The path of bodybuilding inherently encourages a focus on the inside. But for Oziel Ramirez, sculpting and sculpting abs has been a physically transforming journey marked by the inclusion of others, especially those closest to him.
“My whole motivation, of course, was my family and my kids,” he said after winning the 40+ Masters of Classical Physics class at the National Physics Committee (NPC) Rocky Mountain Championships on Nov. 11 in Denver. He also placed fourth in the Novice (first-time NPC competitors) Class C (men between 5-feet-10-inches and 6-feet tall) and fifth in the Open Classical Physique class.
When the 52-year-old owner of I/O Technologi Partners first got hooked on weightlifting at age 35, going to the gym alone. He said those daily dumbbell sessions were a source of “friction” with his wife.
“To fix that, I took her to the gym,” he laughed. “Then we were both, and then our children started.” Sometimes it turns out to be a family hobby, we all go to the gym and just work out.”
His eldest son, Jonathan, owns the health and nutrition company Evolve Fitness, was Oziel’s coach through his first competitive build. Jonathan himself competed in bodybuilding this September.
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“That’s how he got me into it,” Oziel declared. “Like, ‘it’s your turn.'”
From Texas to Vail and skinny to strong
Struggling to find work after graduating from the University of Texas-El Paso, Ramirez visited a friend to ski in Vail about 30 years ago. After a day on the slopes, he checked into Vail Resorts.
“I started work the next day,” he said. “The idea was to save some money, come back to Texas and get married, but I brought my wife and my kids were born here, and I’m still here.”
Ramirez played soccer and football growing up, but aside from occasionally trying to outrun the team captain, he wasn’t much of a tackler. Bodybuilding wasn’t even on his radar.
“It kind of started after I was 35,” he said. On the eve of a beach vacation in California, a friend kindly reminded him, “You know, we look terrible. We have to go to the gym.”
Their couple’s last-second iron-pumping plan yielded no noticeable results. “But I kind of liked it,” Ramirez recalled.
“I stayed on it. I was quite thin then. If I showed you a picture of where I started, you’d probably laugh.”
Ramirez went from 190 pounds at 35 to 210 at 40 (he cut from 248 to 224 for last week’s contest). Those huge initial gains were made working with a friend at the Avon Recreation Center. “It’s great when you have someone else,” he said. “It’s good, safe competition and you get noticed.”
He moved to the Gypsum Recreation Center for the next 10 years before preparing for the Endorphin competition because he needed more logistical flexibility and less traffic around key machines.
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“But all three places are great,” he said. “They have enough equipment if you really want to achieve your goals.” It mostly depends on what you really want.”
If the improvements are any indication, Ramirez’s desire is clearly not lacking. Over the last 17 years, his bench press has increased by more than 200 pounds; he went from squatting four plates to five on each side. So his fitness was there when he decided to actually compete, he just had to cut back on his diet.
“Which is the hardest part,” he said before crediting his son with giving him the final push.
“He was telling me to do it, and you know it was like I didn’t have time, I was busy with my work,” Ramirez said. “But then I got to the point where you know that when you hit 50, it’s like you only live once, so you might want to experience the feeling of everything.” So I really wanted to do it.”
A typical week in the final version included 90-minute upper body lifting sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and legs on Tuesday and Thursday with 30 minutes of cardio to finish. Jonathan sharpens his dad’s physique for November 11th with specific physiological guidelines and macro- and micronutrient timing tips.
“I just knew enough to keep working out and building muscle, but he understands the whole science,” Oziel said.
“Part of it was my son’s motivation to go down this path and seeing him grow and compete and go through that whole process.”
Oziel found his son’s participation even more satisfying than his win and pair of top-five finishes.
“The fact that my son is doing this, it’s a huge accomplishment for me,” he said. “I got him into the gym when he was a kid.”
Building for the next one
After identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the NPC event, Ramirez plans to target another competition in late 2024 or early 2025.
“Usually muscle isn’t something you develop in a few months,” he said. Appropriately, the family man will do the following with his son.
“That was kind of the main goal this time, but he couldn’t compete because he just got engaged and he went to France and England and all these places and ate too much,” he laughed.
In the same way that he connected his family to fitness, Ramirez hopes that his IOLO attitude to compete in bodybuilding even at the age of 52 will influence future generations.
“I mostly did all this because at one point I thought, you know I want to show the grandkids something.” You know, have some images, like, ‘oh, my grandfather was a bodybuilder,’” he said. It is likely that the lesson he will teach them will be about patience, persistence and giving goals a chance.
“I tell the guys, it’s not going to happen in a year. It took me 10 years before I really started to show any muscle definition. It’s one of those things that really takes time,” he said.
“When I saw people competing, it was a dream. That was kind of my theme about all of this,” he continued.
“I’ve been dreaming about it, and now it’s time to do it.” So I did it.”
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