The Fledgling: The Men’s Physique Division (Revised)

Originally published on on Tuesday, 10 April 2012. In light of the fact that the Men’s Physique Division has now been around for four years, I have appended an extra section to the original article, but have made no changes to the body of the article which I wrote back in 2012.

This weekend we are looking at only the second ever MP PRO show to hit the stage. The NPC and IFBB were quite wise to establish the Men’s Physique Division. However, it is the baby of the bunch amongst divisions (alongside Women’s Physique) and will endure growing pains for a period of time before standards are clearly defined. The newly minted IFBB Men’s Physique Pros have the opportunity to legitimize and strengthen the division not only by how they continue to condition their bodies, but also by how they conduct themselves within the IFBB and how they choose to brand themselves within the mainstream.

Every division has struggled to define standards in its early days and has also battled naysayers who have tried to undermine its rigors and distinguishing characteristics. Men’s Physique is no different. However, it is not constructive to balk at the direction in which the division is moving, or complain about which men are and are not attaining pro status. If there are suggestions which you would like to offer in order to shape or strengthen the division, make your voice heard as one filled with positive energy and enthusiasm. But don’t create friction and end up irritating the very officials who have made it possible for you to step on stage and compete.

It is true that it can be tricky to determine if one should come in leaner, beefier or softer for a show since judges from various regions may have ideals which may differ from one another. Remain consistent with what your genetics lean towards, but study the pros and see what it is about their physiques or presentation which set them apart from the rest of the competitors.

As a national level NPC Bikini Champion who has come deliciously close to attaining IFBB Pro Status at three pro-qualifiers, I understand how frustrating it can be to see competitors who may or may not deserve pro status beat you out of that spot. I have competed in the Bikini division since 2009 when the division was incepted and have seen a great deal of progression with respect to division standards. Bikini pros from 2009 look different from the 2010 pros. The pros from 2011 look different from those two groups as well. It seems the quest for a more well-muscled physique is generally more desirable in 2011 than it was in 2009. It is important to consider that the playing field has intensified significantly, and bikini competitors are training differently now than they did in 2009 when it was still a bit unclear as to what the judges were looking for.

I see the same thing happening with Men’s Physique. My belief is that 2012 will bring a higher level of conditioning to the national qualifying shows, mostly as the result of the judges having the good fortune and tough task of judging the IFBB Men’s Physique Pros. This occurred in the Bikini Division in 2010 when the IFBB Bikini Pros brought a higher level of conditioning to the stage.

The lesson here…just let the baby learn to walk and enjoy the progression.


Just as I had surmised, the Men’s Physique Division has definitely brought a higher level of conditioning to the IFBB stage. Delt caps have gotten inflated, and some Pro men have attained a degree of muscularity which has some people wondering if it’s time for them to cross over into the bodybuilding division. Here is an example of one prominent Men’s Physique Pro competitor, Sadik Hadzovic, who displays considerable growth in the delts and upper lats from 2012 to 2014:

This is Sadik Hadzovic at the 2012 Valenti Gold Cup where he took the First Place win.

This is Sadik Hadzovic at the 2012 Valenti Gold Cup where he took the First Place win.

Here's Sadik again at the 2014 Wings Of Strength where he also took a First Place win.

Here’s Sadik again at the 2014 Wings Of Strength where he also took a First Place win.

Sadik has beaten the odds and remained at the top of the Pro game for three years now, because he has made changes to his physique which have been consistent with the ebb and flow of the IFBB judging ring. I have immense respect for him and for ALL the Pros out there who represent the division and the sport with integrity and dedication.

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