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An Interview with natural bodybuilder champion Ron Williams

Photos of Ron Williams with boy shot exclusively for Faith & Fitness Magazine by Levi McPherson.

When it comes to natural bodybuilding Ron Williams takes the prize. In fact he’s taken the prize more than anyone else. Along the way he’s earned a greater reward --- a stronger faith and an opportunity to positively impact the lives of others. In this interview, Faith & Fitness Magazine publisher Brad Bloom asks Ron to reveal some of the deeper truths he’s discovered throughout his career as he’s pursued God to be stronger. This is what happens when you’re living for Jesus NATURALLY.  [NOTE: This interview contains links to Bible passages selected especially to help you apply God’s words to your life.]

Faith & Fitness Magazine: Ron, you are one of the most recognized natural bodybuilders.  Tell us about your natural bodybuilding accomplishments.

Ron Williams:  I have won over 250 Natural Bodybuilding competitions, including Mr. Natural World, Mr. Natural Olympia, and Mr. Natural Universe.  I was inducted into the International Natural Bodybuilders Hall of Fame and the sole recipient of the Natural Bodybuilder of the Decade Award. 

Faith & Fitness Magazine: The T Nation (Slogan: Testosterone – Dangerously Hardcore since 1998) website has an article titled, “How Natural Is Natural Body Building?” where they assert, “These days, natural bodybuilding simply means ‘not on steroids and other drugs right now... at least not the kind that can be easily detected.’” So, help clarify for us what natural bodybuilding is to you, what makes it an important distinction and what relevance it should have for those who identify as Christian.

Ron Williams: Natural means to me not even taking Creatine or any of the other over the counter supplements that could cause harm to the body.  The Bible tells us that our bodies are the temple of the living God and that we are not our own, we are bought with a price, so whatever I put in my body must be acceptable to the Lord.

With that being said, I want to make sure that if I take a supplement it passes the test of enhancing life and longevity without any short or long term negative side-effects.  My supplement regime includes a mineral supplement, a fat burn that has no dangerous stimulants, an arginine product, branch chain amino acids, and protein.  These are the supplements I use during training.  I have competed in and won the Forever Natural Mr. America. This competition in the INBA is only for athletes who have been forever natural.  The testing for this competition is fairly intensive and includes a lie detector test and a urine test.  The INBA, NGA, and NANBA are awesome natural organizations to be involved with, because the leaders of these organization are very passionate about natural bodybuilding.

It's important for all of us to be in good shape, but we have to ask the question – why. We have to find our unique God-given gifts.

Faith & Fitness Magazine: I’m thinking that quite a few people try to build their “Christian physique” in much the same way as bodybuilders who are NOT natural using man-made synthetic devices to create a bulky appearance that ultimately is prone to side effects, limits and corruption. With this perspective in consideration, what does it mean to live for Jesus NATURALLY?

Ron Williams:  The Bible tells us to earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.  This Scripture describes how many years ago the people of God began to deviate from His truths and that there was a great need to seriously and intently contend (fight, resist, and struggle against opposition) for the faith that the church was founded on.  This is where we truly live for God with such passion that we are even willing to die for Him.

In today’s Church we hear a lot about what God can do for us, but less and less do we hear messages on us serving and giving to God and to His people.  I love what David said in his psalm to God that he would bless the Lord at all times and His praise would continually be in his mouth.

It is important for all of us to be in good shape and take care of our bodies, but we have to ask the question – why.  Why do I want my physique to look like a competitive bodybuilder? Is it my vanity? Do I have the right motive? Is it out of insecurity? Is this something God wants me to pursue?

I personally believe that God gave us genetics, and giftings in many different areas.  He allows basketball players to have height, good hand/eye coordination, jumping ability and other skills that are necessary to be good in that arena.  Genetically, He gave competitive bodybuilders the muscle bellies, size, and shape to be competitive in the sport of bodybuilding.

We can all enhance our physical bodies, but not everyone was created to be a bodybuilder.  With that being said we have to find our unique God-given gifts and flourish in that rather than trying to be something that we are not.

A pastor told me years ago that competing in bodybuilding was a sin. So, I retired and prayed and searched my own heart and came to realize that this pastor had good intentions, but he was wrong about my competing in bodybuilding being a sin. After praying, God released me to compete and to win.

Top Natural Bodybuilders Tell What Motivates Them:

Sergi Constance: My ultimate motivation comes from my inner goal to one day become a world famous fitness model and have one of the best physiques in the industry.

Jeff Rodriguez: I enjoy training, eating well, and striving to make improvements in the gym and to my physique, so my motivation comes from enjoying what I do.

Ulisses Williams Jr.: My motivation comes from many different sources. From within to be the best! From my family and friends who believe in what I do. Old school bodybuilders from the golden era and my fans who stay motivated by following my fitness journey. I surround myself with people that keep me focused and motivated.

Faith & Fitness Magazine: Let’s talk motivation. What originally motivated you to start bodybuilding? What is your present motivation to maintain a fit lifestyle? What is your mission, your life-purpose, and the focus of your day-to-day? What motivates you to do that?

Ron Williams:  When I was eighteen my boxing coach recommended that I compete in bodybuilding.  I thought he was saying that I didn’t have a career in boxing, but I found out after competing that I was actually really good at it and felt that this was what I was born to do.  I became very excited to pursue a career in bodybuilding.

What motivates me today to stay fit is I have an international ministry to help change people’s lives – physically and spiritually. I also enjoy the way it feels being strong and youthful.  I know that I am more equipped to fulfill the mission that God has given me being fit and healthy.  God has given us books, patented fitness equipment, healthy supplementation, and fitness programs to assist Christians and everybody to be healthy, happy and whole.  The four areas in which we minister are faith, family, fitness, and finance.  My mission as a Life Coach is to help set individuals on a path that leads to Jesus, by focusing on the body, soul, and spirit.

More than fifteen years ago I made a decision that I would no longer train individuals who only wanted to deal with their outward appearance.  Many of these people became what I call “monsters.”  They generally look down on others while exalting themselves, enjoying what they saw in the mirror more than developing a relationship with God.  By all measures they look good on the outside. They’ve even won championships. But without an authentic relationship with God they lack any true character.    

Faith & Fitness Magazine: Clearly two things that are very important to you are natural fitness/strength and your relationship with Jesus Christ. So let’s do the “Job” scenario for a moment. Job is the man in the Bible who experiences horrendous disasters that take away all that he holds dear. If you lost your muscle, your awards, your platform, your fans… If you lost it all, what would you do next and why?

Ron Williams: The second time I retired it was because the Lord spoke to me and said retire from Natural Bodybuilding. I was devastated. Reluctantly, I did retire and during this retirement I was called to a 40-day water fast where my life was greatly transformed.  During this time, I developed a more intimate relationship with God and a deeper understanding of Scripture; for example, the Bible says that many would cry Lord, Lord and Jesus would reply that He never knew them.  As a Christian, I know that the Lord cannot lie, so when He said I never knew you it meant that there was no close relationship developed.

The word ‘knew’ is an intimate word; for example, when Adam knew Eve the fruit of them knowing each other was Seth, Cain, and Abel.  The fruit of us knowing Jesus is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, and the other fruit of the Spirit. If these spiritual fruit are not in our lives it is spiritual proof that there was never a true intimate connection with the Lord.  When there is arrogance, pride, selfishness, lying, cheating, gluttony, etc these fruit are not His. 

When God asked me to retire it wasn’t because bodybuilding was wrong it was because bodybuilding became my identity.  It was too important. I learned that when God gives you a gift never hold it to tightly just in case He might ask you for it. When God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac He didn’t want Isaac, He wanted Abraham.  He wanted to be first in Abraham’s life.  God is a jealous God and we should put nothing before Him.  During that seven years of retirement God dealt with me and my heart. Now I can truly say that God is first.

If I lost my physique and my strength, Job and I have one thing in common, “Though you slay me yet will I trust you.” I realized during that seven years of retirement that I am more than just a physique, I am a child of God and I am loved and accepted by Him. Whatever state I am in I was created to worship and serve Him and to help lead others to Christ. 

Faith & Fitness Magazine: You have a business.  Share about that.

Ron Williams:  My purpose and my business is to develop champions.  This does not mean teaching people how to win a championship.  Winning a championship is short-lived, once the event is over it is separated from the individual, but living the life of a champion is part of who you are and transcends into every area of your life.

By applying champion principles, you will develop a life that is pleasing to God that is filled with integrity, and is full of passion and success.   Over the years we have developed tools and programs to assist in the process of becoming a champion; such as health and fitness workshops, the Iron Chest Master Fitness System, the Faith & Fat Loss Book and program, the Body Blueprint Fitness System, and Life Coaching for CEOs and Pastors.    

Faith & Fitness Magazine: What do you feel are the most significant challenges (physically and spiritually) facing people today?

Ron Williams:  More than 65% of Americans are struggling with excess body fat and I believe this is not just a physical problem but also a spiritual one. The Bible said in the last days that their bellies will become their gods and we can clearly see that as a country we have become more overweight and obese and that so many of us lack discipline.

Spiritually, I believe that Christians, as a whole, have allowed compromise to ease its way into the Church affecting their commitment and passion towards Christ. One area of compromise that has grown so prevalent is that Christians’ relationship with God has become more about prosperity than living a life of true consecration and holiness. The Bible admonishes that without holiness no person shall see God.  Another area of compromise is in obedience.  At one time it was very important to the Christian to obey God and deeply appreciate the Grace that He has generously and freely given.  Today, obedience has taken a backseat. Christians often use Grace as a hall pass or an excuse for a lack of obedience.  Obedience to God is directly related to your love for Him.  Christ makes it clear and simple in the Bible, “If you love Me you will obey Me.” 

Faith & Fitness Magazine: What is the faith message you want to share that you feel is crucial for people to hear today?

Ron Williams: One of the cornerstones of Christianity is to become a disciple of Christ.  The word Christian can be defined many ways, but the word disciple cannot.  Jesus never called his followers Christians, that word was developed after His death and resurrection, but He did call them disciples.

Disciple means a well-disciplined follower.  As Christians became disciples, it will change the face of Christianity in America and the world.

Jesus said if you will be my disciple take up your cross and follow Me.  This cross that Christians are to carry leads to the place where the disciple is willing to lay down his life. Christians say they are willing to die for Christ, but if they are honest they often aren’t even willing to live for Him.  Living for Christ is truly the life that God wants for you to live. 

Bodybuilding became my identity. I am more than just a physique. I was created to worship and serve Him and to help lead others to Christ.

Faith & Fitness Magazine: The theme for this issue of Faith & Fitness Magazine is “How To Be STRONGER”. Compare some basic principles of being physically stronger with correlating principles of being spiritually stronger.

Ron Williams: God’s desire is for us to be complete.  He wants us to develop a balance in our lives by putting our priorities in order.  He gives us, through the Bible, a perfect order and a perfect balance. 

Priority #1 -- The greatest commandment is to Love God.

Priority #2 -- The second commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself, and your closest neighbor is your spouse and your loved ones.

Priority #3 – Our bodies are the temple of the Living God

Priority #4 -- He desires us to be in health, and to prosper even as our souls prosper. {3 John 1:2}

With that being said, I’ve developed resources to help you put your priorities in this order -- Faith, Family, Fitness, and Finance™.

About the Author

  • Brad Bloom's picture
    Brad Bloom is the publisher of Faith & Fitness Magazine and Shout! Outdoor Lifestyle Magazine. He is president of Lifestyle Media Group, a ministry that develops content to help you connect your daily lifestyle with the Christian faith. You can use the CONTACT US form to schedule him to speak at your church, organization, group, community gathering or event.

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