Written by Ron Harris
04 June 2021





Alex Cambronero: Is He the Most Underrated Man in Classic Physique?


Interview by Ron Harris


The title of this article poses an interesting question. Alex Cambronero’s accomplishments in the sport exalt him to an elite level. As a 212 pro, he had four wins and made it to the Olympia three times, placing in the top 10 twice. Since moving to Classic Physique in 2019, he already has two wins including the Arnold Classic, and has placed sixth and most recently fourth in his two forays to the O stage in that division. Clearly he is at the top of his game. Yet his name doesn’t come up very often in discussions about the best men in Classic, or even in previews us media types do leading up to the Olympia. Why is that? It was something I wanted to understand and possibly rectify if I could when I sat down to talk to Alex.


First off, I find it odd that you’ve only been away from the 212 division for a couple of years, but many of the men you competed with are already gone.


Not many of them last long. A lot of them put too much stress on their bodies struggling to get down to 212 from off-season weights of 240-250 pounds – and they are shorter than me! I was always one of the taller guys in 212, sometimes a whole head taller at 5-foot-7. I looked like an NBA center! I found it funny, because I still remember being the second-shortest kid in my high school.


Let’s talk about the 2020 Olympia. You took fourth place, and two of the men who beat you now have two Olympia titles each. How would you compare that look to when you won the Arnold Classic nine months earlier?


It wasn’t the same. I wasn’t as full or as cut at the Olympia because we made some mistakes the day before the show. We tried something different to fill out, and my body did not accept it. I started looking softer, and my stomach got gassy and a little bloated. We took that risk because we wanted to bring a bigger and fuller look than the Arnold.



What was the issue? It sounds like you carbed up too much or ate some foods you weren’t used to.


It was just too much food, period. I stay pretty close to my weight limit for Classic, so during the prep I don’t eat a large amount of food. The mistake was trying to fill out by eating so much more than what I normally would. My digestive system couldn’t handle it. I knew something was wrong when I was having a hard time swallowing my food a couple of meals in. That was all on the day before the show. I posted a video posing in my hotel room that day, and it got a lot of likes and views. By the time I got on stage the next afternoon, I didn’t look like that anymore.


Did you feel physically ill during the judging?


I felt awful all the way through my posing routine at the finals. Then we had the top six posedown, and I had so much fun up there with Chris and Breon that I totally forget how sick I was. It was probably the most enjoyable posdown I have ever been part of, because I know both of them and they’re good guys. Most of the time those things feel forced, but this didn’t.


But I remember you ran offstage during the awards. What happened?


I think I exerted myself so much during the posedown that my stomach really got stirred up. As soon as they lined us up, I felt the vomit starting to come up. I only made it to the fifth-place announcement and then it was either run offstage to throw up or do it right there on stage. I made it just in time and I was hoping I got third not just because I wanted the higher place, but because I needed a minute. Then I heard them call me for fourth place while a paramedic was giving me some drink with salt and sugar in it or something. But I made everybody wait, unfortunately. On the livestream you could see Breon telling the expediter on stage what was going on, and Bumstead looking nervous. Then I came out and got my award. I felt terrible making everyone wait like that. But I couldn’t throw up on the Olympia stage!


That was at the end of 2020. How did the quarantine affect you and your business? I know you had to cancel your Latin American Championships show that you and your wife Maggy promote in Costa Rica.


My training business wasn’t affected, because we have our own private gym. It’s a small group that I’ve trained for a while, so it’s like we are in a bubble. I’ve become close friends with two of my clients, and we train together. They felt safe in my gym. I think most bodybuilders tend to avoid crowds anyway. Unfortunately we did have to cancel the show in Costa Rica mainly because travel restrictions made it impossible for most of the competitors to get there. Things are still like that, so we are holding off until 2022 when hopefully all those issues will be gone.


I know you used to drive up from Miami to Boca Raton to train at the Dragon’s Lair Gym. It must have been tough for you when Flex moved himself and the gym to Las Vegas recently.


Yes it was. Most of the time I train by myself or with those two friends, but they’re not competitors and they don’t know how to push me. I loved going up to the Dragon’s Lair. Neil Hill was usually there too. He’s not only my coach, but a very good friend. Neil was stuck in the UK a lot of 2020 due to the lockdowns, and that affected my Olympia prep. He used to train me on every body part and always pushed me hard, and that makes a difference. Sundays were great because I used to go up there to train legs with Kamal Elgargni and Jonathan De La Rosa. The thing with them is, they never changed the weights, so I had to use what they did, and they were both heavier and stronger than me. I made some serious gains in my legs with them. You couldn’t really see the progress I’d made at the Olympia, but you will next time.


You’re right at your weight limit and you have beautiful shape, symmetry and proportion. What else do you still want to improve on?


I’m always trying to add a little more size because every time you diet down for a contest, you lose a little bit. It was very inspiring for me to see the improvements Chris Bumstead made after he had already won an Olympia title. To me that shows how so few of us have ever been 100% of what we are capable of on stage. The Arnold win wasn’t even that for me. I think I looked better for a couple of my 212 wins.




But you were heavier then, heavier than you can be for Classic. Yet ironically, you were still giving up 10 to 15 pounds in that division to most of the other 212 guys. Is that why you switched to Classic?


It was a big part. Neil and I talked about what it would take for me to move up to the limit for 212 from the 202 to 206 I was competing at. I would have had to get my weight up to 250 or so to come down to 212, like a lot of 212 guys do. Neil felt that in adding that extra size, I might lose some of my shape and lines and just look like everyone else. He never told me to switch, but to me it made sense. The funny thing I’ve noticed in Classic is that most of the shorter guys have trouble making weight, and the taller ones like Steve Laureus often still have a good 10 to 15 pounds to spare. It takes longer for them to fill out their frames.


I saw a couple of videos on the Redcon1 YouTube channel where you were training at their gym with Kai Greene. What was that like?


So far we have trained together three times, and he has invited me to come up every week for a workout. He kills me! Kai is very intense and focused in the gym. He trains for two to three hours, and there isn’t much resting. You definitely need a big meal before that or you won’t make it.


Do you think he will compete again, as in this year?


I don’t think so. He’s having the time of his life now and having fun. I met him years ago when he was still competing and trying to beat Phil Heath, and he’s a completely different person now. The pressure is off and he seems at peace. All that drama and stress are gone. He’s showing more of who he is as a person now. Kai is really smart, and has more emotional intelligence than people would think too.


Getting back to what I originally wanted to talk about, and it’s that I feel you are underrated and I’m struggling to understand why. Even I forget about you at critical times, like doing Olympia previews. Maybe it’s because you don’t post nonstop on social media and you don’t talk shit about anybody. In contrast, for the entire first quarter of the year the biggest “story” in bodybuilding was Blessing Awodibu vs. Nick Walker, and for a few weeks they were more famous than Mr. Olympia himself, Big Ramy. What’s your take on why you don’t always get the recognition and credit your track record merits?


It is what it is. I have the same personality now as when I was a kid. I got along with everybody. There were all these different groups in school: the rockers, the rappers, the jocks, and I had friends in all of them. I’m white, Black, and Latino. I have never liked speaking badly about anyone. That makes me respected among my peers and people like contest promoters, officials and others I do business with, but some people don’t like that. I remember in an interview last year, someone tried to get me to say something negative about Logan Franklin and I wouldn’t. I’ve met him a few times and he’s always been cool. Am I supposed to call him arrogant or delusional just so someone can make a clickbait title for their video? I’m not so desperate for publicity or followers that I will speak negatively about other athletes. I’m not comfortable doing that. Maybe I could get more followers if I was more outspoken and controversial, but it wouldn’t be the real me. It would just be an act.


The bottom line is that none of that matters on contest day. All the judges care about is what they see in front of them on stage.


Exactly. It’s not like they base their decisions on how many IG followers or YouTube subscribers you have. Another thing is that I don’t share every little detail of my personal life on social media. I will post training and posing stuff, but your personal life is supposed to be personal! I’m not going to change or pretend to be something that I’m not.


I think you’re living your life and handling your career exactly the way you want to, and I’m glad you don’t get into the gossip, trash talk or challenging other competitors. We need more people who work in silence and let their physique do the talking on contest day.


That’s what Flex Lewis used to say, and I totally agree with it. I’m working hard to be my best, and I know I still have more work to do.


Instagram @fello_cambronero



Alex’s RedCon1 Stack



Big Noise®



Cluster Bomb®






Cluster Bomb®


Before Bed

Fade Out®




For more information, visit redcon1.com




Contest History


2011 NPC Nationals

10th, Light Heavyweight


2012 USA Championships

Ninth, Light Heavyweight


2012 NPC Nationals

Seventh, Light Heavyweight      


2013 IFBB North American

Light Heavyweight Winner (earned pro card)


2014 Tampa Pro

212, did not place


2015 Texas Pro

212 Winner


2015 Tampa Pro

Second, 212


2015 212 Olympia

12th Place


2016 Toronto Pro

212 Winner


2016 Puerto Rico Pro

212 Winner


2016 212 Olympia

10th Place


2017 New York Pro

Fifth Place, 212


2017 Vancouver Pro

Seventh Place, 212


2017 Chicago Pro

Second Place, 212


2018 Dallas Europa

212 Winner


2018 212 Olympia

Eighth Place


2019 Pittsburgh Pro      

Classic Physique Winner


2019 New York Pro

Second Place, Classic Physique


2019 Classic Physique Olympia

Sixth Place


2019 Yamamoto Cup Italy

Second Place


2020 Arnold Classic

Classic Physique Winner


2020 Classic Physique Olympia

Fourth Place


Ron Harris got his start in the bodybuilding industry during the eight years he worked in Los Angeles as Associate Producer for ESPN’s “American Muscle Magazine” show in the 1990s. Since 1992 he has published nearly 5,000 articles in bodybuilding and fitness magazines, making him the most prolific bodybuilding writer ever. Ron has been training since the age of 14 and competing as a bodybuilder since 1989. He lives with his wife and two children in the Boston area. Facebook Instagram