T Nation

IFBB Pro? Are They Really?

So I was scrolling through YouTube looking at muscle stuff and it seems like there’s a ton of guys who claim to be IFBB Pros or working to be one. Some of these guys are huge and some are not. More not. Some of these guys start off their video with , Joe Nobody your IFBB pro here again to talk about bicep training and they would be lucky to be last place in a real contest with elite bodybuilders. Even many of the really big ones would not make the cut in a big boy contest. What’s going on here? Can just about anybody who has built some muscle these days qualify as a pro??

There is a massive difference between winning a small show and getting a pro card and being elite. There is also plenty of categories and not everyone is a mass monster. Some of the other guys who actually compete and follow it closer could give better examples I’m sure.

I know a guy who’s wife has her “pro card”. She owns a gym and is a personal trainer. Her husband told me although she’s in great shape and works her ass off, the pro card is a joke, and there are plenty of ways to get one without being an absolute monster and being on a big stage :man_shrugging:

I’d also be curious to see some of the videos you’re talking about if you still have them pulled up or remember names

Just scroll down YouTube , it seems every other guy says he’s a IFBB pro. To me if you say your a pro it means you earn your living doing that . Now maybe it’s just a club??

So Wannabe , what have you been up to , haven’t heard a word from you lately ?

I’d wager there is less than a handful of pros out there that make their living competing. This isn’t exactly a lucrative sport.

I’ve been ok, definitely been better. As to where I’ve been, I blocked the whole Ellington sub forum for a while. It’s unblocked now, but I try not to frequent it.

1 Like

I forgot to say just type in IFBB pro and a hundred will pop up. No way some of these guys are professional unless the IFBB is so hard up they pay anyone with some above average muscle to compete in their shows so the stage won’t be empty? With a few exceptions even the very biggest might not place in a real top contest. Maybe Mr.New Jersey eastern shore contest but who’s paying those guys?

No one. That’s why they are shamelessly shilling themselves on YouTube (trying to gain followers and receive add revenue off their videos).

Ever seen tons of videos of pro NFL players teaching people all their tricks of the trade on YouTube? Me either. because those athletes are paid millions and don’t have to resort to embarrassing click bait content on YouTube.


@BrickHead can most definitely correct my shortcoming and shed new light!

As mentioned, there can be a big difference between winning a pro card and being competitive at the pro ranks. There’s also different divisions, so just saying IFBB pro could mean a 280 lb open pro or a sub 200 physique guy and everything in between. Some who get their pro card may never actually do a pro show.

You could compare it to golf, in a way. Not every golf pro plays on the PGA tour. Some end up giving golf lessons to middle aged people at a small par 3.


Are you expecting the IFBB to keep track of how much money each athlete earns from bodybuilding and to theb determine if it is enough to live on based on where the pro lives before giving them the title of pro? An IFBB pro has a pro card which allows them to compete in an IFBB show which has prize money.

Here’s a list of the pro card winners in 2019: 2019 IFBB PRO CARD Winners | IFBB PRO

Then consider that you get to keep your pro card as long as you renew it and it should make sense that you see a lot of them. If there weren’t many of them then there wouldn’t be many bodybuilding shows…

I have just searched IFBB Pro on YouTube and I don’t really see your point. There were a few videos like ‘becoming an IFBB Pro’ or ‘training to be an IFBB Pro’ where the guys looked less impressive but the majority looked great. Maybe some were smaller than others but like others have already mentioned that was usually the Physique or Classic Physique guys. Do you have specific examples of what you meant?

As far as I’m aware, becoming an IFBB Pro is still a pretty big deal but I’m not an expert in bodybuilding. John Meadows spent a long time trying to do so unsuccessfully which I don’t think would be the case if it was easy to do.

I guess the pro card should be called an IFBB contest participant card vrs Pro card? I’m just of the opinion that if you call yourself a pro you should earn your living doing IFBB contests. I’m a pro photographer , I earn my living making videos and taking photographs. Imagine how many pro photographers we’d have if everyone who had a camera and took pictures and sold a few called himself a pro. It cheapens the term pro.

1 Like

The IFBB has a vested interest in getting a good number of people in Pro status. Annual fees = Free income.

Also, if the competitor is smart, he/she can now use their professional status for a potential ton of tax related benefits.

1 Like

Really? Time to turn up the sauce :joy: I need some tax breaks

Do you stick mainly to nature stuff or do you photograph all kinds of things? Have you taken any cool photos lately?

I work for one of the biggest school systems in the country and prior to this virus I made videos of whatever happens at the schools and things involved with schools. When schools shut down in March I started making short learning videos from home about nature in my yard . I used my big canon lenses to take pictures of birds and squirrels etc and combined them with video to give kids stuck on line something to watch as a change of pace from academics. My favorite thing to photograph lately is flying squirrels!


It has a vested interest also in not letting the prestige associated with the brand/label IFBB Pro become too watered down, which will happen if they allow too many people, or too many people with unimpressive physiques, to claim it. It’s a balancing act.

Although I agree with those who contend that until/unless OP puts up links to support his claim, this discussion concerns facts not in evidence, and thus is pretty pointless.

1 Like

The NPC has many categories to which you can earn a pro card including multiple open bodybuilding weight classes, multiple classic physique and men’s physique height classes; this isn’t counting the half a dozen women’s classes. Many NPC national shows hand out upwards of 100 pro cards. Calum VonMoger only had to win his height class in Classic Physique to get his pro card (2nd place also got a pro card) and didn’t win the overall.

Is having a pro card a joke? In my opinion, yeah kinda. You only have to be better than the 3rd place guy in your category on the day of. It seems like they hand out way too many of them.

As far as how IFBB pros get paid: Chris Bumstead makes more through sponsorships than by winning the Classic Physique Olympia. Even most pro Open Bodybuilding shows barely pay anything worthwhile and most pros make their money through: sponsorships, a real job, selling workout/ diet plans or personal training.

Why doesn’t Tom Brady shill products? Because he gets paid a lot of money to play; because football is on TV every week selling ads. When was the last time you saw bodybuilding, even the Olympia, on network television? Over 100,000,000 people watched the 2020 SuperBowl; how many watched the O? The Mr. O paid out $400,000 to Ramy for the win; Brady makes more than that per game, whether he wins or loses.

There is no money in bodybuilding. It’s an expensive, selfish, sport with no big payoff.


That’s a great picture. You just have a nice back yard.

You mentioned photographing the squirrels a couple months ago. Shortly after that I found a poor squirrel stuck in a drain pipe in my yard and fished him out. Since then I’ve considered you my Squirrel Bro. It’s awesome to finally see the pics!