Petar Čelik is a Serbian professional bodybuilder born in 1949.
I am honored to introduce you to Petar Čelik, a former Yugoslavian bodybuilder who has won more than 110 matches over many long years.
Before turning 18, he went to Germany where he worked as an intern for the Bayer Company in Leverkusen and then as a journalist for the Athletik Sport Journal in Essen.
In 1971 he returned to Ljubljana where he started his fitness story by starting a company called “Body Building” which is the oldest sports club in Yugoslavia.
He went on to realize his plans through opening his own gym, starting the magazine “HERCULES” and by organizing the competition, Mister Yugoslavia.
After his 35th year, Petar Čelik has been followed by entire generations of the bodybuilding industry and he fully and freely shares his experience and knowledge.
He was named “professor bodybuilding by invitation” in 1998, as well as having many other successes and interesting life stories.
Learn about the bodybuilding world through the story of Petar Čelik and learn more about the industry in Yugoslavia.
1. Who Is Petar Čelik?
Q: Hi Petar, first I would like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Can you share something about yourself and what brought you into this industry many years ago? Back then, there were not many people who knew about the sport, so how did the desire for bodybuilding come about?
A: I think it’s fate. My surname says enough, as does my name – Petrus in Greek means “Rock” which signifies strength and solidity.
I liked it at some point when I was supposed to understand it, and that happened at the age of 15-16. By that, I can say that I started on time.
When I found myself in this industry, and when I accepted that this is what I wanted to do, success was coming.
Then a man gets a greater desire to continue along that path. I can say that I have continued that path for over 50 years, not only as part of the bodybuilding world but as a competitor.
2. What Competition Stood out From the Rest?
Q: You have a lot of experience, and you have been part of many competitions. Can you tell us more about one match that really had a big impact on you?
A: It was in the 1980s when I was at the Offenbach European Championship where I became a European champion in my category as well as an absolute champion.
I competed and defeated the giants of the time known as “Salvador Ruiz” with the titles “Mister Universe NABBA” and “Janko Rudman” who was 3 times European champion at the time.
3. What’s the Secret to This Business?
Q: As the first owner of a fitness magazine and nutritional supplements in Yugoslavia, what was your secret to becoming so successful in your work at a time when the Internet and social networks were not around?
A: In May of 1968, I graduated from high school and then immediately in September of that year, I went to Germany.
Firstly I worked at BAYER’s main laboratory in the city of Leverkusen, and then switched to Essen, the Athletik Sportversand, which at the time was Europe’s number one bodybuilding company. I was lucky enough to move into that company just at a time where it started to grow and evolve into something huge.
I have worked in all fields and have been able to learn things from every field, as well as every stage of production, shipping, transportation, and marketing.
Three years later I returned to Serbia and started doing the same here, where I was 100 steps ahead of others. In addition, at that time in Yugoslavia, no one was doing this because bodybuilding was a new sport and almost no one was familiar with it.
I was actually developing the sport during this period and benefited from the whole situation.
Over the years, I have sold about a million magazines under the name “HERCULES”, about a million brochures and exercise books, and about a million cans of protein produced by my company.
In addition, I organized many competitions that I financed with my own money, including the 1984 NABBA World Championship in Belgrade, attended by 7 competitors from “Mr. Olympia”.
At that time, I had a fitness club at the elite Hotel Park in Novi Sad, which had about 500 active members, which changed over time, but the number of active members always remained the same.
The average membership fee at that time was between 40 and 45 euros.
Even though the prices were high, the people had the budget to pay them because everything was going well in the country. When the Americans came to set up a system of “democracy” the country disintegrated and war broke out, and today workers earn about 300 euros a month instead of the 1,000 to 1200 euros they used to earn.
That is one of the reasons why my previous success is unmatched, at that time the state had a population of 22.5 million and I can say that I had no decent competition in the entire country.
Today the country has about 6 million inhabitants and still uses what I produced and no other new private producers and those that have it are on the verge of profitability.
4. What Do You Do the Day Before a Match?
Q: With so much experience gained, you certainly have a routine to follow before any competition. Can you share that routine with us? Is that routine any different now than it was 30 years ago?
A: I have been active in sports for over 55 years.
The first match I participated in was in Yugoslavia in 1968 and shortly thereafter in Essen in 1969 in Germany.
Before that, I competed as a classic weightlifter in Olympic sports and became a junior champion in Vojvodina, as well as a champion in all of Serbia.
Because of this, I can say that I have vast experience.
Sport for me has no secrets because I’ve been in this sport for many years and I can say that I follow everything in this industry.
I know “old school” well, and I also know all the latest methods and techniques because I’m still competing and staying in shape.
I’ve participated in over 135 competitions, of which I have won 110.
The secret lies in the intensity and mental commitment, as well as the orientation of the success process.
You need to be mentally stable and endure it, not only in terms of exercise but also in diet and supplements.
5. Opinions About Today’s Bodybuilders?
Q: How do you feel about today’s bodybuilders? Is there a noticeable difference in the sport today compared to what the industry looked like when it was just beginning?
A: Today’s bodybuilders are bigger and more defined.
We also all know why … Because of overdoses, and how they react to health.
That in a way is paid for by health.
I didn’t want to do it that way, and if I wanted to, I could say that I would have been sick long ago, or at worst, I would have died.
I am now over 70 years old and still the best in the world in my category.
6. How Does It Feel to Be Petar Čelik?
Q: I have great respect for you and your work, and you are one of the main reasons why I started my career. I have to ask, what is the feeling of being an icon in the bodybuilding industry? How does it feel to be Petar Čelik?
A: Thank you, my friend, colleague, and champion.
We worked well together for the good of both parties.
I never saw an icon in myself, but the reputation has grown over the years and with the success achieved through them.
Now I see what people have actually seen in me because I’m a living legend in this industry within this area, active from the very beginning.
When I started working, I never dreamed of being an icon or leaving a story behind me … But, who works intensively and makes sacrifices for the right things will one day realize that everything will pay off and that it’s worth it.
That’s why I can say it’s wonderful to be Petar Čelik.
7. How Do You Look Fit After so Many Years?
Q: I have to admit, even today you look very fit. What’s your secret?
A: The secret to my fit physique is that I do not just prepare for a competition. I am always in shape, and before a competition, I focus more on my diet.
Also, I always pay attention to my line and I never stop training.
I train mostly with the younger bodybuilders and we always try to compete on who will perform better or who will endure more.
It’s my lifestyle and I see it as a privilege because I can still live like this.
8. Does Bodybuilding Require Sacrifice?
Q: Do you believe that bodybuilding as a sport and profession requires sacrifice? In your opinion, can the path to bodybuilding success have a negative effect on a person’s health?
A: In my opinion, it all depends on how much you of your time and effort you decide to dedicate to the sport.
For example, the big stars in the bodybuilding world, the biggest professionals in the industry, were much more successful than me, with huge successes throughout their careers, but their careers ended much earlier than mine.
For me, there’s no champion in a person who wins but gets injured, gets sick, or even gives up. A champion is someone who can successfully do it consistently and permanently, going through all the tasks.
It’s a completely different concept, and a different approach to sports, as well as a different approach to life.
For me, the most important thing is to be consistent.
This type of life did not work for me, on the contrary, over the years I can say that I have seen and heard everything.
Everyone has to choose their own path and follow it.
9. What Are Your Future Plans?
Q: Have you set any goals for the near future?
A: This year I will attend the IBFA World Championship and try to be the first in two categories.
10. What Is Your Message to the World?
Q: Finally, I would like to thank you for all that you have done for the bodybuilding industry throughout these years. If you could share one piece of advice for all young and ambitious bodybuilders, what would it be?
A: Thank you Tose.
I think everyone should listen to their inner voice and choose their own path.
When they choose the right path, they need to make the most of it and do their best not to let themselves down.
I wish them all success, much health, and peace in their heart and soul.
Thank you very much for your honest answers Petar. You are an inspiration for both me and the audience, so I hope we get to see you on the scene for many years to come.
You can find more information about his life and achievements on Petar’s official Wikipedia Page.
Petar Čelik Social Media Profiles:
If you want to check the inspiring stories of many other sports professionals, make sure to check the Interviews page.