Alright fans, the moment of truth. Will I beat out my fellow experts, Lonnie "they used to call me the Swami" Teper and Ron "Yogi, aka Mumbles, aka Magoo, aka I just had a feeling," Avidan? Of course! I'm the only one of the Three Stooges who is actually making predictions.
If you look at LT's video it is a preview video of some of the contenders but he makes no predictions. Ron is still out to lunch on his picks and I don't know if anyone has told him it's 2008 yet.
Now to Lonnie's defense, he is the emcee of the show and an employee of Iron Man so it would be inappropriate for him to give actual predictions. We'll be video taping an Iron Man wrap-up and Arnold predictions video on Sunday. Will he actually make a prediction this time? My swami sense of smell says nope. Ron has no excuse except for the fact that his memory lasts as long as most of my dates.
Almost as consistent as Ron's inaccurate picks is the California weather around the Iron Man. Most years it rains like crazy but it doesn't appear to be the case this year.
Another change this year is the move to LA from Pasadena. I loved the vibe of Pasadena and everything was within walking distance. I know the Iron Man crew has been working hard to make this show a success and it will be a telling for the future of this show.
Also taking place is the first NPC figure competition of the year. Many women who have graced this stage have gone on to turn pro. The registration for this show is still available. Enough with that, let's get down to my top 10 list.
IN ORDER as I SEE it shaking out this weekend:
1. Phil Heath
They don't call him "The Gift" for nothing. I've been fortunate enough to see
Phil compete in every one of his bodybuilding shows. The first one years ago as a cocky NPC competitor with very little prep to the humble, much improved IFBB Pro he is today.
Phil had a tremendous off-season and has been able to retain about 15lbs of quality muscle throughout this prep. Fans will see added size to his upper-chest, delts, HUGE gains in his wheels and yes, even his back as improved. His back is still his weak point but you'll be hard pressed to find a competitor with the kind of freaky muscle he carries.
Winner, 2006 Colorado Pro/Am Classic.
Photo By SecondFocus.
Week #10 - 5/16/2006
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We've documented some of his training via video on
FLEXonline.com as well as shoot progress photos that will run in an upcoming article in FLEX. Phil is only 28 and is the future of bodybuilding. Fans will see one of the best physiques in the world this Saturday in Phil Heath. Victory is in store!
2. Gustavo Badell
He's the highest ranked bodybuilder coming into this show but has had a few lower placings in his last couple of outings. His legs virtually disappeared on him at the Olympia and he was obviously not happy with his placings.
He's been posting up some progress photos on FLEX online and looks to be dialing it in well. His hamstrings from the back appear to be lagging and calves are not what they once were. His back is great and he carries a lot of muscle.
Gustavo wanted everyone to believe he's the hardest working pro out there in his PBW interview and while I don't question his dedication, every bodybuilder is a hard worker. He's won this show before but I don't see him repeating as champ. His size will carry him through to a top 5 finish and I see him in the number two spot at this show.
3. Silvio Samuel
SIC. That's the only way I can describe his conditioning and muscle bellies. This guy is the energizer bunny of bodybuilding. He keeps going and going and... Will he be able to make a go of it at this show? Yes.
He's not the biggest guy but he doesn't have to be with his conditioning and muscle bellies. He's improved his posing which has helped his presentation immensely, especially from the back and in his bicep poses. If he can keep his stomach in check and watch his breathing he'll do great in his presentation. It looks like he's added some size to his arms and will be back for another great showing this weekend.
Silvio Samuel's 2007 Iron Man Routine.
Windows Media (18.2 MB)
4. Toney Freeman
The X-man is one of my favorite bodybuilders on the circuit today. He's a big dude who's confident and grown into his own. He had a disappointing showing at the
Olympia which he fully admits to, it takes a big man to admit his faults.
Toney won this show last year and will be making a run to repeat as champ. Can he do it? Certainly but it won't be as easy for him as last year. This lineup is much deeper and tougher than the one he faced last year.
Toney Freeman's 2007 Iron Man Routine.
Windows Media (15.1 MB)
If Toney can put his conditioning back in order he is being compared to Phil for the number one spot. If he slips with his conditioning he could be outside of the top 5. I don't see him slipping that far but I have a feeling we'll see a better Toney in Columbus than we will in LA.
5. Will Harris
He's big, he's bigger from the back and he's the one to shake things up at this show. He looked terrible in Colorado and might as well have been guest posing.
Will put that show behind him and took the Europa stage by storm.
I had him winning the show over a smaller yet ripped Silvio. He went on to the Olympia stage where he stood between
Jay Cutler and
Ronnie Coleman in the lineup and held his own.
Will has one of the best backs around and aside from Stubbs I'd say the best competing today. His conditioning is always the IF factor but I think he's gotten it down and will come in bigger and better than we've seen him. Look for him to qualify for the Olympia at this show.
6. Johnnie Jackson
Always a great upper body but legs have lagged behind. He's a top 10 guy and could challenge for top five but this line-up is as tough as he'll face all year.
7. David Henry
David looked his best ever at the 2007 Olympia. Another competitor with a tremendous back and packs a ton of muscle on his frame. His legs have improved but like Johnnie still hold him back from moving up in the ranks. He's placed second in this show before so don't count him out.
8. Desmond Miller
Desmond has some of the best wheels in the biz but that's where it ends for me. His physique doesn't flow like some of his fellow competitors and last year his waist was getting out of control. He's had some time off to work on his weak parts and could show up a new and improved man.
He'll be in the mix of the top ten but I don't see him cracking the top five in this show. He'll have an even tough time in a couple weeks at his Arnold debut.
9. Troy Alves
Potential to do well but in 2007 he slipped out of the top ranks in the shows he entered.
Troy is always criticized about his glutes and hamstrings conditioning. If he's able to bring in his conditioning you could see him in the top five. He looks pretty damn good in his three week out photos and my gut tells me I should have him higher in the prediction placings.
10. Armin Scholz
The man is big and could shake some things up in this line-up if he dials it in. Reoccurring theme with most of the competitors - IF they bring the conditioning.
Armin is my sleeper pick to crack the top ten.
Who will get a special Arnold invite out of this show? I'd put my money on Troy Alves or Will Harris, but there is no guarantee. Either way this show will be one of the best of the year. It's always a great way to kick off the season and this year will be no different.
Check out all the things happening at the Fit Expo and if you're around on Sunday stop by my seminar on how to brand yourself in the industry. The show will be webcasted live here on Bodybuilding.com and if you're not able to attend or watch the show but interested in who won. Visit http://www.musclephone.com to receive show results delivered to your mobile phone.
See ya in LA!