A very human and candid look into the bodybuilding legend and now legendary coach – Chris Cormier.
Chris Cormier has been involved with the bodybuilding world since he was a teenager. Currently 55 years old, this puts him at just over four decades being passionate and invested into the sport of bodybuilding. It’s no wonder why he became an iconic 90s pro bodybuilder and now an even more iconic coach. That’s why Mike O’Hearn brought Cormier onto the podcast to dive deep into the man behind the muscle – discussing a wide range of topics from his youth through to today. Including one key moment in his life that changed everything. In Generation Iron and Barbend’s latest episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show, Chris Cormier details how training with Dorian Yates transformed his bodybuilding life post-injury.
Mike O’Hearn and Chris Cormier have one big thing in common – they were obsessed with strength, fitness, and bodybuilding since they were teenagers. They also both showed incredible promise within the realm of bodybuilding at a very young age. For Cormier, it all started with high school wrestling that eventually led him into weightlifting and bodybuilding. For O’Hearn, it was powerlifting.
These two bodybuilders met during their younger years – so the conversation in this week’s podcast episode is a truly candid and enlightening one. Both letting their guard down, they reminisce about bodybuilding culture in California during the 80s and 90s, discuss the evolution of Cormier’s pro bodybuilding career, and break down his lowest point after an injury that eventually led him to coaching.
For any fan of old school bodybuilding and bodybuilding history – this is a must-watch episode featuring two bodybuilding greats who have spent their entire lives in the sport. Let’s jump into it.
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Chris Cormier explains how training with Dorian Yates changed his life post-injury
Today, Chris Cormier is known as one of the greatest bodybuilding coaches still working. But his transition from iconic 90s pro bodybuilder into a elite coach was not an obvious one. In 2006, Cormier suffered from an injury while training. This led to his spine becoming infected. It was a very serious medical issue – and one that took him out of competitive bodybuilding for quite some time.
During his conversation with Mike O’Hearn, Cormier admits to going through some extreme depression. As a bodybuilder, he never wanted to compete “just to compete.” He couldn’t be happy with himself stepping on stage unless he knew that he brought the best package of his life each and every time.
The injury proved that this might not be possible anymore. Chris Cormier struggled with figuring out what kind of future he had after dedicating so much of his time and passion to bodybuilding.
It wasn’t until Chris Cormier trained with Dorian Yates that everything changed. Cormier, living and training with Dorian Yates temporarily, experienced something that completely changed his worldview. It’s something that is hard to truly define without being generic. While training with Dorian Yates, Chris Cormier experienced a level of intensity so elevated past his perceived limits that it re-invigorated him eternally.
Dorian Yates has long been known for his famous Blood N’ Guts routine. The training program was known as being so intense and so hardcore – that hardly anyone could mimic or match Yates’ energy. It’s a huge part of the reason Yates became a 6x Olympia champion and one of the biggest legends in the sport’s history.
Upon training with Dorian Yates, Chris Cormier experienced how a training partner, or coach, can pass along that intensity. How inspiring it can be and how life-changing it can be for an individual. He knows because he experienced it.
It was this moment that opened Chris Cormier’s mindset into a world where he would be a bodybuilding coach. Despite not competing, he could experience the true passion of bodybuilding in his soul through helping and inspiring others. Fast forward to today, and Cormier is one of the most prominent bodybuilding coaches active today.
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The Specific Reason 90s Pro Bodybuilders Were So “Complete”
During his conversation with Mike O’Hearn, Chris Cormier also touched upon the eternal debate about 90s bodybuilders. Many regard that era, similar to the 70s Golden Era, as an untouchable period of bodybuilding physiques. Many feel that modern bodybuilders cannot match the level of conditioning and aesthetic, while still maintaining mass monster size, that was present in the 90s of pro bodybuilding.
The conversation has been discussed to death. However, when asked about it by Mike O’Hearn, Chris Cormier brought an interesting perspective into it. He believes that the key difference between 90s bodybuilders vs today is a subconscious one.
In Chris Cormier’s experience, 90s pro bodybuilders had the benefit of building off of the innovations and improvements of previous bodybuilder generations. They pushed the envelope in ways that athletes like Arnold Schwarzenegger could have never dreamed.
But 90s bodybuilders were also the last generation to also avoid the internet era of the sport. Once bodybuilders had access to promote themselves without the help of magazines or other “gatekeepers,” it changed the subconscious mentality behind pro bodybuilders.
Now bodybuilders go into the sport with a marketing mentality. It’s all about brand. How can my physique promote my brand? How can I innovate online to expand my brand? These tools can be extremely useful – helping to bring new money making opportunities and putting the power more in the athletes hands.
However, the flip side is that the goals and mentality of the athletes change as well. It’s not a matter of modern bodybuilders not working hard enough or not being hardcore enough. It’s an uncontrollable ethereal mindset that is hard to divorce from… unless you disconnect from all of modern society.
Chris Cormier and Mike O’Hearn go into a truly deep and candid conversation covering a wide range of topics across over four decades of experience. There are far more topics being covered than what we can discuss here. So make sure to watch the full episode of The Mike O’Hearn Show above to get the full experience. Make sure to also check back every Friday for new episodes of The Mike O’Hearn Show only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.