1958 Mr. Guadeloupe
1960 IFBB World Most Muscular Man
1970 IFBB Mr. Europe (Tall)
1976 NABBA Pro Mr. Universe
1977 WBBG Mr. Olympus
1977 WBBG Pro Mr. World
1981 Pro WABBA World Championships
1983 Pro WABBA World Championships
idols & inspirations
influences & motivation for bodybuilding greatness
Serge’s first real influence was British bodybuilder Lee Price.
Later, he was inspired by the great Steve Reeves, not only for his greatness as a bodybuilder, but also because he was able to take his career to another level, becoming an actor and starring in just motion picture features as Hercules and The Last Days of Pompeii. Nubret honored Reeves with a lifetime achievement award at the 1977 WABBA world championships and would later follow him in an acting career.
“The bodybuilder who inspired me the most was Steve Reeves. I started bodybuilding because I saw Steve in movies and saw a bodybuilding photo of him that was impressive. We met guest posing in New York for a Dan Lurie Contest. Steve Reeves was a huge role model for not only bodybuilders, but the public in general worldwide.” – Serge Nubret, Bodybuilding.com
the story behind the glory
Serge Nubret used his great looks and superb physical presence to become an accomplished actor. More importantly, he became an advocate for the sport of bodybuilding and for pushing exercise and good nutritional habits as the basis for health and success.
Serge Nubret is considered by many to have one of the most perfectly developed and balanced bodies in the history of bodybuilding. With broad shoulders that narrowed down to a tapered waist, Nubret sports perfectly shaped abdominal muscles and supremely developed arms and legs that allowed him to capture six major world titles in his career.
Nubret was born on October 6, 1938 in Anse-Bertrand, Guadeloupe. His family moved to France when he was 12 years old to pursue his scholarship, when he was 12 years old and he was very active as a child, excelled in athletics. He returned to Guadeloupe when he was 19 and decided to dedicate himself to bodybuilding, focusing on becoming the “sculptor of his own body.” He approached the sport, not just as an athletic competition, but saw his body as a canvas for his artistic expression.
In his first year as a bodybuilder he won the title of Mr. Guardeloupe. After a mere two years of training, Nubret decided to compete onstage internationally, vowing to become a world champion. In 1960 he entered International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB)World’s Most Muscular Man contest in Montreal, Canada and placed 1st. He next began competing in the prestigious National Amateur Bodybuilders Association (NABBA) Mr. Universe contest where he placed 2nd in the pro division in 1963 and 1964 and 3rd in 1969. In 1969 he finished 2nd in the IFBB Mr. World in the tall category and captured first prize the next year in the IFBB Mr. Europe in the tall category. He finished in the 3rd place in 1972 and 1973 in the IFBB Mr. Olympia competition and in 1975 in second place in the Mr. Olympia.
The 1975 competition was wrought with controversy. A major motion picture documentary was being filmed about the competition called “Pumping Iron.” Nubret, because of his good looks and screen presence had been recruited to appear in 15 movies in Italy and France since 1972. Thus, when he was offered $200 to appear in Pumping Iron, he declined, offering instead to trade his appearance for distribution rights in France. When the producers rejected this offer, most of the footage of him was cut from the film. In the documentary he was introduced as a last second entrant. This was in part because he was told two weeks before the competition that he would not be allowed to compete. Ben Weider, the promoter of the event claimed that rumors had circulated that Nubret has appeared in an adult film and that no one associated with the adult film industry could be affiliated with the Mr. Olympia contest. Nubret, who was in incredible shape, denied that he had appeared in aan adult film and was despondent. He stopped training for the events and over the course of the next twelve days lost 12 lbs. of muscle. At the last minute on the day of the competition he was told that the events coordinators had changed their minds and that he would be allowed to compete. Many observers believed that Serge had arrived at the event in the best shape of his life and that Weider feared he would defeat Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Weider brother’s golden boy. Thus, his 3rd place finish infuriated many spectators as well as some of the competitors.
The events of the 1975 Mr. Olympia left more than a bad taste in Nubret’s mouth. He had worked as the Vice President of the IFBB Europe, but had become disenchanted with the organization. Thus, later in 1975, Serge created the World Amateur Bodybuilding Association (WABBA), an organization designed to compete against the IFBB and to provide bodybuilders with the support they needed to compete at the highest levels. From this point on he would never compete in or associate with the IFBB.
Nubret continued his active career, winning the 1976 NABBA Mr. Universe contest, the 1977 Mr. Olympus title, the 1977 Pro Mr. World, and finished 1st at the 1981 and 1983 world championships. He retired from active competition in 1985 but continued to train into his 70’s, including guest posing at the WABBA World Championship when he was 65 years old.
For the rest of his life he remained active in the sport and owned and managed his own gym in France. He appeared in 25 motion picture films and a televisions series in his career and published his autobiography, Je suis…Moi & Dieu in 2007. He died of natural causes in Paris, France on April 19, 2011.
Serge Nubret is the only bodybuilder in history to hold six world titles with four different bodybuilding federations. Along with Frank Zane, he remains the definition of proportionate muscularity and symmetry that was once the defining characteristics and qualification from the greatest champions of the sport. Had he appeared more prominently in the Pumping Iron documentary and competed at his best and won the 1975 Mr. Olympia contest, Nubret may have been vaulted to the top of the list of all time greatest bodybuilders. Still, he is viewed as an icon and trailblazer.
training & nutrition
the methods and magic for achieving peak fitness
Serge Nubret has one of the most aesthetically pleasing and balanced bodies in the history of bodybuilding. Unlike most bodybuilders of his era, he did not try to work with heavy weights to build bulk. Instead, he concentrated on using lower weights, with higher repetitions and higher volume. He maintained that the using this method of training along with a nutritional plan was the key to his lean, strong appearance. He believed that utilizing the high repetition, low weight routine forced as much blood into his muscles as possible for as long as possible, forcing vital nutrients into the muscles, thus achieving greater growth.
Serge Nubret would do sit-ups every single morning, 7 days a week for one hour straight, reaching the point to where he could complete 2,000 sit-ups each day. He would lift weights 6 days a week, hitting each muscle group twice per week.
- Monday: Chest, Quads and Abs
- Tuesday: Back, Hamstrings and Abs
- Wednesday: Shoulders, Arms, Calves and Abs
- Thursday: Chest, Quads and Abs
- Friday: Back, Hamstrings and Abs
- Saturday: Shoulders, Arms, Calves and Abs
- Sunday: Rest (abs only)
(His entire workout routine can be viewed at his FitnessVolt.com profile).
In an interview with BodyBuilding.com, Nubret said ” have been training with 30/40/50 sets per body part (16 sets for arms) twice a week. Sets of 12-20 reps with 30 seconds rest in between sets. So it is impossible to train with very heavy weights. I used to do 225 kg max on bench press and I trained with only 70/100kg.”
According to Old School Labs, Serge was known to consume “nine pounds of meat, 400 grams of protein supplements and 32 glasses of water daily,” and consumed very few carbohydrates before each competition. He elobrated further on Bodybuilding.com “A lot of red meat, rice and beans. Sometimes 6 lbs. of red meat a day when training for competition. I also eat chicken, fish, steak, lentils, rice, vegetables and fruits.”
The website SergeNubretForever.com gives a detailed breakdown of his diet:
“There is NO strict diet in regards to proteins, fats or carbs you should consume. NONE. Serge NEVER dieted in his life. He listened to his body and ate whatever his body told him to. He believe that there could be no mistake if one listen to his own body and your instincts. Listen to your body and ignore articles you find about diets. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can not do–listen only to yourself.”
He believed that “bodybuilding was about mind, body and spirit together in union so that everything grows, not just your muscles.” Thus, he allowed his body to tell him what to eat, what he needed, in what specific quantities he should consume, and what he needed to avoid consuming.
Serge ate a high protein, low-carb diet, estimating that he consumed approximately 600 carbohydrates each day during his days competing, primarily beef, chicken and for a time horse meat, seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and Caribbean spices. Because of his his food intake, he generally did not need to drink protein shakes. Because he did not consume a lot of fruits and vegetables, he took multivitamins to supplement his nutritional intake.
He did not eat breakfast in the morning as he began his day immediately with ab workouts, and ate a large dinner at around 10 o’clock at night.
As a part of his overall training, Nubret believed that sleep was very important a tried to get between seven and eight hours of sleep each night.
While Serge Nubret certainly had supreme genetics, his combination of exercise, nutrition and rest helped him to develop himself into one of the greatest physical specimens the world of bodybuilding has even known.