“It took me 20 years of hard training to get the physique I have today. What you need is what I had—belief in yourself.” Proving early on that he was more than willing to do whatever it took to rise to the top as a bodybuilding legend, Branch Warren didn’t think twice about sneaking into the gym in high school since he couldn’t yet afford the cost of a gym membership. Growing up in Tyler, Texas throughout the late 1970s, Warren channeled his competitive energy into working out and knew that the risk of breaking and entering had finally paid off when he won his first competition in high school at the 1992 AAU Teenage Mr. America competition. A year later, he took the light heavyweight and overall titles at the 1993 NPC Teenage Nationals as his love of bodybuilding skyrocketed.
Spending the next few years further toning his 5’6” physique with a 50-inch chest, a 34-inch waist, 20-inch arms and 34-inch thighs that earned him the “Quadrasaurus” nickname, Warren joined the ranks of professionals in 2001 when he won the National Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships. However, it wasn’t until 2004 when he truly took the bodybuilding world by storm with his IFBB debut at the Night of Champions where, despite his eighth-place finish, he earned his reputation as the “Titan of Texas” with quads just as big as the Lone Star State itself.
Warren wrapped up 2004 with a fourth-place finish at the 2004 GNC before taking the Mr. Olympia stage for the first time in 2005. Finishing in eighth place, the Texas Titan returned in 2006 only to see his ranking plummet to 12th place, which was a huge disappointment after the sweet taste of victory at the 2005 Charlotte Pro Championships and the 2005 Europa Super Show as well as a jaw-dropping second-place win at the 2006 Arnold Classic. Refusing to give up and training even harder than before, Warren slipped into seventh place at the 2007 Arnold Classic but saw his ranking improve in 2008 with a fourth-place finish and again in 2009 when he finished in third and won the title of “Most Muscular.”
Over the next few years, Warren continued to improve and landed in second place in the 2009 Mr. Olympia and in third in 2010 before enjoying a huge victory at the 2011 Arnold Classic and the 2011 British Grand Prix. Holding onto his Arnold Classic title for 2012, he even snagged a victory at the 2012 Australian Grand Prix before seeing his Mr. Olympia ranking fall to fifth. His next victory would come in 2015 at the Europa Atlantic City Pro, but that didn’t mean Warren gave up on training to perfect his massive physique.
Using his humble beginnings to further inspire and motivate him, Warren knew his success was a direct reflection of his dedication. “To become a great professional bodybuilder, you need to be dedicated, consistent and have the drive to want to compete,” he told James Shaw of AboutMuscle.com. “No matter what comes your way, you’ve got to be able to push past it and persevere. It’s all about reaching your goals.”
Obviously persevering through a series of victories, losses and setbacks including a torn quadriceps tendon, Warren might not sneak into the gym after hours anymore but that doesn’t mean that he’s lost the drive he had as a young bodybuilder just starting out. Instead, he continues to turn up the heat on his training by teaming up with fellow IFBB professional Johnnie Jackson. Together, the duo works out in the iconic Metroflex Gym in Arlington, Texas where they battle it out pound for pound and rep for rep without air conditioning in the humid, Texas heat. According to Warren, if he can do a 500-pound bench press and a 225-pound barbell curl in a gym that’s hotter than hell, then he can do the same with the world watching as he takes the stage.
Apart from his incredible success on the stage as a two-time Arnold Classic winner, Warren has also built his own brand with a series of training videos that include Branch Warren: Train Insane and Branch Warren: Unchained Raw Reality in addition to appearances in the 2011 Arnold Classic & Bikini International, The Battle for the Olympia 2010 and Men of Muscle #7 Back with a Vengeance. Beyond that, the 41-year-old has launched his own website—thebranchwarren.com—where he sells athletic apparel and gear. The membership-based website also entices aspiring bodybuilders and athletes with backstage access to Warren’s training routines, one-on-one coaching and opportunities to enter the Branch Warren Classic and the Branch Warren Championship.
Outside of bodybuilding, Warren leads a rather normal life—at least by bodybuilder standards—after settling down on a ranch in Texas with his wife, IFBB professional fitness competitor Trish Warren, and their daughter Faith. When he isn’t busy spending time with family or working out with Jackson in Arlington, Warren has plenty on his plate as a business owner running his personal brand, a local gym and a freight company. Of course, he doesn’t take any of his blessings—from his beautiful family to his bodybuilding and business successes—for granted after climbing from the bottom to the very top of the bodybuilding world. In fact, that’s the biggest lesson that Warren is happy to pass on. “I learned from a very young age that no one owes you anything and nobody’s gonna give you a damn thing,” he said. “But you can have anything you want, if you work hard enough for it.”