The Latest in Bodybuilding, Strength, and Fitness

💪 A NEW SEASON BEGINS

The IFBB Pro League men’s open season kicked off in May with a trio of contests:

• In the Indy Pro open class, 🏆 Justin Rodriguez, who finished second twice last year, nabbed his first pro win. 🏆 Tonio Burton won the 212

In his second pro contest, 🏆 Nick Walker delivered, winning the New York Pro. The 26-year-old phenom follows in the large footsteps of 7-time Mr. O Phil Heath, who also won the NYP (2006) at 26. 🏆 Nathan Epler, who earned the right to turn pro two years ago as a heavyweight, won the 212 title, in his pro debut.

• 🏆 Patrick Moore, has competed in the California Pro all four years he’s been a pro, and, like 2019, he again won the open title, redeeming last year’s disappointing fourth.

New York Pro top three (left to right): 🥈 Justin Rodriguez, 🥇 Nick Walker, 🥉 Hassan Mostafa l YouTube

💰 CRYPTO KAI

Kai Greene has gone crypto-crazy, touting Shiba Token incessantly to his 300,000 Twitter followers. He tweeted about it 20 times on May 18 alone. By comparison, he tweeted only 17 times in the whole month of April and never about cryptocurrency. So, how’s it going? Greene first touted Shiba when its price doubled on May 10. The price peaked early the next day. And then it plummeted. As it did, Greene tweeted things like “Lol I ain’t NEVER SELLING #ShibaCoin” and “Buy the dip.” But as the saying goes, never try to catch a falling knife. Shiba just kept falling, fast. Less than two weeks after its peak, it was down 77%. It was hovering around that at month’s end when Greene tweeted: “Not gonna lie I love the shiba community. Quite possibly my only true friends #SHIB 4 LIFE.”

🎬 FEMALE MUSCLE MOVIE

Hollywood heavyweight Zack Snyder, who most recently directed Army of the Dead with Dave Bautista, wants to make a movie about a female bodybuilder. Though the script is not yet written, he has approached Amy Adams about the hardcore training and dieting necessary for the role, and Adams expressed interest. He told The Telegraph: “It’s a kind of female version of The Wrestler, about a midwestern housewife who happens to have a pretty good body, and starts to do some bodybuilding competitions, and then falls down a rabbit hole of steroids and hormones. It becomes a contest between fitness and family, and she loses her family because she’s spending all her money on diet supplements and drugs and trainers, and all of that stuff.” The 55-year-old Snyder, who has directed such muscular movies as 300 and Justice League, is himself an avid iron-pumper.

Snyder curls / Instagram

🏉 THE BROWN BRIGADE

John Brown in 1982

Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, son of bodybuilding great John Brown, was selected in the 4th round of the NFL draft by the Detroit Lions. His brother, Equanimeous, already plays in the same division for the Green Bay Packers. (Middle son, Osiris, played for Stanford.) Celebrated for his aesthetic shape, polished posing, and brutally intense workout, Californian John Brown won the NABBA Mr. Universe in 1981 and 1982, and competed in 12 IFBB pro contests from 1984 to 1991, including the ’85 Mr. Olympia. He started his three sons on a football-focused weight-training and nutrition program when they were in grade school. Amon-Ra recently said, “Lifting with my dad at a young age, you felt like you were stronger than every kid on the field. You mentally felt like you had an advantage over all the other kids.”

🎲 ANOTHER MR. O IN VEGAS

2018 Mr. O Shawn Rhoden has relocated from Southern California to Las Vegas. He joins 7-time 212 Mr. O Flex Lewis (who opened his new Vegas gym, The Dragon’s Lair), Milos Sarcev, and Neil Hill, who all also recently made the move. And Sin City was already home to such legends as 4-time Mr. O Jay Cutler, Flex Wheeler, 10-time Ms. O Iris Kyle and Hide Yamagishi (who recently opened their own Powerhouse Gym), and Dennis Wolf, as well as, until Covid, the Olympia itself. So, has greater Las Vegas replaced greater Los Angeles as bodybuilding’s mecca? Or is it more like bodybuilding’s retirement village?

Vegas Strong: Rhoden working shoulders in The Dragon’s Lair l Instagram

🐐 GOAT RETIRES

The world’s #1 female powerlifter, Marianna Gasparyan, announced her retirement on May 7. At 32, she leaves undefeated, saying she was tired and didn’t want to risk injuries: “In sports, as in gambling, the main thing is to stop on time.” In 2019, in the 56kg class (123.5 lbs.), raw with wraps, Gasparyan totaled a mind-boggling 612.5 kg (1350 lbs.) 🌎, ranked as the best performance, man or woman, of all time. Her lifts that day, all personal bests and all still world records: squat 260 kg. (573 lbs.) 🌎, bench press 132.5 kg (292 lbs.) 🌎, deadlift 220 kg. (485 lbs.) 🌎. She currently holds nine world records in three divisions!

Gasparyan squats

QUICK REPS

⚠️ Since March 2020, 17% of U.S. gyms have gone out of business and some forecasts estimate this could climb as high as 25% as many previous members have grown accustomed to training (or not) at home.

🏃‍♀️ Peloton recalled all of its treadmills after reports of injuries and a child’s death.

😢 Fahad Zaid Hazzazi died suddenly in early May. Speculation is that it was related to epilepsy. The Saudi bodybuilder earned pro status by winning the 2017 Arnold Classic Africa overall amateur title. In 2019, he won the IFBB Pro League Lebanon Pro 212 and finished 14th in the 212 Olympia.

✊🏼 Current Mr. Olympia, Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay, used Instagram to express his solidarity with the Palestinians in their conflict with Israel. Ramy, an Egyptian, is the first Arab citizen and practicing Muslim to hold the Mr. O title.

🔬 A new study, not yet published, determined intermittent fasting is suboptimal for gaining muscle.

👂 Rumor is next year’s redesigned AirPods Pro will feature fitness trackers.

📺 Classic physique pro Tony Taveras, a construction general contractor, appears regularly on the HGTV show No Demo Reno. Last year, Taveras was second in the Savanah Pro and third in the New York Pro.

📺 🎬 He’ll be back. The spy series FUBAR has been greenlit by Netflix. Arnold Schwarzenegger will play a spy working with his daughter (Monica Barbaro). Arnold also said Triplets, the long-delayed sequel to Twins, with him, Danny Devito, and Eddie Murphy, has a script that he likes.

💪 It’ll be back. This year’s delayed Arnold Classic will be held on September 25 in Columbus, Ohio. Back on schedule, it will again occur on the first weekend in March next year.

📆 JUNE PREVIEW

The World’s Strongest Man takes place in Sacramento, California, on June 15-20. Last year’s champ, Oleksii Novikov, and 4-time champ, Brian Shaw, headline the lineup. The contest will include the train pull for the first time since 2003 and, a new event, “Titan’s Turntable”—rotating a train engine on a giant turntable. It’s “training” time.