Kai Greene holds nothing back reflecting on the violence, anger, and rage of prison that was channeled into the KAI persona.


Kai Greene’s physique is more than enough to warrant the fame and legendary status he achieved during his bodybuilding career. But Kai’s past and journey into bodybuilding is nearly as fascinating as his elite physique itself. His past was one full of trauma, abuse, and struggle. And like any champion stories – he overcame many hurdles to grow only stronger. To grow into the champion bodybuilder we know and admire today.

One segment of Kai Greene’s past was a period of time behind bars in juvenile detention. After Kai became an orphan and ward of the state – a few violent encounters at school landed him in prison. The lifestyle Kai led up to this point combined with the dangerous and violent lifestyle in juvenile detention turned him into a ball of pure rage. If something didn’t change soon – he would possibly fall into a deep spiral of violence, pain, and despair.

Instead, Kai Greene challenged all of that rage and energy into becoming stronger. He wasn’t sure what bodybuilding was as a sport quite yet. But he knew he wanted somewhere to place the extreme rage that consumed his very soul. If it wasn’t into becoming stronger – it would have gone into potentially more dangerous and less healthy endeavors.

So Kai Greene did pushups. Over and over again. He ate only bread and water – believing that was the best food he can eat in prison to bulk up and become stronger. He repeated the pushups, bread, and water over and and over ad nauseam. It was at this moment that Kai was no longer a boy. He dropped the use of his real first name (Leslie) and transformed into Kai Greene. The man. The bodybuilder.

During this period of time, a man working at the juvenile detention facility would notice Kai Greene’s strength and determination. So he showed Kai a bodybuilding magazine. He introduced him to a world where his hard work and desire to be stronger could be an actual athletic career.

With an origin story in place, so to speak, Kai Greene had a new goal upon returning to the world outside of prison. He would become a bodybuilder. While his journey to the IFBB Pro league would still be filled with hurdles including a stint as a male stripper and a video involving a grapefruit – the stage was set. Nothing would stop Kai Greene from becoming the legend we now all know today.

You can watch the exclusive Kai clip, in which Kai Greene becomes extremely emotional reflecting back on some of the angriest years of his life, above.


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Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.