Pumping up

Mamdouh Elssbiay (left) and Brandon Curry (right).

The 2021 Mr. Olympia contest is in the books and Egypt’s Mamdouh Elssbiay (known as “Big Ramy”) has repeated as champion.

I used to follow bodybuilding a bit, but recently haven’t been paying as much attention. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been getting older and my only fitness goals now are directed toward downsizing and working on things like cardio. I’m also put off by the drug regimens these guys are on, all to build themselves up to a point that obviously isn’t healthy. Of course drug use isn’t new, but I keep looking at these guys now and thinking they’re going to drop dead on the stage one of these days.

Another point is that recent bodybuilding champions have been getting a lot of flak lately for looking less “conditioned.” They’ve even been called out by veterans of the sport.

What lack of conditioning mainly means is less definition generally and the swollen bellies often associated with HGH (Human Growth Hormone) use. To be sure, this latter condition — dubbed “HGH gut” — looks gross. It seems like at least some of the guys are avoiding it though (the belly, I mean, not the HGH).

I think these criticisms are on target. I actually didn’t think Big Ramy looked that good this year. I would have rated Brandon Curry (the 2019 Mr. Olympia and runner-up this year) higher. Curry most often gets picked on for his skinny calves, but I thought he looked better proportioned and more defined. Actually, I could say the same for some of the other contestants as well. Curry isn’t perfect, but I think he’s a cut above Ramy, who to my eye is just big. Then again, I remember them saying the same thing about Dorian Yates when he was on top, and he’s considered a legend now. Probably just as well I’m not judging these things.

5 thoughts on “Pumping up

    • I think it’s a sort of body art, and people seeing what they can achieve in terms of transforming themselves. And that’s all fine. But carried beyond a certain point it becomes really unhealthy. As much time as they spend working out, none of them are really in good shape. The smart ones lose a lot of that muscle when they retire. That much mass puts all kinds of extra stress on your body.

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