I was debating whether to call the title of this letter “A Breath Of Fresh Air” or “A Light At The End Of A Long Dark Tunnel.” Even though I’m a strong believer that there is no future in the past, being a part of this sport proved me wrong.
I personally entered competitive bodybuilding at the peak of its evolution, the time of the giants, or should I say dinosaurs? The only difference is that the dinosaurs’ extinction was blamed on a collision with a giant asteroid. Pro bodybuilding’s slow extinction after its peak in the early 2000s is to be blamed on its obsession with “bigger is better.” As I mentioned in one of my earlier letters, we cannot blame a person, a group of people, an organization, or give any specific reason why this happened. Could we have done something to prevent it? Maybe, but it’s always easier to be smart after the fact. Evolution has its own way of unfolding, and the beauty of our sport is that we have beaten evolution once before, and we are doing it again.
I recently witnessed the first-ever IFBB Classic Physique Pro show here in Culver City, California, and I saw it right there in front of my eyes. The “new” long-awaited division showcased 15 hopeful athletes (which is a greater number in its first show than a recent top pro Bodybuilding show had). It was an extremely diverse division with former pro bodybuilders who never truly fit the standards of the sport at their prime, the new generation of the Men’s Physique era, and some competitors in between who were trying to figure out where they belonged. Beautiful! I truly haven’t been so excited about a show or a division since the very first live bodybuilding show I watched when I was 17 years old. There was no doubt that the bodybuilding veterans such as Danny Hester, Darrem Charles, and Stan McQuay were there to show the kids how it’s done. And they did. These three gentlemen dominated that line-up leaving the younger generation wondering what was going on. To them they came out of nowhere, from a different era, maybe a different galaxy. The truth is that they have been here all the time, watching, observing, and waiting—old warriors who beat the new talent with their experience and their passion for the real spirit of classic bodybuilding that never truly left us. It’s been here the entire time, but somehow a big shadow was thrown on them from the dinosaurs.
Well, the real giants are back. Or should I write “born” or “reborn”? Or are they coming from the future? I know this sounds confusing (I’m confusing myself as well), but I can’t hide my excitement in this moment, as I haven’t felt this kind of optimism for our sport since I entered it. We really needed to do something to take bodybuilding to the next level and to secure its future, and I truly believe that Classic Physique and its former, current, and upcoming stars will do that and more. I believe that we are once again about to witness a greatness of this sport unparalleled, and I am also 100 percent positive that this division will give birth to a new Arnold, that one individual who can make a significant impact.
As the publisher of this 80-year-old fitness publication, I’m especially excited about this, as we are strong advocates of classic physiques, classic lines, healthy bodies, and healthy living.