Q: I saw on social media that you’ve retired. Are you done with bodybuilding? What precipitated your decision to retire? In the article Lonnie Teper wrote about you in the April IRON MAN, it sounded as if you were fired up about competing this year. What do you plan to do in retirement?
A: Yes, it is true. I announced my retirement from competing from the podium at the Shredderbuilt Pro/Texas Shredder Classic on April 12. Don’t worry though. I’m far from leaving the wonderful world of bodybuilding.
My life and career are intricately tied to bodybuilding! In fact, just two weeks after announcing my retirement, I accepted an offer to guest pose at the INBF Battle on the Beach in South Padre Island, Texas, on September 6. In addition, I will still be training competitors and teaching posing classes. I will still be promoting the Texas Shredder Classic and the Texas State Natural Championships.
Also, Diana and I will be expanding our Shredderbuilt Fit Gear clothing line, which caters to athletes. Plus, we have purchased a significant share of the World Natural Bodybuilding Federation (the pro division) and the International Natural Bodybuilding Federation (the amateur division). These are exclusively drug-free organizations in which athletes must be at least seven years drug-free, and all athletes are tested at every show. So you can see that I’m not leaving bodybuilding…at all. I’m not Arnold, with an amazing acting career to step into (although I plan to record a gospel album in the very near future).
The opportunity to purchase a share of the WNBF/INBF was a major factor in my decision to retire from competition. I would certainly have a chance to win again as a pro bodybuilder in the WNBF, but as an owner it would be a conflict of interest for me to compete. I decided that I could do much more for natural bodybuilding by stepping away from the competitive arena and working to build a professional natural federation where drug-free pros will have more opportunities to get sponsorships and have more opportunities to win significant amounts of prize money. The chance to build something better for natural athletes is more important to me than trying to prove that I can still win a show.
That said, there were physical factors that went into my decision to retire. Just after Lonnie Teper’s “Unbreakable” article came out in the April issue, I suffered another injury. As many IM readers know, I had surgery on my right shoulder in October 2012. At the beginning of this year it was doing great! Then in mid-March I injured my left shoulder. Being the optimist that I am, I thought, “They said my upper body was too big last year. I can afford to lose a little size.” So I continued with my contest prep.
Unfortunately, the following week I suffered a calf injury and was unable to do cardio. Obviously I wouldn’t be able to prepare for the Europa Super Show. Then the opportunity to buy into the WNBF/INBF fell in my lap, and the decision to retire was easy. I must say that I thought it was quite ironic that L.T. titled the article “Unbreakable”, and I promptly broke myself again!
I seriously wish I could say that I’m completely retiring. If that were the case I would move to the coast and go fishing every stinkin’ day and get gigs playing guitar and singing in the honky tonks at night. But I have a lot more work to do to elevate the status of drug-free bodybuilding through the WNBF/INBF. Plus, Diana and I have plans to build our Shredderbuilt brand big enough so that when we do actually retire, we can live the easy life.
In the meantime I’m training hard and eating clean. I’m never gonna give up the iron! To reference a quote usually attributed to Mark Twain, “The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated!”
Train hard and eat clean.