Surging Men’s Open contender Derek Lunsford will aim to pick up where he left off on the Mr. Olympia stage last year. In a recent YouTube video published on October 12, 2023, Lunsford offered prep advice for beginners and laid out his mentality heading into his second Open Mr. Olympia contest in three weeks.
“This is not just a bodybuilding competition, this is the Mr. Olympia. This is to be the best in the world,” Lunsford shared.
As a former 212 Olympia (2021), Derek Lunsford has already enjoyed huge success in the sport. However, his career trajectory transformed last year. It started with his guest posing appearance in Pittsburgh, where his size and fullness rivaled that of Nick Walker, Brandon Curry, and Hunter Labrada.
In September 2022, the 30-year-old was welcomed to the Men’s Open after accepting a special invitation to the Mr. Olympia contest. While he had yet to test himself against mass monsters in a formal show, that changed in Las Vegas. However, Lunsford was unable to find a path to victory against his teammate Hadi Choopan, who appeared harder from the front.
The rematch is nearing and with that in mind, runner-up Lunsford opened up about his mentality heading into the marquee event. He also laid out how to overcome adversity during a bodybuilding prep, especially for beginners.
Derek Lunsford Talks Mindset for 2023 Mr. Olympia, Offers Contest Prep Advice
When asked about his next show, Lunsford voiced, “this year is different.”
“I’m excited, I’m very very excited like I’m getting more anxious every day, I’ll be honest. It’s coming up fast man. Normally, in the past this is when the prep kind of comes to a screeching halt and every day is slow like it takes one day feels like a week. But actually, for some reason this year, it’s been just rolling by. I have one more trip I’m taking tomorrow.
So the next three days are going to blow by really fast. Then we’re going to do be three weeks out. This year is different because I had a full year knowing that I’m in the Open, coming off a second-place Olympia finish. I nearly won the Mr. Olympia last year, making history as the first two-division Olympia champion, it didn’t happen and I know that I wasn’t at my best.”
Lunsford underlined that prep has been “much smoother” this year compared to 2022’s.
“Give it another full year to focus on making the right improvements, I’m confident in the improvements that I’ve made and as far as the prep is going this year… it’s actually much smoother. And I think it will continue to do that every year that I work with Hany. This is year number three, or competition number three that I’m doing with Hany.”
Even though he admits this prep has been one of his best, Lunsford still faced his fair share of challenges along the way.
“It’s been the smoothest prep I’ve ever had. I don’t want to act like it’s not been challenging. There’s been some very hard days, there’s been some physically and mentally challenging days but that’s to be expected.”
“This prep is different because in years past when I first started bodybuilding. I wanted to be recognized. I wanted all of the worldly stuff that came with being the champion. I wanted everybody to see that I was the best and that I wanted the you know good contracts, I wanted people to know who I was all around the world,” explained Derek Lunsford.
As for prep advice, Lunsford revealed when it’s an appropriate time to “throw in the towel” versus when it’s in the person’s best interest to push through hardship, adding that “it’s a temporary pain and a temporary struggle.”
“Well, you’ve committed to a goal, right, and you need to follow through and finish. It’s so easy that you can back out or throw in the towel, unless there is something going on where it’s medical or whether it’s true family something crisis whatever. If it’s just you because you’re like, ‘I don’t know this is hard.’ Stick it out. You’re going to regret it if you don’t and you’re going to be so happy that you finished and followed through.
You’re going to have so much more confidence in yourself. You’re going to remember this experience that you’ve had, it’s going to be a lifelong memory. If it’s your first time and you hate this, ‘I don’t ever want to do it again.’ Just do it, and that’s it, you don’t ever have to do it again. Then again, I was like that too. The first time I competed it was tough and I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I stuck it and I just kept going. Now I love to train and I love this stuff.
“You feel like you’re never going to get those foods again, your favorite foods, but I assure you there will come a day when you could freely have it. You could freely have it today too but the thing is it’s not a forever thing, it’s temporary, just like this prep. It’s a temporary pain and temporary struggle, a temporary challenge that when you see it through, you’re going to have so much more confidence.”
With bodybuilding’s ‘Super Bowl’ around the corner, the sport’s greatest minds have rendered predictions. A pair of former Mr. Olympias — Ronnie Coleman and Samir Bannout have backed Lunsford to come out on top against Choopan next month. Dennis James also believes the former 212 champ will exit Orlando, Florida with the Sandow trophy.
Meanwhile, former two-time Arnold Classic winner William Bonac and 1990s bodybuilding icon Chris Cormier have extended their support for Choopan to emerge victorious in The Sunshine State.
With a little bundle of joy on the way in 2024, Derek Lunsford is more motivated than ever to win the coveted title and make history as the first and only two-division Mr. Olympia champion.