Toney Freeman details the rare kidney parasite that ended up changing his entire outlook on health and the future of his bodybuilding career.
Toney Freeman is a former IFBB pro bodybuilder and entrepreneur. He was dubbed with the nickname “The X-Man” due to his classic X-frame physique showcasing a wide back, broad shoulders contrasted with a small waist and massive thighs. While paying extra attention to health is important for all bodybuilders, Freeman learned this the hard way after discovering he had a parasitic infection. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Toney Freeman details how his parasite infection changed his life and view on health.
Throughout our time interviewing pro athletes and experts for our GI Exclusive interviews – it’s become increasingly clear how important bloodwork is for bodybuilders. In order to perfect their physiques, bodybuilders must treat their body like a machine and tinker with each little part. Of course, the human body is not actually a machine – and this tinkering can cause health risks. Bloodwork and detailed consultations with doctors are key in order to maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the long term for bodybuilders. Bloodwork results can also be misleading for bodybuilders – which puts extra importance on detailed consultations with a doctor.
For Toney Freeman, he discovered this with a bit of a shocking twist. Not only did he eventually consult a doctor to maintain his health – but that consultation helped him discover that he had a parasite inside his body. He had a kidney worm sucking nutrients out of his body.
Toney Freeman posing on stage in his prime (above).
Toney Freeman goes on to explain how this discovery was one of the factors involved in depleting his energy and causing more health issues during his time as a pro bodybuilder. Of course, once the parasite was identified he was able to take action to flush it out of his system.
More importantly, the discovery changed his entire perception of how health and bodybuilding works. He started making it his mission to discover from head to toe what his deficiencies were and how he can improve his overall health.
While this was not the main reason for retiring from bodybuilding – it was one factor of many that lead him down a different future off the competitive stage. While some retired bodybuilders take pride in staying massive (for example Kai Greene), Freeman immediately switched back to a smaller size. He understood that staying a mass monster for too long could lead to long term health issues. After his past parasite experience, he wanted to make sure he put health ahead of his own love of bodybuilding and muscle.
In our video interview, Toney Freeman also discusses the depression he went through after retiring from bodybuilding. He gives advice for those suffering from depression – either due to external factors or internal chemical factors. For Freeman, it was about finding something to replace the dopamine rush he received through working out hardcore.
You can watch Toney Freeman’s full comments in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above.