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By Matt Canning.

The DVD started off with some hip hop music playing and Ronnie pumping and posing in the background. Ronnie's conditioning was amazing and he was seriously an entirely different bodybuilder at the time than he currently is. I don't necessarily mean this in a good or a bad way, I'm just pointing out that he was totally different looking. His basic structure looked generally the same but he was "downsized" - he had a smaller waist but also smaller muscles overall. Filmed at the MetroFlex Gym, Arlington, Texas.

The DVD started and Ronnie said that he commenced his training in 1989. He gave a brief description of his training history. Ronnie said that in December of 1989 Brian Dobson (owner of MetroFlex) said that he would give Ronnie a free membership to the gym if he would diet down for a contest. Ronnie was not initially interested but took Brian up when the offer of the free membership came up. Ronnie did his prep in 1990 and told us a little about his contest history in the DVD. He also described his training a little bit, and as this was being discussed, his training was being shown in the DVD, starting with leg day. Ronnie's training was shown and he was looking very hard in the DVD. He took off his shirt and hit some poses and was looking awesome - not nearly as big as his current self, but very hard and conditioned and ready to hit the stage. His legs had some crazy vascularity and his back was hard and shapely. He hit some most muscular poses from both the front and the side, and his hardness again caught the eye. Ronnie's trim waist and extreme muscularity were very impressive.

Next up, Ronnie was shown at his home eating a pre-contest breakfast consisting of oatmeal and an eight ounce chicken tender. Ronnie next practiced some posing with Diana Dennis wearing blue posing trunks. He looked fantastic and had a very ideal physique - huge, but still not nearly the freak he has become today, along with the other mass monsters in the industry. His old look and his new look may be apples and oranges, but both are highly competitive.

Ronnie spoke about the importance of having an open mind and listening to other people willing to teach you what you need to know. While Ronnie does his own training, he has been consulting with Chad Nicholls for advice and diet and supplementation for many years now.

Ronnie hit some modified t-bar rows putting the olympic bar in the corner of the gym and loading plates on it from there. He had under 10 plates on the t-bar during his workouts, so was obviously not as strong as he got in later years. Ronnie said that he could normally get 10-12 reps using eight plates on the t-bar. In later years, he was up to around 14 plates, or maybe even more. It was just crazy stupid how strong he got in his later years. He moved on to performing cable rows with the full stack. He would do 12-15 reps for three sets. 

Ronnie said that no matter how much or how little he trains his biceps, they would always grow wild! Talk about an awesome genetic trait to have. I would love to be able to have my arms grow large without extreme dedication! Ronnie says he only trained arms once a week if that! Amazing. Ronnie did do some 21s for his biceps. Ronnie went on to perform other biceps exercises such as dumbbell curls and cable curls. He said he is known for his biceps and people take note because the biceps hang out there. It must be nice to have a strong muscle that is so easy to train, although honestly, Ronnie didn't look to have any weak points in the DVD thus far.

Next Ronnie was shown working as a police officer. He said that there are many benefits to the job that he does not get as a bodybuilder: free medical, free dental, life insurance, and a pension. Ronnie explained that none of those benefits were present as a bodybuilder and I really respect Ronnie's foresight to think about the future and not quit his day job as he climbs up the bodybuilding ladder. Ronnie has to be respected for his intelligent thinking in this manner in my opinion.

Ronnie was then shown at home preparing some meals and he was wearing a tanktop and looking incredible. 

Next he introduced Brian Dobson to the viewers of the DVD and said he had done a lot for his confidence over the years. After that he was shown back in the gym, working out his chest. He hit some dumbbell incline presses. He also hit the same movement on the flat bench using fairly heavy dumbbells - not as heavy as he did during his later videos. He went up to 200s which he handled with confidence for 12 reps in "The Unbelievable" DVD, but in this video he hit up to the 140s and said that the most he would ever do were the 160s. Still amazing strength, but it's even more amazing how much strength he gained in the years to follow.

As the DVD progressed, Ronnie continued to explain his training principles. He talked in depth about training and also touched on nutrition in his talk. He looked DAMN GOOD and his shape was probably near his personal best in this DVD.

Next, some Olympia posing footage was shown courtesty of the American Sports Network. Ronnie was ultra conditioned and looking amazing. Finally, the credits rolled, thus concluding Ronnie's first training DVD.

Overall Review:

This DVD was a very interesting member of Ronnie's training DVD set. You should note that while Ronnie is not as big as he became in later DVDs, he was in incredibly good condition and the shape of his physique was near his all time best. This DVD runs sort of like a downsized "Unbelievable" - he uses the same weights and the same exercises and the same general nutrition and training program, but uses lighter weights and he himself is smaller. So rather than seeing a 287 pound Ronnie doing dumbbell presses with the 200s for reps, expect to see a 257 pound Ronnie using the 140s for reps. The DVDs length is 60 minutes but covers a full routine for Ronnie and also touches on nutrition with Ronnie providing good information in the commentary.  A truly great DVD from MOCVIDEO.
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