A lot has changed since bodybuilding veteran Chris Cormier stepped away from the sport. In a recent video, Cormier implored bodybuilders to compete more often as they used to during the height of his career in the 1990s.
Throughout his illustrious career, Cormier competed against the world’s best Men’s Open bodybuilders. He shared the stage with legends like four-time Arnold Classic winner Flex Wheeler, six-time Olympia champion Dorian Yates, and eight-time Olympia kingpin Ronnie Coleman.
While he’s long hung up his posing trunks, Cormier is still contributing to the sport he once dominated. He has helped shape and coach a number of high-profile bodybuilders during retirement. Some of his former pupils include two-time Classic Physique Olympia champ Breon Ansley as well as surging Men’s Open contender Hunter Labrada.
Over the past two decades, it’s become evident that many bodybuilders are competing less often. In today’s sporting climate, athletes are more concerned with qualifying for the annual Mr. Olympia contest and/or getting invited to the Arnold Classic. However, back when Cormier competed, social media didn’t exist, and athletes made most of their money by competing at contests.
During the 90s, top names in the Men’s Open division would tour different parts of Europe in a series of contests. Given how active bodybuilders once were, Cormier is calling attention to the newer generation of athletes — urging them to compete for more experience.
Chris Cormier on Bodybuilders Competing Less Often: ‘I Averaged 10-11 Shows Per Year, Trial & Error Makes You Better’
In the latest episode of Prime Time Muscle, Cormier reflected on what it was like competing in the 1990s, compared to now. He said back when he competed, his ‘whole year of competition’ was taken into consideration by Olympia brass.
“Well Tim that’s something I have been thinking about lately because back when I was competing, we all had to answer to Joe [Weider]. We all had to answer to Joe every year after our whole year of competition. Whatever you did on stage — that’s what’s going to dictate what you get paid next year,” Cormier shared.
According to the bodybuilding veteran, competing often is worth the trouble. It allows bodybuilders to find their weaknesses with trial and error while performing on stage.
“Yes. I would [compete often] myself because as you do a show there’s little mistakes you can make, there’s little things you can tinker with that’s going to help you in the future. So, trial and error in my opinion would help you get better in the future,” says Chris Cormier.
He added that bodybuilders didn’t have the financial freedoms that they enjoy today, like Instagram and other paid streaming platforms.
“We weren’t getting paid to produce Instagram or something like that when I was doing it but, maybe that’s part of it.”
During his lengthy career, Cormier was averaging an astonishing 10-11 shows per year. He loved competing, staying in contest shape, and trying to defeat anyone he had the opportunity to compete against.
“I was averaging 10-11 shows per year when I was doing it. People thought I wasn’t working hard but the proof was in the pudding,” says Cormier. “It was just my job [to stay in contest shape at 10 shows a year]. I love competing. I love getting up there and I wanted to see how many people I could beat throughout my career and that was my goal.”
“Some of these guys you could say… maybe they are waiting to better their physique for the future — trying to get the big one [Mr. Olympia],” Chris shared.
Cormier to New School Bodybuilders: ‘Learn and Get More Experience’
Cormier says modern bodybuilders should prioritize competing often, so they are accustomed to the challenges that come with being on stage.
“I would say, I would like to spend more time on the stage also getting experience. A lot of these guys can use a little bit more experience on stage. Getting to know — to be a field general up there on stage. So, you know exactly what to do if something happens.
I don’t know, someone bumps you, you stumble. Anything during the routine or learning different poses. Sometimes to hit a pose, you’re not hitting it correctly. You’re not hitting it to the best of your ability.
Anything like that, you can learn, there’s always a learning experience. Get the experience up there guys. Get the experience,” Cormier said.
This wasn’t the first instance where Cormier offered up-and-coming talent valuable advice. A few weeks ago, Chris underlined the dangers of using site enhancement oils like Synthol. He admitted that he shot Synthol into his calves, which caused permanent damage. He implored others to stay away from the drug and to focus on achieving their gains inside the gym.
Cormier maintains that today’s bodybuilders would benefit from competing more often. He believes trial and error is the best way for athletes to get comfortable on stage.