Derek Ciocca is the marketing director at Ronnie Coleman Signature Series.
Directly out of college I was fortunate enough to land an internship at the GNC world headquarters in Pgh PA. I worked my way up from intern, to online sports coordinator to a brand manager for the 5000 corporate stores. During my time at GNC I gained tremendous first hand business experience that was essential for my current position within RCSS. As a bodybuilding fan, the opportunity to work directly for Ronnie Coleman is something I never thought would become a reality. I went from just a fan waiting in line to meet the legendary Ronnie Coleman to traveling all over the world with him. Ronnie is one of those rare personalities who presence you can feel when he walks into a room and is an inspiration just to be around. Ronnie is one of the most humble and genuine people you will ever meet... not bodybuilders... people. No matter if he is speaking in front of 1000 people or sitting with you one on one, Ronnie is always Ronnie. He is also by far the most mentally tough human being I have ever been around in my life. It’s hard to explain; it’s just something you have to be around to understand. While Ronnie will be remembered for his freakish physique and physical strength he should really be remembered for his mental fortitude that allowed him to become the greatest of all time. Typical of a great leader, Ronnie makes everyone around him a better version of themselves. He will push you past your limits to a place you never thought you would be able to go. I am very grateful to Ronnie and his partner for affording me this once in a lifetime opportunity.
I have been a fan on the bodybuilding/fitness industry since I was very young. My uncle was a top bodybuilder in the Pittsburgh area in the 90’s so I was introduced to the lifestyle, the magazines and the supplements when I was around him. I played competitive sports my entire life. I always enjoyed the workouts, training camps and seeing how far I could push myself. My father left a lasting impression on my mindset when it came to work ethic when he told me, “Son, there will always be someone that is naturally bigger, stronger and faster than you and you can’t control that but DON’T EVER let anyone out work you… that you can control.” So, I always made sure no one worked harder than me in the gym, on the field and off of it. Once football was over I needed something else that would allow me to be physically competitive. I decided to give bodybuilding a shot and was hooked on the lifestyle right away. Since then I have competed in 4 bodybuilding shows, most recently placing 3rd in the light-heavyweight division of the NPC Pittsburgh. I plan on competing again in 2015 but will live this lifestyle until the day I die! Bodybuilding and the lifestyle it requires will do much more for your development as a person than it will for the development of your body if you approach it with the right mindset. Bodybuilding instills characteristics for success far beyond the gym such as discipline, dedication, organization, time management, confidence, faith in yourself, drive and good old fashioned hard work blood sweat and tears. I have taken everything that I have learned from bodybuilding and applied it to my professional as well as my personal life and credit much of my success to those lessons.