Military Bodybuilder Of The Month: Bruce Coleman

Some people join the military and get out as soon as they are allowed. Other, more dedicated sorts spend their lives in accordance to its core principles.

Bruce Coleman never had much. He dropped out of high school. After a stint in the Marines, he spent a period dining from dumpsters in the City of Angels. The military was the only reliable thing in his life, so he dedicated his life to it.

Now that it's over, and he is a retired master sergeant, he has let bodybuilding guide his future. He competes, trains and now shares his story of discipline in the corps and his career in the army. Structure is the easy part; constructing the capacity to follow your own orders—that's where things get difficult.

Name: Bruce Coleman
E-Mail: bcole007@hotmail.com
BodySpace: Mr.Tuffbody
Age: 49  Height: 5'10"  Weight: 185 lbs
Years Bodybuilding: 5
Branch of Service: USMC (1981-83) and U.S. Army (1983-86; 1987-2009)
Years of Service: 29 years
Rank: Master Sergeant (E-8; Retired)
MOS: 0331, 11C3V, 18D3W8, 18Z5V
Awards, Medals, Decorations: USMC (1981), Airborne Ranger (1985), Green Beret (1992), Lancero de Colombia (1997)
PT Test High Score: 298

Q
How Did You Get Started?

I've been training my entire adult life, but I was never consistent with my weight training until I was 44 years old. I started competitive bodybuilding at the age of 48. I did a total of seven competitions between March and November of 2012. There is nothing like getting up on stage wearing next to nothing to get you to step up your game and be the best you can be. Take a look at my progress pictures on BodySpace and you will see that I've made more progress in the past year than in the previous four years altogether. If you want to get better, start competing.

What Is the Hardest Part of Making the Transition From Civilian Life to Military Life?

My civilian to military transition was more than 30 years ago. I was a 17-year-old high school dropout and convinced my parents to sign the age wavier so I could enlist. I had come across a recruiting brochure entitled Life in the Marine Corps and I wanted what it promised. I still remember this promise verbatim: "Marine Corps Boot Camp is no picnic. It's getting your mind and body into shape like it has never been before, instilling an unbeatable spirit of 'can-do.'"

I remember sitting in the reception station at the Marines Corps Recruit Depot on Parris Island, South Carolina. This was before we met our drill instructors or got our new haircuts and uniforms. In walks this bald-headed recruit in uniform. He starts crawling around the floor and underneath a table crying: "Keep him away from me, keep him away from me!" I remember asking myself "What in the world did I just get myself into?" From my military experience, I learned the need to control your thoughts when things get tough, so you are able to maintain the belief that you can do it. The Corps was true to its promise.

The transition from a lifetime spent in the military to civilian life was harder for me. I never gave life after the military much thought until I had my retirement paperwork in hand. I tell all my brothers and sisters who are career military to realize that all of us have to pull the uniform off for good eventually. Don't wait for that day to become a 50-meter target before you prepare to meet it. Plan and control your thoughts to maintain the positive expectation that this too you can do. If you start planning for it five years out from retirement it will bring excitement, not anxiety. Ready or not, that day will come. It is your choice how you will meet it.

Will You Please Describe Your Duties in the Military?

Combat Arms, there was nothing else in the military I wanted to do.

How Did Your Tours of Duty Change the Way You Look at Fitness?

As a combat solider, fitness is the foundation for all your weapon systems. You can't put rounds on target if you are too tired to get into position, or too weak to send it.

If You Hadn't Gone Into the Military, What Occupation Would You Have Pursued?

It was either the military or an action movie star. I tried the movie star thing after my first enlistment. I moved to L.A., but it didn't take long before I was broke, living in my car, and eating out of garbage cans. The whole six-month break in service taught me the personal value of the military 7 Ps: "Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance."

How Does Fitness Differ in the Different Military Branches?

I've spent most of my military career in Special Operations. High levels of fitness are common to Special Operations forces like Rangers, Special Forces, and SEALs. Just before retiring, I was assigned to a joint unit with members of all types of occupational specialties from across all the services. Standing in back of the morning formation before PT, I could tell just by looking at the physiques which service member was in what service. Generally speaking, the Marines stood out as looking and being the fittest.

What Is the Biggest Obstacle in Leading a Military Lifestyle?

To perform your sworn duty requires a lot of sacrifice, not just for the military member, but from their family as well. Lengthy periods of separation result in missed birthdays, anniversaries, and other important family events; it can be difficult for all. Most civilians have no clue. Dealing with family separation is the hardest thing about the military life.

How Important Is It to You to Perform Well on a PT Test?

PT test scores were important for promotions and school assignments.

Personal Sacrifice Is an Accepted Part of the Military. How Does That Translate to Fitness?

The military teaches you from the start to do what needs to be done. This habit transfers to all parts of life. Fitness is one of those things that need to be done.

Do You Think It's More/Less Difficult for Military Men to Stay in Shape, as Opposed to Civilian Men?

I would say it is less difficult. Being physically fit is a part of the military job description. Other than professional athletes, not many other civilians have any such fitness requirement. Because it is a requirement, time and resources are made available for fitness in the military. For the most part, civilians are left totally on their own.

How Does Fitness Affect Your Role in the Armed Services?

Rangers lead the way. This is to say, I have been trained to lead by example. If you are in a leadership role and you expect your subordinates to be in shape, then you had better be in shape too.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

I do the same three-part warm-up six days per week. The whole sequence takes me about 25-30 minutes.

Daily Warm-Up


Day 1

Superset



Day 2

Superset



Day 3

Superset



Day 4

Superset



Day 5

Superset



Day 6

Giant Set



Day 7: Rest

Bruce Coleman's Squat and Pull-Over Superset

Watch The Video - 01:50




Which Nutrition Plan Works Best For You?

My approach to diet was to try everything out there until I found something that worked for me. If the standard "eat super clean 6-7 small meals a day" is working for you, then by all means stick with it. If like me, you find the standard diet rules are not working as well as you would like, get rid of them and try something new.

Intermittent Fasting ///

It took me years to get to the point where I realized that what everyone else said works wasn't working well for me. About a year ago I tried intermittent fasting and I haven't once considered going back to eating 6-7 times per day. The thought of eating that often sounds as crazy to me as eating only one meal each day sounded to me before I tried intermittent fasting.

This is my current pre-contest diet. My post-workout meal consists of whey protein and pure honey. My one solid meal of the day is eaten around 5 p.m. I break my fast by eating one apple and 1-2 bananas. Then my main course consists of a protein (usually beef or chicken) and a starchy carb (sweet potato, rice, macaroni salad). I finish that with FiberOne Brownies and dark chocolate (72 percent cacao). The only thing I drink is water, black coffee, and unsweetened green tea. I eat like this six days per week. The only thing that varies is the protein and carb for the evening meal. I will also throw in a bag of microwave popcorn from time to time. I measure nothing but powdered supplements, I don't count anything, and I don't stress about my diet at all.

Sunday Special ///

Sunday is my rest day from both my training and my diet. I eat breakfast around 8 a.m. It consists of a salad (spinach, grape tomato, raw broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot). I use Newman's Own Olive Oil and Vinegar dressing. I will also have 3-4 Baby Bell pieces of cheese, and as may raw unsalted almonds as I want. I eat lunch somewhere around noon. All I look for is a protein and starchy carb. I eat Sunday dinner with protein, starchy carb, and any vegetable my wife prepares. It is not scientific, exact, or traditional, but it is simple, stress free, and works for me.

Meal 1: Post-Workout Supershake, Noon
Meal 2: Dinner 4-6 p.m.

Which Supplements Give You the Greatest Gains?
Morning After Waking Up
Pre-Workout
Post-Workout
Evening

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

I am currently striving to become an IFBB Men's Physique Pro. My ultimate bodybuilding goal is to win the BodySpace Spokesmodel competition. I've been on BodySpace for over five years now. In that time I've gone from fat and out-of-shape to being an NPC national physique competitor.

What Would It Mean to You to Earn Your Pro Card?

More proof that patience and persistence must finish their work in order to be mature and complete, not lacking anything (see James 1:2-4).

How Do You Think Bodybuilding Helps You as a Service Member?

Bodybuilding builds strength. It takes strength to serve in the military, strength to serve and come home, and strength to go back and serve again. May this nation's military be forever strong.

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

Lou Ferrigno. I was young when the classic movie Pumping Iron came out. In this movie Lou's forearms looked like huge rippling bands of steel. I was most impressed. I vividly remember thinking, "Wow, I want forearms like that."

Steve Reeves. I read everything I could get my hands on about big Lou. I learned that his early inspiration came from Steve Reeves. Once I looked at Steve Reeves, I understood why. Even to this day few have come anywhere close to Steve Reeves' standard of the perfect male physique.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders in the Military?

Realize that the qualities that make military success possible are the same qualities it takes for bodybuilding success. It is too easy to consider deployments, eating out of pouches and plastic bags, required morning PT sessions, and the like as what keeps you from reaching your bodybuilding goals. When you want it bad enough, you will stop using the things you must do as excuses that stop you from doing what you can do. Cultivate a burning desire to get it done in addition to your military requirements. When your desire is strong enough, you will find a way.


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Do you have a bodybuilding success story to share when you were in the military? If so, send in your pics, stats, and why you got started...

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beastmode47

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beastmode47

This guy has some pencil-thin neck. Needs to focus on those sternocleidomastoids.

Jun 12, 2013 8:54pm | report
 
Mr.Tuffbody

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Mr.Tuffbody

Those are the muscles just under the neck right?

Jun 14, 2013 9:00am | report
yunusxy

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yunusxy

im triying to IF too and i think its the best way to losse fat

Jun 12, 2013 8:58pm | report
 
Mr.Tuffbody

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Mr.Tuffbody

agreed

Jun 14, 2013 8:28am | report
XxmetallicaxX

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XxmetallicaxX

props man, I wanna look and be exactly where you are at that age....

Jun 13, 2013 3:38am | report
 
Mr.Tuffbody

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Mr.Tuffbody

Thanks, and you're off to a good start.

Jun 14, 2013 8:49am | report
SWAT73

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SWAT73

Great work . . . congrats on being the Military Bodybuilder of the Month! AND . . . thank you for your service to our country!

Jun 13, 2013 4:20am | report
 
Mr.Tuffbody

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Mr.Tuffbody

Thanks Seth.

Jun 14, 2013 8:51am | report
kettchy00

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kettchy00

This guy fits the usual stereo typical military figure. Small but ripped. With daily PT regimine that USMC puts us through its either you get really fat(like me) and fight to stay in regs, or you stay incredible skinny and have close to nothing muscle mass, but can run like a **** cheetah. This guy has found the middle ground, good job Msgt.

Jun 13, 2013 5:51am | report
 
Mr.Tuffbody

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Mr.Tuffbody

Thanks

Jun 14, 2013 8:51am | report
ameyp97

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ameyp97

Nice, I like this guy,i read his transformation story,love his walking drills!!

Jun 13, 2013 6:53am | report
 
Mr.Tuffbody

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Mr.Tuffbody

Thanks Amey. The walking drills are part of my stay young secrets. Glad you like them.

Jun 14, 2013 8:53am | report
cdmagee

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cdmagee

Great Job !

Jun 13, 2013 8:30am | report
 
Mr.Tuffbody

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Mr.Tuffbody

Thanks bro.

Jun 14, 2013 8:57am | report
Qotu79

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Qotu79

Very nice, sir!
There's a special place in my heart for the Armed Forces. Both my parents are Marines (retired).

Jun 13, 2013 2:13pm | report
 
Mr.Tuffbody

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Mr.Tuffbody

Thanks Leola.

Jun 14, 2013 8:55am | report
iownaniroc

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iownaniroc

Thank you for your service!

Jun 13, 2013 3:37pm | report
 
Mr.Tuffbody

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Mr.Tuffbody

My duty and honor. You are very welcome, and thank you for the appreciation.

Jun 14, 2013 8:56am | report
andpinger

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andpinger

****... USMC, ranger, and SF..... lemme take a guess: you were in 7th SF group because you went to Lancero school in Colombia

Jun 14, 2013 7:41pm | report
 
Mr.Tuffbody

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Mr.Tuffbody

You are correct.

Jun 18, 2013 2:59am | report
clockdecyde

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clockdecyde

Was it hard to gain weight with the constant cardio requirements that the military has?

Jun 22, 2013 6:02pm | report
 
Mr.Tuffbody

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Mr.Tuffbody

Harder, but not impossible.

Sep 17, 2013 5:09am | report
tiaraorsea

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tiaraorsea

HOOAH! Great body! Thanks for your service. I'm looking forward to checkin out your workouts.

Article Rated:
Jun 30, 2013 2:29pm | report
 
Mr.Tuffbody

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Mr.Tuffbody

You're welcome, and thank you for serving as well. I hope to be able to share more of my workouts in the future.

Sep 18, 2013 7:23am | report
Stephen7117

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Stephen7117

Really?

"Standing in back of the morning formation before PT, I could tell just by looking at the physiques which service member was in what service. Generally speaking, the Marines stood out as looking and being the fittest."

Being a member of the military myself (U.S. Army), I don't appreciate things like that being said about the people I work with. You don't disrespect other servicemen and women like that. I don't care if you're a marine, or a sailor, or a soldier, or an airmen or whatever. It's disrespectful, not to mention completely untrue because I've worked with plenty of Army, Air Force and Navy guys who make this writer's physique look pretty bad...

I'm not trying to disrespect the author and whatever kind of bodybuilding this author may do, and I'm glad that he's promoting better fitness and knowledge... but what I am trying to say to the general civilian population reading this, is that what I quoted in this comment is completely wrong in every way.

Aug 28, 2013 10:48am | report
 
Showing 1 - 25 of 34 Comments

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