“The Day Joe Carrero Beat Ronnie Coleman”
Newsletter No. 4

The Day was Saturday July 11, 1991. The Contest was the 1991 NPC USA Bodybuilding Championships. The place was Los Angeles, California; the Mecca of Bodybuilding, the place where historical Bodybuilding events occurred, and still do, and the Greatest Bodybuilders of all time go head to head to compete for the most sought after Bodybuilding Titles on the planet! On this day, unbeknownst to the World at the time, two up and coming 28 year old Nationally Recognized Bodybuilding Champions would meet on the stage. On this day, in Los Angeles, California, History would be made. Joe Carrero would DEFEAT the individual who would go on to become one of the Greatest Bodybuilders of all time; the current Eight Time Mr. Olympia, the Incredibly Massive, always a Dominating Force, The Great Ronnie Coleman!

The previous year, 1990, had been very successful for me; Joe Carrero had dominated and captured the 1990 NPC California State Light-Heavyweight Division. I weighed in at a Massive, Hard as a Rock, Ripped 196 lbs.! However, making weight in the Light-Heavyweight Class was beginning to become an issue for me; the maximum bodyweight one can weigh in this very competitive class is 198 lbs. I knew that my body, my physique, was screaming to become bigger and better! As I have mentioned numerous times, I am only 5’6 1/2” tall, however my physique was ready to take it to the next level; A Heavyweight that was Massive, Hard as a Rock, Ripped and still Symmetrical; A Physique that would cross the line of World Bodybuilding and put to rest the perception that all Heavyweight competitors had to be over 6 feet in height. I was on a mission, no I was Possessed with the concept of being the Most Massive, Shredded, Symmetrical Heavyweight Bodybuilding Champion the World had ever seen! All on my 5’6 1/2” physique!

The year between winning the California State Light-Heavyweight Class, and the approaching USA Championships, I decided to put the “Body to the Iron”, training as heavy as I had ever trained in my entire life! I was moving some Big Weights! Incline Dumbbell Fly’s with 140 lb. dumbbells for reps, Bent-Over Barbell Rows with 405 lbs. for reps, Cable Rows with 450 lbs. for reps, Barbell Curls with 275 lbs. for reps, Squats with 650 lbs. for reps, and the list went on! I was consuming anywhere from five to seven thousand calories per day with an average of 250 – 350 grams of protein per day to assist my muscles with the recovery process after such heavy, intense workouts. The results were incredible; the day before I was to begin tapering down for the competition I weighed in at a massive 238 lbs.! Remember I am only 5’6 1/2”! I knew that I had achieved what my body desired, craved, and salivated for; I was no longer a Light-Heavyweight, I was a Heavyweight contender!!!

The following months of tapering down prior to the competition was the same at times, yet different; my entire preparation had to be adjusted to compensate for my newly gained muscle tissue. The weights that I lifted were heavier than I usually would lift prior to competition, and my protein intake was mathematically calculated to accommodate muscle repair during my very intense three to four hour competition weight training sessions. I made adjustments accordingly; even though at this stage in the game, eleven years of competition and experience, I knew my body inside out; I had never been a Heavyweight competitor before. I listened to my body, and was able to adjust without any mistakes. One of my very best friends in the world, Kevin B. and I were training partners. Kevin was also a competitive Bodybuilder having won many Titles along the South East Coast and now in California; he was a threat to deal with for anyone who had to stand anywhere near him on the stage; Kevin gave new meaning to the term “Ripped”, you could literally see the blood pumping through his vascularity when he competed! Kevin is a no nonsense Bodybuilder much like myself, so to say that the teamwork was incredibly intense, would be the understatement of the year!

I was ready! I set out for Los Angeles, vehicle packed with meals labeled and prepared by me for easy consumption. I felt like the Great warrior Hannibal of ancient Carthage beginning the long journey through the treacherous Alps, destination Rome. The Romans knew that Hannibal was on his way, but they were mistaken as to the path that he had chosen to get there. Joe Carrero was beginning his journey to do battle on the National stage, but not as a Light-Heavyweight competitor. Joe Carrero was now and forever, a Heavyweight competitor! My strategy worked; at weigh-in, I weighed in with the Heavyweight Class at a Massive 214 LBS.! I was by far the shortest competitor in the class, however, per square inch; I was just as much of an ominous threat to deal with as the 6 foot plus contenders. All total there were 32 Heavyweight Competitors with some of the most talked about names at the time; athletes who had won every show one can imagine, but now they were ready to go head to head for that sought after – Pro Card! Names like Mike Matarazzo, Ken Wheeler, Dean Caputo, and of course Joe Carrero and Ronnie Coleman. I knew that this was going to be the ultimate test to determine if I had made a calculated judgment by listening to my body and mind, training like a man obsessed with being the best, Number One! I was ready for Battle; and I knew it! I had read afterwards in many prestigious Muscle Magazines that this was one of the most impressive USA Championships Heavyweight Class in the history of bodybuilding.

When the stage cleared, the crowd of elated fans went home, and the auditorium was once again silent; I had placed 12th in the 1991 NPC USA Bodybuilding Championships Heavyweight Class. Not what I had planned, however, I did leave 20 other competitors behind me! I thought to myself, “Not bad being the shortest Heavyweight in the Class at my first attempt as a Nationally Ranked Heavyweight competitor. Just wait until they see me next year!!!”

After the competition, I decided to do what I always do; I decided to inquire with some of the National judges that I knew and had the utmost respect for; to this day I continue to have the utmost respect for them and their opinions on judging physiques. After all, Bodybuilding is a very Subjective Sport; what one may view as the “perfect physique”, another may have a totally different opinion on the matter. I was very was excited, yet exhausted, as anyone who has ever competed in a Bodybuilding Competition can relate to. Nothing in this great world that we are privileged to live on could ever prepare me for what I was about to hear; after consulting with several judges, it was unanimous, they all thought that I was Too Big for my Height!!! The only word that was running through my mind at the pace of a Kentucky Derby Race Horse was, WHAT!!! I could not believe what I was hearing! These several individuals who I looked to for an honest, unbiased, and accurate analysis to critique my physique were telling me words that I could not at the time, and still cannot to this day comprehend: Too Big! This is Bodybuilding for Heavens Sakes! Hence the term, Body – Building… They told me that they appreciated my physique more as a Light-Heavyweight, more of a Classic Style Physique. Today, 2006, this is unheard of, this is insanity, and this is just down right incorrect! However, this was 1991, so I listened carefully. The following year I had to go against everything that my mind, my conscious, my body and soul wanted; I had to burn off Muscle Tissue that I had worked so hard to gain for an entire year of my life. How I accomplished this will be told in another story… The gist of the outcome, I did… In 1992 I won the NPC JR USA Light-Heavyweight Class at a ripped 196 lbs. I was the only Class Winner to dominate his class and win with a Unanimous Score; all First Place votes!

Shortly thereafter, I decided to retire from competitive Bodybuilding to pursue my education and go back to College followed by a Career in Business. However, I will never forget what is now in the Bodybuilding History Archives; 1991 NPC USA Bodybuilding Championships – 32 Heavyweights in the Class: 12th Place, Joe Carrero, 14th Place, Ronnie Coleman! The Day Joe Carrero Beat Ronnie Coleman!!!


Joe Carrero
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