I'm a 63-year-old eight-time champion bodybuilder – I love my sport but there's one thing I prioritised ABOVE winning | The Sun

A CHAMPION bodybuilder has revealed the one thing he prioritised above taking home the trophy – that proved the driving force for his success.

Eight-time Mr Olympia winner Lee Haney felt the weight of his duty as a dad and husband was far more important than his workouts.

The US athlete miraculously managed to rule the bodybuilding world despite the sport taking a backseat to his family life.

Haney, known as Hercules, had an incredible streak that rivaled the likes of Ronnie Coleman thanks to his incredible physique.

He favoured a three-day on, one-day off training routine throughout his career – which allowed him to juggle his responsibilities as a dad.

But he still secured the Mr Olympia gong a whopping eight times, asserting himself as one of the most decorated athletes in the game.


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Yet even the world's strongest men struggle with the pressure of stardom.

The bodybuilding legend revealed that during the peak of his career, he would often obsess about bettering his performance.

"When you're on top, there is nowhere to go but down," Haney said during an interview with the founder and CEO of Labrada Nutrition, Lee Labrada.

"The pressure of how do I stay here, what can I do differently to bring about a better package than the last time.

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"All of those things run through your mind – and if you don't keep it together, that can create a lot of stress."

The ex-athlete explained that he was only able to "maintain his sanity" due to the unwavering support from his beloved wife Shirley.

"My wife was there with me," he continued. "I was a husband, I was a father. I had two kids while I was still competing.

"I guess some people could say that was a distraction, but for me, it helped me maintain my sanity.

"It got my mind off of how many sets and how many reps, time and time again."

Discussing what encouraged him to remain a family man first, Haney shared the details of his outlook on the sport.

He added: "I looked at bodybuilding in such a way that is my job.

"I didn’t worship the craft, you know, although I wanted to be the best at the craft.

"I didn’t worship it. It wasn’t the end of the world as the way I looked at it."

The bodybuilding star – known for his huge shoulders and bulging biceps – believes his work and home-life balance proved the key to his success.

Haney holds one of the highest wins for Mr Olympia alums, as well as being a former Nationals Heavyweight & Overall champion.

He won every Mr Olympia competition from 1984-1991, breaking Arnold Schwarzenegger's record of seven in a row.

The 63-year-old retired at the age of 31, before turning to personal training and working with athletes like boxer Evander Holyfield.

We previously told how a millionaire bodybuilder has been scared off from the sport he loves after a near-death experience.

Kali Muscle had a deadly heart attack brought on by synthetic steroid use in 2021, forcing him to undergo life-saving surgery.

Now he's using his platform to promote clean eating and a healthy lifestyle – but strays away from weights.

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