An Interview With Six-Time World Champion Bodybuilder Serge Nubret!

Six-time World Champion Bodybuilder Serge Nubret takes some time to answer questions about his past experiences, what he is doing now, how he trains, and much more! Learn more about this icon of bodybuilding right here.

First off, I want to thank you Serge for doing this interview for us. I know you have a busy schedule and I appreciate you taking some time for this interview.

It's my pleasure. You help me to practice my English.


For the people who have heard of your name, but really don't know much about you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your personal background as well as your background in the sport of bodybuilding?

Prize List
    • 1958 - Mr. Guadeloupe
    • 1960 - IFBB World's Most Muscular Man
    • 1970 - NABBA Mr. Universe 2nd
    • 1970 - IFBB Mr. Europe (Tall)
    • 1972 - IFBB Mr. Olympia (3rd)
    • 1974 - IFBB Mr. Olympia (2nd)
    • 1975 - IFBB Mr. Olympia (2nd)
    • 1976 - NABBA Pro Mr. Universe
    • 1976 - WBBG Mr. World (2nd)
    • 1977 - WBBG Mr. World
    • 1977 - WBBG Mr. Olympus
    • 1981 - WABBA Pro World Championships
    • 1982 - WABBA Pro World Championships

For the people who have heard of your name, but really don't know much about you, can you tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your personal background as well as your background in the sport of bodybuilding?

I was born in Anse-Bertrand, Guadeloupe, 69 years ago. I have been a bodybuilder for over 50 years, a six-time World Champion, a bodybuilding federation leader, movie actor, gym owner and book author.

I have been awarded bodybuilding titles including: Mr. Europe (1966), Mr. Universe (1976) and Mr. World (1977). I competed against Arnold Schwarzenegger for the title of Mr. Olympia in 1975 after having placing third in 1973. I have lived all over the world and now live in Paris, France.

I have been training with 30/40/50 sets per body part (16 sets for arms) twice a week. Sets of 12-20 reps with 30 seconds rest in between sets. So it is impossible to train with very heavy weights. I used to do 225 kg max on bench press and I trained with only 70/100kg.







I do abs every day for one hour non-stop. I always use high volume and high reps.

When you were competing, what was your diet like?

A lot of red meat, rice and beans. Sometimes 6 lbs. of red meat a day when training for competition. I also eat chicken, fish, steak, lentils, rice, vegetables and fruits.

Being that you are now 69, has much changed in terms of your weight training and diet? If so, what all has changed?

Not much has changed in terms of the number of days of the week that I train, but the number of hours a day is less. I train 6 days a week, 2 hours a day and rest on Sunday. I will be touring and guest posing next year at age 70.

Do you have a moment in your career that you feel was the pinnacle for you?

My pinnacle was from 1975-80 after the 1975 Olympia in South Africa. I won the WBBG championship in New York which helped me to be well known in the U.S. giving me recognition in the states that I did not have in the magazines.

I won the NABBA Mr. Universe in London, a contest that every bodybuilder from the beginning of the sport wanted to win as it was the highest title of achievement in bodybuilding before there was a Mr. Olympia contest.

Do you have any "secrets" to bodybuilding success that you would like to share with everyone

Bodybuilding is not just about physical training with weights to change how you look. It's about mind, body and spirit together in union so that everything grows, not just your muscles.

Without love of what you are doing, you will never be as successful at it as someone else who works with passion and love. Genetics help to some degree, but the most important thing is the mind and the spirit. These two are even more powerful than physical characteristics that are passed on.

What is your view on the sport of bodybuilding right now? What all has changed since you were competing?

I am glad I became a bodybuilder when I did. When I started, there was more of an emphasis on symmetry, balance, proportion and overall shape... more than can be seen today. I am a bodybuilder 365 days/year and will be training at age 70. How many guys today will be able to claim that tomorrow? How about when they are 70?

Do you feel bodybuilding as a sport has changed from a more symmetrical and condition driven sport to a sport where the only thing that matters is how massive you are?

Yes. Paul Dillet sent me an article he wrote for Kennedy's magazine recently about this. I think bodybuilding has changed and is going right into the wall if they continue in the direction it is going. I am glad to be a bodybuilder of the past.

I don't think that I will be a bodybuilder now if when I was first starting out, it was like it is now. Someone asked me if I agreed with what Lee Haney said that the mass pros are packing on now days is bad for the sport and its followers in the sense that young bodybuilders can not possibly realistically aspire to be 300lbs ripped like Coleman or Cutler. I agree 100% agree with Lee, who I respect. He is a gentleman too.

Can you tell us a little bit about the life of a bodybuilder? What does one do from the time they wake up until the time they go to bed?

A typical day for me... I wake up about 6:30 a.m. I spend a few hours doing emails, phone calls, online personal training. At 9:30 a.m., I go to the gym. I train for 2-3 hours, then afterward I sometimes train/visit with someone, then come home to eat. After that I might run errands and/or visit with family/friends, spend time writing my next book or phoning/online training, then eat dinner, watch the news, politics, sports, write, phone and then go to bed.

Sometimes I travel and do book signings at gyms or libraries. I'm organizing the Muscle Awards Contest and integrating more languages to my website for more countries to be able to enter.

Obviously you were able to compete against Arnold as well as some other great bodybuilders. Can you tell us what it was like competing against some of the best in the sport and how you feel you faired against them?

When Arnold competed against me in the 1975 Mr. Olympia, I was 200 lbs. and Arnold was 220 lbs. But 12 days prior to the contest, I was 212 lbs. When I arrived in South Africa for the 1975 Olympia, this was my condition. I was told I could not compete.

The reason given for not allowing me to compete was that I was accused of doing a so-called porn film and therefore did not represent bodybuilding in a respectable manner. I have done 25 films in my acting career--none of which are porn films.

I was so disappointed, I stopped training and eating for 12 days and lost 12 pounds. When my drop in weight and spirit was noticeable to everyone, I was allowed in the last minute to compete on the day of the contest. That's why I was not in my best condition the day of the contest.

I have heard that you aren't really friends with Arnold these days. Can you elaborate on that?

I have known Arnold personally and professionally for many years. We have always been on friendly terms. We competed, socialized and guest posed together many times years ago, but our paths have not crossed recently as he is busy in America and I live in France.

I see his life perhaps differently than many people today see him because I knew him before he experienced the degree of fame and celebrity he has and now experiences. I understand how he operates and he understands me. Would we work together on anything in bodybuilding again in the future? I don't know... we'll see.

What are your feeling about Lou Ferrigno?

Lou is a very nice guy. We were together nearly 2 weeks in Paris prior to leaving for the 1975 Mr. Olympia in South Africa.

He wanted me to train him for the next Mr. Olympia, but unfortunately that did not happened because he started the Incredible Hulk television show. He has everything to be the best bodybuilder ever. I would have enjoyed working with him.

You were in the movie Pumping Iron, did you enjoy being part of the movie or do you look back and wish you wouldn't have been part of it?

In Pumping Iron at the Mr. Olympia when they announced "The last minute contestant Serge Nubret," everybody knew for a very long time before that day that I was going to South Africa to compete and what happened when I got there. The camera crew came to Paris to film me 4 weeks before and offered me $200 to be in the movie. I did not agree to be filmed for $200; it is why I am not in the movie that much; only in the competition part.

Are there any bodybuilders that you still keep in touch with?

I talk to my good friend, former Mr. Universe John Brown often on the phone and he comes to visit me here in France with his family. I receive emails and talk on the phone to Joe Meeko, Pete Grymkowski, Shawn Ray... sometimes guys read me on the forum and send me pms and emails. The internet makes it easier to stay in touch and reconnect with people.

Obviously the whole steroid issue is surrounding the sport of bodybuilding. What is your take on steroids and do you think they are helping or hurting the sport?

Yes, steroids are hurting the sport and bringing bodybuilding further away from what it should be--an art--not just only looking for more and more mass. I am sure most people can see and understand what I am saying about this.

I started to train in Feb. 1958. Back then we did not hear about steroids in Guadeloupe. In fact, I didn't even have magazines to look at for training advice or know about protein powders. I just ate Caribbean food. I had my first international contest in Montreal, Canada.

In September of 1960, 2 1/2 years after I won my first international contest, there was an IFBB contest. I competed with a 20-inch arm without any supplements. So from that I know that it is possible to have a fantastic physique naturally.

You have a great website. Can you tell everyone a little bit about your website and what your fans can find on there?

Thank you. I have news announcements and more information about my bodybuilding career and background with a photo gallery with hundreds of pictures taken throughout the course of my bodybuilding career and life.

There is a store for people to buy CD's, signed pictures and my training DVD that has training in the gym and posing/seminar following. There is a place to learn more about and sign up for my online personal training and information about the Muscle Awards contest here as well.

You also offer online personal training. What all does your online personal training involve and how can people take advantage of your expertise? I also heard that you have your own online bodybuilding contest. Can you tell us a little bit about the contest (when it is, who can compete, etc.)?

The Serge Nubret Muscle Awards is the first internet bodybuilding contest ever online with people beginning now to download their pictures. Anyone who registers can participate both to compete and vote. People may download their pictures throughout the course of the year changing them as often as they want so that people can watch them as they progress.

There are 7 categories of bodybuilding and fitness for men and women. In December 2008, the online votes will be counted and those with the most votes will go to France for the finals, titles, awards and prizes.

Are there any people in particular that you would like to thank for helping you get to where you are today as well as how far you got in the sport of bodybuilding? Is there anyone in particular who inspired you?

I thank my mom and dad for basic good genetics, favorite photographer Denie, Dan Lurie and Bob Kennedy for giving my recognition and publicity, Paolo Iommi for helping me with photos, and Angela Madel and Stefan Lambert for help and advice.

The bodybuilder who inspired me the most was Steve Reeves. I started bodybuilding because I saw Steve in movies and saw a bodybuilding photo of him that was impressive. We met guest posing in New York for a Dan Lurie Contest. Steve Reeves was a huge role model for not only bodybuilders, but the public in general worldwide.

Is there anything else that you would like to add to this interview that you would like your fans to know?

Thank you, Serge for doing this interview. I'm sure your fans and all the readers will learn something about you and your career through this interview. I appreciate you taking the time to do this interview and I wish you the best of success in the future. Take care and keep in touch!

Thank you, Matt. I enjoyed talking to you.