If you’re interested in bodybuilding or fitness in any shape or form…
We’re sure you will have heard of men’s physique by now.
That being said:
You may not know much about it or where this sudden surge of popularity has come from.
Here at Protein Hunter we’ve put together this MASSIVE guide that explains it all.
In fact: It may even be the biggest guide to men’s physique on the web.
You’ll be able to find out everything you’ve ever wanted to know about mens physique bodybuilding and its competitors.
So let’s jump right in! ⬇️
What is Men’s Physique?
Mens Physique is the hottest trend in the fitness industry right now.
Launched in 2012, the Men’s Physique division was the latest addition in the IFBB. It quickly spread to other bodybuilding federations with more and more amateur shows appearing by the day.
The IFBB rules themselves state that:
“The Men’s Athletic Physique category is aimed at men who prefer to develop a less muscular, yet athletic and aesthetically pleasing physique.”
One noticeable feature of the category is that mens physique competitors must wear board shorts.
The rise of mens physique has seen a return to what some call the “Golden Age of Bodybuilding” where physiques from Olympia competitors such as Arnold Schwarzenneger and Franco Columbo dominated.
With the new physique division honouring full, round muscles over the super cut mass monsters such as Phil Heath, Kai Greene and Jay Cutler.
It’s all about balance and fullness instead of all out size.
Having said that:
The biggest issue many have right now with mens physique, is that as a division it is still finding its way.
At local competition levels, judging can be completely different per each show.
With time, these kinks will iron themselves out.
But if you plan to compete in Men’s Physique yourself, just be wary that it is not always clear on what judges are looking for.
That being said, let’s get down to it and take a look at the current crop of competitors at the top of the game right now…
Mens Physique Competitors
With mens physique being a fairly new category within Bodybuilding shows, it is still wide open for domination on a Pro level.
Many of the current top competitors are from the USA.
And it seems like Europe and the rest of the world have some way to go in catching up!
With that being said, here are a few of the rising stars…
Anyone wishing to compete in mens physique bodybuilding themselves would be wise to look to follow in their footsteps!
Ryan Terry Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ryan_Terry
Ryan Terry is a mens physique competitor from the UK. He finished in 4th place at the 2015 Men’s Physique Olympia and 4th again at the 2016 Arnold Classic, along with 2nd in the 2016 Men’s Physique Olympia.
Ryan’s Early Life
Born in Worksop, England, Ryan began weightlifting in his teens.
His career originally started out as a model, through which he competed in and won modelling competitions; Mister Great Britain and Mister International.
Ryan’s first love had always been the gym, so he took time off from modelling to focus on his Men’s Physique career.
Winning an IFBB Pro Card and Competing in Men’s Physique
Always focussing his training on aesthetics and achieving a healthy, natural look, Ryan moved quickly through the ranks in the competitive world of Men’s Physique, becoming an IFBB Pro and European Champion in 2013.
He achieved this by winning the Euro Arnold Classic and then winning the UKBFF Men’s Physique a week later to gain his IFBB Pro card. With this win, he became the first ever Men’s Physique professional from the UK.
Ryan competed at the 2015 Mr Olympia for the first time after wins and podium places at the Pittsburgh and Miami Pro shows.
He was expected to challenge for the top 3 at the Olympia, but lacked experience when compared to some of the other competitors that year.
In the 2016 Men’s Physique contest at the Olympia, he placed 2nd overall, his best placing yet at the competition.
Can he beat Jeremy Buendia in the 2017 Men’s Physique?
But that’s not all…
Outside of Competition
Ryan is also one of the most inspirational and popular fitness stars across all social media.
With a huge following across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram especially, Terry is sponsored by USN and has recently launched his own clothing line, RT Pro Wear.
The Terry Bulk and Terry Shred are two Ryan Terry workout methods he promotes that he uses himself during the offseason and to diet down for competitions alike.
Although a great athlete and known for some of the best abs in the business, it seems he has some way to go still to make the jump to 1st place.
Sadik Hadzovic Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sadik_Hadzovic
Sadik Hadzovic is a huge name in Men’s Physique right now and was winner of the 2015 Arnold Classic.
Not only that:
He was expected to challenge for 1st place at the 2015 Mr Olympia.
Sadik ended up finishing in 2nd place at the 2015 Mr Olympia Men’s Physique competition behind Jeremy Buendia and afterwards announced he would be switching to the new bodybuilding division, Classic Physique, for future shows due to his size and natural ability to gain more muscle than Men’s Physique would allow.
Despite his plans to switch to Classic Physique, Sadik has done amazing things to bring Men’s Physique into the limelight, and due to his crazy genetics and humble mannerisms, he continues to be one of the divisons favoured athletes by many around the world.
Sadik Hadzovic is sponsored by GAT Supplements and has recently been working to promote Body Engineers; the bodybuilding fashion brand from Tavi Castro.
If you’re an Instagram user, you can check out Sadik Hadzovic on Instagram here.
2: Classic Physique announcement: https://www.instagram.com/p/9bJoe8Luk4/
Steve Cook Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Cook_(bodybuilder)
Steve Cook is sponsored by both Optimum Nutrition and Bodybuilding.com and quickly rose to fame after winning the 2010 Fit Body Competition and 2011 BodySpace Spokesmodel Search competitions on Bodybuilding.com itself.
The middle child of 7, Cook grew up in a very athletic family, with a father who was an Athletic Director at a local high school, so it’s no surprise he found himself in the gym from an early age.
Before competing in bodybuilding, he played four years of college football.
He states himself that during this time, he was unlike a lot of other football players because he was concerned with lifting weight under control, focusing on time under tension instead of simply just trying to lift as much weight as possible without poor form.
Despite ruling himself out of the 2015 Mr Olympia Men’s Physique competition and having not competed for some time now, he is still one of the largest names in the sport with what some people describe as the perfect body for men’s physique.
These days, Steve stands 6-foot-1 in height and when in shape holds around 212 pounds of well-conditioned muscle on a perfectly proportioned frame and is the definition of brilliant modern physique.
Cook’s balanced physique and chiseled features have landed him many magazine covers. He’s built a massive following across social media and has a popular YouTube channel. He calls his fans the “Swoldier Nation” and often responds to people’s questions online. This dedication to fans separates Steve from the pack compared to others.
Steve began his competitive career as a heavyweight bodybuilder, but quickly discovered that his tall and symmetrical frame was better suited to physique competition.
Recently, he has launched his latest training program and workout guide, ‘BIG’, which is getting huge attention from around the fitness industry.
Jason Poston Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jason_Poston
Jason Poston is an American IFBB professional physique competitor and fitness model.
A regular competitor, his most recent victory was in 2014 at IFBB Europa Phoenix.
Jason was the 2nd runner up at the 2014 Mr. Olympia physique showdown competition, finished in 3rd place at the 2015 Mr Olympia Men’s Physique competition and achieved 3rd place again at the 2016 Arnold Classic.
A native of Dallas, Texas, Jason lost vision in one eye earlier in life due to a rare disease called keratoconus. Only a cornea transplant corrected this and Poston was able to see again, but that was not to be the last of his medical problems, as he would later be diagnosed with diabetes.
Always an athletic person, Poston played many sports as a teenager. It wasn’t until he was 19 that he took up bodybuilding and it was in 2008 when he really started to focus on the iron game.
“I won the BSN Fitness Model Search at the Europa in Dallas (that year) and that motivated me to take the physique route with my body,” Poston fondly recalls. “I wanted to be signed by a supplement company and inspire others to live healthy lives.”
Competing in Men’s Physique
Poston entered the 2011 Oklahoma City Grand Prix eight weeks after being properly diagnosed with diabetes and placed fifth.
Now that he was back and better then ever:
Poston signed up for the 2012 NPC Ronnie Coleman Classic and won the overall out of over 100 competitors which qualified him for nationals.
He placed eighth at the Junior Nationals in Chicago but earned his IFBB pro card at the USAs in Vegas a few months later. “My goal had been attained even quicker than I thought,” says Poston, who placed a very respectable third in his IFBB Pro inaugural show at the Houston Pro 2012 just 3 months after earning his pro card.
He continued this momentum in 2013 to complete 6 more IFBB pro physique shows.
Based on his placings he qualified for the Olympia Mens Physique showdown where he placed fifth of the 17 competitors who qualified worldwide.
Poston is the only type 1 Diabetic to compete in the mens Olympia contest to date. His fifth place finish qualified him for the 2014 Olympia.
In 2015, Poston again competed in the Men’s Physique division of the Mr Olympia contest, finishing 3rd overall.
At the 2016 Men’s Physique Olympia, Jason looked a shade too big for the division and his placings suffered due to that.
He could be one of those we see switch over to Classic Physique in the coming years.
Jason Poston Instagram: https://instagram.com/jasonpostonpro/
Jeremy Buendia Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Buendia
Jeremy Buendia won the 2014 Mr Olympia Men’s Physique competition and successfully defended that title in 2015 finishing in 1st place at the Mr O once again.
He successfully managed the “3-peat” at the 2016 Men’s Physique Olympia finishing in 1st place once again and is truly dominating the sport right now.
Previous to his victories, he was the first runner up (2nd Place) at the 2013 Mr. Olympia physique showdown competition.
Buendia got started in bodybuilding as his father was a non-competitive bodybuilder in the 70’s, and grew up watching him workout every morning in the families home gym.
Love for the weights stayed with Jeremy through high school, where he became a standout linebacker at Whitney High and earned an all-league honours despite playing his senior season with a bulging disc in his neck and lower back.
A handful of colleges came calling for his services, but the injury and a desire to focus on getting an education meant the end of Jeremy’s playing days and a larger focus on bodybuilding, where he first began competing at the age of 17.
Through this he would go on to win the Overall title in the Teen division at the 2010 Contra Costa Championships.
Jeremy’s first win as an IFBB professional came at the Greater Gulf States Pro in 2013, after which he went on to place 2nd at the 2013 Olympia Weekend. Coming 2nd must have lit a fire in his belly, as he’s placed 1st in every competition he has entered since then, winning the 2014 and 2015 Mr Olympia competitions along with the Sacremento Pro and San Jose Pro competitions.
Jeremy is sponsored by Evogen Nutrition and Live Fit Apparel and through his Evogen connection, works with the “Pro Creator” himself, Hany Rambod to develop his competition winning physique.
Jeff Seid Instagram: https://instagram.com/jeff_seid
Jeff Seid is another huge name in Men’s Physique, partially through building a huge online following.
Like Steve Cook; Jeff hadn’t competed in Men’s Physique for some time, until recently he stepped on stage again, winning the IFBB Stockholm Pro on 7th May 2016.
With his large online following, outside of competing, he seems content to sit back and churn out YouTube and Instagram content to appease his followers and his placings in top level competitions other than the recent victory at the IFBB Stockholm Pro have been fairly weak.
Jeff was born June 12th, 1994 in Renton, Washington in the United States.
He began playing sports at the young age of 5 and it was essentially the beginning of what he himself describes as an epic journey.
He tore his ACL a 2nd time a couple months later and thought through this injury that his life was over.
A few days before his 1st surgery, Jeff visited the bodybuilding.com website and stumbled across the new bodybuilding category called Men’s Physique.
At the time, Jeff had been training consistently for 6 years and states himself that he knew competing in Men’s Physique was his calling. At his first show, he won the overall title and so his career in bodybuilding began.
Exactly a year after his first competition, Seid went on to win the Jr. Nationals competition which made him the youngest IFBB Professional in history.
Two months after becoming an IFBB Pro, Jeff won his first Pro show that qualified him to step on stage at the first ever Mr. Olympia Men’s Physique Showdown.
He will be disappointed with his showing at the 2016 Men’s Physique Olympia, only appearing in the 4th round of call outs and placing outside of the Top 10.
We wonder if he will be back for the 2017 Mr O?
Brandon Hendrickson Instagram: https://instagram.com/ifbbbrandonflexx/
Brandon is a relative newcomer to Men’s Physique and competed at his first Mr Olympia in 2015, finishing in 5th place.
This year he smashed that result and was the surprise package by coming in 1st at the 2016 Arnold Classic.
In achieving 1st place he beat out some well known competitors we’ve already mentioned throughout this article like Ryan Terry and Jason Poston and his 1st place finish really opened up the division.
Before his sudden burst on to the bodybuilding scene with his 1st place finish at the Arnold, Brandon began bodybuilding in early 2012.
During this time, he competed in local NPC shows from July 2012 until November 2013.
At the 2013 NPC Nationals in Miami he became an IFBB Pro, earning his pro card through finishing in 1st place.
He was also the 2013 Grand Prix Overall Champion.
As you can see, Hendrickson is no stranger to winning and looked like to be a force to be reckoned with for the 2016 Mr Olympia.
He could only manage a 4th place finish this time around though where the stronger competition really showed.
Matt Acton Instagram: https://instagram.com/actionmanmatt
Matt Acton is an IFBB Professional athlete bodybuilder and mens physique competitor.
He was the first national champion in history of mens physique and has competed in a number of shows so far in his career, often placing within the top 5, with a few notable wins at the 2015 IFBB Miami Muscle Beach competiton and the 2014 Fort Lauderdale Cup and Toronto Pro Shows.
At the 2015 Olympia weekend, he placed a disappointing 11th, and it remains to be seen how far he can really take his physique at the top level of competition.
Mens Physique Bodybuilding Competitions
Currently, most of the top Men’s Physique bodybuilding competitions take place as part of the larger bodybuilding competitions worldwide.
There are the massive, well known competitions such as the Mr Olympia and the Arnold Classic.
Outside of this, there are many local competitions, with the largest of these being the NY Pro, Miami Pro and Pittsburgh Pro.
There are two main pro mens physique federations.
They are the IFBB and the WFB.
Men’s Physique Weight Classes
Unlike Bodybuilding, Men’s Physique is not judged in separate weight classes.
Competitors are allowed to come in at whatever weight they like.
Rather, it is judged on height categories.
Within a short period of time, the IFBB has increased the number of Men’s Physique categories from 2 (two) to 4 (four): 170 cm, 174 cm, 178 cm and over 178 cm.
It is aimed at men who do weight training, keep fit and eat a healthy balanced diet, but who prefer to develop a less muscular, yet athletic and aesthetically pleasing physique.
They are fit looking contestants who display proper shape and symmetry, combined with some muscularity and good overall condition.
Men’s Physique Diet
Nutrition and diet is an important aspect of training regardless of what level you compete at.
So, as you might have guessed:
It is an incredibly important part in Men’s Physique.
And if you want to become a Men’s Physique bodybuilder, you’re going to have to eat!
That being said:
There’s one key thing that will put you above the rest…
You have to be consistent.
Most competitors go through bulking and cutting stages and will have a typical off-season, then begin to diet down a few months before a show to really get into competition shape.
Men’s Physique vs Bodybuilding
As we spoke about a little bit earlier….
Bodybuilding is more objective: You step onstage and it is easier to see who is the biggest and who has the most muscle and is super striated and lean.
With physique it is about being lean but you will find the competitors are not really dry when compared to their bodybuilding counterparts.
It’s not about striations and cutting out water, but more to do with having round, full muscle bellies. Men’s Physique competitors do not cut out water before a show because your muscles are, of course, 70 percent water. Instead they will focus on having good lines and being full.
It’s also important to have that tiny waist.
You don’t want to sacrifice proportion for size, whereas in bodybuilding you can sometimes get away with being a little thicker in the waist if you’re the biggest competitor onstage.
In physique it is about having the balance between all the different body parts.
A lot of physique guys don’t realize that it is really important to be able to present your physique.
In physique you must showcase what you have and present yourself in a way you think best.
There are no mandatory poses in physique when compared to bodybuilding.
Men’s Physique Posing
Posing in men’s physique consists of competitors performing two rounds of quarter turns, wearing board shorts of their choice.
The final round (Round 2) begins with a short individual onstage presentation of each competitor.
Men’s Physique 2015 Olympia Results
The 2015 Mr Olympia Men’s Physique division finished with the following results:
1st: Jeremy Buendia
2nd: Sadik Hadzovic
3rd: Jason Poston
4th: Ryan Terry
5th: Brandon Hendrickson
2016 Arnold Classic Men’s Physique Results
The 2016 Arnold Classic Men’s Physique division finished with the following results:
1st: Brandon Hendrickson
2nd: George Brown
3rd: Jason Poston
4th: Ryan Terry
5th: Andre Ferguson
2016 Men’s Physique Olympia Results
The 2016 Men’s Physique Olympia has drawn to a close and the Top 5 standings are in:
1st: Jeremy Buendia
2nd: Ryan Terry
3rd: Jason Potvin
4th: Brandon Hendrickson
5th: Andre Ferguson