The Olympia logo has long been iconic in the fitness world, but it’s now recognizable in everyday life. It can be seen on clothing, in gyms around the world, and even on the panels of an official NASCAR racecar. Most recently, the global symbol of bodybuilding excellence was prominently featured on the #45 Chevrolet that was part of the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at one of the most famous tracks in motorsports—Daytona International Speedway.
Caesar Bacarella was the driver and owner of that car, and he’s been a big name in the racing world for quite some time now. His passion for racing goes back to his youth.
“It’s a passion that I had as a kid because I’m Italian. I always loved cars.” said Bacarella, who grew up a Michael Schumacher fan, and he looked up to Jeff Gordon as well. He got his own opportunity to try his hand at it during a tryout on a track in Miami. It wasn’t long before he was in a race.
“I was good at it,” Bacarella says. “Four races in, I finished third. Two years later, I won a championship.”
Bacarella won both the 2018 and 2019 Pirelli World Challenge Sprint X Championships. His racing career has seen him race on numerous circuits, including the Ferrari GT3 Series and the NASCAR Xfinity circuit. His father didn’t understand why he was so ambitious about racing, but Bacarella recalled that he never saw a Ferrari in person during childhood. Now he gets paid to drive them.
“I told him ‘Dad, they’re paying me to get into a $750,000 Ferrari racecar and beat the piss out of it. ‘Please, beat the s*** out of it and go win.’”
He may be most famous as a driver, but he’s also made a name for himself in the fitness industry with the success of Alpha Prime supps, Alpha Prime clothing line, and AP PrimeBites Protein Brownies. Aside from his work ethic and determination, he credits the people around him for the success he’s achieved with the growth of his brands.
“When I hire someone, I want to give that person the opportunity, and I tell them, ‘Spread your f***ing wings. Show me what you’ve got.’ You can really see them excel,” he said. When they excel and give their all, they earn his trust, and he returns that to them in spades.
“The people that I do trust, I give them 120 percent,” Bacarella explained. “I am successful now because of my team, but it’s because I can trust them and I give them everything I have.”
Earning Bacarella’s trust could be considered a reward in itself because it doesn’t come easy. That’s because of what happened in his childhood. Bacarella grew up with his father because his mother left them at an early age. A parent leaving the family can be traumatizing in itself, but he shared that it hit different with him because of the natural trust that comes in a relationship between a mother and a child.
“When you get hurt or sick or something like that, it’s natural to cry for your mom,” Bacarella says. “It put me in a bad spot because I didn’t have that growing up.”
His mother may have left, but he did have his father, who ran a pizzeria while Caesar was growing up. He became very familiar with that pizzeria, and it wasn’t because he had nothing better to do. He was working for his father at a very young age, cutting pepperoni, sorting beer bottles, even making pizzas himself by the time he was 9 years old. Make no mistake: This wasn’t just to teach him how to perform tasks, rather it was necessary to keep the business successful. While having to grow up so young wasn’t easy, Bacarella can now see that there were some positives that came with it.
“By being put to work by my father at such a young age, I was already trained for that,” he shared. “I was like, ‘OK, I have to kick it into second gear now,’ but it made me who I am today.”
Aside from being both a racer and entrepreneur, Bacarella’s also a father now, which is what he is most proud of. When he began that role, the mission was obvious: His kids weren’t going to have the same struggles he did.
“I didn’t want to be in that position anymore. I don’t want them to eat Wonder Bread with cheese and ketchup because that’s all there is to eat,” he explained. “Three months after they were born, I bought a prepaid college fund. They’re going to have a diploma because I didn’t have one from a university. I don’t think I have a family member yet who has graduated from a university.”
The financial commitments were great, but Bacarella knew that wasn’t the most important part of being a parent. The best thing he could do to be there for them was just that—be there for them.
“I want them to know that I’m going to be there,” he says. “I’m their safe zone, and I’ll be there no matter what. I’m their best friend.”
His relationship with his children is rock-solid, and that can be seen when they all go to work. Young Caesar had to go to his father’s workplace. Now, Caesar’s kids are coming to his office, but it isn’t because of obligations. They choose to, which Bacarella doesn’t take for granted.
“You see them, and you can tell they’re enjoying themselves,” he says. “My daughters came to work here, and I just recently gave them their first paychecks. One of them is working with a photographer making product docs, and I was like, ‘This is awesome!’ It makes you feel really good.”
He considers the opportunity to be that father a gift, and he sees all positives coming from their involvement in his companies. Believe it or not, the source of that gift comes from an unexpected place.
“What gave me the fuel to be the person I am today is my mom leaving me,” Bacarella admits. “It puts you in a state of mind that it can’t get any worse, but it’s made me a better father.”
Bacarella wants his kids to feel that same sense of ownership that he would eventually feel with the pizzeria during childhood. Beyond that, he wants everyone that he brings in to feel that ownership as well. One story he recalled exemplified that.
“One of my designers was at the store with his son, and they saw the brownies, and his son went, ‘Daddy, that’s your company.’ His father is so involved and so proud of what he does, that his child said and felt that.”
That pride can also be seen, felt, and tasted in the brownies themselves. Since Bacarella is very familiar with growing up without a lot of money, he wants his customers to know that when they choose to purchase something from one of his brands, it will last.
“Top quality is number one,” he says. “If nothing else, you’re going to get the bang for the buck, but it’s got to be affordable. I would rather make less money so more people can afford our products. I do not care [about the money]. I’m already successful.”
Thanks to his upbringing, the unintended gifts he got from that upbringing, and the results that have come from applying those gifts, Bacarella has now made a name for himself in the world of fitness at the same speed and intensity that he did in racing. He’s also doing it with the same intentions—setting the highest standards possible with no compromises. That starts at the very beginning of each customer experience his companies have.
“When you have a home or business, the foyer or lobby sets the tone,” Bacarella says. “It’s the first impression. You have one shot to make that first impression with a new customer with your products. They try it once, and that’s it. So, it has to be the best.”
Bacarella will have plenty of first impressions to make because PrimeBites will be a part of the 2022 Olympia Expo in Las Vegas on the weekend of Dec. 16-18. Bacarella’s ride with the Olympia logo will be there as well. Many of those people may have grown up in similar situations that he did, but they have their own dreams and goals. He hopes to be a positive vessel and example for those people.
“You may not get handed opportunities when you have a rough upbringing, You have to find it because it won’t fall on your lap. Never give up. Make your opportunities.”
Meet Caesar and take a pic with the official Olympia racecar in Vegas this December at the Olympia Expo. Visit MrOlympia.com for details. And follow @caesar_bacarella and @alphaprimeusa / @alphaprimesupps / @alphaprimebites on Instagram.
This is sponsored content. M&F is not endorsing the websites or products listed in this article.