Major kudos to 2x Mr. Olympia Big Ramy for taking a page out of William “The Conqueror” Bonac’s playbook. Much like Bonac who decided to sit out the rest of the 2023 contest year in order to give his body a much-needed rest, this approach may be the best thing Ramy does for his career. As fans, we want to see our favorite bodybuilders compete, compete, and compete some more! But the athlete and their camp must put health and longevity above doing nonstop contests. Despite his defeat at the 2022 Mr. Olympia and his Top 5 finish at the 2023 Arnold Classic, The Egyptian Phenom continues to be a force to be reckoned with. Ask any fan and Ramy remains very much in the conversation when it comes to who would be battling for the Sandow this November in Orlando, FL. That said, Ramy hasn’t looked his best since, arguably, 2020 and perhaps what’s needed most now, is simply some time to regroup.
Guys on Ramy’s level never stop to smell the roses. They’re always expected to be in tip-top shape, carrying a massive amount of size, and to be photoshoot ready at the drop of a hat. This type of lifestyle may be doable for a guy’s early-to-mid 20’s and possibly into their early 30’s; however by a male competitor’s late 30’s and early 40’s, age has a way of catching up. While age is just a number in most capacities, it really is a number to dread at the most elite levels of competitive bodybuilding. After all, many of these guys may be nursing and/or hiding injuries, they may have illnesses no one knows about, and their bodies may be giving them all the red flags necessary that would sideline just about any other type of competitor.
I’ll never forget watching the Ronnie Coleman documentary “King.” In it I discovered that Ronnie had been under excruciating back pain for most of his Olympia run. Foolishly, I thought all those years of insane training on caloric deficits built up over time and that once he’d finally retired it all rained down on him. As a fan, I naively believed that all the while he was grinning, laughing, and shouting Ain’t Nuthin But A Peanut that The Big Nasty was having the time of his life. And he may have been, but he was also masking a tremendous amount of the bad kind of suffering behind his big bodybuilder grin and his southern disposition. Some might call that true commitment, while others might dismiss it as utter lunacy. That said, even if given the chance to go back and do it differently, the only thing Coleman ever says he’d change, is that he’d try to lift more! And you can’t help but believe him.
Whereas Ronnie competed to the point he no longer could, maybe Ramy making this difficult choice to sit out the biggest show in bodybuilding will help him give his body the chance to heal. Maybe he isn’t injured. If that’s the case, then he may very well have several more years. If it’s a question of his body not responding, then maybe some down time will give his body the ability to regenerate tissue and make some gains in the gym. Yes, even at this stage of his career, the big man can still put more muscle on his frame or maybe downsize while still keeping his signature look. Having some time with which to play will also be of tremendous significance to his coach. It will give his whole camp the opportunity to figure things out without the hourglass 10,000 pound elephant in the room – the countdown to the Super Bowl of Bodybuilding.
I’m as bummed as the next fan to hear that the 2x Mr. O won’t be competing this November in Orlando, FL, but I have a feeling we’ll see lots more of The Egyptian Phenom in the years to come. And it might be because of this tough decision today.