Where Are They Now – Bodybuilders
The Golden Oldies
The latter slice of the 20th century will live long in the memory for those who were around to witness it. We scratched our heads over the Rubik’s Cube, fanatically waved imaginary lightsabers and had our lives altered forever by the internet. Meanwhile, another craze was erupting; bodybuilders were becoming larger than life, quite literally. Not only were they blowing up to sizes we couldn’t comprehend, but these outrageously proportioned athletes were becoming global icons. This was the golden era of bodybuilding. But what happens when legends hang up their weightlifting gloves? Let’s take a glimpse into the lives of the most cherished iron men.
Probably the most famous of them all. Not only did the Austrian-born muscle man have an illustrious bodybuilding career, which saw him win seven Mr. Olympia titles—including an incredible six in a row—his post-bodybuilding achievement has ensured worldwide popularity with those who are alien to bodybuilding.
If you mention his name today, most would think of his Hollywood career before they even consider bodybuilding. Arnold’s big break came in the 1980s movie, Terminator, and he went on to cement his place as an actor by appearing in further classics like Twins, Total Recall and Predator.
Away from film sets, Arnold served two terms as the Governor of California and replaced Donald Trump as the host of The New Celebrity Apprentice in 2015.
Lou Ferrigno made a huge name for himself as a bodybuilding youngster. The American was just 21 years old when he claimed the title of Mr. Universe. A feat that broke a Guinness World Record. He reclaimed the championship a year later and won one IFBB Mr. America title.
Like Arnold, Lou is a bodybuilder-turned-Hollywood-star. In 1977, he famously played the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk and carried on his role in various TV Movies. Ferrigno went on to be the voice of the Hulk in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Lou is also in charge of Ferrigno Fitness—his brand of fitness equipment.
American colossal, Lee Haney, went one better than Arnold’s haul of Mr Olympia titles and ties for the record with a mighty eight wins. His dominance in the competition occurred between 1984 – 1991.
Haney runs a television program called TotaLee Fit with Lee Haney, which appears on the Trinity Broadcast Network. He’s a strong follower of Christianity, and many of his guests are well-known Christian sporting figures.
Sharing Lee Haney’s record of eight Mr. Olympia wins is a former police officer, Ronnie Coleman. He is widely thought of as one of bodybuilding’s greatest ever competitors. Records were part of Coleman’s DNA, and he won a mighty 26 IFBB professional wins; more than anyone else—until Dexter Jackson surpassed this.
Since his retirement, Coleman has taken full advantage of his bodybuilding success and landed numerous product endorsements as well as embarking upon a sports supplement company. The American also made three training videos aimed at experienced weightlifters.
Unfortunately, it was Ronnie’s relentless desire to be at the top that proved too much for his body. Chronic back pain and poor results from surgery have meant the former top dog of bodybuilding may never walk unaided again.
An Endless List
We could create an endless list of legendary bodybuilders from all era's but we've reserved this list for those who were a cut above. Was your all-time favourite bodybuilder not mentioned? Leave a comment below to let us know who'd get your vote for all-time bodybuilding legend.
One example is IFBB Pro Bodybuilder Dennis "The Menace" James, who went toe to toe with the likes of Ronnie Coleman.
Dennis can be seen below wearing our "The Dark Knight" custom muscle fit shirt.
A Never-Ending Lifestyle
We’ve examined the elite, and one observation is clear—bodybuilding will stay for life. Retirement from the professional game is just a stepping-stone to a new chapter; whether it be Hollywood, fitness products, endorsements or videos. Pushing their bodies to superhuman levels has brought these giants fame and—for some—fortune. How many would have truly envisioned this when they first held an iron bar?