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more years?

Dickerson: Easily. Bodybuilding's my whole life now — as well as my livelihood — and it's a relief not to have to hold down a different kind of job. I'm single-minded, and all of my effort goes into body­building.

I want to give more seminars because I want to help other bodybuilders. I want to represent bodybuilding at its zenith. And my chief goal now is to become the first AAU Mr. America to win the Olympia.

M&F: What sort of seminars have you devised?

Dickerson: My seminars are primarily on bodybuilding and nutrition. I lecture first, then answer questions from the audience. There are no questions that I consider too private, too trite or too trivial. I try to answer everything to the questioner's satisfaction.

M&F: What is the most commonly asked question at your seminars?

Dickerson: How I developed my calves. I have devised some excellent calf routines, by the way. I know what works for me, and it usually works for someone else as well. Let's face it, I do have outstanding calves. Since I was forced to build the rest of my body to measure up to my calf develop­ment, I have many great routines for all parts of the body.

M&F: A few days before the Canada Cup competition last year you called Joe Weider and said you had grave doubts about being able to beat the newer stars. Then suddenly you emerged as the winner. What did you think after you won that competition?

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Dickerson: For the first few days I was too dazed to think at all. I believe that a chief ingredient in my success was the encouragement I got from Joe along the way.

It was an honor to place in the first six at the Olympia a month before the Canada Cup. I knew then that I had something going, so I kept training and getting better from day to day.

M&F: You improved radically between the Mr. Olympia contest and the Canada Cup. Didn't you lose considerable weight? Dickerson: About five pounds. I was on a diet of broiled fish and skinless chicken breasts, plus half a cantaloupe a day. Once a week I also ate an apple, core and all. I took daily supplements, and water and black coffee were the only liquids I drank. It was a strain toward the end, but well worth it. At the Canada Cup competition I weighed 184.

M&F: How did you feel at the Canada Cup — your first IFBB pro win — when you heard they had lost the music to your posing routine?

Dickerson: When it was announced that my music had been misplaced, I knew the audience was with me. I said to myself, "I'm going to give it everything I've got!" I felt I was leading — or at least tied with Mike Mentzer — and I had come far enough that I wasn't going to let anything stop me. In a way, I think it was a blessing in disguise, because my routine became so extemporaneous. Here I am, folks! I did it, and they gave me an ovation. M&F: You proved that a man doesn't



have to weigh more than 200 pounds to win a big contest. Most of the men you've defeated in the last year weighed 20-30 pounds more than you, and at the Canada Cup, Dennis Tinerino outweighed you by 50!

Dickerson: Because of my good proportions, my bodyweight is deceiving. I've been told that onstage I look like I weigh 200 pounds. All my muscle mass is evenly distributed, and that's what counts. M&F: In view of the success you've had this past year, you must feel very good about becoming associated with the IFBB and Muscle & Fitness.

Dickerson: Definitely. I always wanted to compete against the fellows in the IFBB, but when I was coming up through the AAU things were a little different than now. Today, however, the IFBB is really in the mainstream of bodybuilding. It feels great to be a part of it and to be competing with the best in the world. It's an honor to be one of them — Mike Mentzer, Robby Robinson, Dennis Tinerino, Frank Zane and the others. It's nice to be able to make a living at what I was doing as an amateur.

M&F: Joe Weider recently mentioned that he had coached you on several crucial bodybuilding points. Could you describe them?

Dickerson: Soon after I met Joe last fall we began discussing the abdominal region. He helped me a great deal in learning how to control it better, to exhale fully and not suck in my abs as I had been doing.

Also, I couldn't bring out the back development I knew I had in me, so Joe worked with me on that. He felt I wasn't hitting my back hard enough in training. And I wasn't bringing my arms back far enough when I posed to display the maximum amount of muscularity. And he pointed out that just by twisting my head to one side, I could show my trapezius . development better.

Joe also taught me to contract and relax my biceps. I practiced at home with a stop­watch, holding the flex for 60-90 seconds before relaxing. That's an exercise I had never done before, but it's making the biceps better!

M&F: In bodybuilding competitions you seem to have a much better first judging round — just standing there — than anyone else.

Dickerson: Yes, I've developed my physique so that no bodypart dominates another. At seminars I tell people not to do their favorite exercise, because it invariably further improves their strongest muscle group. Work the weakest point first via the Weider Muscle Priority Principle, I tell them, and do the exercises you don't like. They'll probably do more for you in the long run.

I am fortunate. To me, looking good just standing there is a lot of what a contest is all about. The fact is that you spend most of your time onstage during a contest just standing unposed, so it's logical that the judges will judge you more in that position than any other.

M&F: At what point in your career did you begin to look so good standing in the lineup?

Dickerson: Probably about the time I won the NABBA Universe in 1973.1 would always stand with one leg in front of the other to give me more taper. Some people


stand like this to hide meager calves. Witr me it was just the opposite. Mine were sc big that I couldn't let them overwhelm the rest of my physique.

M&F: You want to be the first AAU Mr, America to win the Olympia. What do yoi think it will take this year for you to pull il off?

Dickerson: I think it'll take much more ol the same things that I've been doing, onl; I'll have to do them with even greater dedication and intensity. Like Arnold saic in describing his training, you go beyonc the pain. I don't think I have yet fully tapped the Chris Dickerson reserve.

M&F: What about the guy who's reachec 40, the fat slob whose exercise is watching the Rams on the tube and doing One-Arm Curls with beer cans? Is there any hope for him physically?

Dickerson: Oh, sure. He just has to do a mental turnaround, and 40 is a good time to change for the better. He can start by putting one foot in front of the other, literally. There's an old saying: a journey o a thousand miles is started with a single step.

I would like to see the entire population — including guys like this — enlightened and I'd like to do my part. While remaining a sport, bodybuilding has become more ol a science. It feels great to be part of it all M&F: Where can you be contacted for seminars and exhibitions?

Dickerson: P.O. Box 1123, Santa Monica, Calif. 90406.

M&F: As a result of your involvement in bodybuilding and the opera {Editor: Chris was an aspiring opera singer), you've swung like a pendulum between California and New York for the past 15 years. Have you reconciled your ambitions?

Dickerson: Yes, I know where I'm at now. I think I'm at home in California, and I'm definitely at home in bodybuilding. I love the beach, and I love the quiet little city of Santa Monica, where for me body­building is the only game in town.

M&F: Did you work out during the period when you weren't competing? Dickerson: Except when I had my pectoral injury, I've always averaged foui workouts a week. But I wasn't watching th< diet during my "retirement," and I was using only heavy basic exercises. I worked on the power lifts and I also did cleans. I've always done the lifts. They bring your body all together. I learned bodybuilding from Bill Pearl, who taught me to do a variety o exercises to maintain the fluidity of both movement and musculature.

M&F: Besides your training, what else ii there in your lifestyle that you think migh have contributed to your outstanding bodybuilding success?

Dickerson: If you treat your body right, i will continue to improve. I generally go t< bed before 11 p.m., and I'm up at 6:30 a.m I don't smoke, and I don't drink, except foi an occasional glass of wine with dinner. do take my supplements regularly and I take a lot of them.

I've had some excellent coaching. I try t< learn all I can by watching other body­builders and reading the magazines. I tr to do what's right for me. I can take criticism and I'm approachable.

I look at my body objectively. Arnold said it so well: we are artists. As sculptor; work with clay, we work with our own bodies. We are our clay. □