Well, another Arnold Classic is successfully wrapped and let me tell you, it was quite a weekend! A group of 6 of my bodybuilding buddies piled into a big van with our coolers and luggage and headed up to Columbus, OH on Friday morning at 5:00. We aimed to get into Columbus in the early afternoon with plenty of time to take in the first day of the Arnold Expo, a 2-day convention of the industry’s finest supplement, clothing and training brands—all in one great big auditorium. Follow that up with a good meal and a few beers, now that was just what I needed! I was stoked! Well, let me tell you, by 3:00 that afternoon, I was singing a different tune. I began to feel queasy during the road trip and it wasn’t until I puked my lunch into a ditch that I realized that my best laid plans may have been foiled. We checked into the hotel room and I hit the sheets, hoping that I wouldn’t be praying to the porcelain gods all damn weekend. It wasn’t long after we were settled into our room when I realized I didn’t have my luggage. Oh crap. I can’t believe I drove all this way and forgot my damn suitcase. I called my wife and begged her to book me a flight on the next plane home to St Louis! Some things are just not meant to be! As it turns out my luggage was down in the van and we just forgot to bring it up with us. What a bunch of meatheads! I slept the rest of that day and Saturday morning, I was my old self again. We took in a good workout at a great gym in downtown Columbus and got ready for pre-judging. I am an avid follower of the IFBB and I was looking forward to taking in the action live. The show was great, with the night show and awards being the highlight of the weekend! I was impressed with what I saw and ended up having a great time in Columbus! I have posted my reviews of the competitors below.
Before I get into my reviews of the men’s bodybuilding competition, let me start by saying that not one of my readers correctly guessed the top six competitors in the men’s pro bodybuilding to win the 1st Phorm Arnold Classic challenge prize pack. I knew that this would be a most difficult task. Hell I attended the prejudging and still didn’t get the placings correct. I will do a similar contest for the Olympia in September, and I’m thinking this will be a little bit easier to predict.
1st place Kai Green
Was he deserving of the win? Kai was the man to beat since he was the defending champ. Honestly, I had Kai in third place after prejudging. To me, he just appeared to be a bit off, what I mean by this he looked great from the front, but when he turned to the rear he was holding a bit of water. Kai is a great poser, who also won best poser as he usually does, but I’m not a big fan of this type of physique. The powers that be must of felt he had done enough to retain his title as reigning champ.
2nd place Phil Heath
In my opinion, I feel that Phil “the gift” as he is nicknamed in the industry, got the shaft and was very deserving of top honors. I feel that he finally came into his own at this Arnold after a disappointing showing at the Olympia, during which he fell victim to food poisoning. With an added 10 lbs of muscle, he was not outsized by any man on that stage. I predict Phil will be the heir apparent to Jay Cutler as the next Mr. Olympia. It may not happen this year, but it will happen. Phil continues to improve and with a bit more quad sweep and back width and thickness he will be unstoppable.
3rd place Branch Warren
After prejudging I had Branch in 2nd place. His conditioning was spot on from the front, with huge separated quads and crazy vascularity. This guy is a freak! It’s when Branch turns around when he slips from the top spot as his rear double bi is not overly impressive. Branch once again received the most muscular award; an award that he has won several times before at this show. I’m not really sure what Branch can work on as his conditioning has been spot on his past few outings. At 5’7, any more added size would start to distort his physique along with his already wide waist.
4th place Dexter Jackson
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am here to let you know that The “Blade” is getting dull. Dexter is the type of bodybuilder who hasn’t changed much from year to year, and he really hasn’t had to. Unfortunately Dexter is in his early forties and his fellow competitors are improving. As a younger crop of pro’s begin to make their debuts, it’s really only a matter of time before Dex will be forced to hang it up. I had Dexter as high as 2nd on the placement he received 4th. I believe Dexter has only a year or so left competing, before he retires. He has had an awesome career, and I hope he can go out on a high note.
5th place Tony Freemen
I had the “X man” in sixth after prejudging, just behind Ronnie Rockel. Tony was the biggest competitor on stage standing 6’2 and 290 plus pounds. Unfortunately for him, in order to start winning this type of show he would have to show up in the range of 310 to 315 lbs, and in the condition of his life. For a bigger guy Tony has awesome quads with a wide back. He just needs to be bigger all over with about 10% sharper conditioning. This is a tough task for someone in their early forties as well!
6th place Ronnie Rockel
A seasoned IFBB competitor, Ronnie has finally learned the art of insane conditioning and is being rewarded for it. I had Ronnie in fifth place after prejudging, as in my opinion, he looked incredible. At just 5 ft 6 in tall, he has the challenge of competing with the taller competitors. Ronnie will win smaller shows with the package he brought to the Arnold, its just that he fades slightly when stacked against the biggest and best pro’s in the biz.
There you have it folks. Another Arnold, wrapped! For bodybuilding fans, the Arnold weekend is one of the most exciting events of the season, next to the Olympia. As for my competitive endeavors, I’m tossing around a few ideas but haven’t put anything on the map in ink thus far. I have a trip with my wife planned for mid-May and after that, I will likely begin my contest diet.
Be sure to keep emailing me your questions and I will answer them in an upcoming blog entry. You can get in touch with me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time be consistent, and stay balanced!
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