We all know that running a print publication is a tough business nowadays, but if it were too easy, where would all the excitement be, right? What’s even tougher is picking the content and the “right” models that represent this publication, our demographic, and our readers. Thanks for your concerns and your emails, but no, we are not becoming a Men’s Health type of magazine, and we are definitely not going mainstream. I do admit that we have taken a step away from pro bodybuilding. Why? Simply because this magazine can no longer stand behind everything modern bodybuilding stands for. We wanted to give it some time to evolve and see where pro bodybuilding is going and shed a spotlight on the new Men’s Physique (and soon Classic Physique) division and its pioneers and stars. These divisions have more achievable physiques that our readers can actually attain with the information we give them. The downside is that this new division, together with Bikini, has created way too many “pros”—a status that just a few years back actually meant something and you had to work really hard to earn. I’m not saying that the Bikini and Men’s Physique pros don’t work hard, but way too many people can achieve that status, which completely takes away the distinction and royalty of being a pro bodybuilder.
Well, to remind our readers of what a pro really means, this is the first time in over a year that we feature a pro bodybuilder in our magazine, someone who truly earned the Pro status by living and breathing the bodybuilding lifestyle 24/7 for the last 20-plus years. His name is Hidetada Yamagishi, and you can see more of his brutal leg workout on page 60. I first met him in 2007 at Milos Sarcev’s Koloseum Gym in Fullerton, California. We really clicked and quickly became training partners and then roommates. Boy, did I learn what discipline and hard work meant. I remember Milos would make jokes after leg workouts that normally lasted more than two hours. After nonstop giant sets, he’d tell Hide, “Now we are going to do some heavy squats.” Hide would just stand up and grab his belt, always ready to do some more. At that point, nobody beside Milos believed that Hide would be on the Olympia stage one day. Now, nine years later, he is better than ever and has no plans of retiring. To me, this is a pro. We are truly proud and happy to celebrate that spirit and bring it back to the magazine from time to time.