This year the posing round at the show will be judged and scored. Do you think Arnold should speak out and do you agree with what he said?
I don’t think the sport was necessarily suffering. I didn’t see where the sport was suffering or where the shows were bad so who’s to say what had to be done? That said, Arnold did what he felt he had to do. I’m for anything that is going to improve the sport for sure so we’ll see this year if the changes will make the show and sport better.
You currently hold the all-time wins record in the IFBB with 26 victories. Many people in the sport feel like former Mr. Olympia and 5 Time Arnold Classic Champion Dexter Jackson is going for your record. Do you think he has a shot at breaking it?
Hard to say. He’s definitely doing well and has a lot of time to do it. I can’t predict the future but I always say that records are made to be broken. We’ll just have to wait and see how it plays out and how many shows he enters.
Right now the biggest stars in the sport include Phil, Dexter, Kai, and a couple of others. The sport is always looking for the next big bodybuilding star to come along and be the future of the sport. Do you see anyone out there right now who can take that position as the next guy?
Right now, no I don’t. If Big Ramy can get his symmetry and conditioning together, maybe he might can have that position but that depends on if he can do that or not. Other than maybe him, I don’t see anyone out there that can take that dominant position like me, Jay, or Phil have. That being said, I came out of nowhere myself. In the 1997 Olympia I finished 9th. In the 1998 Olympia, I won. No one saw that coming. When it comes to who that next great guy would be, only God knows for sure.
Ronnie was inducted into the International Sports Hall of Fame this year at the Arnold Sports Festival along with Kurt Angle, Johnny Bench, Royce Gracie, and Annmaria De Mars. For more information, go to www.ishof.net.