The 1993 Mr Olympia competition was probably my favourite contest that I had entered, in all my bodybuilding career. I mean in my first ever Mr O contest that I had entered back in 1991 I had placed second, to the great Lee Haney! So that was some achievement, a few months prior I had won the 1991 Night of Champions which catapulted me to the grandest stage of all!
In 1992, I won my first Sandow. Although I was absolutely over the moon with the win and was ready to begin my reign, I still thought that someone could possibly beat me. Plus the contest was held in Helsinki, Finland and not in America. I knew that I had to be certain that no one could beat me, I had to make some adjustments…
So in the run-up to the 1993 Mr Olympia, I actually kept everything pretty much the same, because it worked? If it ain’t broken why try to fix it? However, I did optimise it.
Every single week without fail I would take pictures of myself and see how I looked and compare them against previous weeks. Visual feedback worked best for me, I could see the changes to my physique over the weeks and as usual, it was all coming together. This was because I was en route to perfecting my formula of crafting an Olympia-winning physique.
In 1992, I had secured my crown and now it was time to defend it. I knew I had to be certain of success. Certain that none of my competitors could even come remotely close to laying their hands on the 1993 Sandow trophy. I had to win in style, I had to widen the gap, I had to change the game!
From comparing my 1992 pictures to my 1993 ones, I noticed that in the lead-up to the competition, roughly 6-8 weeks out, I was stage-ready! Usually, I would diet that extra bit harder and sacrifice muscle. I was willing to do this because it didn’t really matter to me, I had more than enough muscle so was okay with losing some to come in that extra bit leaner. Plus my competitors, like Vince Taylor and Shawn Ray, were smaller than me. So this year, I decided to keep everything the same training and nutrition-wise but, I did not over-diet in the final few weeks. I was now aware of the mistake I had made and was actually not needing to bring my body weight down so much.
Remember, that the 92 Mr O was only my 4th professional bodybuilding show! I was still learning about contest preparation but keeping notes and taking progress pictures allowed me to keep track and not make many mistakes.
When I started my prep for the 93 Mr O, I was actually 7-8lbs heavier, due to the amount of muscle I’d built… this was a lot for a top athlete. 1993 was a remarkable year of training too, I had zero injuries and everything was on point. From food, recovery, business and training! I built the foundations in the previous years to ensure my future success!
To be honest, I knew roughly 2 months before the contest that I had won. Looking at those black and white pictures, I was in contest shape and carried more muscle whilst looking stage lean! Actually, those famous pictures were never supposed to go viral! They were my usual weekly pictures that my photographer, Kevin Horton, would take. They were just for my records and training log, hence the undies and socks. But Kevin sent them into Flex Magazine and well, the rest is history I suppose…
So there I was full of confidence, flying into the United States of America, ready to defend my crown and perhaps, make a statement. After all, it was being held in Atlanta this year, I wanted to beat the Americans in their own backyard too.
As I stepped onto the stage it was over. I knew I’d won. I believe it was the most outright win in the history of professional bodybuilding. Never had a Mr Olympia winner made so much improvement in a year. I was 17lbs heavier than in 1992 and had the best conditioning, it was never in question. I steamrolled the competition and this was the year the alias ‘The Game Changer’ was bestowed upon me.
It was the first time in the sport’s history that a competitor would appear at nearly 260lbs and be absolutely diced to the bone. Perhaps competitors nowadays come in at 260lbs but they’re nowhere near at the same level of conditioning. I mean my feet would be in pain, especially on competition day, walking on that hard wooden floor. This was because I even lost the fat padding on the soles of my feet, I remember that my feet were absolutely killing! But this wasn’t entirely new to me as this first happened during the 1990 Night of Champions!
The reaction from people after seeing me was that they concluded amongst themselves that I had taken a massive amount of secret drugs. But in reality, it was simply to do with diet, well I just didn’t over-diet. Remember, I was nicknamed ‘The Shadow’, nobody really saw me year-round until the Mr Olympia, so they had no idea of how I looked before this.
Usually after the competition, I’d head straight out to California to do photoshoots. Flex Magazine and Wieder etc all wanted pictures immediately after the competition so they could capture me in contest shape. I’d typically spend 10-14 days in the Golden State. After that, it was back home to Birmingham where I’d spend the best part of the year in that cold, dark dungeon called Temple Gym. Crafting my physique, preparing to defend my crown, for yet another year…
So that was my favourite Mr Olympia competition, a game-changing win which is still talked about today! Stay tuned for more blogs and check out our premium range of supplements. We’ve got everything you need like pre-workouts, proteins, creatine and much, much more.