Serge Nubret
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Who is Serge Nubret?

One of the all-time greats, Serge Nubret was dubbed “The Black Panther” and “The Nubret Lion” for the same quality: fearsomeness.

Nubret was the largest and cut bodybuilder of his time at his best, and nobody wanted to compete with him.

Short Career of Serge Nubret

Serge Nubret, the only bodybuilder to have won six world championships across four separate federations, will always be regarded as possessing one of the best bodies ever.

But he encountered obstacles along the way to success.

Serge is one of the most influential bodybuilders of all time, having come from humble beginnings in the tiny French island of Guadeloupe to being honored, then banished from the IFBB, and finally founding and leading a new movement in the sport by founding the World Amateur Bodybuilding Association (WABBA).

In our in-depth study, we examine his life, training, diet, and philosophy to understand his excellence and how we might follow in his footsteps to accomplish our objectives.

“To be a good bodybuilder, you must be a good observer.”

Body Measurements of Serge Nubret

Full Name: Serge Nubret
ALIAS: The Black Panther, The Nubret Lion
ERA: 1950, 1960, 1970
PROFESSION: Bodybuilder, Founder of WABBA, Head of IFBB France and Europe, Actor, Author
NATIONALITY: French (Guadeloupe)
WEIGHT: 215-225 lbs (93.0 – 102.1kg)
HEIGHT: 5’11 “(180cm)

“A bodybuilder is a sculptor that carries with him his own material.”

Serge Nubret

Notable Achievements

  • 1958: Mr. Guadeloupe
  • 1960: IFBB World Most Muscular Man
  • 1963: NABBA Pro Mr. Universe (2nd)
  • 1964: NABBA Pro Mr. Universe (2nd)
  • 1969: NABBA Pro Mr. Universe (3rd)
  • 1969: IFBB Mr. World (Tall) (2nd)
  • 1970: IFBB Mr. Europe (Tall)
  • 1972: IFBB Mr. Olympia (3rd)
  • 1973: IFBB Mr. Olympia (3rd)
  • 1975: IFBB Mr. Olympia (Heavy Weight, 2nd)
  • 1976: NABBA Pro Mr. Universe
  • 1976: WBBG Mr. Olympus (2nd)
  • 1977: NABBA Pro Mr. Universe (2nd)
  • 1977: WBBG Mr. Olympus
  • 1977: WBBG Pro Mr. World
  • 1978: NABBA Pro. Mr. Universe (2nd)
  • 1981: Pro WABBA World Championships
  • 1983: Pro WABBA World Championships

“Bodybuilding is not just about physical training with weight to change how you look. It’s about mind, body and spirit together in union so that everything grows, not just your muscles.”


Early Years and the Purpose

Serge Nubret spent the first few years of his life in Guadeloupe, a tiny French Caribbean island. To enhance Serge’s education and development, his family relocated to France in 1950 when Serge was 12 years old.

It all began to make sense at this point.

In his adolescence, Nubret discovered his physical prowess, excelled in school sports, and came to the realization that he could pursue a career in sports.

Serge concluded his studies in 1958, at the age of 20, and returned to Guadeloupe to win the world bodybuilding championship. He took home the title of “Mr. Guadeloupe” in the same year, but he had far bigger plans.

Nubret had grown passionate about the game while living in France and considered it to be his “raison d’être,” or more simply, his reason for existing.

The IFBB and the World Champion

Things started moving quickly for Nubret in 1960. He had been exercising for two years, had an amazing body, and had boundless ambition. It was time to advance.

Within months of joining the International Federation of Bodybuilders (IFBB), he was named the World’s Most Muscular Man, and his success continued to soar, including numerous acting appearances in several major motion pictures.

Before 1975, when Nubret decided he didn’t like the direction the federation was taking, Serge was not only a devoted member of the IFBB but also the leader of the French and European branches.

The 1975 Olympia Dispute

Serge Nubret posed the largest danger at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s final contest, the 1975 Olympia.

The judges were concerned because they thought he was bigger, stronger, and more cut than anyone else competing at the time. There was a report that they would do anything for Arnold to win his final show.

Two weeks before the competition’s commencement, Nubret was prohibited from participating. The justification offered by the judges was that he appeared in an erotic movie that was disapproved of by the federation.

Nubret was so shocked by the news that he abruptly quit training to relieve the extreme stress he was placing on his body.

Serge dropped 14 pounds of muscle by the time the Federation reopened his application and permitted him to compete the night before the competition.

As a result, Arnold had a decisive edge and won the competition; Serge still managed to place second by defeating Arnold’s main rival Lou Ferrigno.

The Side of Serge from “Pumping Iron”

Nubret is referred to as a “last minute participant” in the classic bodybuilding movie “Pumping Iron,” yet in an interview with, Nubret shares a different account:

“Everyone knew for a very long time before that day that I was going to South Africa to compete and what happened when I got there,” Nubret said in the Mr. Olympia episode of Pumping Iron.

Four weeks prior, a camera crew came to Paris to shoot me and offered me $200 to be in the film. I refused to consent to be filmed for $200, which is why I only appear in the competition portion of the video.

It undoubtedly casts the circumstances in a new light.

The IFBB’s demise and the creation of the WABB

After growing dissatisfied with the IFBB, Serge resigned from his position and founded the World Amateur Bodybuilding Association, or WABBA, to ensure that competing competitors always have the assistance they require.

Nubret won numerous world championships in the NABBA and the WABBA bodybuilding federations after refusing to compete in the IFBB for the remainder of his career.

Up until 1985, he continued to perform on these circuits, giving him a total of 25 years on the stage. Serge established and ran his gym in Paris when his athletic career came to an end, and he published his autobiography in 2006.

He remains the only bodybuilder in history to have won six world championships from four separate bodybuilding federations.

Serge was still quite active in bodybuilding forums right up to his death. He provided advice to his supporters on 15 separate websites in 3 different languages regarding diet and exercise.

“My training was based on concentration, and it’s impossible to cheat when you are concentrated.”

Serge Nubret


Serge was well known for his rigorous and distinctive training methods. Reps was the sole and exclusive approach used. Do a ton and more reps.

Nubret didn’t lift big despite having a huge, thick build because he discovered that his body responded best to modest weights over a long period of reps and sets.

Except for only 16 sets for the arms, Nubret has stated in interviews that he trains with 30, 40, or even 50 sets for other body parts, each consisting of 12 to 20 reps, with only 30 seconds of recovery in between.

Sessions lasted up to 5 hours at a time, and workouts continued as long as they had to!

He was also renowned for having one of the slimmest waistlines in the industry; according to Nubret, the key is daily ab exercises lasting an hour, beginning with a long set of 2000 sit-ups in the morning.

The workout or a combination of both is what gives you a generally lean and vascular appearance, not the food.


Serge was an animal when it comes to eating during tournaments.

He claims to have consumed large amounts of red meat, rice, and beans; during competition preparation, Serge could consume up to 6 pounds of red meat each day.

Nubret had never heard of supplements because he resided on a remote island off the French Caribbean. Likewise with anabolic performance boosters.

Nubret initially ate just Caribbean cuisine up until his first international competition in Montreal.

Bodybuilding is first and foremost an art form, not just a sport.

Influences and Idols

Steve Reeves, an actor, and bodybuilder was often cited by Serge as his greatest inspiration in the field.

After watching several of the actor’s films and realizing it was how he wanted to look, Nubret was the inspiration for him beginning bodybuilding in the first place.

It is impossible to create a painting with a large brush; having flawless form is essential for having a perfect body.

How Can Serge Nubret Teach Us Something?

Serge Nubret may have put more effort into living the bodybuilder lifestyle than anyone else.

He was a strong proponent of pushing yourself as hard as you can rather than going heavy. You need to put more emphasis on yourself than on the weight.

Instead of being scared or under pressure to perform the gym’s biggest lift, focus on your form. Are you using the muscle as effectively as you can?

And this applies to all aspects of your life, not just your training.

Serge didn’t care how big of an accomplishment it was as long as it was done correctly.

Winning (and operating) the IFBB was a difficult task, but when compromises were being made and the federation’s “form” began to deteriorate, Serge started from scratch and formed WABBA, making sure that every step was carried out with the utmost precision.

Serge taught us that a task should always be completed to the best of our ability, no matter how big or small. Take a step back until you can give it your best if you sense that the standards are slipping.