Lee Haney was born on November 11, 1959, at Spartanburg, South Carolina. He was always interested in becoming a professional football player but then a serious leg injury happened and then there was no looking back for the player. He instead chooses bodybuilding as his profession.
Since very early days, he wanted to build up his strength and muscles around bodybuilding and focused all his attention towards himself. He preferred physical chores which his father gave him quite a lot as a part of the daily schedule. When he was just 11 years old, he asked his parents to gift him a set of weights as his Christmas present. His parents gifted him a dumbbell and weight set and also a Charles Atlas weightlifting brochure and since then he was completely hooked.
Next, he started gaining knowledge about bodybuilding. He started reading and researching a lot about bodybuilding. He started to enter competitions from a very young age. He entered his first ever competition at a very young age of 16. Though he didn’t fare well in his first competition even then there was no looking back for the bodybuilder. He gained a lot of expertise from this defeat. He went on to win Mr. Teenage America in the year 1979 against a very tough set of competitors. He was one of the very few competitors who started at the young age of 24 and retired by 31.
One of the most notable achievements about his bodybuilding career is that Lee Haney went on to win Mr. Olympia for a record eight times. He shares this record with Ronnie Coleman. In the year 1979, he won two competitions – Mr. Teen America and Teen Mr. America Tall. In 1982 he won junior nationals heavyweight. He also secured the first position in the same year at world Amateur championships heavyweight. In 1983 he won several titles including his firsts ever Mr. Olympia title. He secured various positions ranging from 1st, 2nd and 3rd at various locations of Grand Prix. He also won the first position in the same year at Night of Champions. Right from 1983 to 1991 he won Mr. Olympia. In the year 1987, he also won Grand Prix Germany.
Haney proudly called himself a Christian and he always had great faith and belief in the almighty. Many people were actually shocked to hear that he retired at a very young age of 31. What he has achieved in his life, is something won’t ever believe at his age and career. He always thanked almighty for his success and hard work.
He also met the love of his life Shirley and got married to her in the year 1983. They had a son and a daughter named Josh and Olympia respectively. People say that the name his daughter is because of his obsession with the Olympia title. Lee and his wife work together for many business endeavors and now he has built up a good fortune even after he has retired from bodybuilding since a very long time.
Life after bodybuilding
Lee Haney decided after winning the 1991 Mr. Olympia contest that now is the time to focus on something other than bodybuilding competitions. He decided that he wanted to be an entrepreneur at a very young age of 31.
He channeled his love for nutrition and fitness and decided that he will try his luck for the entrepreneurship here only.
- Gym Owner – In 1993, he opened a gym called “Lee Haney’s World class fitness center” at Atlanta, Georgia. The gym expands into 20,000 square feet and you would find a separate section which has free weights which are dedicated to bodybuilders and passionate weight lifters. Dwayne, Steve Harvey, and Evander Holyfield are some of the serious bodybuilders who were trained under Lee at his gym. He had also worked with some of the major sports player – Sean Bradley, Fred Stroke, Shannon Sharpe, Gary Sheffield as well.
- Author – Lee was always interested in writing and publishing books. He started in the year 1987 with Totalee Awesome : A complete guide to bodybuilding success. After his experience in bodybuilding and becoming Olympia for eight times, he also wrote Lee Hanley’s Ultimate Bodybuilding book. In 1993 he also wrote The 8-time Mr. Olympia’s Revolutionary Program for Building Mass, Strength and Power. In 2000 he wrote another book on his life experiences titled as Beyond the Pump: MY Testimony….Lee Haney. He is one of those few bodybuilders whose book doesn’t sell only because of the star value but also because of the knowledge and guidance that his books have. The nutrition and bodybuilding knowledge is immense which is shared through his books to his readers.
- Television Host – he hosted several TV shows including a show on ESPN called as Lee Haney’s championship workout during the 80s. Many pro athletes and bodybuilders came and worked out there and this was one of a kind show where the bodybuilders were seen to working outlive. In the 90s he started with Totalee Fit with Lee Haney on TBN. This was another exciting program which generated quite rave reviews among the audience. He also offered nutritional and spiritual guidance for the viewers there.
- Consultant – even though his bodybuilding days are gone but he is still known as one of the best consultants in this field. He shares his expert advice and guidance online, over the phone or even through the mail. He is known to be a high profile celeb trainer too.
- Speaker – Lee Haney is known as the public speaker. He speaks on many occasions and has been traveling over 30 countries for various events. He mostly conducts seminars spreading his knowledge about catholic and bodybuilding.
- Fitness Certification Creator – the man also hosts a radio show called Totalee Fit. Here he talks to people who share his fitness journey. He inspires them, certify them and also guide them in return. He also shares their success story and gives them much needed nutritional guidance.
- Bodybuilding Competition – But then again he came back to his first love of bodybuilding. He created a bodybuilding competition in 2014. It was fundraising for his non-profit arm called Haney’s Harvest House.
- Philanthropist – And finally he and his wife decided to turn philanthropist. They purchase 40 acres of land in Georgia and turned it into a foster for people aged 8-17 years. He started this program in the year 2015 and since then there is no looking back.