Today our guest is World Bodybuilding Champion, Mr Universe, IFBB Pro and Hollywood A List Actor, Mr Roland Kickinger.
- Guten tag, Mister Roland! Thank you for accepting my invitation for an interview.
- Guten tag, thank you for inviting me and I will be more than happy to share my story, experience and help motivate more and more people.
- Thank you, Mr Roland. I read pretty much all articles about you which are available and watched all videos I could find online. First of all I felt so proud, however on the other hand I felt that something is missing! I felt that what we can find online or in media is just a piece of an iceberg, which could be seen above the water. And when I saw your short video, shot at the Grand Canyon I knew I had a correct feeling. Mister Roland, let’s talk today about your early beginnings, I mean your life before coming to the US. Could you please tell us when you became interested in bodybuilding and why exactly in body building? There are so many options in Europe: football(soccer), volleyball, wrestling, other olympic sports, martial arts, etc?
- I became interested in body culture from a very young age of 6. I come from Vienna, Austria. In Vienna we have many Greek statues which I admired obsessively. The work of Michelangelo back in the Renaissance times how carefully he sculpted each muscle and how muscular his sculptures were. I always thought that a man suppose to look muscular and strong. I wanted to sculpture my own body, this was my main focus. In Austria there are many sports to choose from. I was a skier, soccer player and always liked the snow. Strength training was different: instant gratification and ability to not depend on other team members who not always gave 100 % made this my chosen sport.
- Thank you Mister Roland. So actually you wanted to become Austrian Apollon, or Hercules, or Zeus, basically "the Greek God from Vienna". It is really inspiring.
I understand your point about not depending on other team members. Recently, I read interviews of Dorian Yates and other world acclaimed athletes. They all mentioned that is important to have a training partner. Did you need a coach or training partner in strength training? If yes does it make you dependent on them?
- Dorian was a great champion who set a new standard in back development. As far as training partners it’s like a relationship. The right one will be beneficial, otherwise its not so good.
- Mr Roland, how did your choice influence your general development as person: personality wise, education, etc
- I believe that bodybuilders are general exceptional people who are quite educated in nutrition and have endless amount of will power and determination. If this willpower is shifted into other areas one can be successful in whatever they might choose.
- Many world acclaimed athletes and champions, like yourself, do "motivational speeches", share stories of success, hence first question would be what is your scheme/rules of success? and most important could you tell us the story behind the scenes, this is what nobody really shares with people: What was challenging for you? What was worrying and bothering you? Did you have this painful feeling which didn't let you sleep and may be sometimes even depress? What was your inner struggle?
- Excellent question! I always like this saying: You are the average of your best 5 friends! My secret is to come with a one way ticket and use your imagination. It does not matter how long things take as long as you stay on course! In my personal carrier in bodybuilding I was very fortunate to be able to work along Joe Weider, the pioneer of fitness and bodybuilding who would guide me in the proper directions and promoting fitness and the benefits of strength training. My struggle was always as to continue to compete and get better each year as an athlete or to get into the Hollywood film Business. I have chosen the film and tv business because I could reach a much larger audience and Joe would happily agree.
- Thank you for sharing your story, Mister Roland. It sounds challenging but so romantic. However lets talk about the dark side of the Moon: What was the fear, worries before you came to the States? Was there something that bothered you inside of you while you were still in Austria, training and getting ready to buy the one way ticket?
- Its always my pleasure, Victor! Regarding fears, yes of course there is always a certain amount of fear for the unknown. At the same time there are waves of excitement. Not knowing the language, not having proper papers to work, not knowing anyone, how can I survive? Where can I use a kitchen to prepare my meals? Everyone in Austria would say that I would come back within 3 months. Will they be right once I use up my savings? And I am sure your situation and beginnings were similar, wasn't it?
- Yes Mr Roland, you are absolutely correct, My beginnings are very much similar. I believe we, people with the “American Dream” in our hearts, have many things in common.
And, with a kitchen or no, you not just made it, you made it big and great!
Mr Roland , what was the moment, the peak that made you decide to move to US? What did you feel? How was it to feel and what was the reaction of your entourage ?
- I remember when I bought my one way ticket it was like I gave life to my dream. It was January 1st when I took the flight and the feeling of total freedom came over me. It was hard for my family and friends at first but i lived what they always wanted to do. I knew that great things will happen. $500 and 2 suitcases full of dreams in a new place called Santa Monica...
- Oh yes! What a wonderful feeling! Mr Roland, what was your vision when you started your path and up till you came to the US: please try to remember your ideas, thoughts, fears, how did you feel when you stepped on the plane. How did you feel when you landed in the US?
- My Vision for the future in America before I left Austria was that I wanted to be as far as I could in bodybuilding and then eventually do films and tv and commercials. This vision became stronger and stronger as closer I would get to Los Angeles. Leaving everything behind family, friends, work, savings, possessions was a challenge because human nature is to hang on onto things. Once I knew there was no return home I was 100% responsible for my actions and I could not expect anyone to save me. That was extremely exiting and challenging at the same time. When I first saw venice Beach I was overwhelmed with joy. The first big step was taken. There was Joe Gold a former bodybuilder himself and gym owner of Worlds Gym which was just a Block away from Golds gym. Joe opened his doors and was extremely supportive letting me train and stay at the gym for some time. I saw most of the athletes who where publushed in Muscle and Fitness. I remember how everyone was so supportive. It seemed that everyone came from different places.
- Thank you Mister Roland and the last question :
And tell us please the story how you started trainings? What did you start with? How did you Learn and from who in order to progress? What is your story of trainings before coming to the USA ?
Could you please elaborate on your nutrition , training, lifestyle regime and its changes during years while still in Austria.
- There was a small place called Alfi’s Gym, were I started my journey. Since the gym was on the way home I passed by quite often. Right across from Alfi’s gym there was a very popular bar were guys would get drunk after work. Ironically I choose to visit the gym one day and Alfred the owner welcomed me. He asked me if I wanted to end up like the drunks across the street or be fit, Strong and healthy. When I was 15 years old I Weight 155lb being 6’2” tall. Alfred kept encouraging me to be patient and showed me around.
Since I was unable to pay for the membership I would clean up the gym every night in exchange for a membership. The gym had around 200 members and everyone was extremely supportive of one another. There weren’t any personal trainers but the one with more experience would help the newbies.
I was the first one at the gym and the last one leaving. Sometimes I had to come in at night and I got a key for the gym. I was not be able to use lights at night due to electricity costs. So I learned to really connect with each muscle I would train. No distraction whatsoever. I would visualize how I wanted to shape and mold my physique. Using this principle gave me quick progress results and after 6 month I was already noticing more strength, weight gain and muscle building. I stuck to basic exercises using mainly free weights.
My nutrition was high protein high carb and high fat. I ate plenty of pig legs since they were cheap and lots of protein. My shakes I made myself since protein powder was out of my budget. I used milk, eggs, honey, pasta, bananas, raisins, cinnamon and raw lamb liver.
- Milk, eggs, honey, pasta, bananas, raisins, cinnamon and raw lamb liver, sounds like a great, unique plan to do! Natural and healthy!
Mr Roland, I thank you for this meeting, opening the door of your world and wonderful interview. I am more than sure that it will help millions in the whole world. Wish you only successes in all your beginnings, plans and projects! Hope to meet you soon for another story!
- Thank you Victor for invitation, it was my pleasure to share my story. Of course real stories are those which support and motivate the most. You can watch thousands of Hollywood films, but, from my experience, nothing can motivate more than a real life story. Thank you for your kind wishes and hope to see you soon.