The following is a quote from one of the most-watched motivational videos from the “Nicandro Motivation” YouTube channel, entitled “Monster”: “There’s only one word that can best describe our next bodybuilder, and that word is ‘freak’. You know him. You love him. You can’t have this show without him. All the way from Germany… clear the decks for Markus Ruhl!”

Markus Ruhl has a cult following in the world of bodybuilding—especially in Germany and the United States of America, where everyone just loves him! Even the famous WWE wrestler, John Cena, who has 14 million followers on Instagram, knows who Markus Ruhl is.

John Cena said in a short video clip, “Here’s John Cena, next to the most giant, freakish man I’ve ever seen! That’s Markus Ruhl! You can see him, ‘cause he’s wider than a house!” [1]

Rich Piana (aka the “Synthol-Monster”), who has over one million fans on YouTube and Instagram, once said about Markus, “Germany… I love you! That man represents Germany. The beast!” [2]

I know bodybuilding history, and there are German stars like Jusup Wilkosz, Hubert Metz, and Dennis Wolf, but to be honest, Markus is the most influential person.

Do you want to be big and famous, like Markus Ruhl? Then stay tuned! We analyzed Ruhl’s German YouTube content and translated it as correctly as possible. Nothing here is ghostwritten! It’s the pure truth because it comes straight from Markus’s mouth.

Markus Ruhl’s German Content

markus ruhl youtube
Markus Rühl Youtube account

His YouTube channel, entitled “MarkusRuhl”, has over 200K subscribers, and he has uploaded over 150 videos. He has uploaded tons of muscle content, including dieting, bodybuilding scandals, protein-mass shakes, workout videos with advice, and bodybuilding history.

So, why does he only speak German?

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s goal was to live the American dream, to become famous and making money. He achieved all his dreams and is thankful to the USA. He is proud to be an American citizen, so to find any content of him speaking German is hard. Even at Austrian and German events and on Austrian and German TV shows, he only speaks English.

Markus is the opposite; he never wanted to be rich or an entrepreneur. He only wanted to eat, lift weights, and sleep. He lived the bodybuilding lifestyle 24/7. While lifting weights, he enjoys listening to German metal bands. He is proud to be German and just loves speaking German, and that’s why all his YouTube content is in German.

How It all Started [6] [5]

markus ruhl young
Translated from Markus’s Instagram: “Oh, man. This is how I used to look. That was in 1993, after two years of training. Awesome, great time. Even at that young age, bodybuilding was everything for me.”

At first, he started playing soccer and was later injured, so he went to the gym to train. According to him, in the year 1990, he was skinny, and, after two years of training, he was an animal!

In Markus’s words, “I was getting bigger and stronger, and then the gym owner dropped me out of his gym. It was a ‘Wellness/Fitness Gym’. No hardcore bodybuilders were allowed. The gym owner asked me about steroids, and I answered, ‘I don’t know what steroids are.’”

In 1995, Markus had his first competition at the age of 23, when his bodyweight was 110 kg, then he competed at the German Championships. In Markus’s words, “If I lost these championships, then I would stop have competing. Back in the day, bodybuilding was more hardcore! Today, it’s more about beauty. The more women find me disgusting, the better a bodybuilder I am. It was always a compliment for me when women in the gym saw me and said, ‘That’s just ugly.’” 

Markus’s transformation is just unbelievable. He said that his stats were as follows:

  • Bodyweight: 63 kg
    • Arm size: 26 cm
    • Leg size: 46 cm
  • After Hard Training:
    • Arm size: 59 cm
    • Leg Size: 80+ cm

His best squat was 335 kg with two repetitions. He tried a final repetition but lost his balance. After that, he had to go to another gym because he destroyed the whole leg-training corner.

How to Become a Pro-Bodybuilder [5]

According to Markus Ruhl, “In 1997, I got my Pro-License (Card). So, how did I get it? Somebody from the IFBB Pro-Division saw some pictures of me on the Internet and thought, ‘I want that guy.’ We had a conversation on the telephone, but I didn’t really understand him. He was speaking English, and I was speaking German, so I told him to send me a fax (letter). Later, I got it and translated it, then I realized I’d get the Pro-Card. After receiving it, I was in New York onstage in 1998, competing against Ronnie Roleman, who won the competition. Just imagine, I was just a little boy, who won the German Championship title. I am just from a little German city named Darmstad, and then I am standing on stage in New York with people whom I only saw in bodybuilding magazines. I remember standing onstage with legends like Ronnie Coleman, Nasser el Sonbaty, Mike Matarazzo, Shawn Ray, and Kevin Levrone… and then, in the center, the little newcomer, Markus Ruhl.”

Markus Ruhl vs. Ronnie Coleman [5]

All Markus’s older YouTube videos start with a short clip of Ronnie and Markus. They are standing and competing close together. Markus appreciates Ronnie. Back in the day, Markus used to come over to Coleman’s property.

In one of his German seminars, he shared his training experiences. In Markus’s words, “Ronnie is extremely strong. I managed to cable-row (machine) 280 kg, and I remember Coleman started warming up with 200 kg. He always had three guys around him. One loaded his weights up; the other spotted him, and the third one was always shouting at him. Ronnie loaded up to 370 kg, and I thought, ‘I can manage those kinds of weights, too,’ but then I injured my back, and it started to hurt. One week, I was lying in bed and made the decision to stop training with Ronnie. He is just hardcore, and hats off to his performances, but it’s a little bit sad that today, he is unable to lift heavy.”

Night of the Championships 2002

Famous YouTube channel “Nick’s Strength and Power”, with over 900K bodybuilding subscribers, made a short analysis about the German Mass Monster. America must really love Markus Ruhl, because in the comment section, people wrote as follows:

  • “Some of the best biceps the bodybuilding world has ever seen.”
  • “It is unfuckingbelievable that he was never crowned ‘Mr. Olympia’; it is a goddamn shame.”
  • “Standing next to Coleman wasn’t bad, and I’m not sure why he didn’t beat him then. Dude looked unreal.”

Nick analyzed Markus as follows: “His best shape ever was at the 2002 Night of Champions, which he won. He could have won Mr. Olympia. He had one of the most impressive physiques but never won Mr. Olympia. He was the definition of ‘mass monster’.

Markus Ruhl vs. Jay Cutler (2003 Arnold Classic Controversy) [5]

Markus paid respect to Cutler for his honourable behaviour at the Arnold Classic 2003. In Markus’s words, “In the 2003 Arnold Classic, I placed third; I should have placed first. The reason was that Jay Cutler was the American golden boy, but then backstage, he said to me, ‘Markus, you deserve the trophy,’ and he really handed me his trophy. It was unofficial… just allowed under athletes. I appreciate Jay Cutler’s character. The only thing he didn’t give me was his prize money.” [5]

Markus Ruhl’s Comeback New York Pro 2009

Markus Ruhl stopped bodybuilding in 2007 and made a comeback in 2009.In Germany, there’s a popular YouTube video about fairness in bodybuilding by Ruhl with over one million views. Markus never wanted to talk about it, but he eventually did.

The New York Pro 2009 was the comeback for Markus. He was among the favourites, along with Evan Centopani and Dennis James. Prejudging is always early in the morning. During prejudging, Markus placed first. In the YouTube video, at the timestamp 02:03, the scoresheet is visible. Markus’s camera operator stood behind the judges and snapped the pic, in which Markus placed first, and Evan Centopani second, but when the afternoon came, suddenly Markus placed third.

 Markus Ruhl said, “That’s not possible. That does not work! Early in the morning is the main event, and the bodybuilder who placed first will be placed first in the evening, too. So, I was there onstage in the evening, and Evan Centopani just disappeared, and I thought, ‘What the fuck is happening here?’ Dennis James looked at me and said, ‘Now, Markus, you will experience a big surprise.’ Then we went onstage to make the final poses. The song ‘New York, New York’ played, and the crowd went wild! The judges were preparing to publish the results. Dennis James looked at me again and said, ‘Man, you will get a massive surprise’. Denis had the feeling something wasn’t right.”

Markus won third place. He said that he felt betrayed, and bodybuilding was all about politics. Dennis James placed second, and he said to him, “Markus, who actually won this competition: you or me?”

Furthermore, Markus Ruhl said something about Centopani… but the audio was censored!

2010-2015: Markus Ruhl’s Death Rumours

Ruhl’s seminar in Hanau, Germany, held in the year 2016, was quite interesting and packed with a lot of muscle content!

What happened to Markus Ruhl?

His last competition was in Dallas, Texas 2010. He placed seventh and decided to stop competing. After retiring from bodybuilding in 2010, Markus Ruhl was noticeably quiet, and it was rumoured that “he must be dead”, “he had a heart attack”, or “he’s in hospital”.

Of these rumours, Markus said, “I was busy and had to travel around the world: China, South Korea, Malaysia, Brazil, Argentina, and Indonesia. It was a worldwide promotion for my sponsor, Ultimate Nutrition. In Arabia, I had my worst experience. So, I was there, and the sports minister welcomed me. Nearby was a huge crowd of people—I would guess 6,000 people—and I asked somebody next to me, ‘What are they waiting for?’ He answered, ‘Markus, they’re waiting for you!’ I thought he was just joking. It was a big event with a live TV transmission, and the military was there, too. There were only men, because I was posing with my posing trunks, and that seemed to be in some way too sexual. So, women were not allowed to attend the event. I was standing there with masked men around me, and they had these long beards. I thought they would beat the shit out of me… so, now, I was there onstage, and the military started to shoot into the air to calm the crowd. I was so scared. I really thought I’d die. That was the last time I visited Arabia.”

Markus Ruhl lived an extremely dangerous life, and he talks about a near-death experience that he had: “Then I was in Jordanien. One week after I left the hotel, it was bombed. Then I was in Brazil, sitting in my car, and then the car before me got shot at and robbed. The driver died.”

Markus Ruhl Injury in 2015 [7]

In 2010, he stopped competing but started making YouTube videos, and so Markus obtained cult status in Germany by publishing content on social media.

At the famous German fitness expo, called FIBO, Markus talked about tearing his quadriceps tendon in January 2015: “I injured myself shoveling snow. I just fell and tore something. The following nine weeks were the worst of my life: a lot of pain; my knee was swollen, and I could not walk.

I’ve been running through the FIBO, and everybody is calling my name, ‘Markus, Markus!’, and nobody recognizes Johnnie Jackson. That’s not possible.

It’s really a shock for me; back in the day, bodybuilders obtained fame by competing and performing. Now, the only thing you must do is upload videos on social media, and you are famous.

My coworkers at the event are always yelling, ‘Hey, Markus, look at that guy; he’s from YouTube!’, but I really don’t know what they are talking about. I saw Flex Wheeler, and I was happy about it; for me, he’s a superstar, but he’s standing mostly alone.”

Markus Ruhl Unique Bench Press Technique


In the above linked YouTube video, Markus reviews his old DVD entitled, Markus Ruhl XXXL (2000). Back in the day, it was a small success; it sold around 1,500 copies!

In the middle of the video, you’ll find Markus training on his chest. According to him, he still trains the same way today.


1. Incline Bench Press Smith Machine (sets 8-10)
2. Benching flat with Dumbbell (sets: 8-10)
3. Butterfly with Dumbbell (sets: 3-4)
4. Butterfly Cable (sets: 3-4)

“I never used to count sets and reps”

“I never used to count sets and reps,” said Markus, but he did many reps. In the first two exercises, he did around 8-10 sets, and in the last two, he did around 3-4 sets.


Markus uses an extremely wide grip on the bench-press and does not use his full range of motion. He said he feels more stretch in the chest. He also said that he once tried to use his full range of motion and lowered the barbell to his chest, but unfortunately, he tore his chest.

It may seem silly and very unconventional to use such a wide grip, but one of the greatest old-time bench-press stars, Doug Hepburn, used this kind of technique, too, and he set world records.

Markus Ruhl, using the same grip-width as weightlifting champion Doug Hepburn.

Mr. Hepburn used to bench-press (not incline) with an extremely wide grip, with remarkable success. Furthermore, he benched 580 pounds (263 kg) with a full range of motion.

However, these two giants are genetically gifted, so for normal humans, I would suggest using a normal, wide, standard grip.

In his peak, Markus used to incline bench-press 220 kg-240 kg.

Additionally, wearing tank-tops and posing for the DVD was not Ruhl’s favorite task, but the producers made him do it. According to Markus, “I was more of an introverted bodybuilder, not showing much and wearing hoodies. I just didn’t want much attention.”

During the review of his own DVD, Markus smiles quite often about posing on command. After finishing each set, he had to pose. Says Markus, “Man that was an effort… not the training… posing was more of an effort for me.”

Markus Ruhl Arm Workout


Markus uploaded a YouTube video entitled, “Feel the Biceps and Triceps in Full Way”.

It has over 500K views, and the comments are incredibly positive:

  • “Markus is the real bodybuilder.”
  • “Never seen somebody who lived the bodybuilding lifestyle 100%.”

On the video, Markus starts with a brief introduction about protein: “On YouTube, I have seen a video, in which somebody is talking about how, after training, you don’t need protein. That guy suggests eating broccoli. That’s bullshit. Yes, I used to hear a lot of bullshit, but those natty YouTube stars in Germany are just fake. My grandma once told me, ‘You are what you eat,’ and if you eat only garbage, then you’ll look like garbage. You can train like a mad man, three times a day, and you will still look like shit. Eating protein is important. Eating 500-600 grams of protein daily is just stupid; that’s something I would agree with. Quite often, I get asked the question, ‘How heavy should I train?’ I would say, ‘Lighter than a powerlifter but heavier than those fake natty YouTubers,’ and then I get asked the question, ‘Is pump a sign of growing?’ No. There are two types of bodybuilders: one who always gets pumped, and one who nearly dies due to pumped muscles. I belong to the second category. Really, pump is simply crazy. After pumping my arm, I cannot reach my ears. Yes, I am training for a disorder, but I like it.”


markus ruhl arm workout
Exercise: Preacher Bench Curl. Markus start using positive movement. According to Markus, “Lower slowly. Negative movement is important.” Source: YouTube Video, “Bizeps + Trizeps richtig spüren.”

Markus explains that he likes to superset biceps and triceps. He said that’s the best method for maximum pump. I remember golden-era legend Dave Draper also recommended supersets to get big arms.

Preacher-Curl Machine Superset with Lying-French-Press (EZ-Bar) [TIMESTAMP: 07:46]

Markus advises, “Always do one set of biceps. Then, without wasting any time, go to the next exercise (triceps). Do exercises close together. Don’t waste your training time by running through the whole gym.”

After finishing each superset, you are allowed to rest for one minute.

Typical Beginner’s Mistake (Preacher Bench-Curl)

According to Markus, “People just skip 50% of the movement. They skip the negative movement. They lower/drop the weight too fast. The negative movement is one of the most crucial factors to becoming stronger and bigger. If I cannot do the positive movement alone, then my partner will help, but I’ll try doing the negative movement without any damn help!”

Standing Cable Crossover Triceps Extension Superset with Overhead Cable-Curl [TIMESTAMP 10:14]

markus ruhl triceps workout
Markus’s New Favorite Triceps Exercise: Standing Cable Crossover Triceps Extension. Source: Markus’s YouTube Video, “Bizeps + Trizeps richtig spüren.”

Says Markus, “To be honest, I am now 46 years old. I have trained for 25 years in bodybuilding, but you will learn always new stuff. The following exercise (Standing Crossover Triceps) is from my training partner. This exercise is great; you cannot cheat very much, and again, don’t use very heavy weights. We are not powerlifters! Bodybuilding is about isolating muscle and exercising with great technique.”

Markus’s Comments About the Overhead Cable-Curl

markus ruhl biceps
source: Markus Youtube Video: “Bizeps + Trizeps richtig spüren”

Markus said one of the biggest beginner’s mistakes is, “People don’t keep the movement straight; they use very heavy weights, which makes the movement more like a semi-circle. Keep the movement straight. Keep your arm at head-level… stand erect and pull to your ears. If you want to bring the exercise to another level, then hold it for five seconds, and then do the negative movement, hold it, and don’t straighten your arm. Keep the tension … do four sets of triceps, and four sets of biceps.”

 Markus’ GERMAN Tuna-Protein-Shake

Markus said he cannot drink whey shakes quite often. He would vomit if he drank five protein shakes a day, so he developed an alternative. He mixes water with tuna fish. Two cans would be too much protein, so he uses one can, plus two grams of salt and two puffed rice cakes.

Markus also said this is a great whey-protein substitute for lactose-intolerant people. In the world of German bodybuilding, Markus’s shake has achieved cult status.


Markus’s team has also developed a new and tasty shake. He takes 200 grams of cooked chicken breast filet, 30 grams of ginger, half a can (or 200 grams) of coconut milk, and some carrots. He mixes it with one cup (or 150 grams) of water for 30–45 seconds. After that, he warms the cream in a 600-watt microwave for two-and-a-half minutes.

Says Markus, “I know most bodybuilders are tired of just eating rice and beef, and the comments from my friends were starting to get annoying. This will look like soup that your mother cooked. It’s low-carb; it has 40 grams of protein, and 20 grams of high-quality fat, due to the coconut milk. It’s great for people who want to go on a diet, and it tastes great.”

Markus Ruhl’s Low-Budget Meal For Bodybuilders

Markus Rühl’s Low-Budget Meal for Bodybuilders

When a bodybuilder goes out in public, everyone stops walking, and their jaws hit the floor. One of the most legendary videos is of Markus walking through the supermarket. Everyone is just looking at him!

Today, I want to write about Markus’s grocery list. He uploaded an informative video entitled “Low-Budget Food for Bodybuilders”.

Markus’s shopping tour gained 800K views, and his German fan community left comments as follows:

  • “Finally, a competent, authentic, normal consultant for training and nutrition!”
  • “Crazy how humble Markus is… thanks for all the tips and keep being the same person, Boss!”

Markus’s Grocery list:

  1. Harzer Cheese
  2. Oats
  3. Peanut Butter
  4. Rye Bread
  5. Nuts (e.g., Almonds)
  6. Chicken Breast Fillet
  7. Noodles
  8. Rice (Markus’s #1 source of carbs. He ate rice throughout his whole bodybuilding career!)
  9. Tuna (Markus says it’s the best cheap source of protein!)
  10. Olive Oil (Markus says it’s good to cook with.)
  11. Puffed Rice Cakes
  12. Matzen (Only available in Germany! Matzen is a great snack, and an alternative to puffed rice cakes. Markus has been eating it his whole life. He can even remember eating it with his grandma when he was a kid!)
  13. Eggs
  14. Cooked Ham
  15. Magerquark (See below for more info.)
  16. Pre-Packaged Chicken Breast

German Bodybuilders’ Secret: Magerquark

I know that in the United States, Magerquark does not exist. So, for my American readers, the look and consistency are like cream cheese, but here in Germany, the protein intake of Magerquark is extremely high. One small 500-gram package has 60 grams of protein.

At the end of the video, Markus shows “pre-packaged chicken breast”. In Germany, it’s very low-priced. Markus recommends it for anyone who doesn’t have enough time to cook. It’s a great snack!

Says Markus, “Nobody can tell me they can’t eat because they don’t have enough time to cook. Here’s the alternative!”

Best of Markus from the Linked Video:

Says Markus Rühl, “I have a tip for you: Never go to the supermarket hungry. Write your essential food on paper, then go to the supermarket. If I ate nothing for the entire day, then I would buy crazy stuff like sandwiches and three jars of Nutella!”

Is High-Protein Bread Good for You?

I don’t care about high-priced protein bread because its source of protein is soy, and for me, that means it is inferior quality. If you want high-protein bread, then just buy bread and put a cooked egg on it!”

Markus Rühl’s Statement About Cheap Eggs

Says Markus, “The YouTube title is low-budget, so for the video, I bought one of the cheapest brands of eggs, but I would never buy cheap eggs. I love animals. So, I like to buy products labelled as “organic”. For me, it’s important for the animals to live in a great and honorable habitat.”

Making Money with YouTube

Markus uploaded videos in the past, and they all obtained over 100K views, so Markus must be rich, right? Does that mean anyone can make a living as a “Fitness YouTuber”? 

Markus has obtained over 200K subscribers, and he uploaded a video entitled, “Lying in the YouTube Business and Instagram Fakers”. Markus coaches young athletes, and it seems they are hoping to make money via social media. In Germany, there are “Fitness Gurus” with the same number of subscribers as Markus Rühl. These “Gurus” travel the world and drive expensive cars.

In early 2018, Markus revealed his income. Quite interesting!

Says Markus Rühl, “I coach a lot of young athletes, and some of them dream of becoming YouTube Fitness Stars to make money. Our team, Rühl24 Video Production and Store has earned around 400–700 Euro ($470-$800) monthly via Google Ads. So, travelling the world like the other ‘Fitness Gurus’ is not possible. That’s only enough for our team to go to a restaurant together once. So, don’t get your hopes up. When you make YouTube videos, the reason should be passion. We enjoy teaching you about muscle-building, and that’s the main motivation for YouTube, and not the small amount of money we get from it. I know there’s a new profession called ‘Influencer’, and there’s another laughably similar one called ‘Entrepreneur’. These people are all in their early 20s and want to teach about life and business, but really, those guys just want to sell something, so be careful with them.”

 2020: Markus Ruhl vs. Covid

 Where is Markus Rühl Now, and What is He Doing Today?

Says Markus, “My life has not changed since the pandemic, no shit! I am working. To be honest, I have lost some coaching clients, but in general, my daily routine did not change, really.”

He coaches and promotes old-school bodybuilding with seminars. He has a Polish wife named Alicja Krafczyk, and a daughter. He gave up his job at AllStars to become his own boss. His company, Rühl24, is well established in Germany. Currently, he’s promoting his own whey called Rühl’s Bestes.

Markus’ Website and Company

Markus has cult status in Germany. Thus, his seminars are filled with around 100 bodybuilding fans!

For more information on seminars and coaching, visit

sources: 1.Markus Rühl’s review of the year 2008 – PART 1/2, Youtube
2. [02:55] RÜHL DOWN UNDER #3 | die Vorwahl & Rich Piana, Youtube  5. Markus Rühl @Muscleline Hanau, Youtube 6. Bodybuilding und wie es früher war | Seminar in Memmingen – Teil 3 7. FIBO POWER 2015 – Markus Rühl im Interview, Youtube

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