Written by Shawn Ray
22 December 2021




Classic Shawn

10 Questions With Shawn Ray


“I have a lot of respect for all the pros because I know the sweat equity they have to put into business to get there.”


1. I see you’ve partnered with the sports nutrition brand MUTANT. What role do you play as their Global Brand Ambassador? Why MUTANT?


My role as a Mutant Global Ambassador is to spread awareness of the movement that has been in the making for years. Being a part of a company that’s bigger than myself, that takes pride in its products and manufacturing is an exciting new chapter for me in my life. To be able to share the latest innovative products with the future of bodybuilding including other sports and fitness is challenging but it’s what gets me out of bed every day to be a part of something so positive.


2. MUTANT recently released a pretty cool new pre-workout product called Madness ALL-IN. They have branded this as “Shawn Ray - Signature Series.” What’s special about this product and the reason you endorsed it?


When we looked to launch a product in the pre-workout category, the innovation team at MUTANT and I recognized a big gap in what was available to the average consumer, looking to meet their goals. A lot of stimmed-up energy products out there really lacked the foundation of what the objective is: Lift big. Get big. Power through workouts, lift more weight and in turn build more muscle. Not just energy, which it totally delivers, but researched ingredients at full doses that actually help the body increase strength, size and recovery. Really this is the culmination of a lifetime being ALL-IN. The name fits. The product speaks for itself.


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3. Are you still active in the gym as you were 20 years ago, competing against the world’s best?


I get in the gym three to four days per week but it’s mostly to “exercise” instead of train. The biggest difference is my mindset, trying to hold back the horses so I don't venture into the danger zone of pushing too hard or injuring myself. I think movement is key to maintenance and functional muscularity. I remain active and include a lot of beach walking and cycling outdoors for my visual stimulation.


4. Does today’s bodybuilding excite you as a fan/spectator like it did when you first fell in love with the sport?


To be quite frank, no. For many reasons beyond the depth of athletic talent. I have a lot of respect for all the pros because I know the sweat equity they have to put into business to get there, although there are more ways to get there than were present when I competed – including second place finishers to qualify for pro cards, which I find ridiculous and a “watering down effect” of the Pro League. I have moments of excitement like watching upsets and title defenses live in person, as that never gets old, but the frequency of witnessing some athletes not respect the “process” of doing the work to look their best for the fans is disheartening because some of these athletes will look back years from now and wish they’d worked harder or tried harder to perform better when they look at their contributions, which are being documented with social media and YouTube forever!


5. How does it feel to still be garnering recognition in the sport you stopped competing in 20 years ago, into your retirement?


I stated over 35 years ago when asked what I’d be doing when I retired that I'd like to be a part of the sport promoting, marketing and improving things for others; I believe I was 18 or 19 years old. Well, here I am! Still going strong, never left my first love and promoting shows along with products that impact future athletes with similar dreams I had in my youth.


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6. Why did you decide to leave bodybuilding at 35 years old? You placed fourth in your last Mr. Olympia contest.


I left for numerous reasons that all synchronized at the same time. In 2001, my mind was telling me there has to be more to life. I had been living to simply eat, sleep and train. My heart was desiring to have a family and children, my desire to live life a little more freely and less rigid was overriding my desire to go to the gym day in and day out. My fear of getting injured was ever present in my preparation for my last contest. The clarity as an adult businessman was telling me things were not equitable when dealing with the contest promoter, the prize money, the judging system and the institution as a whole. I felt if I were to effectively make change in this sport I needed to do it off the stage and not on stage, so I could apply the necessary focus to issues I was feeling passionately about.


7. Are we there yet? Are we as a sport on the right path?


On the outside looking in, I believe we’re headed in the right direction. The prize money reflects the companies and athletes are heavily invested in the progress of our sport. The champions that the judges have chosen appear to be the right examples for what other people competing today want to aspire to. This past Mr. Olympia weekend held in Orlando, Florida was a sellout and a huge success coming off of a pandemic that slowed the world to a crawl, but the Mr. Olympia contest prevailed with our CEO, Jake Wood at the helm and I was proud to have been a part of it.


8. Are you happy to hear the news the Mr. Olympia Weekend is moving back to Las Vegas in December 2022?


Yes! I think the Mr. Olympia moving back to Planet Hollywood in December of 2022 will give a sense of normalcy to the sport, a sense of excitement for the athletes and fans, plus a sense of accomplishment for the entire Olympia staff and crew for getting the Mr. Olympia back home where it belongs in the bright lights of the big city of Las Vegas, Nevada!


9. Do you ever feel like, “One more time?”


No. I feel like, “I can’t believe I did that!” I remember the amount of work put in and how fast the career went in hindsight, but when you’re actually doing it, it seems like the clock stops. The time, it moves so slow and muscle aches and pains seem like they last forever but in reality, the structure and routine eat up the time, the calendar, the years! I’ve been retired nearly as long as I competed. I’ve transitioned into being a civilized person from a warrior at war mentality and it feels good to be a fan. I have zero desire to go back to war.


10. What advice would you give a 17-year-old Shawn Ray today?


Interesting question but I imagine knowing the 17-year-old Shawn Ray the way I do, it’s likely I’d tell him the same thing many fans and admirers of the sport had said back in the day: “Keep at it, kid. You look like you’re on the right track and one day you’re gonna be a star in this sport if you don’t listen to too many people!” 


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Instagram @shawnrayifbbpro

Facebook @TheRealShawnRay


Twitter @sugarshawnray



Shawn Ray Signature

Full Dose Pre-Workout


“This one is a game-changer. Lift big. Get big. It’s that simple. I have my signature on this product for a reason. It’s the culmination of a lifetime of training, nutrition and hard work all wrapped into one amazing formula. From the weight rack to the Olympia stage, I have always been ALL-IN. Now it’s your turn.”-Shawn Ray


For more information, visit iammutant.com