Chris Cormier, after being sick for the 2003 Olympia, and a dismal 7th at the GNC Show of Strength, is back better than ever, and is ready to take on the 2004 Arnold Classic with a vengeance. To all the naysayers, Chris wants to remind them that he is a proven experienced warrior with 61 pro contests, and 10 pro wins. So after some people counted him out and all washed up, Chris is going to kick some ass very soon. He is focused, and no one should take him lightly. Here are some questions and answers with Chris 'The Real Deal' Cormier.
Chris Cormier, interviewed by Ron Avidan.
So how is your training going for the 2004 Arnold?
The training is going better than ever. I am really focused on doing my best, and I am really focused on my career, and I am focusing on being the best bodybuilder that I could be. You know, it makes me happy to finally get to a point mentally and physically all at the same time getting ready for the Arnold Classic, and the other shows after that, in this frame of mind. You know, I haven't been able to pull that off in a long while, to be this focused like this. This time, nothing is going to bother me because I am not going to let anything get to me, as far as if I have a problem, I will keep my perspectives intact. What is the most important thing to me now? My career and my job.
Are you doing anything different this year for the Arnold?
Yes, there are a lot of things that is different. I am doing everything early and often. That is my motto for this show. I am in the gym 24 / 7 now. I am the most consistent pro at Gold's Gym Venice at the moment. I am training with Charles Glass every workout now. He's been beating my ass. Man, he really is kicking my ass. And it takes that for me to be my best. You know, it is really easy to work out by yourself and touch on that 90% potential, but you need to train at that 90 to 100% level all the time to get out everything that I need for the show. So it is easy for me to get to a certain physique level by myself, but if you want to do better, you need to push your limit to the red zone, that 90 - 100% area. Charles has been pinpointing a lot of things to me, and I've been able to train with a lot of different exercises that I haven't been able to train with in years, due to injuries and my lower back problem and my knees that I have battled with. And now I can do that. Charles knows so many exercises to do that will not hurt you, so you can work around all the pain.
Are you working with Chad Nicholls again this year?
Yes, this is the first time that Chad took a lot of time to put into my diet, and he had not done that before with me. Before, basically, I am not sure that he really helped me, or me taking his advice. That wasn't Chad's fault, I just think that maybe he was waiting for me to be mentally and physically at a point where he wanted me to be, or whatever it took. Whatever it is, we are all working together and meeting with the same points. Me, Chad and Charles, and that is good.
They got me training at a higher bodyweight that I normally train at. Usually when I start training for a show, I am around 267 pounds and I gain 20 pounds getting ready for a show. I touch on 280 pounds or so for about a week, and then I start going down to the low 250's. Because I started my diet at such a light bodyweight, I never got the blood volume and necessities that you need to hold a higher thicker blood in my body. This time however, I was able to get to 290 pounds, and I have been training at 290 for the past month and a half. And I am still in the low 280's now. And my bodyfat has been decreasing too. I started my diet with my bodyfat at a little over 7%, and today, it was at 4.9%. The actual number of the fat is not my concern, I just make sure that the calipers are getting thinner each week. That I am improving in bodyfat each week, while keeping all of the muscle that I have. I will definitely be around the 260's range for the Arnold Classic this year, while last year I was at 243.
What do you think your chances are at the Arnold?
Just as good as everyone elses. I am very focused, and I think that mentally and physically, I am at the best I have been in a long time. I think, with this combination, no one should take me lightly. I am very driven now, for people have doubted my abilities last year. When you have been a warrior all your life, and now people doubt you because you have a bad showing in one show. I am not that type of a person that someone could just doubt me and I will sit there and take that. I will show everyone exactly who I am and what I am made of, how hard I can work, how good a competitor I will be this year, and that I have a great body to work with.
Which shows are you going to do?
The Arnold Classic, and the Australian Pro. Perhaps the San Francisco. Regarding the Ironman, I don't have anything to prove there, as I have won that show quite a number of times. The prize for me is winning the Arnold Classic. I want to win the Arnold Classic, and not make it a one shot deal either. I am really happy that I am doing what I am supposed to me doing now.
Cool, back to the O. Why did you drop out of the 2003 Olympia?
Well, lets say that you are getting ready for the show. You have seven days to get ready. I was already sick a few weeks before the show. If you are getting ready for the show, you need to be ready 2 weeks out. You should be ready and cruising to the show. This time, I had started at a later date than what I wanted to, and needed each week to get into the shape and condition that I needed to even look decent. So I spent most of that time being 'off and on' sick, with the flu, as it was going around the whole area where I was training. Everyone got sick that I knew. For me, the last seven days going into the Olympia, I spend four of those days not taking in any water, or any substantial food, or else I would of thrown up. I needed those days take care of last minute preparations, tanning, posing, final touches in the gym; instead I spent it on the couch, sick as a dog. Mentally, I am already in a battle with Ronnie, Jay and all of those guys, I just couldn't battle it out when I am in that state, it's just not me. How can I go in fighting when I don't have anything to do it with. My bodyweight was down 20 pounds already. You want me to keep on fighting when I am already dehydrated. Is it worth killing myself like some people have done in the past or I am going to fight the battle another day. It wasn't worth to me to put myself in that type of risk.
Am I not a proven warrior? Do you really think I wanted to duck out of the Olympia? I have been in 61 pro shows. I am not afraid of anyone on the stage. But if I was able to feel and look good, I would of competed. I trained hard for the show, and it was a big disappointment that I couldn't compete. If I was well, I would of easily been in the top. I have been in the top six for a very long time now. But that is not my goal. I have always been good my entire life. And the money. If I was for just because of money, I would have been a pro football player.
How did it feel placing 7th at a pro show (GNC SOS)? You have not done that in a long time.
It was an eye opener. I guess I was in one of my worst conditions ever. I wasn't saying I was dead on at all. I wasn't going to win the show, I wasn't even going to place in the top three, so who cares if I am sixth or seventh. Even though they put me behind Darrem Charles, who can't hold any weight about my career or how good I am, that has no bearing on who I am as a bodybuilder, or what I am capable of, or what I am going to accomplish. I knew that I wasn't on, and I didn't feel comfortable even competing, but I had a contract and I honored it. I will come back, right back up in the ranks at the Arnold Classic. Come on, its nothing. I was surprised that every single person in that show didn't beat me compared to what I went through. That's got to be my worst ever. If you can't beat me in my worst ever, what does that say for some of the bodybuilders out there. Hey, that was the worst look that I could ever come out with, and I still managed to beat some bodybuilders.
So I hear that you are not going to be involved in the 2004 Arnold Classic After Party event?
Yes, that's true. I just don't want to be involved in that type of thing any more. I think that I have a window of opportunity to be a really good bodybuilder this year, and I just feel that the parties are not part of what I am anymore.
But I saw you at the 2003 Olympia After Party?
Well, Craig and I agreed that I would go, and I kept to my word. What was I supposed to do? There was another party also, and that is another thing that was a big problem. I am friends with the other guy that puts on the parties and it just turns into a big mess each year. I was able to go to the party because I wasn't bed-ridden, but I was not in any condition to compete against the best in the world. I was contracted to go to the party, so should I opt out and stay in my room? Just because I wasn't hospitalized or bed-ridden does not mean I must stay in my room. Come on, I mean, who wants to stay in his room in Vegas.
So did you have fun and get down on the dance floor at the After Party?
What, no it's not true. I was there with Monica. You saw me there, did you ever see me anywhere near the dance floor. I was walking around, just like everyone else. Where do these rumors come from?
Monica. How is Monica?
Right now, I am focusing on my career. I don't have time right now for anything at the moment. How do I have time? You want to hear my schedule every day. I get in the morning, eat my food, couple of meals, then I am at the gym, train, cardio, pose, eat, rest a little bit, eat, train, cardio, maybe go to a bookstore to browse through some magazines, Maxim, car magazines, on the way home, eat, that's all I do right now.
When was the last nightclub you went to?
Out there in Vegas, Mr. Olympia night. The House of Blues. That was the last one. I told myself that I am not going to go to clubs anymore. At the Arnold Classic, at the Olympia, I will go to the banquet after the show, and that is where I will finish the night, at the banquet.
So you feel it is going to be a good year.
I feel that 2004 will be one of my best years. I can see where I need to go, how I need to get there, and not guessing what I need to do. I am not going to go to the clubs after the shows, that is over for me. What's the big deal to go to the clubs with a psychedelic shirt to go stand in a corner with your arms way out trying to impress somebody all night. You wearing all your 'in style' shit. You know, I don't buy any more clothes right now when I am getting ready for a show. Before, I went and bought a new outfit to bring to the after hour parties. Not this year. I just don't feel like doing that stuff anymore.
How is your sponsorship with Muscletech?
They [MuscleTech] are doing great. They have been very supportive of me. A lot more supportive than a lot of other companies would have been during the times when I got sick. You can get cut from some companies. They treat you good over there, but you have to work. Some people think that it is a piece of cake, but try doing an eight hour photo shoot, with a smile on your face and being pumped all the time. But they do a lot for me, so I have to work hard for them. Every show that I do, I do a three day photo shoot, eight hours a day.
Is it strange going back to Gold's Venice to train?
No, I like it. I needed to come back here to train, I needed to come back right in the mouth of the whole industry, and show all these naysayers who think they can out train me. I am there now, and no one is stepping out to say that right to my face now. No one is saying shit now that I am right there.
You have to understand, its been a long time since I have incorporated all these things so early, with no distractions, as far as getting all my stuff done on time. I haven't done cardio 14 weeks out from a show in a long time. I started my diet at 7% bodyfat. I have never been this good in shape this far out from a show. Do you know when the last time I felt this way. 1990, when I took third. I was ready like maybe three, four weeks out, just cruising. So I feel this year I will have time to look and adjust.
Who are you hanging out with now?
No one at the moment. I train with Charles, I do my cardio, I study my posing 10 weeks out, I started my diet 14 weeks out, I have no time to hang with anyone right now.
But don't you see Tom Prince and Bob Cicherillo at Gold's Gym Venice?
Yes, I do. We say hi, bye on the way out. Like I said, I am there more than anybody in there. I eat two meals a day at the gym in between workouts.
Aren't you worried about them taking your moves?
Oh come on. If anyone did anything I did, or knew anything I knew, they still need to have the physique I have at the end. Am I right? I've got one of the top physiques in the world. I am keeping myself focused at the moment. Charles is being the ringleader. It is up to me. I was waiting for myself to be like this for a long time, and now I got it. I am not going to make any predictions, saying I am going to beat this guy or that guy. I am just going to be very focused from here on.
What pisses you off Chris?
Shittalkers. People who got nothing to do but make up lies. You never hear me talking shit about people or gossip about this or that person's business. I know their business, but I don't gossip about it.
Which bodybuilders do you respect?
Kevin Levrone. He minds his own business. He just chills, he is his own person. I respect that. Ronnie Coleman, I respect him. These are two guys that think their shit don't stink in this sport.
Which bodybuilders don't you respect much?
Melvin Anthony is an asshole. I don't like the person who is, the fake ass bullshit that he says, that is not his true colors, trust me. King Kamali, his bark is way bigger than his bite. Hey, he might be last at the Arnold. He doesn't have the genetics. He just needs to shut up and do his thing, do your job. Stop talking so big about yourself. He talks bigger about himself than I do, and I have 61 pro contests of reason too.
Oh yeah, the incident with Tom Prince. I heard he was talking shit about me in the magazines and on the Internet too. I went up to him at Gold's Gym of Venice, dropped my bag, and said to him in his face "You have something to say to me Tom". He said "What, what?" I said "Every time I read the magazine, you like to talk about shit, I don't even bring your name up, so why do you keep talking about me? You better keep my name out of your mouth." He said something like if I had his work ethics, I would never lose another show. But I don't. I went up to him and I said "Tom, you know about all the shit that I went through the last 2 years. You want to tell me about work ethics! How many show have you done? How many shows have you placed in the top 3? How many shows have you won? I have won 10 pro shows. Ten. You want to tell me that I need to have your work ethics?" I was pissed, almost to the point of yelling. Tom was stunned. Bob Cicherillo then jumped in and said "Tom always sticks up for you", and I said "Bob, this is between me and Tom". Then I told Tom "Everytime I turn around, you always say something on the Internet on how I should of called Chad and how I use people and go to the next person." Who the fuck do I use. I help people in any way I can. That is the kind of person I am. I said "Tom. You for one I have tried to get to believe in yourself more as a bodybuilder and as a person. I have spent my own time trying to help you pose, and I do that for a lot of bodybuilders. Stop acting like a little bitch." Everything is cool now between me and Tom because he called and apologized. I used to be a wrestler in high school, and I was one of the best. I worked my ass off. That's all I do, I work hard. And it upsets me to think that people think I don't work hard. Because I have outside things that hamper my career or my condition doesn't mean that I don't work hard. So many shows a year in great condition, and people think I don't work hard. Come on.
Were you surprised about hearing about Victor Martinez?
No, not really. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time. If you are into shit, you know it may happen sooner than later. That is another guy who talks. I have never said anything negative about his accomplishments, and what he has done, but he goes on and start mouthing off that he can take me out now at a show. That I am not as good as I used to be. I don't get hard like I used to. I just don't think people understand the amount of stress that I was under the past two years of my life, and I just couldn't focus on my career, even though I still did 10 or more shows in the last two years. I still competed. I was under a lot of stress. People shouldn't pass judgment on my ability for 2004 just because I was under stress before. I am not that old. I am 36 years old. That is my true age I am saying, unlike a lot of the other guys lying about their age. Out of the 18 years that I have been competing, I have been on stage for 16 of those years, and I spent the other 2 trying to get bigger and better. I have been competing since day one all of the time. Not some bodybuilder that can count on two hands how many pro shows they have done, and mouth off. I mean, I am a competitor, so you've got to give me my business, and not underestimate a person that has so much experience like I do. I have been on stage since 1985, and it has been my life I grew up in the NPC. I was 16 years old when I was getting ready for a show, competing at 17. I basically grew up around Jim Manion, and around some of these judges, who also judged me when I was a teenager. Sandy Ranali judged me when I was a teenager, and Jim Manion was there when I won the Teenage Nationals. I can't believe it that people underestimate my ability. It's not like I am a guy who was 13th or 14th place at the Olympia. Ever.
Tell me about Davana Medina? Were you surprised how well she did?
Actually, I told her before they even had a pro figure competition even labeled, that she could take the title of Figure Olympia one day. Just like that. It was the first show that she did, in New York, and I was there, guest posing, and after that show, that is when J.M. Manion signed her. I hooked her up, as she didn't even know who J.M. was. I told her if the man wants to sign you, sign the contract, and it will help you in the long run, and she did, and she did great. She needs some more training, as she hasn't been training that long, and you can tell the difference between a body like Monica Brant and hers. Monica has been training a long time, and that's what it looks like. Monica has a totally different look than what Davana had. You could see how much work Monica put into it, she worked her ass off. I take my hat off to Monica. Both girls were great, Davana won by two points at the Figure Olympia.
What happen to the restaurant Smittys in Vegas.
That guy, he conned me, and turned on me one day and showed all his true colors. He thought he would be making some money from me. Right before I went to the Arnold Classic last year, he went to me, and wanted me to sign a contract with him. He wanted to manage me. He wanted 10% of my winnings. He had a 15 - 10 - 5 percent idea of whatever I got via sponsorships, winnings, promotions. I told him that I not comfortable with that. If I feel that you give me some servicing that needs rendering, then I would take that upon myself, but I don't feel comfortable with any contracts, and things went downhill from there.
What is going on with your legal stuff? I hear things.
Ok, hear it is. If a women makes an accusation about you, you will get arrested and go to jail. And if she said later that she was only kidding, she would be in big trouble. You know what you would get. Five years probation and make you go to Anger Management classes for a year. But that can be the least of what can happen to you. If the D.A. thought for a minute that I was guilty, I wouldn't be on the streets right now. They did not have anything on me, but the whole event was stressful. It didn't do anything wrong, I didn't break the law.
Hey, they put you in jail after the 2003 Arnold Classic! What was up with that?
Well, I had an asshole wanna be friend, and so called lawyer, who screwed me. I had to go to a hearing almost every month, and once I was 10 minutes late for one. They called my case up first, and my lawyer didn't even bother to call me to see where I was, and set up another hearing the day before the Arnolds. I got really pissed about it, but my lawyers said don't worry, just go ahead and compete, and I will go there and take care of it. Well, he didn't help me at all. That day, I was at Columbus, and somehow he missed it too, and the judge put up a warrant for me. But I didn't know about it until after I came back from the Australia Pro, which my lawyers said it was fine, as he said when I would come back from Australia, he would take care of it all. But when I came back, they put me in jail. They said that I totally disrespected the law. The judge said that I didn't respect the system, that I went to Australia for a trip. Needless to say, I got a new lawyer after that that took care of my business.
Anything you want to say to the fans?
Don't count me out at all. This year will be the year that I will halt all the naysayers, and show everyone that the warrior is focused mentally and physically.
From Tom Prince: I'm only going to make one small comment about this, and what Chris was talking about in his interview with Ron. I was DEFENDING Chris, on the bulletin boards, and Guy Grunde used a quote from my post in the column he writes for MuscleMag. The quote, by itself, reads somewhat out of context, unless you have the ENTIRE post surrounding it. It came off sounding as if I was being much more critical of Chris, than I had ever intended. I had meant it as a positive post, not a negative one in any way, shape, or form. Chris has been a good friend for 6-7 years, and was upset at what he THOUGHT was me slamming him in a magazine. After we discussed it, all was fine. To be honest, I think I am one of the few people that has always been in Chris's corner, regardless of how he was placing, or what he was doing.
From Ron Harris: I spoke to Chris recently, and I have NEVER heard him sound so serious about a show in the 11-12 years I have known him. Admittedly, I was one of the many who wrote Chris off and assumed his best years were behind him, but I am sold this time. If Chris, Jay, and Dexter all show up in their top condition, it will be a much more exciting show than the last Olympia was. Chris has taken second place at the Arnold for the last FOUR years in a row. That has got to suck!