2017 Arnold Classic Europe: Robbie Collie

As we near the start of another season I thought it would be the perfect time to feature a local success story from the bodybuilding world in 2017!

For bodybuilders worldwide there is one man that is without a doubt an icon to all, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Scotland’s own Robbie Collie, 27, was lucky enough to qualify to compete at the Arnold Classic Europe, the show founded by Schwarzenegger himself,  in Barcelona last September.

So if you have ever wondered what it is like to compete on the world stage as a bodybuilder, stand by. I caught up with Robbie Collie to talk about his journey in bodybuilding and his trip to the Arnold Classic Europe.

 “Pumping up and prepping for the stage, really made you feel like part of the expo. It felt a bit like a zoo though! "Come and see bodybuilders in their natural habitat".

stage ready @robcoll1010

stage ready @robcoll1010

The show welcomed over 1500 bodybuilders including 150 British athletes. Alongside his team members Robbie made it through the qualifiers into the judging round. But it’s not all fun and games when getting to take the stage with global icons, behind the scenes there is a lot of blood, sweat and tears, here is what it really takes to be a bodybuilder…

Firstly, you need a thick skin and masses of confidence, when a bodybuilder steps on the stage they are opening doors for their body to be publicly judged and compared. Luckily for Robbie it came naturally to him, he said:

“I’m naturally confident. I would say it stems from how hard I am on myself. I know that nobody could be as hard on me as I am on myself so it makes me confident that I'm doing my best to be the best version of myself.

In terms of posing on stage it has surprised me the most, I'm not musical or creative but I've become known for my posing ability and my classical routines. At every show I've competed in I've brought the best routine and I'm known for my graceful posing style.”

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On top of that it is physically and mentally draining, if you take a look at anyone who competes during their preparation (prep) weeks they look exhausted, hungry and close to giving up. The discipline to push through is admirable.

Robbie said: “It honestly has felt like my whole life was prep for the Arnolds. But in simple terms my contest diet and prep is always 20 weeks. 

I'm always stuck between two feelings when people ask me whether prep is hard. I don't want to lie and say it's easy, I feel drained a lot of the time and I have to sacrifice a lot of time to training which means I miss participating in a lot of social events. However, there are so many things that are worse than being a bit tired, and I choose to do it. The struggles in prep, that is where the victory comes in.”

Robbie’s diet, like many in the industry is bland. Daily intake consists of strict control over counting calories and macronutrients ie. Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates. It is said that dieting accounts for 80% of your training, there’s a saying that goes amongst personal trainers that “You can’t out-train a lousy diet”. Beyond diet and training there is of course the shows prior to getting yourself anywhere near touching the top. Starting out in April he came second at the Highland Classic in Inverness, then passed through qualifier stages to win the UKBFF Scottish Grand Prix Classic, one of the top show for Scottish bodybuilders, and the only way to gain an invite to the Arnold world stage in Europe.

“My love and appreciation for the bodybuilding all came from the man himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Arnold's were simply more than I could have ever dreamed of. In the space of three years I've went from a tiny show in a nightclub in Inverness to the second biggest bodybuilding show in the world. From day one, arriving at the massive venue which had Arnold's image plastered everywhere, and registering with the other 1500+  bodybuilders, each of which was in phenomenal shape! The standards were so high, everyone had earned the right to be there and it was literally the best of the best.”

If you are sitting reading this thinking you could be up there, be the best version of you and win awards for it, here is a little advice from Robbie Collie, who has been there: “Learn to do it for yourself. Bodybuilding is the development of your body, mind and character. If you do it for any other reason than self-development then you are setting yourself up to fail.”

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Morgan Bruce