- December 2007 – Laminectomy of L4-L5 discs
- July 2011 – Disc decompression of L3-L4 discs
- December 2011 – Fusion of neck C4-C5-C6
- July 2014 – Left hip replacement requiring 2 screws
- August 2014 – Right hip replacement requiring 4 screws
- July 2015 – Fusion of L3-L4 discs
These surgeries, among many other non-documented injuries, are the result of brutal training along with unparalleled work ethic and determination netting 8 Mr. Olympia titles, 1 Arnold Classic Title and 26 professional victories, the most of all time.
The most popular questions these days having hindsight at 51 years old are very typical… was it worth it and would you do anything differently?
Ronnie’s answers to these questions are almost as epic and legendary as his career. Without hesitation Ronnie replied,
“It was worth it without a doubt but yes, I would have done it differently if I could go back. I would have trained HAREDER! I know for a fact that I could have done 4 reps on that 800lb squat instead of 2 but I had 2 set in my mind before I even picked it up so that’s what I did. So yes, I would go back and train even harder and be damn sure to get 4 reps on that 800lb squat.”
What kind of maniac says that after knowing that it would result in 6 surgeries plus all of the pain and recovery time that come along with them? Someone who would rather die than be anything other than the best they could possibly be. That’s honestly what it takes to be called the greatest of all time. I promise you that all of the other legendary greats in any sport shared this exact mind set.
Not many people can say that they gave everything that they had and poured every ounce of energy into their profession. For Ronnie, it was all about passion and doing something that he truly loved.
“I know that I can say I gave it my all and loved every minute of it. You can’t put a price on that. If you don’t have passion for what you are doing then you might as well forget it. You can’t give every ounce of yourself to something that you don’t have passion for.”
He didn’t just leave it all in the gym and on stage. He had just as much dedication and passion for his fans. He inspired millions around the world, still inspires today and will continue to do so long after he is gone. Ronnie set the bar not only in the gym and on stage but in how he handled himself off stage as well.
Ronnie is notorious for staying at booths and signings for hours after the posted close time until every single fan was able to get through or security made everyone leave! He rarely has turned down a fan for a picture or autograph in public even when he was rushing through the airport. If you’ve ever seen him walk through a crowd at a show you’ll notice that he doesn’t have security, just a few people on his team, and shakes every single person’s hand as he passes like he’s the mayor. (Maybe he should run?!)
The highest compliment comes from those who he competed against during his career or as he would call them, his “brothers in iron.” When those that you have battled against for the same prize admit without question that you are the great of all time then you truly deserve that title.
At the 2013 Olympia contest Ronnie was backstage for the first time since his last appearance on stage in 2007 doing some media. As all of the competitors started getting ready Ronnie sat in a chair waiting for his media portion of the broadcast to begin. (Probably posting how his arms grew .01245 inches on IG) Once they started noticing that he was backstage one by one every single competitor came over to shake his hand and say hello like he was the Godfather. A few were actually meeting him for the very first time and it was like they forgot that they were competing for the greatest title in the world. That is true respect and the sign of a living legend who did it the right way.
Retired from the stage Ronnie still continues to give this industry everything he’s got through his supplement company, that he owns, Ronnie Coleman Signature Series. Providing quality and trustworthy supplements was something that was very important to Ronnie when he started RCSS in late 2011. It also has allowed him to stay connected to the fans.
He has gone on countless tours all over the world traveling a minimum of 300 days each year handing out pictures and autographs for free. He completed grueling tours that took him all over the US, to Canada to Australia without a break when he really needed to have those hip procedures mentioned above. Ronnie, against everyone’s advice, pushed forward while in tremendous pain which required him to do the final appearances on the schedule in a wheelchair.
His reason why was simple,
“I promised everyone I would be there so I wasn’t going to let anything stop me.”
Below is a post Ronnie made in reference to this situation. This is how you live your life with no regrets.
“Getting in my last workout before my surgery tomorrow. Never take life for granted, Never. Training is my life, my hobby, it’s who I am, and it represents me. If this was my last workout and I’m never ever able to train again because God called me home, I can say my life was fulfilled because I did it doing what I always love doing the most, Training. Thanks to all people in the world all over the world who wished me luck for tomorrow especially my frat brothers current Mr Olympia @philheath and current 212 Mr Olympia Flex Lewis. The way I see it, I went to war all eight of those years I won those Olympia’s. These surgeries are just proof of the war wounds I suffered so it’s all good because I’m still alive. @rcssdirector once told me one day because I was in so much pain that I needed to slow my ass down and see a Dr. I replied to him that I was gonna roll with this pain until the wheels roll off and that’s exactly what I did, made all my appearances until there was absolutely no cartilage left in my hips, and when it was impossible to walk I grabbed some sticks and on long distances I grabbed me a chair. There’s no quit in a winner, winners never quit because quitters never win and that’s what’s up. I’m officially on my long road to recovery. I love all my family, fans, and friends and I wouldn’t exist without you guys.”