Markus Ruhl Biography
I started working out at the age of nineteen weighing in at 140 lbs without being ambitious with regard to a professional career.
After four years of consistent and intense workouts I felt the decision to participate in the Newcomer Championship 1994 in Hessen, Germany. Unfortunately I hurt my shoulder, so that I was unable to compete. Accordingly I had to delay my first competition.
In 1995 after having recovered from my shoulder injury, I competed in the Bachgau Cup in Babenhausen weighing in at 243 lbs and won the heavyweight and overall title. One week later I received 2nd place at the Grosser Preis von Hessen.
Local championship in Germany, Hessen 1997
In 1997 after 7 years of hard workouts, I won the Hessen Championships and one week later also the German Nationals. Being the first german bodybuilder ever, who received his pro card immediately after his victory at the Nationals, I competed in the German Pro Grand Prix in Offenbach, Germany. Although I was able again to make improvements in terms of my overall physique, I could literally see that I still lacked in refinement and muscle maturity in comparison to the world’s leading men. It was crystal clear, that in addition to the nessecary improvements I would have to make regarding refinement and muscle maturity, I would also need an additional 10-15 lbs of lean muscle mass in order to achieve the competitive state, that enables me to become established in the world’s pro elite. Incidentally, I placed 10th, weighing in at 258 lbs.
In January 1998 I started dieting to get myself ready for the Night Of Champions in New York. I wanted to add another 8-10 lbs of muscles, and due to the help and support of my training partner Marc Arnold I accomplished this goal. I actually made every effort to come in at my best and entered the show in a very shredded and cut condition. The crowd considered me top 6 material, but distinctly different from the opinion of the fans, unfortunately the judges thought different. I placed 9th, weighing approximately 265 lbs, while being in the best shape of my life. I was a little dejected, but I was convinced, if I would go through and try to improve increasingly I would soon get the recognition I deserve.
In 1999, one year after my first attendance in New York, I returned tremendously improved to the Big Apple. This time my contest weight was approximately 270 lbs. After an incredible battle I received again a verdict, that I did not deserve according to the crowds opinion. I placed 4th, while the judges declared Dillet the winner, although he was considerably off his best. Nonetheless, I was delighted, that I qualified for the Olympia in Las Vegas. I had fulfilled my dream to become one of the greatest bodybuilders in the world and moreover I was getting closer to my final destination. Motivated due to my recent accomplishments, I trained as hard as I could throughout my Olympia preparation and was able to increase my bodyweight up to 275 lbs. Sadly, the judges refused to acknowledge that I was great conditioned, by giving just a few call outs to me. Therefore I placed out of the top ten. But this time I was not so disappointed and dejected, because I gained a lot of precious experience, which will be very helpful to stand the man in the upcoming shows. Don’t worry folks ! The German Beast will return next year and even bigger and better than ever before.In the beginning of the new millennium, I began my preparation for the NOC. In February during my preparation I hurt my shoulder (diagnosis: torn muscle on my shoulder joint). This injury was due to my attitude to always train as hard and devoted as I can. Improvements necessarily require 100% effort. After a short examination, my doctor recommended to rest 4-6 weeks, but contrary to the advice of my doctor, I resumed my workout after only five days of rest. The subsequent weeks went by without any injury and I therefore flew to Toronto, thoroughly confident in myself. When I participated in the meeting of the athletes, I became aware, that I will be on stage in common with bodybuilding greats like Mike Matarazzo and Dexter Jackson, that’s why I basically did not anticipate a victory for myself anymore. But after prejudging, I was conscious, that this time it is between me and Dexter. This time I defeated Dexter and won the show. The following week I flew to New York and was considered to be the possible Night Of Champions Winner this year. But at Beacon Theater something contrary happened. This time was my turn to place 2nd, while Jay Cutler won the show. Granted, Cutler was in awesome shape. Nevertheless the audience, which I had already captured, when attending in New York for the first time, was repeatedly discontented with the outcome.
In spring 2000 I have been victorious and generally very successful and although I’ve been aware, that it would be pretty hard to repeat that kind of success, I was confident that I might be able to reach the final at my second Mr. Olympia attendance. I decided to come in heavier but not as cut as usual. Weighing in at 280 lbs, I was the heaviest competitor and in common with Ronnie Coleman also the biggest one on stage. After prejudging I placed 5th and wanted to confirm that by doing a great posing routine in the evening. But unfortunately this evening things didn’t go my way and so I ultimately placed 7th. Nonetheless I was satisfied to be in the top ten as well as I enjoyed to face all those critics, who foolishly gaped at me when I encountered them. Right after my return to Germany, I went to the hospital for surgery on my belly button, which was ruptured during the contest preparation. Thus a rest of four weeks was required.When my sponsor and myself reviewed the current situation, I decided not to compete in spring 2001, after three consecutive attendances in New York. Accordingly I had plenty of time to travel around the globe to comply with all those demands for guest appearances and seminars.
In July 2001 I started my preparation for the coveted Big O. Experts considered me a top three candidate. As opposed to my basic attitude to enter a show as huge as humanly possible, which always enabled me to achieve the highly demanding goals that I had set for myself, I submitted myself this time to the advice and recommendations of acquaintances and friends. Therefore I wanted to enter the most significant and prestigious contest worldwide dryer and sharper than ever before but neglected to focus simultaneously on size and fullness. I put myself under too much pressure. I suppose, that I pushed the envelope too high this time by doing 2,5 hours cardio a day in addition to 2 hours weight training twice daily. As a result of the extensive workouts my upper body really lacked fullness in comparison to my usual condition, but I considerably improved in the thigh and back departments, which used to be my weak points. But then five weeks out of Vegas, unfortunately my belly button ruptured again and this time so unfavorably that it looked pretty disgusting, but it was too late, no more time for surgery.
Although I was slightly off my best, my shape was quite good (visible on the enclosed pictures, which have been shot in Vegas at the Mr. O 2001) That’s why I was self-confident when I stepped on stage, but whatever I did, I did not get any call outs. In the end I placed 14th, while being a crowd favorite, an outcome, I wasn’t pleased with at all and more importantly, it was the worst Mr. Olympia result of my entire career. Basically a verdict, I had to deal with very often in the past, but as distinct from the past, I actually thought, that I already pertain to the ten best bodybuilders in the world, particularly due to my accomplishments last year. I haven’t got the slightest idea, what this verdict was supposed to mean. Neither am I able to evaluate what really happened there. That being said, it was obvious for everyone, that I was definitely good enough to place in the top 10 and the majority of the people thought so, too. But the judges literally refused to pay attention to me and put me repeatedly at a disadvantage towards the other competitors, who I had already defeated easily a couple of times and who supposedly looked better than me this time according to the judges testimony. Don’t get me wrong, but that seems pretty ridiculous to me !!!!
Due to this incident, I was in desperation and extremely dejected as well as frustrated, because I had put my heart and soul into this preparation and all the efforts I had made hadn’t been worth it, that’s why I aimed to retire indeed under these circumstances. But I am too ambitious and purposeful regarding the iron game to give up. Nor am I someone who wavers in self-pity. In the sport of bodybuilding like in all other sports you also have to be able to deal with defeat, and basically defeat is something I am already used to, because, as I described before, I had to make a lot of painful experiences in terms of defeat throughout my bodybuilding career, which were pretty hard to endure. Morover loved ones and friends encouraged me to keep on going. Needless to say, the German Beast will not surrender and will stay the course as well as keep up the hard work, and even harder than before, because slowly but surely the day will come when it’s all worth it. I assure you folks, I am desperate to return to the Big Apple. I will be ready for the NOC 2002, physically and mentally.After the disappointing result last fall, which thoroughly dragged me down, I was conscious that it would be inevitable to go back to my normal training habits in order to regain the fullness and size I am usually known for. I did my cardio in the morning upon waking on an empty stomach and trained hard and heavy. In addition to that I chose a very balanced nutrition and although this preparation also engulfed a lot of perseverance, everything went according to plan and fortunately without any injury, but nevertheless not totally doubtless because on contrast to earlier preparations I didn’t decrease my bodyweight continuously this time but gave precedence to the man in the mirror and did not devote myself to the scale like in the earlier days. A few days out of the show I was still weighing 287 lbs and then after carb loading my competition weight was 280 lbs, not to mention that I felt bigger and fuller than ever before what resulted in total self-confidence throughout the entire competition.
Due to my awesome shape, which undoubtedly was my all time best, the audience was going like crazy, when I was doing the compulsory poses in common with Paul Dillet and Bob Cicherillo. Throughout the entire show I fought like a hungry lion and even during the line-up there were no weaknesses visible. Therefore the judges didn’t find anything to complain about. Later after the show fans as well as fellow bodybuilders acknowledged, that the German Beast’s supremacy and superiority were visible from the first moment I entered stage.
As a matter of fact I had reached the final and after a short line-up and pose down I was confident, that I ought be either first or second. After Francisco Bautista was called out for third place, only Chic and me were remaining. While we were waiting for the announcement of the winner, which was imminent, thousands of thoughts were going through my mind…… When Chic’s second place was announced, I couldn’t believe it, the judges declared me the unanimous winner of the NOC 2002. It also amazed me that the judges judged me correctly for the very first time in my five year professional career, something they had never done before. The crowd at Beacon was going really crazy, while shouting ” RUHL, RUHL, RUHL !!!” ,louder and louder. An indescribable feeling of good fortune came over me and I fell down on my knees On this day I received the rewards for all the great sacrifices that have made through all these years, on this day I reaped the benifits of the seeds that I have sown. Due to this accomplishment I attained the Hall Of Fame, something I have always been craving since I started working out. This victory enabled me to get to the next level in professional bodybuilding. Now I can pursue and try to accomplish my ultimate goal, to place in the top three at the Olympia.
One week later I participated in the Toronto Pro International. I depleted carbs again but due to perished oatmeal I got digestion problems, which made carb loading more difficult. As a result from that I diminished in size and definition. Weighing 12 lbs less than at the NOC, I had to be satisfied with 2nd place. Even though it was pretty close, Art Atwood really deserved his victory.
The very same night my training partner Marc Arnold and myself were celebrating my fabulous victory at the NOC as well as the 2nd place in Toronto. As for everyone pictured here, I don’t look so fit anymore as distinct from him. Finally, I want to thank all those, who were concerned about me and supported me throughout the preparation. I very much appreciate your support and more importantly I couldn’t have done it without you !!! Yours Markus !!!