Men's Physique, a latecomer to IFBB contests that has caught on among fans and competitors at both the amateur and professional levels, is making its Arnold Sports Festival debut in Columbus on March 6, 2015. Although the competitors don't carry the same size and freakiness of pro bodybuilders, and wear board shorts instead of posing trunks, the athletes who compete here follow challenging preps and have fought just as hard for the right to be onstage.
A notable absence at the Arnold Classic Physique is reigning Olympia Men's Physique champ Jeremy Buendia. The winner of this contest, then, will be the odds-on favorite to challenge Buendia come September. Here's a closer look at the 11 guys who'll be taking the stage in Columbus.
If you're not familiar with how Men's Physique competitions are run, check out this video to know more.
Who's your favorite? Make your predictions in the comments below.
Matt Acton has already seen the top of the podium, despite being just 26 years old. He won in Toronto in 2013. That year, he placed third in the first Men's Physique Olympia Showdown.
Andre Adams has won several powerlifting competitions, so he's as strong as he looks. The Wisconsin native keeps his hands full coaching other competitors, and working as an engineer in addition to being a father.
Michael Anderson has won five times in the Men's Physique Division and been on the Olympia stage twice. At 42, he's one of the older guys onstage, but he doesn't give anything away to his younger brethren.
Anton Antipov, winner of two pro contests previously, is one of the more popular guys on the circuit. He hails from Belarus and has athletic experience in swimming, track, and even gymnastics. Experience and conditioning are this Nutrex Research athlete's biggest strengths.
George Brown has been a pro for just two years and has yet to place higher than second, so he's hungry for his first win. He's had both good and bad showings, so for him conditioning is critical. Fortunately he won't have to travel far, because the show is in his hometown.
Felipe Franco is also looking for his first victory. The last time we saw him, he finished 15th at last year's Olympia. He's got a lot of room to improve, and he'll need to if he wants to move up.
Xavisus Gayden picked up his first win at the Titans Grand Prix Pro, which took place after the Olympia, so he's already qualified for Vegas later this year. He has a great V-taper but will have to repeat his conditioning of a year ago or he'll get lost in the shuffle.
Sadik Hadzovic was runner-up to Buendia at the Physique Olympia last season. That makes him one of the favorites here. He has an excellent V-taper and capped delts that even guys on the bodybuilding circuit can appreciate. This is one of the two guys I see battling for the title.
Jason Poston was third at the Olympia last year but is coming off a win in Phoenix, so momentum is on his side. At the Olympia, this MET-Rx athlete appeared a bit blocky, but his appearance was better in Phoenix. If he's on here, he can make the top three.
Rodney Razor won the 2015 BodySpace Spokesmodel Search, so he's no stranger to the Bodybuilding.com community. His last name is a perfect fit for the type of conditioning he brings to the stage. Rodney is coming off a big win at the Felicia Romero Classic.
Mark Anthony Wingson
Mark Anthony Wingson is the other favorite coming into the contest. The inaugural Men's Physique Olympia winner in 2013, Mark is looking to bookend history with a win at the Arnold. Mark fell out of the top five in last year's Olympia, so he should be looking for redemption.