Will Men’s Fitness Model Contests Kill Bodybuilding?

MC June 14, 2011 20
"obi obadike"

Obi Obadike

During a recent episode of Big Nation Radio, WBFF Pro Fitness Model World ChampionObi Obadike boasted of a newfound six-figure contract with MusclePharm. Which coincidentally aired around the same time that Supplement King Muscletech cut their bodybuilding roster by more than 60%, releasing nearly all of their lesser known Pro Bodybuilders.

It made all of us at MuscleWeek sit back and wonder if we were witnessing a seismic shift in the marketing strategies of the supplement companies, and made us ask the question:

Do the relatively new Men’s Fitness Model and Physique Competitions signal the end of the line for Bodybuilding?

Now before we jump on the latest bandwagon of prematurely announcing the death of bodybuilding, let’s look at a few facts:

- Most guys get into bodybuilding to improve their muscularity
– Most guys look up to Pro Bodybuilders because they get the magazine covers and attract the most attention
– Most competitive bodybuilders mention getting their Pro card as one of the reasons they continue to compete
– The perceived benefit of having a Pro card is to obtain sponsorship from an apparel, supplement, or beverage company.

And when one looks at the above facts, one quickly realizes that all of the above can be attained by competing and being successful in the Men’s Fitness Model Competition. Better yet, instead of having a grotesquely large and unhealthy body that is ogled by 90% men and 10% emotionally stunted women (figure, bikini and fitness competitors), a winning men’s fitness model competitor will have a body that 99% of women crave and 1% of men ridicule as being ‘twinks’.

"gregg plitt"

Gregg Plitt

Gregg Plitt is a fitness model who has been sponsored by Met-Rx for the past 3 years. THREE YEARS! That’s an eternity in bodybuilding, where guys typically jump ship every 1-2 years by virtue of their perceived value either rising or falling in the eyes of their sponsor.

If you ask the hardcore bodybuilder to drop weight to compete in Men’s Physique, he might look at you like you’ve gone mad. But that’s his Hulk-smashing ego fronting for him. A quick look at today’s trend in sponsorships reveals that even guys with average physiques like Isaac Hinds are landing contracts (Muscletech) and the guys landing the covers of previously bodybuilder-dominated magazines like Muscle & Fitness are more likely to resemble a physique competitor (i.e. an MMA fighter) than a Mr. Olympia winner.

The numbers show us that magazines like Men’s Health and Men’s Fitness routinely outsell bodybuilding publications by a 10:1 or even 20:1 margin. The main reason you don’t see Muscletech Advertorials and BSN ads (along with the smaller companies) plastered everywhere in those magazines is because their advertising rates are astronomically higher than what you’d find in a bodybuilding rag.

But what does Men’s Physique really mean to most of us?

It means:

- Significantly less drugs (out with the ridiculously high levels of androgens).
– Less food (no more 6000 calorie/day diets).
– More cardio (with less reliance on gh).
– A more attainable physique to sell most guys on how they really want to look.
– A more fit physique capable of walking two flights of stairs without requiring oxygen.
– A body that is much closer to a woman’s idea of manly perfection.
– That Hugh Jackman can walk off a movie set and become a Pro Men’s Physique Champion overnight.

"Hugh Jackman"

IFBB Pro Hugh Jackman

As much as the hardcore bodybuilding fan base has ridiculed the introduction of the Men’s Physique category, the supplement companies that run bodybuilding have clearly thrown their support behind this new division, and if there’s one thing we all know: We’d all rather look 27,583% BETTER than be 27,584% STRONGER.

Congratulations to our good friend Isaac Hinds for the Muscletech sponsorship. Isaac is also the mind behind our sister site Hardbody.


  1. Jose June 16, 2011 at 4:43 am - Reply

    nahhhh will never happen, being huge and shredded id fantastic, fuck, who doesn’t want to look like a cartoon, a real life super hero, one of the guys from street fighting video game, who doesn’t want to look like goku….. shit I could go on and on about the great feeling of looking like a monster…. ha ha ha who gives a fuck about women… trust me when I was an out of shape bastard I was getting tons of pussy all the time… now that I am bigger I still get tons of pussy it does not matter .. a man can always find girls to fuck…. so the body really does not matter in that area… fuck it I want to b a freak ripped freak with spiky hair fucking cool as fuck…. shit I dont want to look like regular skinny dude and that is what ”physique” division is just skinny dudes… forget that .. I want my biceps to pop outta my sleeves

    • Kendall Wood June 17, 2011 at 2:07 pm - Reply

      Great article. Greg Plitt and Obi Obadike were great models to feature while showing the growth of the male fitness model. While it is not an either or issue. Male fitness models will continue to get more recognition as functional athletic training will replace slow methods and off and on season routines of body building for the general public. Bodybuilding has done a lot for health and fitness and will continue to do so. However, male fitness model body proportions will continue to be more sought after in magazines and by companies trying to reach the masses. Great job!

    • Jared August 19, 2011 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      You’re an idiot

  2. Erick Ruiz Salgado June 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    Great Article! I tell my friends, family, and clients, that I want to look good in clothes and amazing with out them. I am a National Men’s Physique Competitor in the NPC and am so glad that they finally opened this class. I no longer have to stand on stage and be compared to bulky guys who I don’t want to look like anyways. I think bodybuilding attracts attention because it is extreme and men’s physique will attract attention because it is desirable. Men’s Physique will not replace Bodybuilding, it will simple diversify the fitness industry.

  3. Will June 17, 2011 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    @jose…I think you missed point. Being a bodybuilder and being in great shape are two different concepts. And, it’s not about getting girls. Fitness competing is more about being healthy and having a natural physique. Being bulky is not natural and usually requires unsafe means to obtain and maintain that form – if you can honest. I’d rather look like a Obi or Kendall before looking freakish.

  4. Jose June 17, 2011 at 10:33 pm - Reply

    are you Gay Erick Ruiz?

    • Erick Ruiz Salgado June 18, 2011 at 11:36 pm - Reply

      Its Erick Salgado. Ruiz is my middle name… and sorry to disappoint you Jose, but I’m straight and happily engaged. I’m sure you will someone.

      • Erick Ruiz Salgado June 18, 2011 at 11:42 pm - Reply

        *I’m sure you will find someone.

        • admin June 21, 2011 at 7:24 pm - Reply

          Erick, how did u do in your physique contest? What was that experience like?

          • Erick Ruiz Salgado June 22, 2011 at 9:43 am -

            It was a great experience. Pictures from the contest can be found here: http://gallery.musclecontest.com/index.php?page=competitor&entry_id=3570
            Everyone was excited to be a part of something new and many people loved the fact that the could show off on stage without being a mass monster. I didn’t hit any bodybuilding poses or perform a routine. It is mostly about looking confident and flexing those abs…haha

          • admin June 22, 2011 at 12:53 pm -

            Would you like to blog or write about your experiences for MuscleWeek? Email me at Jason@MuscleWeek.com if interested. Thanks Erick!

  5. chandra pratap June 18, 2011 at 4:41 am - Reply

    hello to all of you. i would like to comment that bodybuilding is not an easy thing. being ripped is gud but its really takes a lot of hard work to put on quality mass and thn again get ripped . both r different and we shuld respect both forms of bodybuilding.

  6. Chris Odongo O'kubasu July 22, 2011 at 1:24 am - Reply

    To you all.Everyone has liberty to do and love what he wish to.Ding!Ding!All i can say is that most of the guys in the fitness contest at one point in their lives, started as bodybuilders.Wanted to be as freaky as they would get.Along the way they found out that it is not easy to become so FREAKYis a lot of hard work.You have to go through loads of hard work and determination,i do respect boodybuilders in every aspect of the term RESPECT.
    Having said that,i think i would prefer to be a Fitness Model,you know why/?Fitness Models look quite normal like anyone else until you see them at the beach or on stage competing.I like that.I don’t want to look like a freak and am not ready to risk my life in anyway to the next level so as to look BIG!!!Want to be NATURAL.

  7. RaDa July 22, 2011 at 3:08 am - Reply

    - Most guys get into bodybuilding to improve their muscularity

    Many dont know the difference between BB and fitness. actually they do fitness. BB improves the muscularity, as well as fitness. Whats your point?

    – Most guys look up to Pro Bodybuilders because they get the magazine covers and attract the most attention

    Bullshit. BB’s are just amazingly big and very different from the average shape. Thats whats fascinating. Or do you want to tell me sports cars are popular because they on magazine covers? its the other way round.

    – Most competitive bodybuilders mention getting their Pro card as one of the reasons they continue to compete

    They COMPETE because of the pro card. But they do BB because its their religion.

    – The perceived benefit of having a Pro card is to obtain sponsorship from an apparel, supplement, or beverage company.

    They wont to make money with their hobby-they need it because its very cost and time-consuming. but as said before, they do BB because they love it.

    i began BB because i wanted to look huge and be massive. actually its a lot easier to avoid BB, because toning and ripping are really easy compared to the constant struggle BB are in. Thats also the reason most guys in gyms are ripped and lean, and not massive, ripped and lean. and most of them need to strip down to their undies until you see a differance. You can spot a BB a mile away.
    i know that im on a path that i will continue, while fitness stops somewhere before. fitness is mainstream softened version of BB. and anybody can do it. it doesnt require as much talent or dedication.

    • Frank August 19, 2011 at 12:11 pm - Reply

      You sound like a weak minded individual who has no clue what you’re talking about. Steroids make it easy bud. I have buddys that take roids and gain 20 lbs in a month an you’re trying to say that’s super difficult? Please

      • Mic October 15, 2012 at 9:09 am - Reply

        Frank, your the embodiment of ignorance on the knowledge of steroids and how it is not magical and if you think your retard friends can become bodybuilders from juice alone, then your dumber then already sound.

  8. rjb July 22, 2011 at 11:43 am - Reply

    Isaac Hinds represents an “average physique”? LOL Seriously? You mean that at least 5 out of 10 people you see walking down the street look like that? Where do you LIVE?? The pics of Isaac on his Bodyspace blog look great to me, I’d aspire to something like that.

  9. Pat August 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    @RaDa: talent and dedication? You’re a joke. Bodybuilding is all steroids, over eating, unhealthy, and they look like pathetic freaks. Fitness competitors are talented and it takes actual dedication and constant motivation to stay focused on a real goal, and not timing your nest injection. Anyone can cheat; true talent is the product that fitness athletes put together and maintain. The article said it all; they look great with clothes on and amazing with them off, but can fit in with society and be accepted for doing something healthy and great. BB is a joke, plain and simple.

  10. Pat August 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    *next injection. BB aren’t even athletes because anyone can cheat and do steroids. Fitness competitors actually have to work hard at achieving their goals.

  11. Jon June 17, 2014 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    They need to let these guys start flexing! Watching the mens physiqe class is ungodly boring to watch, and wait for! IMO mens physiqe has taken over for eh “classic” look that everyone wines and complains about coming back might as well let them hit a few poses instead of having them stand there like dolls

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