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The latest episode of “The Menace Podcast” was a first for host Dennis James. He had talked to featured guest Dennis Wolf many times, but James said this will be the first time that he had a full conversation with the 2014 Arnold Classic Champion in English.
Wolf and James both grew up in Germany, so their conversations had always been in that language. Another language they both know is the language of bodybuilding, and the old friends talked plenty about that.
Fans that have followed the sport for a while may remember that Wolf burst onto the scene in 2007 with a victory at the Keystone Pro and a Top 5 finish at that year’s Mr. Olympia. Wolf shared his thoughts about how that experience.
“All things were just coming together. It’s not just the look, but everything … 10,000 people were cheering my name, ‘Wolf, Wolf,’ you know? I will never forget it. It was like that (pointing up). After that, I was completely booked. It’s like what happened to Ramy right now happened to me, except that he won the Olympia. I was fifth. For me, it was a huge advantage to the other guys because I’m from abroad. I’m not American.”
Outside of one slip-up in 2009, Wolf’s career went on that rise to elite levels. He would finish as high as third at the Mr. Olympia and won the Arnold Classic in 2014. Then, he faced physical issues that would eventually lead to the end of his competitive career.
“I felt like something is not working. Something’s not okay. It was off. Weird feeling, totally weird feeling … I did the Olympia, I did the Arnold Europe, and I did the Prague Pro. After that, I couldn’t even get back to my normal size. Then one day I started feeling some uncontrolled movements when I was training my back. One arm was going well, but the other was going to the side…The doctor said ‘we need to get an MRI and all this stuff.’ It turned out I had C4, C5, C6, C7 herniated.”
Wolf believes his muscle density kept everything in place until he dropped some weight. Eventually, he would have surgery in 2016 to fuse three of the discs. Even though he would return to the stage for the Arnold and Arnold Australia in 2018, it was clear that his greatest competitive days are now behind him. Currently, the 42 year old weighs around 205 pounds, and he is focused on what is ahead instead of what is behind him.
“If something ends, the next thing starts. When one door closes, the other one opens. I don’t compete anymore, but am still doing stuff. I do a lot with athletes, I love that. I’m not the bodybuilder anymore. There is still a lot more to do. I’m here talking to you, you know.”
Wolf shares a lot about his early life, rise to prominence in the sport, and a lot more. Catch this episode in its entirety over at the Muscle & Fitness YouTube channel. You can also listen to every episode on Spotify.