Bob Paris was one of the greatest bodybuilders to compete in professional bodybuilding in the 1980’s and 90’s. Often compared to the legendary Steve Reeves, this intelligent character had the good looks and faultless physique that made him very popular amongst bodybuilding fans.
Bob Paris was very active from an early age, participating in hiking, cycling and track and field. He started bodybuilding in his teens and made quick progress through the amateur ranks, winning the IFBB World Championships (Mr Universe) title in 1983 and competing in his first Mr Olympia the following year. Paris’ goal was to build a physique that was beautiful and appealed to the general public.
Throughout his competitive years, Paris battled onstage against some of the best names in bodybuilding including Lee Haney, Sergio Oliva and Tom Platz. He had strong posing skills and his routines were artistic, creative and confident. Although he was sometimes criticised for lacking the vascularity and hardness of some Mr Olympia contenders, Paris had a balance, separation and symmetry that was almost unbeatable.
His training routines were somewhat typical of the eighties bodybuilders’ routines. Lots of volume and several exercises per bodypart. He placed a strong emphasis on feeling the muscles working and stated, “If I can make 300lbs feel like 500lbs to my muscles, then that is my goal”. He particularly favoured higher rep ranges. Unlike many bodybuilders of that era, Bob believed abs could be overtrained and felt that it wasn’t necessary to perform hundreds of reps in abdominal workouts.
Bob Paris’ diet was not perfect while he was growing up and he lived on a diet of what he called “deep-fried everything”. Becoming a bodybuilder changed his eating ways dramatically and he learned to eat much healthier, strictly monitoring his foods for calories, protein and carbohydrate content. He suggested that eating five meals a day was ideal for competitive bodybuilders.
Paris appeared on the cover of many international bodybuilding magazines including Ironman and Musclemag and successful British magazine, Bodypower. In 2006, Flex magazine awarded him the title of the “most aesthetic athlete in the history of bodybuilding”.
Like all the previous bodybuilders in our Bodybuilding Legends series, Paris wrote several books about bodybuilding. He also found success as an model, actor and motivational speaker.
Bob Paris does not participate in bodybuilding these days but he contributed a tremendous amount during his time in the sport. Bodybuilders of the present generation can learn a lot from his level of ambition, dedication and thorough, logical approach to training. Check out his interestingly poetic Facebook page.