With the arrival of bodybuilding’s biggest weekend, it makes sense to talk to one of bodybuilding’s legends. That is why Dennis James had 1983 Mr. Olympia Samir Bannout on this week’s episode of The Menace Podcast. For those of us that will never know what it’s like to be on the biggest stage in the sport with thousands of people watching live, Bannout explained how it felt to win the title.

“It was my dream, I wanted it bad, and I was willing to do whatever it took to make that dream come true,” the Lion of Lebanon said. He also felt confident in what was going to happen in 1983 because of the results of the 1982 Mr. Olympia, won by Chris Dickerson.

“There are things we learn as we go. So my body’s chemistry was off for a couple of years because I made a few mistakes. I was overtrying. I was under extreme stress. They say to train to 100, I trained to 300,” he admitted. “Knowing what happened to me in ‘82, I felt this close, and I really mean it, I felt it could’ve been me on top. We found out why Samir couldn’t get it together. Once I figured it out in ‘82, I knew ‘83 was going to be me.”

Bannout also talked about the differences between his era and today’s version of the sport. He shared an opinion that is similar to many of the greats of his era and even before that.

“I believe back then there was more art involved in the sport. I think right now the judges focus so much on how big he is, if his glutes are ripped, and it doesn’t matter how you pose,” Bannout said.

Bannout and James also talked about the details of preparing for a contest, and they discuss the differences between Bannout’s prep, and what James has done in his career as well as for the current Mr. Olympia, Big Ramy. Watch the full episode over at the Muscle & Fitness YouTube channel. Make sure to subscribe to see the newest episodes every Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern time.



0:21 – Intro

3:05 – Bodybuilding Beginnings

6:12 – Coming and Competing in the U.S.

8:51 – First Meeting with DJ

10:59 – Camaraderie in His Era

13:47 – Winning the Olympia and Learning from Greats

17:53 – Prize Money Then vs. Now

22:22 – Contest Prep Strategies

33:17 – What New Guys Do Wrong

41:19 – Samir’s Thoughts About the Guys Today

46:11 – 2020 Olympia

50:23 – Big Ramy

55:55 – Wrap-Up