Without question, Rich Piana was one of the biggest bodybuilders to ever grace the industry. We mean this in both physique and personality.
Unfortunately, on August 25, 2017, Rich Piana tragically passed away after two weeks in a sudden onset coma. The autopsy found that Piana had enlarged organs, with his heart and liver being twice the weight of an average humans. While his real cause of death remains inconclusive, one thing for sure – he is sorely missed.
In this short article, we reveal some of the lesser known facts about Rich Piana to help you learn a little more about the man himself. Let’s go!
1. He had some of biggest arms in the industry!
Rich Piana first start gaining mass attention online due to his enormous size. At his finest, Piana weighed 290 lbs with biceps measuring 23.5 inches around. To put that in perspective, the length around Rich’s bicep was equal to the height of 1 and half standard size bowling pins.
2. Rich Piana is a California boy through and through
Piana was born in Glendale, California and raised in Sacremento. His mother is from Armenian descent whereas his father has some Italian ancestry.
It was only after he reached adulthood did he start considering leaving the Golden State.
3. His bodybuilding started as early as 11
Rich Piana was already taken with the idea of bodybuilding at such a young age. He already had some influences at home for lifting weights, by 11 he was pumping iron, and by 15 he was competing in teenage bodybuilding competitions.
4. It was all because of his mother
One of Rich Piana’s biggest influences for bodybuilding was his mother. He would watch his mother training in the gym when he was as young as 6 years old. It was only later that he decided to follow on the same path.
5. Rich Piana’s bodybuilding career started paying off early
When he was competing as a teenager, he was already winning. In 1989, at the age of 18, Rich Piana won the IFBB Mr. Teen California competition, and 10 years later he went on to win the full title of Mr. California.
6. He made his money through real estate
One of the biggest questions that people ask is ‘How did Rich Piana make his money?’. The answer is real estate. From a young age, Rich wanted to own his own house. He bough a place just before the housing boom in California, and then he bought another.
In later years, he pulled out 80% of his equity and bought 3 houses down in Texas. He would rent out the properties and live off the rent that came with them.
Although this wasn’t enough for Rich. He still managed to work as an actor and as a personal trainer in Gold’s Gym. Below is a video that explains more:
7. Rich Piana was also a successful actor
Despite not needing to work due to the rental income from his properties, Rich still wanted to try his hand in the acting game.
He was good at it. Some reports claim that in his early years when acting in commercials and other short films he we would make between $50,000 – $100,000 a year.
8. Owned his own nutrition line
Not only did Rich have all this going for him, but he would eventually bring his business around to working with his bodybuilding career. To do this, Rich launched 5% Nutrition, which is a supplement line launched by Piana that still goes strong today.
Rich Piana named the company 5% because that’s what Piana thought was the percentage of people who were actually doing ‘Whatever It Takes’ to fulfill their dreams.
9. Rich Piana had the most brutal honesty in the industry
He absolutely was. If there’s one thing that Rich will be remembered for, it was that he would live his life like an open book – especially on his YouTube channel.
Whereas most bodybuilders would shy away from the fact that they were using anabolic steroids, Rich would outright admit to it.
Not only that, Rich would go into detail about what he was taking and what he had learned along the way. This way it provided full guides to anyone who was dead-set on doing steroids, rather than them going in completely blind.
10. His workouts were unorthodox
Rich Piana’s 8-hour arm workout is legendary. Who would’ve thought to have done such a thing? Rich did. Rich believed that performing this workout was a great way to gain size quickly.
Here’s the full workout in all it’s glory:
11. He would document everything
One of the more successful videos series from Rich Piana was his ‘Bigger by the Day’ series. In it, Rich went on a campaign to put on 30 lbs of muscle as quickly as he could. He would show what he was doing in the gym, what he was eating – everything.
It was the ultimate how-to guide for how to become an absolute monster.
Here is episode 1:
12. Dedicated Fan Sites (Example: JustMentoring.org.uk)
Despite tragically passing, Rich Piana’s reputation and legacy is still very much alive, with numerous sites such as JustMentoring.org.uk dedicating themselves to remembering the man.
There are plenty of others out there, along with facebook groups and youtube videos honoring the bodybuilder.
Rich Piana Facts & Trivia Summary
As you can see, this was a beloved character in the bodybuilding community. He was ‘larger than life’ in every sense of the phrase.
A California boy with one of the biggest, chiseled physiques in the industry taken far too soon. We miss Rich Piana and he will always be remembered as one of the most unique bodybuilders of a generation.