Ronnie Coleman is easily one of the most recognizable faces of the bodybuilding industry. ‘Big J,’ who helped train Coleman, took to a recent Straight Outta the Lair Podcast with Flex Lewis, to discuss his experiences at the Metroflex Gym with ‘The King.’
During his respective tenure, bodybuilding legend Ronnie Coleman separated himself from his peers with exceptional muscle mass, conditioning, and size. In 1998, he defeated Flex Wheeler to win his first Mr. Olympia title. Having taken a moment to look back on his career, Coleman believes Wheeler is the reason he became so successful because he connected him with his long-time coach Chad Nicholls.
From 1998-2005, Coleman dominated the Men’s Open class, and in the process, defeated popular mainstays such as Jay Cutler, Kevin Levrone, and Dennis Wolf. In 2006, Cutler dethroned Coleman to end his illustrious eight-year reign. A year later, Coleman opted to retire after his final Mr. Olympia show where he finished fourth.
During Coleman’s career, he often trained at the Metroflex Gym in Texas. This gym served as the home to many prolific bodybuilders such as Men’s Open threats Johnnie O. Jackson and Branch Warren, an athlete known for impressive quad development. And while fans haven’t heard much from Coleman’s training partner, Big J, he’s now offering some details about working out with ‘The King’ during the mid-90s and 2000s.
‘Big J’ Talks Meeting and Training with Ronnie Coleman
Big Jay said he still keeps in touch with Ronnie and saw him at the gym two days ago.
“I just talked to him two days ago at the gym and he’s got a bigger smile. That says something, you can’t have much of a bigger smile than that, eight-time Mr. Olympia – it doesn’t get bigger, might as well have another son.”“We trained [together] at five or six in the morning, somewhere around there,” said Big J. “I think once he started winning the Olympias is when the different times came about. You know, when you train that there are so many interruptions. Hey, can I get a picture… it’s hard to explain to super fans, and there are super fans out there that this is actually not just a hobby, this is his job. He’s at work.”“It’s disappointing to fans for sure, but once they finally realize that he’s pushing 200-pound dumbbells and he’s getting psyched up, yes I’ll wait. It’s the same with other workout partners. A lot of times I was training with Ronnie and I was having to direct traffic a lot of the times. So we decided to start training at later hours that way nobody is there.”
“There’s no cameras, there’s no hype squad, there’s always some good gangster rap going [in Metroflex] it’s funny because there’s so much more work that goes on behind the scenes. Even the kids nowadays don’t realize that we didn’t do this for notoriety and we didn’t do this for pictures on Instagram, we didn’t do this to get popular, we did it because we loved the shit out of it.”
“As far as training – it’s different. You can talk to a concrete worker, a brick layer, or a ditch worker, and you bring him to the gym and smoke him, but he’ll smoke you in the ditch. So, you have to change gears to a different type of intensity.“Squatting and deadlifting was my specialty I loved doing it. I was squatting in the back and there was this rap music going on and there was this big monster — I mean this was before he was Mr. Olympia, but he was still a big monster. He kept looking at me with this stinky face like I smell shit. The big nostrils. He’s just looking at me really weird. I’m like who’s this guy, why is he looking at me like this. I didn’t know him. He comes over and he’s like ‘Hey man, how are you squatting so much weight with those itty bitty ass legs?’ I start laughing and I’m like, ‘How are you so freakin big?’ And it was game on from there.”
“It kind of started with Branch. That fucker always tried to kill me when we first met training. I trained with him from the mid-90s to the early 2000s. He would help me along with some other people with my nutrition and whatnot, I would just do what they did. It was a lot different from the training I did in the military.”“Well Ronnie with those 200s like they were 100s just blew me away,” said J. “Ronnie’s lifts were amazing. I saw him pull the 800 for a couple, squat the 800 for a couple, leg press the 2,300 for eight. I’ve been to all those lift and they always made me oh my God that’s amazing, I can do that.”
“I pulled it and I recorded it and said here’s your video. He goes, I knew you could do it good job. That’s all you’re going to get from the greatest bodybuilder in the world. You’re not going to get, ‘Oh my god that’s great,’ because he’s great.”