Toney Freeman and Ed Nunn are two of the more notable bodybuilders with the elusive X-frame. While both men are noted for the muscle they carry, they’re even more well known for the shape they carry. Add Malcolm Marshall to that list of bodybuilders who combine superior mass with phenomenal, almost cartoonish, shape. The newly crowned IFBB pro will explain his start in the sport, his inspirations, and why he’s known as Conan.
I understand you once played pro football and used to be called Conan. Tell us a little bit about being on the gridiron and how you got that name.
Ever since I was young, I’ve always been muscular and pretty chiseled. I was always fascinated with superheroes like He-Man, Superman, Spawn, and Conan. But becoming a bodybuilder never crossed my mind. As a rookie free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles during the first week of camp, many of my teammates were in awe of the physique I had and gave me the nickname “Conan,” and it just stuck with me. They even said to me if football didn’t work out, I could go into bodybuilding. Of course, at the time my dream was to play in the NFL.
Going from taekwondo, football, and now professional bodybuilding, it seems that you’re a natural athlete. Can you explain this evolution a bit?
They all require some form of physical fitness, resistance training, and discipline. My football days are over, but bodybuilding allows me to keep those three aspects in my life.
When you were done with football, what made you decide to take up bodybuilding?
I’m what some people call a gym rat. I lived in a gym long before I ever stepped onstage. When I moved back to Winston-Salem, (NC), there were a couple of guys in the local gym who encouraged me to compete in a show. They felt I could be a state champion within my first year of competing. My training partner at the time, Maurice Crocker, was one of the guys who took me to my first show. Watching that particular show, I felt like I could’ve been on that stage and won. I then decided to do my first show.