Mr. Olympia speaks at seminar

By | Joint Base Public Affairs | April 12, 2016

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. — Clad in gym clothes andĀ sipping protein shakes, members of the joint base community filtered into the McGuire Theater for a seminar presented by Mr. Olympia Natural.

Philip Ricardo, Jr., is a retired U.S. Marine, and has been bodybuilding competitively drug free for twenty-four years, with 39 shows and 22 first-place wins under his belt. He visited the joint base April 2, 2016 to impart his wisdom to Team MDL members.

"You are in control of making yourself the best at whatever it is you want," Ricardo said in his introduction. "You're in control of your own future. If you want something, it's up to you to get it."

While parts of his discussion covered weightlifting and diet techniques, much of Ricardo's advice was about attitude, resilience and dedication.

As a self-described "skinny kid from Brooklyn," with severe asthma, Ricardo never thought he would be an athlete. Despite his challenges, Ricardo began playing football and took the lessons he learned from the sport he loved with him to the Marine Corps. While stationed in Japan, he began bodybuilding.

"Overseas, there are only two things you can do - drink and party or work out," he said. "I worked out. I found that no matter where I was and what was going on in my life, I could do this."

He truly began taking it seriously when he won a first place prize in the first competition he entered. From then on, he was hooked.

What followed was a prestigious career which he credits to "love, passion and consistency." He joined the Marine Corps body building team, for which he later became the coach, and several drug-free professional body building organizations. He competed between deployments to Iraq.

Despite a successful bodybuilding career, Ricardo said he grew and learned most from his losses, a message the resonated with the audience.

"He broke down not just his successes, but his failures as well," said Tech. Sgt. Christopher Saydeh, 87th Security Forces Squadron Alpha Flight chief. "He didn't just jump into the sport and win all the time, but no matter how many times he got knocked down, he kept coming back better and better until he eventually won Olympia multiple times."

Ricardo also took time to discuss his family and how he balanced time with his wife and five children, alongside his military and bodybuilding careers.

"Make time for more than just the athletics," he advised. "Do things that make you a better person."

Part of his balance was to make bodybuilding a family affair. His wife and children also compete in professional-level bodybuilding alongside him, and Ricardo closed out his seminar with a choreographed routine with two of his children.