Richard Baldwin: The Bodybuilding Teacher!

Written by

Irene L. Hause (w. permission)

Photo Credit: Mickey Adair

Muscle Digest

September/October 1978

Richard Baldwin is a highly intelligent man with diverse interests, Baldwin holds two masters degrees, one in theology, the other in Greek and Latin. In his early 30’s, the former college teacher is the most popular bodybuilder in Florida. He owns a gym and plans to “stick with competitive bodybuilding for a couple of years and see what I can do. After that, I will probably go back and do some more studies in Greek.”

Although he grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, it was a family vacation in Canada that sparked his interest in bodybuilding.

“I saw a copy of strength and Health with some pictures of John Grimek in it. Then and there I decided that I didn’t want to be a pip-squeak all my life. I was already involved in physical fitness, and when I saw what was possible with weight training, I gradually worked it into my fitness program. Soon it was my program”

As the son of devout Baptist parents, Richard’s interest in religion paralleled his interest in physical fitness.

“I started taking Greek when I was a freshman at Baylor University because the New Testament had been written in Greek. Then I took up theology because I wanted to be able to interpret the Bible for myself and not have to listen to someone else.”

The demand of bodybuilding versus those of the difficult and complex subject of Greek, Latin and theology made Richard feel that he had to make a choice.

“I tried to stop training once when I was in grad school because I thought it was taking up too much time. But every time I train, I feel better and my grades are straight A’s.”

Again it was a magazine, this time Muscular Development, that led to his first contest. “I saw a picture of this guy who had won a contest in 1969. I thought, ‘Heck, if he can win one, then I can win one!’ So I entered the Mr. South Texas and won it and have been competing since.”

Another important contest was the 1977 AAU Mr. USA held in Atlanta, Georgia. Of the 29 contestants, Richard placed third Overall and won both the Best Poser and Best Arms awards.

He enjoys defeating “certain unnamed individual,” but much of the pleasure he derives from the sport is “meeting all the people I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t gone into it. After the contest I enjoy just talking to people and sharing things with them.”

Cautious in predicting the future of bodybuilding, he says, “I can’t tell how the trend will go. Right now it’s on the upswing. But a lot of things could just totally destroy it. It depends on the way that bodybuilders deal with the press, I think.”

Conversely, he thinks it could also be affected by the way the press deals with bodybuilders. “I don’t like commercialism when it interferes with the truth. I like the straightforward, honest approach.”

He foresees the day that Florida will challenge California. “More and more guys are getting good in Florida. Tampa is the biggest center, but the best audiences are in Miami. The bodybuilders there tend to be smooth and big, yet the crowds go wild and really turn out of those contests.”

It isn’t always only the crowd that goes wild. “In one contest I was in, another man was named ‘Most Muscular.’ A judge went berserk and said he wanted to give the award to me. Then he ran on stage, grabbed the trophy girl, and tried to make me take the award she was holding. The audience was in an uproar, and the judge ran out, clutching the trophy and screaming, ‘If you are not going to take it, then nobody’s going to take it!'”

And, if Richard Baldwin has his way, a lot more trophies, rightfully earned, are going to be handed to him in the very near future.

Richard Baldwin Workout 

“Last year (1977) after I placed 3rd in the Mr. USA I decided to devote myself to winning the 1978 Mr. USA. To accomplish this I felt what I needed was to become more “goal-oriented.” I have always been impressed with the way NASA broke down their objective of reaching the moon into various goals, each of which contributes to that main objective. So I took no winter layoff like I usually do and trained hard through the winter.

This decision was an important one, but I needed a more specific goal than just to train hard –  I need a specific date to reach a specific condition.

I decided Step One would be to remove my subcutaneous fat and get as hard as possible and then train for quality muscle size. I choose the Greater Mr. Florida contest on April 22 to train for, because the promote was giving an expense paid trip to compete in the Mr. America and because national card holding judges were being flown in to judge the event. This would give me a chance to see how they would place me against the best bodybuilders on the East Coast.

So Step One was to get as cut up as possible and win the 1978 Greater Mr. Florida contest.

Step Two (or Goal #2) was to increase my muscle mass while retaining the definition I had attained so I could then win the Mr. Florida contest. I was already listed as the number one bodybuilder in Florida by the Florida Body Building Association, but I felt this was the last title of importance in the South and would be nice to have. Winning both of these titles would no doubt let everyone know that I was indeed a serious contender for the 1978 Mr. USA.

Well, these two goals have already been reached, so now it’s time for the third, and major, goal.

Step Three, of course, is to win the 1978 Mr. USA contest by increasing my muscle mass, working on weak points until they are totally eliminated, and developing a superior presentation.

Here are some of the means I employed to accomplish my goals:

1. Train all year with no layoff.
2. Systematically reduce carbohydrates in the diet over a three-month period preceding the Greater Florida so I would not have to go on any drastic last minute diet.
3. Gradually increase my intake of supplements and protein to saturate my body with all the nutrients it might need. I felt it would be better to waste some nutrients that my bod could not use rather than take a chance on not supplying all it needed.
4. Get the best tan possible just in case the contest lighting was too bright. I wanted all those hard-earned cuts to show no matter what the lighting.
5. Practice posing until I felt I had eliminated any poses that were awkward or not pleasing.
6. Psyche up before each workout until I was ready to attack each bodypart with the goal of making it look better the next day than it looked that day.
7. I constantly read magazines and Zane, Scott and Corney’s courses to search for exercises or hints to help me refine my training for each body part to my satisfaction. I was happy with my arm routine, so I concentrated on my back. After a month or so, I was satisfied that I had a routine that made me feel I was getting a fantastic workout every time. Then I concentrated on legs, chest, shoulders and abs. It took me from January until six weeks before the Greater Florida to totally revamp my program into a 6 day per week routine that I felt was giving me the improvement I was after.

8. I constantly monitored my progress by means of the mirror, scales, and tape and made any adjustments in diet or training I deemed necessary.

9. Finally, I would take time every day to review my daily routine to make sure that I was doing everything I knew how to win. I woud check my sleep, diet, training, tanning, state of mind – everything.”

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