“I Was Going to Get a Heart Attack”: Nearly Dying During His Olympia Prep Once, Serbian Bodybuilder Learned About His Underlying Fear in a Dramatic Way

In the changing world of bodybuilding, there are many stories of success, struggles, and new findings. Stories usually focus on workouts, food, or contests, but sometimes they’re about different things. Recently, legendary bodybuilder Milos Sarcev shared a gripping personal story. It was about a scary experience that revealed a fear he didn’t know he had.

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On The Menace Podcast, hosted by Dennis James, Sarcev, accompanied by fellow bodybuilder Chris Cormier, opened up about a traumatic incident that exposed his phobia. The 1994 Mr. Olympia prep stands out in Milos Sarcev’s mind for more reasons than one. The preparation had led him to step into a high-pressure tanning bed, which was quite a rage back in the day.

Milos Sarcev: An Experience in a Tanning Bed for bodybuilding


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These tanning beds were designed in a manner where the user would lie down, touch a button positioned centrally, and the bed would close down on them. Everything seemed routine until an unforeseen glitch threatened to derail the experience.

With the narration of the incident, Milos transported the listeners back in time. After the tanning session, the fans malfunctioned. The already intense heat of the bed began to intensify, and the air inside started to grow thin. Panic began to mount as Milos found himself trapped in the suffocating environment of the bed, his chest touched by the top of the device.

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In desperate attempts to escape the situation, Milos searched frantically for the release button, the very tool that had smoothly led the bed to enclose him. To his horror, the button was mis-positioned too high for him to reach easily. He went from being calm to very scared, and every moment felt really long.

The Aftermath and Revelation


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He clearly described the situation. “I was going lower and lower and lower and then finally I completely I was going to get a heart attack”. In a last desperate attempt to save himself, Milos, with his strength, shattered the high-end tanning bed. It was of a whopping thirty thousand dollars, a colossal amount, especially for that time.

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However, more significant than the monetary damage was the psychological impact. This terrifying ordeal was Milos Sarcev’s brutal introduction to his own claustrophobia during the bodybuilding competition. The trauma of that incident transcended beyond the walls of the tanning bed. It became a haunting reminder that would trigger discomfort even in the most routine of situations like sitting in a back seat. Milos admitted, “Like you say, back seat, you know, it just… you feel like it’s closing on you.”


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The harrowing story of a Serbian bodybuilder’s near-death experience underlines the unpredictable nature of human vulnerabilities. While he’s celebrated for physical prowess, the ordeal revealed a hidden claustrophobia. His story is a potent reminder that strength isn’t just about muscles, but also about facing and overcoming internal fears and challenges.

Author: ZeroToHero

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