If you follow bodybuilding, you’ve most likely heard about the controversial guest posing appearance that Shawn “Flexatron” Rhoden made at the 2019 Pittsburgh Pro in early May. The reigning Mr. Olympia showed up looking a little plumper than most spectators deemed acceptable for the guy who’s meant to represent the pinnacle of bodybuilding.
If you need a refresher, he hit the stage looking like this:
The consensus among industry experts and fellow pros, including our own Shawn Ray, was that Rhoden shouldn’t have hit the stage in the shape he was in. While most agreed that it’s Rhoden’s business how he spends his off-season, he can’t expect anyone to be thrilled when Mr. Olympia shows up to guest pose looking like an average dude. It didn’t help that some of the other guest posers—William Bonac, Roelly Winklaar, and Brandon Curry—weren’t too far removed from their 2019 Arnold Classic appearances, so they still looked great.
Rhoden responded to the criticism with an apology to fans, but also pointed out that when it comes to prepping for the Olympia, he knows what he’s doing. After all, he’s been bodybuilding for a long time, and has been a pro for a decade. He’s not the first pro to get “fat” in the off-season, and he won’t be the last.
Good morning, good afternoon and good evening now that I have your attention let’s get real for a min. My name is Shawn Rhoden most of you call me Flexatron and I am human just like you. Just like you i put my pants on one leg at a time. I’ve been skinny and yes I do get fat in the offseason. (See pictures above) I’ve never hide who I am, where I’m from and I what I do. So for you guys looking to get more like or views on your page here you go. Every year I try to add balance to my life after the Olympia and try to normal, give my body a break and live a little. But come September I always show up ready to compete with the best of the best in this sport and hold my own. So until you are able to walk a mile in my shoes and accomplish what I have done in the 10yrs I’ve been a IFBB PRO, continue to do what you do and sit behind your keyboard and write about me and or any other pro. We all can’t walk around with a 6 pack 24 /7 but come show time we show up. So to all my fellow pro out there continue to live a little and don’t be afraid to enjoy your offseason. And for YOU yes you continue to make your post if it make you feel better. See you in SEPTEMBER and judge me there also. #thebestisyettocome #shawnrhoden #flexatron #mrolympia #bodybuilding #smileandwave #human @mrolympiallc @ifbb_pro_league @olimp_born_in_the_gym @olimp_sport_nutrition @therealtechnician @stanimal9 @guycisternino
He encouraged other pros to “live a little” in the off-season, and we can’t blame him—as any bodybuilder knows, getting into competition shape is a grueling process. Despite his response, many fans still seem to doubt his ability to prep for this year’s Olympia.
This past weekend, Rhoden guest posed at the NPC Bev Francis Atlantic States Championships, and he’s looking notably leaner than he did just a month ago. At 13 weeks out from the Olympia, he’s clearly on his way to ripped.
Here’s where “Flexatron” is currently at:
Can we see the proportions and striations that earned him a Sandow? Hard no. But is this an improvement from the Pittsburgh Pro? We think so. But no matter what anyone says, Rhoden has made it clear that he’s confident in his plan to get Olympia-ready.