7 Questions for Markus Hoppe
1. How exactly did you get into weight training and bodybuilding and what fascinated you about the sport?
I got into sport by accident. I was asked by two classmates if I would like to train with them in the studio. Since I found the two really great, I let myself be persuaded to do so. Unfortunately, I registered in the wrong studio and was alone in the gym from day one. Since I was tied to the contract for a year and had to pay the fee myself, I thought I would go to training every day, then at least it would pay off. The secondary “pumping” quickly became my new hobby and then, very quickly, my passion.
What has captivated and fascinated me about the sport over time was the physical and, over time, the mental change that I went through. With every kilo of muscle my self-confidence grew, I got a different charisma, a more positive attitude towards life and a more positive attitude towards life. If my life was otherwise quite haphazard, then through bodybuilding I learned what discipline means and what influence sport as a whole can have on your life. I learned through sport that you can achieve a lot if you believe in yourself and are willing to take on all the hardship.
2. What was your first point of contact with bodybuilding?
I really noticed bodybuilding in 2002/2003 through a guy who had trained in the same gym and was quite impressive for that time. He sent me my first Flex and Sport Revue magazines. I can still remember exactly what it was like to leaf through the magazines and marvel at the athletes shown. Athletes like Markus Rühl , Ronny Rockel, Kevin Levrone, Ronnie Coleman, Chris Cormier to name a few. At first I found the sight very grotesque, especially Markus and Ronnie were absolute freaks for me at the beginning, whom I never wanted to emulate. However, this attitude gradually changed and I found more and more pleasure in reaching a similar level. After less than two years of training, I wanted to prove it to myself and compete on stage with other athletes. That was the starting signal for a time and phase in my life that shaped me so much that, looking back, I have to say that I would definitely not be who I am today if I hadn't decided to play this sport.
3. Are you satisfied with your career and performance?
Looking back, I would say that by and large I am happy with what I have achieved in bodybuilding so far. I had bigger dreams and ideas, but I probably didn't have the right skills to make those dreams come true. I could certainly have had a bit more discipline and will with one or the other preparation, but in the end I would not have come any closer to my actual goal of starting at the Mr. Olympia one day. But I don't have to blame myself for not giving everything. I only realized at the right moment that my ideas, goals and desires were not in proportion to what my genetics and my living conditions would have allowed.
4. Based on your current knowledge of bodybuilding: What would you do differently if you were at the beginning of your career again?
If, at the beginning of my bodybuilding “career”, I had had the knowledge I have today, I would have done a few things differently. I would have trained more sensibly, maybe not set the weights so high in order to keep the injuries and wear and tear less. But I also believe that then I would not have been able to build up this mass. In addition, I would have been more careful about the use of performance-enhancing substances. Especially at the beginning I was very naive and careless when it comes to handling these substances. Sometimes I also wonder what kind of person I would have become had I never started bodybuilding. Sport has such a big impact on your entire life, on your spiritual development, on the shaping of your character.
5. How do "normal" people react to you and your appearance?
The reactions are very different. Although I have to admit that I haven't really noticed it for a long time. Of course, I register when I'm stared at. But that is the rarity. I would describe most of the reactions as positive, be it a “thumbs up” or “respect” for what people show me. When I train in foreign studios where people don't know me, the reactions are usually more extreme. I may seem a little intimidating at first. This is noticeable by embarrassed looks or by hastily leaving a device after friendly asking how many more sentences you are going to make. In the social media world, it looks different again. Here, the comments can sometimes be offensive, which is due to the anonymity.
6. What do you think is particularly important as a competitive athlete? In your experience, what are the really important factors?
As a competitive athlete, there are several factors that count. You need a lot of discipline, an iron will, the willingness to grow over and over again over your limits over a long period of time. In addition, a stable environment is essential in order to be successful in any preparation. If it's not right in your environment, if your relationship is stressful, your job is not going smoothly, or you have problems of a different nature that distract you on a daily basis, then it will be almost impossible to get through the preparation. Then there is the genetic component: No matter how strong your will, how big your discipline or how big your dream, if your genetics do not allow you to become an exceptional athlete, then accept it and concentrate on finding the best package lace that your body gives away!
7. Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?
What I want to say to the readers is that this sport can have such a positive impact on your life if you approach it with brains and care. In the same breath I would like to warn you not to subordinate your entire life to this sport. You should always remember that at some point there will be a point in time when you can no longer define yourself only through sport and when you then notice that in your bodybuilding mania you have lost all the people around you who meant something to you if your health has been affected and you no longer have anyone to celebrate because you no longer have the body that distinguished you, then it is usually too late and you have to live with these consequences.
In this sense, enjoy life your way, don't let yourself be told how to live, but don't forget to turn your mind on.