It was a long, hard road that took Jose Raymond from the mean streets of Boston to the Olympia stage. Jose’s story is one of discipline, determination and the relentless pursuit of self-improvement. Upon meeting and speaking with Jose, you will come to realize that despite countless hours in the gym and a laundry list of accomplishments, he still has an unwavering passion for the sport of bodybuilding.
Born in 1974 in Boston, Massachusetts, Jose was the youngest of eight siblings, all of whom were sent into foster care. Jose and his older brother and mentor, Tito, were adopted by the Raymond family in Wakefield, Massachusetts and grew up in a happy home. He and his brother had lots of energy and excelled at sports. When their social worker suggested they start working out to burn off some stress, it put Jose on a path that has shaped his physique and his life.
“As you might imagine, as a young child being adopted coming to a new city and trying to settle in, things weren’t easy,” says Raymond. “We had some physical altercations, fights and things like that in the new town. Our social worker bought us a weight set and a punching bag as a way to manage our stress. That evolved quickly and we started making our own equipment in the basement. We used a hockey stick and fastened it with a rope and a clothesline roller and we made a push-down and a pull-down. [Our bodies] started responding really quick… and we started looking different from everyone else.”
Raymond got such great results after picking up weights, that for the most part, he never put them down. At 18, on the advice and urgings of his older brother, Jose entered the New England Bodybuilding Championships and won. After that, Jose was hooked.
“In 1987, my brother did his first competition. In 1993, he convinced me to do it with him. I won the 1993 New England (Bodybuilding) Championships. I was 18 years old. For the first time in my life I felt this feeling of accomplishment that was unmatched by any touchdown I ever scored or any wrestling accomplishment… because it was something that took years and years to develop and months and months of dieting. I knew from that moment forward that this was something I wanted to do, I wanted to excel at… and I wanted to share with other people.”
Jose has won a total of 12 IFBB Pro shows, claiming the National and USA titles three times each. His list of accomplishments makes him a legend in the sport.He remains the only bodybuilder in history to win both the National and USA title in three different weight classes (lightweight, welterweight and middleweight). At the height of his career he became the first welterweight to win the overall at Team Universe. This year, at 44 years-old, he placed fifth at the 2018 Arnold Classic.
What Keeps Jose Raymond Motivated?
Visit his Instagram page, YouTube channel, personal web site or any other platform that Jose uses to reach people, and you will see his message is clear. He is constantly working to encourage and motivate people. His presence on social media is remarkably positive and as his reach and influence has grown, so has his passion to help people. For Jose, muscle is all well and good, but it’s helping people to better themselves and improve their situations in life that stokes his passion for bodybuilding.
“As you get older, you reach a certain age where your muscles popping through your shirt is cool, but it’s less and less important. What is important is the legacy you leave behind and the amount of people you can touch and reach and help.”
Leaving a Legacy
Every time Jose can help inspire someone to improve their lives, to feel better about themselves or to just bite down hard and grind through the challenges of another day, he sees his lifetime of hard work paying off.
“What do you want to be remembered for? Do I want to be remembered for having 22-inch arms or do I want to be remembered for helping thousands of people? I want to be remembered for making an impact. If you can help people to not make mistakes with their health… if you can help people not hurt themselves…If you can help people not be depressed, and find meaning in their life. I went through it. I experienced the depression of not fitting in. Of not knowing where I am supposed to be and not feeling loved. If I can help people learn to deal with that, I have done a lot more than build a great body. That’s my goal.”