Thursday, June 9, 2011

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gold's Gym Taught Me Everything

Roy training a client at Dix30

What was the sport of bodybuilding like in the early 70’s when you started to win titles?

It was for the uneducated and the musclehead, it was not yet appreciated for its athleticism. But that didn’t scare me off, at that age you’re proud to walk around with your big arms to impress the girls and I got hooked on winning.

How did you meet Arnold Schwarzenegger?

In 1977, Caruso, my trainer here Montreal, asked me to compete in Mr Canada and told me I could win. So I went and I won Mr Canada then went off to Paris to represent Canada at Mr Universe. A lot of people doubted me but I won it and when I came back, bodybuilding took off in Canada. After that, gyms started springing up and a magazine wanted to send me to Califormia to train with Arnold for as long as I needed to become a professional champion and we were always training at Gold’s Gym on Wilshire.

I stayed with Arnold at his house for two years in California and he trained me and that’s where I learned all my stuff. He was generous and kind. I actually met him in Munich years before, and another time in Florida. He was a big star there and we shared a hotel room in Florida and let’s just say that Arnold is no different today then he was then. When I came back from training with him, I won some professional titles and I finally got to compete against him in 1980 at Mr Olympia in Australia where he won! It was his big comeback. He is a very charismatic, very charming guy.

What was your greatest accomplishment?

Well sharing the stage with Arnold was one of my greatest achievements. I learned everything from him.

What was your greatest challenge?

I had to develop my calves and sometimes I cried working them, trying to shape them the right way. But you have to work with what you have. I had lemons and I made lemonade.

How has the bodybuilding culture changed?

It’s like night and day. Back in the day, gyms were dirty and guys didn’t care that much. Just like I said before, it used to be a sport for the working class guy but I knew it was changing when I was invited to the Gold’s Gym Classic in California and the building was as big as Gold’s Gym Dix30’s first floor and there were a lot of guys training there but not the big stars yet cause it was still middle class. That gym really changed my mentality about gyms.

And when Arnold came over and hooked up with the right people, everybody joined him and he capitalized on that. Arnold destroyed that image of the musclehead and completely changed the scene. Gold’s Gym was really in the centre of that movement.


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