Jersey Shore star Ronnie Ortiz-Magro is big and buff now, however he says was actually a little guy and the victim of bullying as a child. 

"Everyone was always bigger than me, and being a lot smaller, I got picked on a lot by the guys in the grades above me," Ortiz-Magro, who grew up in the Bronx, told In Touch Weekly.

"My parents always taught me to walk away from a fight, but from a guy's point of view, how many times can you walk away? In other places you get respect, but in the Bronx, you have to earn it."

Ortiz-Magro said the teasing pushed him to work out and gain muscle in pursuit of looking like some of the celebrities he had idolized as a kid.

"I grew up watching guys like Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin and knew I wasn't going to look like that sitting on the couch -- I had to motivate and make it happen," the Jersey Shore star explained.

"It was because of the bullying -- and I also started to get into girls, too!"

Ortiz-Magro insisted his size has increased naturally overtime just by eating right and hitting the gym.

"People say I'm on steroids because they can't look like this eating fast food three days a week," he told In Touch.

The 26-year-old reality TV star also admitted he gets upset when people accuse him of now being a bully himself, claiming he wasn't looking to start fights while filming Jersey Shore's seasons -- the fifth of which premiered last week and is currently airing.

"I get angry at that because every fight that I've been in on the show, I've been provoked or I'm defending myself. It's the Bronx instinct: If you feel threatened, you defend yourself," Ortiz-Magro said, adding that his brawls have taught him important life lessons.

"Watching the show, I get to look back on my mistakes and say, 'I'm not going to do that again.' I grew up a lot during the Italy season. I stayed away from drama and just had a good time."

About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.