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Is Heath BB's Chance at Mainstream?

As I sit here downing a pot of coffee pre-squat workout, I got to thinking about the future of bodybuilding while looking at the Ironman contest thread.

Now the physiques are never going to go back to the days of Arnold and such, its just been too long, too much has changed, but I do believe that with a charismatic ambassador we could at least get our foot in the pop culture mainstream door again

Phillip Heath.....


He's young, much like Arnold who took control of the Mr. Olympia Title at a young age, Heath could rule over the bodybuilding scene for over a solid decade easily.

He's intelligent. He was smart enough to accept advice from Jay when coming into the ranks. He conducts himself very well in interviews, and I know Ronnie was by no means stupid, but he sounded a little weird when he spoke, no fault of his own, just the card he was dealt. I feel like he's smart enough that we won't ever see an article about him nearly killing himself via too much water loss at a show.

He's built for show. The body parts that even the non traing crowd like, well he's got them. Freaky arms, chest, and abs. I love Tom Platz, but his legs(and jaw) scared us, let alone the regular viewer. You could put him on the tonight show couch, not just in jay walking skits where he was dressed in a thong and superman cape like Ronnie did. And compared to a Markus Ruhl or Paul Dillett that guy is just flat out pretty.

He was a collegiate athlete. This helps the argument that bodybuilders are not athletes. The guy was a point guard in college, a skill set very different then what we see in professional bodybuilding.

No shady past. I hate to say it, but he hasn't screwed a grapefruit on film, been arrested at the Olympia, had any big falling outs with the powers that be at that one supplement company or that one publisher, thereby banishing him from the face of bodybuilding for years.

Do we have any better bet as of right now ?


Good post man.

I think with the more streamlined physiques .vs. mass monsters we are starting to get more people in attendance at bodybuilding shows...its becoming 'cool' once again instead of a freak show...

for a few examples and this is all heresay I've never seen facts but check these out:

The expo (arnold and olympia) were the biggest yet last year.

magazine sales in all bodybuilding related mags are up. (i don't have factual numbers so just heresay)

... and I personally was a part of the largest NPC Excalibur that ever occured, and that is generally one of, if not, the largest amateur show in NPC. so I'd imagine the amateur turnout is growing which leads to more people in the sport, as fans, and larger audience in general.

I don't think bodybuilding will ever be as big as football, etc...but to say the least...I like where it is headed.



I'm pretty sure bodybuilding will always be a side show to other sports. Even though Heath is a more streamlined guy compared to the last two (excluding Jackson) Olympia winners, the size of these guys still grosses out most people. Even if they were smaller, the vast majority of people find flexing on stage in a tiny pair of trunks to be more amusing and laughable rather than a serious sport or competition.

To be honest, whether BBing grows or shrinks in popularity doesn't mean much to me. All I want out of it is to be able to watch the Arnold Classic and Mr. Olympia on an HDTV broadcast, because webcasts suck serious ass. If it gets popular enough to get back onto TV, then that's all I care.

Granted, Phil is also a much better looking guy in general over the last two (once again excluding Jackson) Olympia winners by far. His face looks normal, as opposed to the ginormous Jay-Chin we just had.


I really wish that Bodybuilding could become America's continental sport. It would solve so many problems we have as a continent, and we're one of the few that can afford it.

Anyway, I like the mass monsters, but I do think the move towards balanced, streamlined physiques is a good idea.


That would be great for the country, and would greatly reduce health care costs, and would improve the country greatly i think. It would take a lot, but hopefully there will one day soon be a day where the bodybuilding results are shown on ESPN, and articles on competitions in papers.


About the man thong being an issue....

If we could stop caring about who comes in with shredded glutes and go back to the style trunk that was more popular up until the early 80's I think it would be less of an issue.

I know that there is no chance in hell that it gets to a level of football or baseball, but I don't know why it can't be at least as popular as professional golf.

I feel like just as many people weight train as play golf.

But what happened in the last decade to make people really care about pro golfers ?

They got a face and a "personality" that they could market around it in Tiger Woods.

Now we have an entire cable channel devoted to golf, that tells me that if things were to be handled properly, we could have something along the lines for bodybuilding sometime in the next decade.

Now I don't think we need 24 hrs a day of posing, but there is so much that you could do with it. Besides televising contests and training sessions, you could have cooking shows, reality shows with the top guys and up and comers, hell i think you could bodybuiler makeover shows even, like a biggest loser with trainers that I don't want to toss off a cliff.

We need to see that there is a cast of characters in this sport, thats why Pumping Iron was able to be sold.

Spike TV is 50% MMA shows now, im sure at some point they will have their own channel as well.

We as a country have pretty much come to terms that our sports heroes are on steroids at this point, so I feel like that only helps bodybuilding's odds, it's just not nearly as taboo as it was years ago.

People are completely ok if they're idols are taking a little Vitamin T, its make the linebackers hit harder,The homeruns go father, your basketball stars are looking stacked all season during a 80 game schedule, hell there is even talk of steroids in golf right now.

Right now there is a market for "niche" sports, I feel like with some proper PR(public relations,not the usual we talk about here) that Bodybuilding and fitness has every possibility to be as big as it was in the mid to late 70's



There's a lot of young guys coming up that seem to fit the mold of marketability as well, that could help be the Franco Columbo's and whatnot to Phil Heath's Arnold(if it ends up playing out that way).


I don't want to hijack the thread, but there is a huge difference between golf and bodybuilding. A 9 year old can learn to play golf, and a 79 year old man can still play golf. Golf is an extremely achieveable sport for a great number of people. You can play once a month and have fun. You can play everyday and have fun. You don't have to be consistant to play golf. Business meetings can be held on a golf course. Golf is a very social sport. You can consume alcohol while playing this sport. You can do it with a smoke hanging out of your mouth. You can be fat. You can be thin. You can be athletic. You can be John Daly.

Golf and bodybuilding couldn't be more different.


I very much agree with you WS4JB. No matter what people say, they love to see players be as fast and strong as possible, so they are slowly becoming more accepting, or maybe just more willing to look the other way on the signs that athletes are getting a little bit of help.

Another thing that will help the bodybuilding industry is that obesity rates are getting ridiculous, and people are finally realizing they have to do something about it. When people start working out seriously, they definitely have a shift in their attitudes about what is 'too big' and what is just really impressive. Although a lot of people that work out really still don't take it seriously, most people that do take it seriously quickly change their thinking from oooh that guy is grossly big, to wow that guy has put in a TON of work and I am impressed with what he has accomplished, let's see who can be the best at that.

EDIT: drunken 100th post... sorry


Bodybuilding will never be mainstream, and I kind of like it that way.

And Heath rules. Awesome physique.


This is basically the message in bigger,faster, stronger.

BB may/hopefully get more popular, but its been around for 50 or so years now and is only marginally more popular then it originally was, which is still to say - not much.

What Arnold did to bodybuilding goes beyond Pumping Iron, and I honestly don't think anybody will be able to bring that much attention to the sport again.


Good point, and I will agree. But let's not digress and turn this into a BB vs. Golf thread... haha.

Anyway, I do think Phil Heath gives a little more credibility to non-watchers and non-followers of the BB world, but then we also have guys like Trey Brewer who seem like they're still trying to reinvent the mass wheel.

I don't think it will ever be quite like it was in the 70's and 80's or what not, because I believe there will still be a much bigger emphasis on overall mass than there was years ago. That being said, tighter waists are starting to make a comeback, which I suppose isn't that bad.

Personally, I'd really like to see more physiques that are in the Brandon Curry / Johnny Jackson area of bodybuilding.


Agreed. And it won't with the lack of education of anything related to do with health. I still remember middle school and high school health where the food pyramid was advocated. Heck, my suite mate who is majoring in Biomedical engineering walked in on me making my protein shakes for the next couple of days at around 9:30 pm a few weeks ago. I told him I was putting in 40 grams of dextrose/maltodextrine. He said, "well, I guess it won't be bad for you if you have it now instead of right before bed" Bodybuilding won't be mainstream because people don't understand it.

I had an orthopedist tell me this past October that low reps, deadlifts, and squats are worthless. Squats are bad for the knees. Curling will work your back as much as it would ever need to be worked. All bulk is made in the 8-12 rep range. And, then concluded it by telling me I should only use machines.

As much as I love Arnold, I don't think he made bodybuilding accepted or mainstream. I think it made it into something that people realized was slightly possible, but it was still a "freakshow" for the "obsessed and strong"

Heath is great, but I don't thikn that bodybuilding will be getting the coverage anytime soon. Heck, spelling bees are televised over soccer - the world's sport! How are we to expect that we'll be given some recognition?


i think Ronnie Coleman is the face of bodybuilding right now. i think he has a GREAT personality. the best personality for capturing a sport or anything you want to draw people into is being unique and making people want to see/hear more of you. Ronnie is/was great at that. the problem is that he walks around at over 300 pounds which is very hard for people to identify with. Arnold had a great personality but he wasnt a mass monster, he just looked really really good. his view of bodybuilding is very artistic whereas ronnie's is just slap on more muscle and more muscle lightweight baby wooooooooooooooooo


Arnold was a mass monster at the time. Keep in mind, most posters here are desensitized to the size of these people. We are used to seeing guys like Ronnie, Cutler, Yates and so on. When Pumping Iron came out, most people had never seen anything like those guys before. Now, we aren't so in awe of Arnold because we have guys so much larger.


I know they are different, my line of thinking is that there are just as many gyms out there as golf courses, and I actually believe you can bodybuild at age 79 and age 9.

You may have to change the way you play the game, but its still the same game. You wouldn't give a 9 year old a full sized mens set to play on and have him hit it from the mens tees would you? Same way you wouldnt give him a 300 pound loaded barbell. But you can teach him bodyweight exercises to prepare him for the time when he is ready to step under the bar. I see no difference.


He's from my area, and was a basketball star at the same school that Nate Robinson attended.


Agreed. Arnold was seen just like Ronnie is seen today. People should stop using today's standards to judge people from 40+ years ago.


While I certainly agree with what you say, the difference in the sports is the social aspects, as well as the ability to relate for the general public. People can relate to Sergio Garcia hitting a ball with a wedge to three feet because it seems so achievable for them, even while sitting on the couch sipping on a beer.

They think that with a few years of work, or even on a lucky afternoon, they too could hit that shot. They look at a bodybuilder, and they KNOW that even on their best day they couldn't actually wake up and look anything like that without decades of hard fucking work.

People don't want to imagine hard work, they want to imagine lightning in a bottle.


I think Bodybuilding fails as a sport mostly because its hard to get drunk and eat chili-dogs/cheeseburgers while spectating; which is as far as I can tell the point of most every other major sport that exists.

I also thinks Bodybuilding suffers since everything that can be marketed through bodybuilding already is, I just don't think its possible to derive enough profit from bodybuilding competitions to actually create a sport.

Maybe something along the lines of "the biggest loser" might be possible as far as getting bodybuilding on TV tho, I've noticed spike shows the training of some of the top MMA guys and that seems to draw an audience.