Ron Hutchinson: Bodybuilding Without Steroids!

Submitted by Mr.Berg on Mon, 11/25/2019 - 19:00
Ron Hutchinson bodybuilding

Do you want to build a drug free physique? Don't listen to any youtube fitness coaches without experiences in competing and lifting. In this article oldschool bodybuilder Ron Hutchinson will reveal his bodybuilding secret for building up a great physique without drugs. And you don't have to pay money for 'oldschool bodybuilding books' - Mr. Berg!


Ron Hutchinson has beaten out such well-known men as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Collrad, Ed Corney and a host of others. He is a self-made physique man and very knowledgeable in both training and nutrition.

steve reeves bodybuilding beach

His philosophy is one that is strongly governed by his deep belief in the Christian faith! Ron Hutchinson was born in Dayton, Ohio on February 15th, 1944. Always healthy as a child, he was an active participant in track and wrestling during his high school days. When he was 17 years old he happened to see one of Steve Reeves "Hercules" movies and got hooked as so many have been by fabulous 'Reeves' physique. 

He purchased a barbell set and started to train at home. The only guidance he had at that time were oldschool bodybuilding wisdoms from magazines. After a few months some of his school chums began noticing an improvement in his physique and this served to encourage him to continue.

At 18 years old with almost a year of home training behind him, he decided to enlist for a stint in the United States Marine Corps. 

There he was to meet two people who were to have an extremely good influence on his life as far as bodybuilding was concerned. The first fellow was Willie Johnson who did so well in the 1973 Mr. America contest.

Willie and Ron became firm friends and training partners and Willie Johnson was to impart much valuable training advice and give Ron lots of encouragement which helped his progress enormously. Of Johnson, Ron says, "I knew Willie would make it to the top if he stuck with it. Even then it was obvious he could obtain an outstanding physique. He was just past the beginners stage himself but he had really good arms and an outstanding back."

The other person was a fellow he met during a stay in Washington, D.C. It was Staff Sergeant Sam Griffith. 

Ron Hutchinson: "Sam Griffith was going around the country at that time setting up weight training gyms for the Marine Corps. He helped many, many people get interested in improving themselves physically. He had a tremendous personality matched by an outstanding physique and the combination certainly turned many young men onto the benefits of weight training.

The man was an absolute walking, talking arsenal of health and fitness."

Through the various muscle magazines, Ron became a big fan of Larry Scott, who remains his all-time favorite bodybuilder. 

Larry Scott bodybuilding oldschool

Ron Hutchinson set up Scott as his ideal and would devour every word written about the man. He followed what were supposed to be Larry's training routines and from trial and error evolved certain facets of training that he has followed and had great success with over the last few years.

In 1965, he was stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Hearing that Larry Scott would be competing in the Mr. Olympia contest, he drove up to New York City to see Scott take the title. From that day on he was Larry's greatest fan and became determined to try his very best to obtain a physique along the same lines.

In 1966 Ron once again made the trip to the "Big City" to see Scott take for the second time the title of Mr. Olympia. By this time Ron was absolutely hooked on bodybuilding, placing it above everything else in his life.

After his honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, he decided to migrate to Southern California - the Mecca of bodybuilding. Sunny San Diego was the place he chose and he started to train at Stern's Gym in 1966.

He move to the beach are and began to train with oldtimers like Mike Gauder and John Brudzinsky at Bud Keith's Health House Gym.

Bud Keith was to exert the greatest influence on his life. Quickly realizing that Ron had great potential, Bud took a close interest in him and got him involved in the all important nutritional aspect of bodybuilding. Prior to meeting Bud, Ron hadn't paid too much attention to diet, eating more or less anything that he enjoyed. About the time he started training at Bud's, Ron had blossomed into a well balanced but rather smooth physique with some a little "different" that made him a standout from most others at the same stage of development.

He had at this time been thinking about getting some contest experience but held back because he could not pose and he felt he was not quite good enough. But Keith changed all that. He took Ron aside and told him the annal "Mr. North County" competition was being held by what was then George Eiferman's gym in Vista.

This is a contest which attracts good calibre physiques from the whole Southern California area. Ron was very hesitant but Bud was most insistent and eventually talked him into it, telling him he would help him with his posing and put him on a diet that would harden him up. It seemed to be an impossible task to accomplish in two weeks or so, but a strict nutritional program which Ron followed to the letter, along with an intense 6-day training program, and every day running on the beach, produced a physique that simply walked off with the Mr. North County title was well as the Most Muscular award.

A few months later he entered the 1968 Mr. San Diego event and simply ran away with the title as well as most muscular, best arms, best back and best chest awards.

1969 was to be a big year for him too. He took second place in the Mr. Southern California and also the best arms sub-division. In the 1969 Mr. California contest he also placed second, but took home more trophies that night than anyone else, winning best arms, best back and best chest subdivisions!

It was about this time that Ron started to let the problems of drug taking get to him. He was aware that most of the men he was competing against were on steroids, as they made no secret of the fact, and he would become extremely upset at hearing these fellow talking about it.

In fact, after each of the two contests just mentioned, Ron said to his friends he had "had it" with contests and was going to quit altogether.  

In 1970 Ron took third place in the Mr. California contest. He only trained a short for the event. Once again he was disturbed by the back stage drug talk and decided he had "had it" and quit training.

His friend George Coates and Leo Stern tried talking to him. Tried encouraging him to keep training and entering the Mr. America contest. They both felt that with a few weeks of hard training he could possibly be up there in the top five.

Paul Hill Bodybuilder oldschool

Later in the year he did train a short and entered the 1970 Mr. Hercules contest where he was narrowly beaten into second place by a much improved Paul Hill.

Nonetheless, he also took the most muscular and best poser awards. All this, bear in mind, with very little preparation.

In 1971 he decided to make a comeback and to the the Mr. International contest which Eddie Sylvestre holds each year in Tijuana, Mexico. Hard training, careful dieting WITHOUT the aid of drugs, Ron in tremendous shape beat out Chuck Collras to take his height class.

arnold schwarzenegger oldschool bodybuilding

Then, wonder of wonders, he beat mighty Arnold Schwarzenegger for the most muscular sub-division award. Beating out men of this calibre would have spurred most men on, but Ron at this point, decided rightly or wrongly, that without using drugs himself, he could not compete with these fellows, so out of competition he went once more.

In 1972 something happened to Ron that was to have a profound effect on his whole life style. He became a Christian and the battles he had had in the past with his mind over whether or not to use drugs as a bodybuilding aid, were quickly won. After the frustrating years of wondering, he now knew he had done the right thing by refusing the temptation of bodybuilding drugs.

Ron Hutchinson: "My belief in Jesus Christ and in my own well being will not allow me to use drugs as a bodybuilding aid. Your body is the temple of God and a person shouldn't want to be putting stuff inside it that would do it harm. Steroids might help make a person look better, but what's the sense of it if it hurts internally. It's a proven fact that these drugs are injurious to the liver, the prostate and other important glands.

The bible states that "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away." If He gives you a good body and good health and you abuse it with drugs, He could very well just take it away.

When you have Jesus Christ in your life He actually comes into your heart. He is the way, the truth and the life and when you have Him you don't worry about the worldly things, so that extra inch on your arms through using drugs isn't that important.

When you are up on a stage winning trophies it becomes a sort of ego trip which can get out of hand if you are humble and try to serve Jesus Christ by helping others, your reward will be in heaven. But if you are all out for yourself and care nothing for others, you have got your reward already or rather you have taken it by your own selfish acts.

Regarding the drugs in bodybuilding and the effect they have on contests - I can only compare it to a 100-yard dash in which the non drug users would be forced to run with one leg in a cast.

But it's not just that. The whole sport of bodybuilding seems to be degenerating. I hear of individuals being "kept" like loose women, by people who are not interested in the sport at all but only want musclemen around to satisfy some weird urged they themselves possess.

Some of the stories circulating around the Los Angeles are regarding bodybuilders are absolutely revolting. It is rumored that well-known guys are appearing in pornographic movies and worse. It's a subject that sickens me to even think about it. Understand this: I'm not condemning these people. I'm a Christian and the Bible states "Judge not, lest ye yourself be judged." It's just a scene I want no part in. I will continue to train for health and self enjoyment.

If these people wish to give the public lots of ammunition to shoot down the whole sport, they are certainly going about it in the right way."

Ron Hutchinson Training Methods and Diet

Ron Hutchinson bodybuilder oldschool

Ron has worked out at such well-known gyms as Leo Stern's and Bill Golumbick's and has received advice from both, nobody could claim to be his trainer. Here, in interview style, in his own words, is Ron's philosophy on training. Bodybuilding legend George Coate was friend with him and asked the following questions!

Question 1. Do you have a favorite bodybuilder and who do you consider the "greats" to be?

larry scott back pose bodybuilding

Ron Hutchinson: Larry Scott is my own personal all-time favorite, although I think the two greatest in the world at this time are Sergio Oliva and Arnold Schwarzenegger. I would not like to have to choose between these two, although for sheer VISUAL IMPACT there isn't anyone around who can touch Sergio. He probably has the most unique physique in the world today - most definitely one of a kind.

Bill Pearl is another favorite of mine. He is an extremely humble person who seems to be thinking more about the other fellow than he does of himself. There are a few others who I would classify as great. Dave Draper who has always impressed me at contests with a tremendous build, and his quiet courteous manner, and Frank Zane, who despite structural limitations, built one of the very best physiques in the history of bodybuilding. Certainly one of the most shapely and symmetrical. If Don Howorth hadn't been "forced" into retirement there's no telling how great he might have become. If I had to choose what I consider to be the top bodybuilders of all time - THE GREATS! they would have to be Larry Scott, Sergio Oliva, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Pearl, Steve Reeves and John Grimek, who was years ahead of his time.

Question 2. What type of training program would you follow if you wanted to bulk up?

Ron Hutchinson: I have never gotten really bulky as most bodybuilders do at various times. When I decide to add some bodyweight my program will consist of basic exercises for the whole body such as presses, squats, pullovers, benches and curls, etc.

Lower pec thickness has never been a problem with me, so I usually do incline bench presses rather than use the flat bench. All these movements are performed fairly strict using 3 to 5 sets of 5 to 8 reps. I always start off by doing some abdominal work, however, even when trying to gain size and bodyweight. I believe the waist should receive some attention in every bodybuilding program. When I'm trying to gain weight I never train more than three times a week. I eat pretty good but never ever consume any junk foods. I consume a lot of lean meat, fish, chicken, etc. I will also eat nuts, while trying to gain weight, as between meal snacks, but because of their oily content will cease to consume them as I get close to a contest. 

Also when trying to gain I will cut down on my other activities. For instance, I do a lot of swimming, surfing, bicycle riding and running and all, but the running must be curtailed until I gain the bodyweight I need.

Question 3 - How do you prepare for a contest? What methods do you use to achieve peak muscularity?

Ron: I ALWAYS go on a six-day split workout program for the last 6 to 8 weeks preceding a physique contest. I have found, after careful experimentation and evaluation, that it is more beneficial to perform ALL leg work on say Monday, Wednesday and Friday, alternated with ALL upper body work on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday or vice versa.

This method of training not only ensures that the blood is kept in the area being worked but it also means the arms CANNOT receive too much work as they can using the more conventional split system. For example many people will do shoulders, back and legs on three days alternated with chest, abs and arms.

The only trouble with this as far as I am concerned, is the fact that the triceps receive a lot of work with the shoulders movements and the biceps are in most cases given a fair amount of work in most back exercises such as rowing, etc. The arms are then subjected to a full blast workout on the other three nights - WHEN DO THEY GET A CHANCE TO GROW?

It's extremely frustrating for a person to see his arms shrinking from overwork, yet most people do this to themselves by simply doing too much for the arms without even realizing that this is happening. Incidentally, talking about arms, my favorite arm exercises are Scott curls and EZ bar triceps extensions and they usually find their way into my routines.

Of course my diet plays a major role in my preparation for a contest. I'm a firm believer in vitamin supplements and have taken some pretty hefty doses at times. Rather than use multi-vitamin tablets I prefer to take each vitamin separately in its own form. I very rarely use milk at any time, preferring fruit or vegetable juices instead. On the rare occasions I use milk it will always be non-fat raw milk taken in small quantities. Of course when trying to cut up, I attempt to keep my protein intake as high as possible and will cut down a lot on cereals, bread, ice cream, etc.

I don't go overboard on the high protein low carbohydrate diet, as I believe my metabolism is fairly high and as long as I eat sensibly, my muscularity does not suffer. For instance, a lot of bodybuilders won't touch potatoes, but I eat them because of their vitamin content.

I consume a lot of desiccated liver tablets and truly believe they could be the most valuable dietary help the physique contestant possesses.

Incidentally, I NEVER eat fried foods and just hate to see good food cooked to death this way. Nor do I take supplements in oil form. I think Cod Liver Oil, wheat germ oil, etc., tend to smooth the skin out - at least that's what happens to me. Although I should mention I might possibly wheat germ oil if I was trying to gain weight.

Fruit and vegetables I consume in a raw state as much as I am able, although I sometimes eat vegetables lightly steamed. I fix my own foods but find it necessary to do very little actual cooking, especially when preparing for a contest. I like salads, especially when cutting up.

A good salad with cottage cheese can give your stomach a good full feeling without a lot of calorie consumption. I never use protein supplements and think most advanced bodybuilders waste too much money on them. I don't think it necessary to take 300 to 400 grams of protein a day, as so much of it isn't even used by the body at all. I personally believe 100 to 150 grams of good complete protein each day is adequate for even the hardest working bodybuilder. I think good lean meat, fish, eggs, chicken and cheese provides the body with the best type of complete protein. I never touch fatty meats like pork. A sample day's food when training hard 6 days's a week for a contest would be as follows:

1/2lb lean ground beef, lightly broiled with cheese on top.
2 poached eggs on a slice of whole wheat toast
A protein drink which consists of apple juice, a banana, yogurt, yeast, whey, lecithin, and soy powder. This makes a good, inexpensive protein drink. I will usually finish off with half a grapefruit with honey on top for energy.
Peanut butter, cheese and alfalfa sprouts on toast. An orange and lots of water to drink. On some days I might take a piece of fish - lunch varies, but it's never a lot to eat
Another piece of fruit to provide energy for the workout which will begin around 4:30 p.m. right after work.
Usually consists of a big salad with steamed vegetables and some cottage cheese

Ron Hutchinson's old school bodybuilding workout

Monday, Wednesday and Friday Sets x Reps
1. Sit-ups 3 sets 
2. Leg Raises 3 sets
3. Hyperextensions 3 x 12
4. Leg Curls 5 x 12-15
5. Regular Squats (very strict) 5 x 10
6. Front Squats (light) 3 x 10
7. Leg Extensions 3 x 15
8. Calf Raise Standing 5 x 15
9. Donkey Calf Raises 5 x 15
10. Calf Extensions-Leg Press Machine 5 x 15

Note: Exercises 8, 9 and 10 are super set

Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday Sets x Reps
1. Sit-ups 3 sets
2. Leg Raises 3 sets
3. Barbell Rowing 5 sets, 8-10
4. Seated Rowing Pulley 5 sets, 8-10 reps
5. Lat Machine Pulldown 5, 12-15
6. Incline Barbell Press 5 sets 8 reps
7. Incline Flyers (note: exercise 6,7 superset) 5 sets of 8 reps
8. Cable Crossover 5 sets, 8 reps
9. Upright Rowing 5 sets, 8 reps
10. Barbell Shrugs (note: exercise 9,10 superset) 5 sets, 8 reps
11. Press Behind Neck 5 sets, 8 reps
12. Lateral Raises 5 sets, 8 reps
13. Bent Over Laterals 5 sets, 8 reps
14. Scott Curls, Barbell 5 sets, 8 reps
15. Incline Dumbbell Curls 5 sets, 8 reps
16. Narrow Grip Triceps Press 5 Sets, 8 reps
17. Triceps Ext. Lying 5 sets, 8 reps
18. Triceps Ext., Lat Machine 3 sets, 8 reps
19. Wrist Curls 5 sets, 15 reps
20. Reverse Wrist Curls 5 sets, 15 reps

Note: Exercise 12 and 13; 14 and 15; 16 and 17; all Super Set

Question 4: Have you any more comments on bodybuilding in general that you think would be of interest?

Ron Hutchinson: One of the myths that seem to be a part of the sport, is that a lot of people seem to think that the top liners don't work for a living and do nothing but take supplements and work out all day. Maybe some of them do this; I don't know, but I personally believe that man is a creature of habit. I know that I definitely do better when I am employed full time and train in the evenings. What I mean is this.

I get up at the same time each morning and have regularly scheduled meal times. A few years ago I once took some time off work believing I would make great progress by being able to spend as much time in the gym as I wanted to. What a waste! To my surprise I found I had too much time on my hands and I would hang around the gym taking all days more or less to work out.

I trained too long, yet wasn't training hard enought. Meals would be skipped because I had no special meal times. I find that when I am occupied during the day I'm governed more or less by the clock and my system seems to thrive on this, especially the regular meal times. This way, when I get to the gym I haven't any time to waste on bull sessions, but really wish to train. It is my firm belief that to obtain the best results possible the programs should be brief, fast and hard.

I would like to add this. I know a lot of men when they give up competing and training, bitterly look back on it all as a waste of time and effort. I do not think this way and though I feel I could have done a lot better, I will continue to train because I believe in the benefits of weight training. Finally, I know thousand of people read IRON MAN magazine and if my belief and comments have been able to turn ONE person on to Jesus Christ, then all the hours of sweat, toil and self-discipline of the many workouts I have put myself through will indeed have been worthwhile.

Ron Hutchinson bodybuilding
Bodybuilding achievements
Mr International - IFBB, Short, 2nd
Mr California - AAU, 3rd
Mr International - IFBB, Short, 1st
Mr California - AAU, 4th
Mr America - AAU, Short, 6th
Mr California - AAU, 4th
Mr Southern California - AAU, 3rd
Border States Classic - NPC, Masters 60+, 2nd

ironman Sept 74