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Jakub Paulík
November 4, 2022, 11:00am
Reading time: 7:48

Ronnie Coleman: The Gym Cost Him More Than The House, He Walks With Crutches As A Result Of Bodybuilding

He is also nicknamed the King for his achievements in the world of sports.

Jakub Paulík
November 4, 2022, 11:00am
Reading time: 7:48
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Eight-time Mr.Olympia Ronnie Coleman had no idea what this title meant. He was troubled by poverty for a long time, and he was persuaded to practice competitively mainly because he got free entry to the gym.

During the 1990s, he became an extremely successful bodybuilder, but continued to work as a police officer. He once got into trouble with the law and ended up in prison.

Wrinkles on his forehead were multiplied by the woman who dragged him to court for donating sperm. He spent most of the money on operations due to serious problems with his spine, which he brought on from years of lifting heavy weights, and ended up with crutches.


In this article, you will read:
  • What he says about Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • How alcohol is said to have helped him before the competition.
  • Why didn't he quit his job as a policeman even though he was a professional bodybuilder.
  • In which job he experienced humiliation.
  • What the woman to whom he donated sperm said about him.


He was already working when he was 9 years old

Ronnie Coleman's mother worked hard to provide for her children. Therefore, since childhood, he saw hard work as something that is necessary - and he approached his training in the gym in a similar way. "When I was nine years old, I decided that I wanted to get some kind of job and earn my own money," the bodybuilder wrote in his book Yeah Buddy! My Incredible Story according to fitness web The Barbell.


Even though he was still a child, he managed to persuade the owner of one shop to allow him to at least do some auxiliary work. Three years later, he started chopping cotton every summer and later got a job in a restaurant.


He didn't do it because he had to, but simply enjoyed the work and considered it a "blessing". According to his own words, he fell in love with sports, swimming and fishing in high school. He allegedly went fishing every single day as a teenager, he revealed on his YouTube channel. As can be seen from his later videos, this hobby remained with him even in his old age - apparently not only because of the high protein content of fish.


Source: Netflix


Pizzeria worker, policeman and bodybuilder

Despite the fact that he graduated from university with honors and tried to get a job as an accountant, they did not want to accept him anywhere because he had no experience. Since he needed something to live from, he got a job in the Domino's pizzeria chain, where he worked for about 2 and a half years and ate unhealthy pizza every day.

For a university-educated person, an unskilled job was a disappointment. It was this difficult period, during which, according to his own words, he also experienced humiliation from customers, which motivated him during later training sessions.

It is said that he got the job of a policeman in 1989 thanks to the fact that he was not required to have any previous experience. While serving in the police force, he began to devote himself fully to bodybuilding. Initially, he used the police gym to build muscle, but at eventually, it stopped being enough for his massive body. He refused to stop working as a policeman even when he had his first victories at the Mr. Olympia. He stated that he simply loves his job. He left the force for good between 2003 and 2004.



Free gym? Sign me up!


The owner of the Metroflex gym in Arlington saw potential in Coleman. He told him to screw the police gym and offered to train at his place free of charge. Coleman claims he was poor at the time and simply couldn't turn down a free gym membership. When they told him then that he could one day end up being Mr. Olympia, he had no idea such a title existed.


Ronnie has always preferred bodyweight exercises over isolated machine exercise when it comes to strength training. As is known about him, he lifted abnormally heavy weights, for which on the one hand many people, including competitors, admired him, but on the other hand he destroyed his spine. In terms of time, it was a very difficult period for Ronnie. He devoted six days to training, one day to rest and, in addition that, he was actively catching criminals.


Ronnie Coleman participated in the Mr. Olympia competition in 1991, but not as a competitor, but as a security guard. At that time, he watched his idols on stage – Lee Haney, Dorian Yates or Samir Bannout, writes The Barbell. Passing bodybuilders are said to have praised Coleman's form and joked about how he could compete with them.


He made his competitive debut a year later, at the Mr. Olympia competition but he was far from successful - he placed 16th. Other competitions at the Mr. Olympia ended with similar failures for him, and for a long time he did not come anywhere near the top three.



Vodka as a helper?

As an honest sportsman, he allegedly refused alcohol. However, former professional bodybuilder Kevin Levrone revealed in the documentary The King that he got Ronnie drunk on vodka, which indirectly helped him in the competition.


Coleman came to him to ask for his advice, because despite all his efforts, he was not achieving great sports success. Levrone told him that he was taking it too seriously, he should relax, and placed a bottle of alcohol in front of him. Ronnie refused at first, but later had several drinks. Levrone indicated that his body looked much better the next day as a result of the alcohol dehydration, which is why he absolutely shone on stage.



The breakthrough came in 1998, when he defeated Flex Wheeler and won the title of Mr. Olympia. The year before, he was ranked 9th, so it was a huge jump for Coleman. He later called Wheeler the best opponent he faced. They are great friends with Wheeler to this day, and together with Arnold Schwarzenegger, he considers him one of the best bodybuilders.


In an interview for Valuetainment among other things, he praised Arnold's developed chest, which, according to him, no one can match to this day. He thinks that if Schwarzenegger had competed with the gadgets and technology of his time like Coleman, he would have looked like a little boy next to him.


However, even Arnold wasn't hesitant to praise Ronnie. In one of the interviews, he said that he brought a completely different dimension to bodybuilding - both symbolically and literally. At one time, he weighed between 130 and 136 kilograms at 180 centimeters, Republic World reports.



Ronnie Coleman was a big animal and dominated Mr. Olympia for 8 long years. The breakthrough came only in 2006, when he was defeated by bodybuilder Jay Cutler. However, Ronnie thinks he was entitled to his 9th title in a row; argued in his book why Cutler won.

"They wanted to stop me from winning to make the sport competitive again and get a lot more viewers," he wrote. A year later, he tried to regain the title, but ended up in a disappointing 4th place.

Not long after, he ended his active sports career and began to devote himself to his business with nutritional supplements. He also recently introduced the Yeah Buddy app, which is supposed to help people take a comprehensive approach to training.


He posed as a police officer and ended up in court for donating sperm

Although he was a representative of the law for many years, he himself once got into trouble with the police. In 2009, he and his car were stopped for speeding. The Dallas Morning News reported that Ronnie allegedly presented himself as a police officer, which he had not been for many years. Apparently, he wanted to avoid responsibility. However, he ended up in custody, from which he was released after paying bail.

A woman with whom he dated in the past caused him bigger problems. In 2006, he donated his sperm to get her pregnant. However, Coleman advised that he would only help her as a donor, she should not expect him to be a father to the children born. However, when his ex-partner started asking him for child support, the whole case ended up in court.


The woman claimed that the children were planned and that they even considered marriage, contradicting Coleman's claim that it was just a sperm donation. According to the court decision from 2008, Coleman had to contribute financially, to support the children. However, the Court of Appeal ruled in his favor four years later, he writes NBC DFW


Gym in the house or house in the gym?

Source: Google Earth


What kind of bodybuilder would he be if he didn't turn part of his house into a high-end fitness center? However, Ronnie Coleman went to an extreme in this case. In one of the episodes of Nothin But a Podcast, according to the website Fitnessvolt, he revealed that he invested more in his gym than in the house itself.

Of course, the advantageous purchase of real estate probably also played a role in this. The house cost him about $125,000 and the gym cost about $200,000. Coleman was especially happy about his fitness during the lockdown that was out in place in Texas during the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, he said in the podcast that despite the lockdown, his wife and daughters were not bored. Everyone has their own TV in the house, so they didn't have to argue about what to watch. However, it is certainly not possible to say that Coleman is financially secure. He wasted a lot of money, especially on demanding operations on his spine, which he destroyed from years of lifting heavy weights.




Exercise and disability

Professional bodybuilders know very well that they have to be careful about body injuries. Weights that are too heavy or bad technique can very easily knock an athlete out of the competition or cause lifelong consequences. Among the very risky exercises are, for example, deadlifts or squats. Even Ronnie Coleman, who worked out with approximately 227 kilograms, paid the highest price for the latter exercise at the age of 17. His health. After this injury, he had to start seeing a chiropractor.



As Coleman's career progressed, his body took more and more work. Currently, he has had a hip replacement, a number of spine surgeries and has to rely on crutches to walk. In addition, he suffers from severe pain, which he suppresses with the highest possible dose of oxycodone. "The pain is a 9 or 10," he described his suffering on a scale of 0 to 10, according to news.com.au. However, he added that he got used to it over time.


"I can't be sad for Ronnie Coleman because I knew he would have to pay for what he did. I think he was worth the price.'

(Former bodybuilder Shawn L. Ray, document Ronnie Coleman: The King)



The sight of Ronnie Coleman in pain is sure to hurt many of his fans. However, if you look through his Instagram account, among the more than 3,000 posts, you'd be hard-pressed to find footage of him leaning on crutches and complaining about his situation.

Even if there were a few such videos, practically everywhere he smiles. He does not give up, quite the contrary. He works hard in the nutritional supplements business, raises children with his wife Susan and despite his health condition, he tries to keep up with the gym. And so people continue to remember him as such. Not as a man to be pitied, but as a man who inspired and continues to inspire crowds.





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Thumbnail: IG/Ronnie Coleman, Netflix
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