Sports

César Martínez shows he’s still a bodybuilding king after 7-year retirement

César Martínez flexes his biceps during the open light heavyweight competition at the 2019 Central California Championships Saturday night at the Saroyan Theatre.
César Martínez flexes his biceps during the open light heavyweight competition at the 2019 Central California Championships Saturday night at the Saroyan Theatre. jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

All hail César!

César Martínez made it look easy, even sharing a lighthearted moment on the Saroyan Theatre stage with a fellow open bodybuilding competitor as he towered over him and flexed his muscles.

But, the 39-year-old Costco technician had only three weeks to prepare for Saturday’s Central California Championships in his effort to come out of retirement from the sport.

Earlier this year, he competed in the Fresno Classic and won his class after his trainer Jim Reyes convinced him he could still compete with the younger generation.

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César Martínez, right, measures up against Marco Luna in the battle for the men's open overall title Saturday night at the 2019 Central California Championships at the Saroyan Theatre. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

“He told me I still had the physique to win a show,” said Martínez, minutes after claiming the overall title and adding a second sword to his collection of medals and trophies.

That was enough to get Martínez to get back into competitive shape.

“I always liked this, I always loved this. I told myself, ‘Let me give it a try just to see what I can do,” said Martínez.

At the Fresno show in March, Martínez felt his “body was coming along, was remembering all this.”

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César Martínez came out of a 7-year retirement from bodybuilding to capture the overall bodybuilding title at the 2019 Central California Championships Saturday night at the Saroyan Theatre. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

During his “retirement,” Martínez and his partner, Maricela Lemus, had a daughter. Being a father to a 3-year-old has kept him busy, and added a bit of inspiration for him to do well in his comeback to the sport he began to follow because of an uncle who was into the sport.

“She requires a lot of time and attention, so it’s totally different,” said Martínez about Leilah.

His biggest challenge in his comeback was making sure his daughter was not neglected.

“I love spending a lot of time with her,” said Martínez. “And, I didn’t want to put her away while I was trying to accomplish something that was just for me.”

For Martínez, “it’s a totally different world.”

As for as the bodybuilding world, he’s still a major player.

In Saturday’s men’s light heavyweight class, Martínez, who weighed in at 185 pounds, advanced to the overall competition against the class winners in lightweight (Gadiel Micu), middleweight (David Wilson), and, super heavyweight (Marco Luna).

During the overall competition, Martínez stood next to the 226-pound Luna of Chowchilla. At the end when the competitors are asked to pose for the audience, Martínez walked behind the 140-pound Micu and smiled wide while flexing.

Yes, Martínez has returned to the bodybuilding stage he dominated seven years ago.

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