Why Study with Me?

Everything that I have achieved in this life is connected to my fitness & bodybuilding success. 
My success as a bodybuilder was achieved through hard work, with no personal trainers, by myself through continuous studying. All my training methods, my nutritional plans, my contest preparations were the results of my own research, trials & errors and experience.
After I have retired as a professional bodybuilder, I have trained many people - from total beginners to professionals. Using my methods as a result of over 40 years of experience, my clients have gained incredible results.



I grew up in a small farm in rural Staffordshire, located in central England. I was surrounded by horses, chickens, dogs and many other animals and pets. My father died when I was 13. After he passed away, my mother decided that she, my sister and I would leave Staffordshire and move to England’s second largest city, Birmingham. Birmingham is an industrial city and it is a good town-though sometimes a bit too hustle and bustle for me. After three years, my mother missed the rural lifestyle and decided to move back to Staffordshire.

I had adapted quickly to the city life and I have decided to stay in Birmingham (I definitely consider myself a city person-although I still have love for all kinds of animals and wildlife).

So at age of 16 years old, I was on my own and I was responsible for my own livelihood. That made me grow up in a hurry. As I look back, those were some tough times.

I started training in May of 1983 at the age of 21. That is probably an older age than most pros start. However, before I started training I had an interest in bodybuilding. I was doing martial arts at the age of 15 and during my teenage years, I would buy muscle magazines to keep abreast of all the things going on in the bodybuilding.

From the start, I loved training. First of all, it was physical. Secondly, it was totally individual. Whether I won or lost, I got great results or not, it was all up to me. A total individual effort. I might take advice and weigh up all the options from others but in the end, it was all up to me. That is always been the way I have liked it. I guess you could say I enjoy taking responsibility for my own destiny.

I never enjoyed team sports because of the fact that maybe I would be busting my butt during a game and someone else would not. I think I always felt let down because not everyone in the team was giving it 100 percent. Not everyone is going to win every single time, however, if you and everyone in the team gave it your best, then you could feel good about the outcome.

Bodybuilding was different. Bodybuilding opened doors and opportunities for me that I have never dreamed to be possible. I owe everything to the sport. I can look at many of the people I grew up with and see that they have never even left the city. They have let themselves become stuck in a rut and accepted a lifestyle that they really did not have to.

Bodybuilding has enabled me to go out to meet people from all over the world and experience things that are priceless.
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The First Competition... Where it All Began

I first entered the competition in the 1985 West Coast Championships in Morecambe, England. I went to this novice contest and took a look at the competitors and before I walked onstage, I told Debbie that I thought I had a good chance to win it.

I walked out onstage and the audience gasped! I thought something was wrong with my physique or my posing trunks had fallen down. People in the audience were asking each other where this guy came from? I was not in any way prepared for that.

At that point in my life, I did not have a lot confidence or think that I was that good. I came into the competition thinking that it was a novice event and I would like to win it and maybe I could go to the novice finals and do well there.

After I came off the stage after finishing my posing routine, several guys from the English Bodybuilding Federation came up to me and said: “Who the heck are you? Where do you come from and why aren’t you in the heavyweights?” I told them, “This is my first competition and I’m not good enough to compete with the heavyweights.” They laughed and told me that I was probably the best, if not the best, heavyweight to ever come out of England! I could not believe it! Here I was, after just two years of training, in my first competition and these people are telling me this.

As it turned out, the World Games were held in London just one week after the novice competition-with the team trials being held the following day after the novice competition. They asked me if I would like to try out for it, I told them non. They ended up persuading me to do it. I think it helped knowing that it was going to be in my home town of Birmingham. They chose me for the team.

So I went from my novice competition one weekend to the World Games the next and took seventh out of 13 people. I thought that was not too bad for only a couple years of training. At that point I knew that bodybuilding was what I had to do. Two years came around and I accomplished my objectives. It was a time to keep moving forward.


Until then, I had never come across anything like the positive feeling I got through bodybuilding. I felt good about what I was doing and all the results I achieved were happy, powerful, positive and productive.

The following year, 1986,1 won the heavyweight class at the British Championships. I had to take a year layoff in 1987 due to a hip injury. During 1987, I was able-with the help of a financial backer-to open Temple Gym in Birmingham. I had all the equipment built to my specifications. Nothing fancy, just hardcore and functional.

Opening the gym helped make things more stable financially for me. I knew that the gym would not be a great profit maker since it catered to bodybuilders and did not have any exercise bikes, fancy chrome machines or the like. In 1988 I came back and won the overall British Championships, which allowed me to turn pro. I took 18 months and I have trained like crazy, before I entered my first pro competition - the 1990 Night of Champions.

My PRO Debut. What it means to compete.

I gave the Night of Champions competition everything I had and sacrificed a lot. I figured that I would go in there and do the very best I could. If I was good enough to be a good pro, I was going to know straight away. If I went in there and got 10th place, I knew I might as well forget about it. After a tough battle, I took second place to Mohammed Benaziza.

Momo was a great competitor, bodybuilder and a friend. I enjoyed competing with him and I believe the sport is greatly saddened by his untimely passing. He touched many people's lives in a positive way.

My first pro competition taught me that in order to compete on the same playing field as the top pros, I needed to refine my physique, posing and approach. After a year of fine tuning, I came back in 1991 and won the Night of Champions. I have never been one to compete just for the sake of competing.

To me, competing should mean something-like being a step up the ladder to physique improvement. Competition has always been an integral part of the overall plan that I have had to become the very best among the very best.
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First Mr. Olympia

Showdown With Lee Haney competition in Orlando, Florida. This show was significant for two reasons.

First: It was my first Mr. Olympia competition. That was a dream come true in and of itself.

Second: I would be competing with the world’s best bodybuilder-Lee Haney.

Many felt that Haney was unstoppable after winning the competition for seven years straight. I felt differently. In the past, Lee had never gone up against anyone that could match him size for size and muscle for muscle. I believed I could. Lee’s thickness, especially his lats width, was his great strength. Fortunately, it was mine too.

After I won the Night of Champions I kicked my preparation into high gear preparing to meet Lee head on. Everything went well and I was especially pleased at how my body was responding to my training and diet. In my mind, I was ready. Onstage at the competition, I believed it would come down to Lee and me. I won the muscularity round, but in the other rounds Lee edged me. His presentation and experience really showed, helping him win the title for an unprecedented eighth time.


I was disappointed after the competition. If you had asked me six months before the contest if I would have been happy with second place, I would have said you bet! But as the competition drew closer, I believed more and more that I would win, and so the harder it became to accept anything less than number one. As you progress, your views change. I guess it is only natural.

Looking back I could appreciate the obvious: This was only my first Mr. Olympia competition. Of course some aspects of my presentation along with some body parts needed to be improved and refined.

Another year of hard training would help me accomplish that. I set out with a vengeance and attacked the weights with everything I had. It made a difference. In a sense, taking a second was a blessing in disguise because it prepared me mentally to become Mr. Olympia.

When I entered the 1991 Mr. Olympia competition, I believed that I could be Mr. Olympia. I had no idea what it would be like entering that show. You can plan and visualize as to how you might think it will be. But the only way you’re going to know is to get up there on stage and experience the excitement firsthand. That next year I physically and mentally believed that I was Mr. Olympia.

Every time I went into the gym, my whole being - everything I believed in - was put into every set and rep. That gave me the power to go heavier than ever before! That gave me the will to keep going when my body screamed for me to stop! That gave me the motivation to constantly seek out advice and criticism that helped me to perfect my physique beyond anything I have ever imagined!

Everything starts in Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki was the city where I knew that I would be crowned Mr. Olympia. Many of the magazines and prognosticators were saying that Lou Ferrigno was coming back after 17 years of retirement bigger and better than ever.

Much of the talk centered around Vince Taylor, Kevin Levrone, Shawn Ray, Lee Labrada. Those were the guys who were supposed to be the biggest threats. The more rumors I heard, the harder I trained.

I knew I was giving every bit of my preparations 100 percent. If someone was training more intensely, eating better, getting more rest, was bigger, harder, more cut and was more committed than I was, more power to them. They deserve to win. All the things I had vowed to change from the 1991 Mr. Olympia competition were changed.

My posing, skin tone, upper chest, and arms were all bigger, more symmetrical and cut. And, adding extra sessions of aerobics decreased my waist size by a half-inch and gave me more taper and symmetry.

I took my weight down to 242 pounds for the show. As I look back, I believe I could have come in eight or 10 pounds heavier and still would have won. I knew guys like Shawn Ray and Lee Labrada would be coming into the show with razor-sharp cuts.

My game plan was to surpass everyone in muscularity, hardness and cuts. I must say that the competitors were in great shape and we all fought it out tooth and nail. At the end of the night I was named Mr. Olympia and it was one of the greatest moments of our life. I say “our life” because my wife Debbie has been there all along helping and supporting me since I started bodybuilding. The Mr. Olympia victory was just as much hers as it was mine.
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The Secret Of Success

I believe the secret of my success in bodybuilding is doing things one at a time. Having small goals and doing things step by step. I think it is like standing at the bottom of a mountain and thinking that you want to reach the top. If all you can see is the top, it gets a bit overwhelming because of the vast distance you must climb. If, on the other hand, you take one step, then another, then another, you are slowly but surely making your way to the top of that mountain step by step. Ultimately you will achieve your goal. I will give you an example of how I apply this philosophy to my training. Ever since I began training, I have always kept a training log and have written my routines, poundages, sets, reps, diet, training goals, my bodyweights, etc. The training log has allowed me to accurately gauge my progress and pinpoint areas that need adjustment.

You cannot be a bodybuilding success by guesswork alone. Many bodybuilders ask my advice about nutrition and training. After they tell me their problems, I will ask them about certain aspects of their game plan. Boy, are they in the dark. Many do not have a clue about their calorie, protein, carb or fat intake. I mean how are you going to fix something if you do not know what it is that needs to be fixed?

Another problem area for bodybuilders is setting big goals while neglecting the small goals in between. Here is what I mean: Many bodybuilders tell me that they want bigger arms. I ask them how much bigger. They will say something like four inches and they will totally be discouraged at reaching only the small goals along the way. They are concentrating only on reaching the big goal and when that does not come fast enough, they get frustrated and many quit.

You should look at the big picture but in small ways. For example. If I want to add size to my arms, I will set the goal of one-fourth inch within a certain time period. Once I reach that goal, I will set another one-fourth inch goal and another and another and so on. Before I know it, I have reached my big goal while enjoying the process along the way.


Bodybuilding is something to be enjoyed. It is not something like a job that you feel you must do. It should be something that you want to do. Think of the positive reasons why you want to bodybuild and work to eliminate the negative motivating factors. Your life will be much more and enjoyable and your training results will drastically improve!


I can go back and look over my old training logs anytime. They teach me a lot. They show me what areas I have improved. They give me feedback as to which exercises, sets, reps etc., are working and not working. I can look back in those books and say, “Okay, at this point in time my body really grew. What was it that I did?” Those training logs have become my blueprint to helping me build my body. Think about it: You would not take a cruise on a ship if once you got aboard it drifted aimlessly in the water with no place to go.

Building your body is no different. It takes a plan. A solid and well-thought-out game plan to get you from point A to point B.

The Mind is The Power

The mind is the most important thing. You could have half the genetics that I have, yet if you have got twice the determination to succeed, you are going equal or surpass me. However, I did have the most determination to do whatever it took to get my body in the kind of condition that was necessary to win. The pro ranks are filled with guys with similar genetics. They would not be there unless they had the ability to gain size with good symmetry.

Now, what do you think separates the guy who makes it to the top and the other guys who do not? It is not genetics. It is drive, commitment, 100 percent determination, focus and the mind-set to be the very best. If some of the pros out there with their incredible genetics approach the sport like I had, I would have been in trouble.

Remember this: You can have the best genetics in the world but without the drive and determination to be the best and achieve your best, genetics means very little. 


Many times in life, having things come easily takes away the motivation to try hard. If you can build a good physique by doing a little training and eating hamburgers, you might not see any point in busting your butt and finding out the little things that can make a good physique great. The point is that there is not much incentive to improve. Things were different for me. I knew I wanted to be the very best that I was capable of and that meant studying how the body responded to food, training, supplements, rest, days training, days off, and everything else. For me, every aspect had to be tested. Only then could I be sure that I was doing everything I possibly could that would enable me to take my body to its fullest potential.


One of the biggest motivating factors for me has been that I never thought that I was destined to be an average person doing an average job. I could never feel comfortable doing that. Even before I started bodybuilding, I felt that I was destined and had that drive to do something different and achieve something worthwhile. That did not mean that I wanted to be Mr. Universe or Mr. Olympia or anything like that. I just did not want to go through life and look back on it regretting what it would of or could of been like if I had only believed in myself. 


Never set limits in your mind about whatever it is you want to do. If it is bodybuilding, do not set the strength or the size or the condition limits because once you do, you will not go any farther.

The important thing is to progress.

Even if it is in small increments, the main thing is that you are getting better. I could never enter a competition and get in shape just for the money. How can you get your body into top shape with that kind of attitude?

Where is the motivation and drive gives your training and diet 100 percent and to improve if your only motivation for doing something is financial? For me, it is a matter of pride. I could never go into any competition unless I was in my best condition. It would be like my life and my family is life is on the line. All the years of struggle and sacrifice that I and my family have gone through are on the line every time I enter a competition, every workout, every set and rep.

My whole being is totally committed 100 percent to what I do. Anything less is not good enough. I fully understand that I may not be victorious every time I do something, but that does not matter. I know that I have done the very best that I could and I let the chips fall where they may. Even if I took first place and I knew that I did not give it total commitment, I would probably feel worse because inside I would feel like I cheated myself. Once I know that I have done everything I could, I can go home with a good feeling inside knowing that I have done my very best. That is important to me.


You have got to have a passion and drive for something in your life, a creed that you fully believe in and are willing to give your life to. I find that lacking in a lot of the guys on the scene now. When I started out, guys like Mike Mentzer and Tom Platz stood apart from everyone else because of their commitment to the sport and themselves.

Platz would always talk about how he wanted to be Mr. Olympia and about taking his body to the limits. He would talk about how he wanted the judges to fall off their chairs in amazement as he’d walk out onstage. That drive does not seem to around anymore. It is like so many people are caught up in the “making money” and “I want to be a movie star” world. I really believe that people should take a long look at themselves and what they believe in. That would be a good indicator of where they came from, where they are now and where they are going.
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