OP/ED: The Slow, Painful Death of Bodybuilding by Marc Lobliner
Today NPC/IFBB President Jim Manion announced a new men’s division. Called “Classic Physique,” this division will be slightly bigger and more “showy” than Men’s Physique but not as big and scary as bodybuilding. And yes, Classic Physique will feature legs.
This class will bridge the gap between symmetrical and balanced, and shredded and hard. It will combine the flowing aesthetics of Arnold… well, that’s what they’re going for. And alas, a class that confuses the heck out of me and will confuse the heck out of everyone else!
Don’t get it twisted, I LIKE this idea. I like the fact that flowing, beautiful, aesthetic and non-pregnant looking male physiques will be rewarded. I just don’t like the fact that they need a new division to do so.
Isn’t bodybuilding supposed to be about that classic bodybuilding look? Shouldn’t we be judged by overall look, flow, size, symmetry and shape and not just by who looks closer to death and who can shove more Synthol in their delts and arms?
MTS CEO Marc Lobliner and Tiger Fitness Editorial Director Steve Shaw discuss the new Men’s Classic Physique division.
I Don’t Have a Problem With Men’s Classic Physique
The problem isn’t the class, it isn’t bodybuilding, heck it isn’t even the competing bodybuilders. The problem is the progression of the sport. They keep getting bigger, veinier, harder, unhealthier, less aesthetic… and the judges keep rewarding this.
There was a letter sent out by Mr. Manion himself years ago stating that the bloated, nasty stomachs will be scored down. That year, almost all top 5 placings were by mass monsters.
This parallels (follow me here) the supplement industry in my opinion. Some members of government keep asking for more laws, when we actually have laws that are already on the books that are not enforced.
Instead of starting a new division, and in essence having the pregnant and non-pregnant division, why not just instruct the judges to reward a look more aesthetic look. Something along the lines of what Shawn Rhoden or Cedric McMillan bring to the stage. Why not stop rewarding the bodybuilders that, when relaxed, look like they haven’t pooped in 14 days or have an alien in the belly?
The Death of Bodybuilding?
So where does this leave bodybuilding? You know, the sport where greats like Phil Heath, Kai Greene, Big Ramy and Branch Warren bring us the mass, shreds and nasty show after show?
That’s right, this will lead to even more of a demise to the sport I love as we know it. Look at what the Men’s Physique class did. At every show I go to, there are double, triple or even quadruple the physique competitors as there are bodybuilders. Heck, I just head judged a show last weekend with NO bodybuilding and 10 physique guys!
Why would anyone put in the work and risk it takes to be a bodybuilder when you can compete in a different division? I assure you if this was around when I started, I would have never achieved the shredded glute status, would have dawned my spandex shorts (the new attire for this division) and not built all of this lean mass. And if I had weak legs, instead of training the heck out of them, I would have done physique.
Also as a prep coach, what do I tell people? It’s hard enough explaining to a woman the difference between bikini, figure and physique. Then I have to break it to them that they are…
Too weak for physique.
Too soft for figure.
Too ugly for bikini.
So, what do I say here?
You are too small, your legs look like you’re riding a chicken, and your package does not fill out your trunks…so no bodybuilding.
You have decent legs, a fat ass, but decent muscle…so do Classic Physique.
You have no legs but are very pretty, do physique.
And as a marketing guy, this just dilutes the brand. It will weaken the overall sport over the long term.
No More New Divisions
In conclusion, we don’t need a new division. We need to correctly judge the division we already have.
Please let us know what you think in the comments section below. Because not understanding which class is which, that’s not a game!