From Mr. Olympia to Men’s Physique
Joe Weider's Olympia Fitness & Performance Weekend has been around for quite some time now.
It’s the competition organized each year by the International Federation of BodyBuilding & Fitness, where the winner of the professional men’s bodybuilding contest is crowned Mr. Olympia.
Precisely the title that Dorian Yates has won no less than 6 times.
Its history began in 1965 when Larry Scott has won the first Mr. Olympia title ever.
Since then, a lot has changed and the fitness and bodybuilding landscape is no exception.
Due to a growing number of people who found classical bodybuilding to be too unhealthy, big and aesthetically displeasing, a new category was inaugurated in 2013: Men’s Physique.
According to the IFBB, Men’s Physique was officially recognized as a new sport discipline by the IFBB Executive Council and IFBB Congress on November 11, 2012 (Guayaquil, Ecuador).
This division is aimed at men who prefer to develop a less muscular, yet athletic and aesthetically pleasing physique.Dorian Yates - 6x Mr. Olympia
Setting the goals for a larger part of the male population
This is good news for regular men, as anyone could compete here, as long as they are committed to fitness and a healthy lifestyle.
The rules are more permissive, the criteria for judging are nothing to be scared of and the ideal body promoted by Men’s Physique is the perfect beach body, totally within reach, regardless of who you are and where you come from.
This should motivate you to work a bit harder, shouldn’t it?
Let’s take a look at the competition’s rules and at the steps, you need to take in order to get there.
Rules and regulations of the Men's Physique competition
According to the rules, contestants appear on stage wearing opaque, loose-fitting board shorts covering the whole upper leg, down to the upper point of the knee (patella) and nothing else.
This means that there’s no room for the huge, bulky legs traditionally associated with bodybuilders competing in the other categories.
In the prejudging stage, the judges will be assessing the overall physique for the degree of proportion, symmetry, muscle contours and quality (density, body fat level) as well as skin tone.
In this case, extreme muscularity and definition are not the main focus.
The first thing to come under scrutiny is the overall male athletic appearance, skin tone, skin condition, and hair.
The key here is to display a fit physique, with proper shape and body proportions, combined with balanced muscularity.
Excesses of any kind are penalized in this area of the competition.
The assessment of a competitor’s condition starts with the head and extends downwards.
So men aspiring to this title should pay close attention to their chest, shoulders, arms, back, and calves in order to have a chance to win.
The shoulder to waist ratio is a very important element that you should focus on if you are preparing for Men’s Physique.
For example, Jeremy Buendia’s (4-times winner of this class) ratio is 52.5″ to 27″.
During the finals, judges favor competitors with a harmonious, proportional, classical male physique, good posture, and correct anatomical structure.
The board emphasizes the need for a “smoother” and “softer” look than in bodybuilding.
But even if the preferred body types don’t have to be too lean or too muscular, this doesn’t mean that they should lack harmony.
The physiques should be free from deep muscle separation and/or sharp striations.
Working on your beach body: the same focus
So we can see that they’re going for a healthy, fit physique, which is attractively presented.
This should be the norm when we’re aiming for a beach body as well.
This can only be possible through careful control of the diet and a smart training routine.
The aim is to reduce body fat as much as possible while growing your muscles naturally.
So what should you be focusing on while trying to get that beach body that would be worthy of a Men’s Physique medal?
Pay close attention to your calves and abs, especially the lower ones, which are usually the weakest ones in that area.
Train your upper back with rows and use a mix of exercises that use bodyweight in order to grow your chest, while also keeping it in good proportions.
Planks are better than crunches for this purpose. In addition to that, keep in mind that you don’t need to lift particularly heavyweights.
The experts at Bodybuilding.com suggest that you should instead keep resistance and reps more moderate.
12-15 reps for upper body exercises and 15-20 for lower-body ones should be more than enough.
Don’t shy away from deadlifts, squats, military presses, barbell rows, and bench presses.
Just keep in mind that you are not going for that ripped physique, and include movements targeting the specific areas you are concentrating on.
Besides consistency, variation is another key element that will prepare you for success.
For instance, you can dedicate a day to your chest, shoulders, and triceps, another one to your back and biceps. Finally one for your lower abdomen and legs.
Keep it lean: cardio and diet
Cardio is yet another important detail that you have to include in your routine.
It helps you attain a lean, well-proportioned aspect. You should do some cardio at least three times a week.
Compliment your diet with a protein shake or two each day and don’t go more than 3-4 hours without eating.
For the protein, shakes we recommend using Whey Protein Shadowhey Hydrolyzed which contains over 23 grams of high-quality whey protein per scoop.
Unfortunately, we are talking about full, solid meals, not snacks. You should cut those down.
The good news is that you don’t need to stay away from carbs: they can go well with your diet, along with healthy fat.
Moderation is the key, basically, you can eat everything but in moderate amounts.
Proper hydration and dietary supplements are both utterly important. So protein shakes, vitamins, minerals, and L-glutamine will be your long-term allies.
If we were to draw the conclusion, the moderation mentioned above would be by far the most fitting one.
For the Men’s Physique competition and also for the perfect beach body, health and leanness are the most important factors.
It all comes down to feeling good and looking good.
There should be no room for excesses of any kind, but the results will definitely be worth your time.