As an IFBB Pro I can definitely say that it is pretty wonderful to have accomplished such a goal. IFBB Pro status is highly respected and an incredible honor. However, many individuals who are enchanted by the idea of chasing after Pro Status in the bodybuilding world are under the erroneous impression that their lives will change dramatically upon winning a Pro card. If you think that once you get your Pro Card, all your problems will melt away and people will be beating down your door simply because of your new, shiny status, think again. The majority of new IFBB Pros still have to hustle to get sponsorships lined up, and they still have to figure out how finance upcoming competitions. With the slump in print magazine readership it has become more difficult than ever to secure a cover or a feature article, even as a Pro.
It is far more important to showcase your particular talents and strengths and build your career and your brand well BEFORE even attaining Pro status. I planted the seeds for a true career in fitness well before I got my Pro Card (it began with me getting my Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science back in 1992), and competing aided in my efforts to increase branding and exposure. Though I was more “on the map” after going Pro, I worked harder than ever since then to prove my worth in a very competitive and saturated industry. So for those of you who hunger for that Pro card, don’t forget about what you are doing right now. The path you are walking in that race for the Pro card is your foundation for a great future in fitness and bodybuilding. Don’t risk messing up that foundation by forgetting about all the details which will get you to the Pro ranks.
One final note: I am aware of a large number of people who have jumped ship and joined other federations in their quest for Pro status. While some have made the switch in a diplomatic way, others have been so dazzled by the Pro status prize that they opted for an easier route. If switching federations is a better fit for you, then fine. But if you just want a Pro title so badly that this is the ONLY reason for switching, you might shift your focus on building your brand instead and hang up your competition hat. Remember, competing should be FUN. When you stop enjoying it, you really should retire from the stage.