This past weekend March 24, 2012, the first IFBB Mens Physique Pro was held in Sacramento, CA. For those of you that have been following the sport this has been a much-anticipated event seeing that whoever was crowned the 1st Champion would go down in the history books. Additionally, this special champion would become, in essence, the new "standard" in Mens Physique for all contests to follow. When speaking with judges over the last few months they made it clear that once the results for the first few IFBB Pro events came in, we would have a much better idea as what to expect at the NPC National Level as well. Now, with the IFBB Sacramento Governor's Cup in the books, the standard seems to have been well-established.
In Sacramento, CA the IFBB judging panel ruled, unanimously, that the current standard of the day was that of the Physique belonging to Matt "Swoll" Christianer. This past Saturday, the field was strong, though not terribly deep, with competitors and now that the excitement has died down a bit, let's take a look at the Top 3.
When evaluating the lineup of 10 competitors, it appears that the IFBB judges were rewarding great conditioning and good muscularity. . . with balance. It's great to see Mens Physique competitors who possess mature muscle placing well. I noticed that some of the competitors came in a bit lighter than in the past in hopes of placing better, but it seems that the IFBB judges have laid down the law and have mandated that they're looking for "an athletic physique that displays a genuine commitment to the weight room".
When speaking with the winner, Matt Christianer, he had this to say about the show:
"At the first MP PRO show was an experience I will value and treasure for the rest of my life. Not because of the places or coming away with a very meaningful title, but because of the experience. Standing in line before prejudging joking around with so many great top pro competitors. The bond and respect between us all as MP competitors is so much bigger than any one person or thing. We are a brotherhood and I feel I speak for the masses when I say that we are all truly thankful to the IFBB and NPC for having this great division. What personally made this weekend memorable for me was the younger guys coming up and asking questions, seeing the drive in their eyes and motivation to be the next class to step up. Seeing them really listening and apply that learned knowledge on stage and offstage is great. The way they are mirroring the professionalism and respect that the current pro's are working to demonstrate in the inaugural year is awesome."
Next, I chatted with runner-up Alex Carneiro and he was very forthright:
"It was a show that started history and a new chapter in the IFBB timeline. Every single competitor and I mean everyone came in fantastic shape, there was not a pro at this show that didn't look great. So we knew that I was down to what the judges wanted; totally not in the athletes hands anymore. Many originally though Matt Christianer was going to be to "big" for this show but in fact he brought a fantastic physique worthy of that first place, He was definitely not over muscular and he brought excellent conditioning.
The friendship between the pros throughout the entire show was something no other division had. Where in other divisions the groups were split for the majority of the time all the men's physique pros were always together backstage, talking , having fun and treating each other with great respect for each other. After the show was over and we were able to personally talk to the judges. Their mindset was set commonly on this " you top three guys had what we wanted, we brought size but not more than what they wanted ( they said more size than Matt would stop being awarded) we were very conditioned but not peeled dry and our presence on stage was felt". It was a phenomenal show , the judges spent really good time with the athletes and in fact did four different call outs with just the first four who got first call to make sure they knew what they wanted at this show."
This statement from Alex again mirrors the camaraderie that is clearly evident in this new division. It also shows that the judges are taking this division seriously and, consequently, are taking their time choosing the physiques they believe to be the best representations of the sport.
When talking with Bobby Ashhurst he had this to say about the show and the physique he brought to the stage:
"I thought it was a great start to the pro season. Very tough lineup. I personally made the mistake of guessing what they (the judges) would be looking for rather than coming in the way I would of felt best & guessed wrong. From here moving forward I'm bringing what I feel is my best look and will live with the results knowing I'm happy I did everything I could to prepare."
Bobby's thoughts are reminiscent of the conventional wisdom early on in Mens Physique. Bring the physique you know to be the best that you have. Don't try to be something you're not. All that being said, the game is now afoot. The physiques that follow on both an IFBB and NPC level should now have a prototype upon which to base training, diet, and contest preparation. It's a Brave New World for Mens Physique; are you willing to help write the history books? The only way to do that is to get your glutes up onstage and show these judges what you got!
The final results of the IFBB Sacramento Governors Cup Mens Physique Pro were:
9. Matt Acton
10. Francisco Sandoval