Excitement for the 2023 Pittsburgh Pro continues to build as a star-studded lineup is expected to guest pose at the event this weekend. In a recent The Truth Podcast, Hany Rambod previewed the show and provided off-season updates from Derek Lunsford, Hadi Choopan, and Chris Bumstead.
Months before last year’s Mr. Olympia contest, Rambod’s pupil Derek Lunsford stole the show at the 2022 Pittsburgh Pro. He guest posed alongside other Open class talents without appearing undersized, having gone toe-to-toe against the likes of Brandon Curry, Nick Walker, and Hunter Labrada.
In light of Derek’s dominant showing in Pittsburgh, many believe it prompted Olympia officials to award him with a special invitation to compete in the Open category. After accepting the honor last September, Lunsford wasted no time in asserting himself as a title contender.
At the 2022 Mr. Olympia event, Hadi Choopan claimed gold after finally blending together an immaculate balance of size, muscularity, and hard conditioning. Unlike in years prior, champion Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay fell short on stage in fifth while Lunsford, who debuted in the Open class, walked away in second.
With the 2023 Pittsburgh Pro guest posing show taking place this weekend (May 13-14), Rambod took a closer look at the gathering. In addition, he discussed the off-season progress of Lunsford, Choopan, and Bumstead.
Hany Rambod Talks Hadi Choopan Training at 100% & Derek Lunsford Not Having Size Limitations
Before starting a prep, Rambod mentioned that he sometimes implements a ‘dry run’ where he manipulates water, sodium, and carbohydrate intake. He added that Lunsford was attempting to keep his weight controlled last year, but that won’t be the case this weekend.
“Now, if you’re four or six weeks out, that’s a whole different story. I have done that in the past, where it’s four to six weeks out and someone is guest posing and we do what we call a dry run. What we do is a manipulation of maybe water, carbs, sodium, to get to know the person’s body. I have done that in the past.”
“Like I said, [last year] it was definitely low calories, low carbs, and all of the things that made him in better shape. Theoretically, he’s not going to be in as good of shape because he’s not trying to keep his weight down. Where last year, they’re like why did he look so good, it was because he was trying to keep his weight down. No weight control [now].”
Hany says the Pittsburgh Pro sets up the rest of the bodybuilding calendar. Following the guest posing obligation, Rambod plans to lay out more aggressive game plans for Lunford, Choopan, and Bumstead.
“Pittsburgh is a whole different story, the great thing about Pittsburgh, with Phil, Jay, Ronnie, I’ve been going to Pittsburgh for 25 years. It’s one of the places where you get to see guys that are getting ready for shows that just want to jump on stage or you have people that are just the top five, you see Gunter, Ronnie, Jay, Kai, and you’re just like, ‘Whoa.'”
“Yes, Derek is guest posing. Yes, he is guest posing. He’s been doing a lot of appearances but he hasn’t guest posed. I think he’s ready to take his shirt off finally,” says Hany Rambod. “Not usually, but because of where we’re at in the season, I do like my athletes looking a certain way by this time in terms of where we’re at and we reverse-engineer from the Olympia backward, and now that the Olympia is a little sooner this year, four or five weeks… it is something I use as a gauge.”
“Derek is going to be coming out here so we can kick off the season and we will see where he’s at when he gets to guest pose and see what everyone looks at and be able to assess where we need to be from here and how we can make adjustments but so far everything is going very well with his previous check-ins, same with Chris. I think it was the first time he [Bumstead] has never done off-season check-ins before,” added Rambod.
According to Rambod, the reigning Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan is now training at 100% intensity.
“I’ve spoken to Hadi, he’s now back to training 100% or what I consider 100%, he’s really pushing himself hard, can’t wait to get together with him again.”
Rambod Says Chris Bumstead’s Bicep is Healed and They Are Looking to Hit New ‘Milestones’
Rambod believes Bumstead’s stem cell therapy treatment helped his torn bicep. He finished the conversation by stressing the need to keep all of his athletes within striking distance for the upcoming 2023 Mr. Olympia competition.
“I just don’t think he trained. I don’t think he trained period. I think he literally took months and months off before he was able to train,” said Rambod. “He did stem cells and a bunch of therapy on it [his biceps] and he trained and was able to get back up to 100% fairly quickly even then I told him to take it easy, you don’t want to reinjure yourself. But getting all the guys in striking distance to start the prep is really what it’s all about at this point.”
“You need to hit those milestones and make sure you’re tracking it properly.”
In a previous appearance on his podcast, Rambod discussed Nick Walker’s potential as an IFBB Pro. Speaking with Fouad Abiad, Rambod underlined Walker’s love and loyalty for bodybuilding, expressing that he ‘lives the sport 24/7.’
Fellow coach and guru, Chris Aceto, rendered his thoughts on the guest posing gathering in Pittsburgh. He anticipates an on-stage battle between Lunsford and Big Ramy given the strengths of their respective physiques. Regardless, he stressed that the Pittsburgh guest posing event is an opportunity to leave an impression with judges months from Olympia.
A packed lineup will take over Pittsburgh this weekend, including Nick Walker, Hunter Labrada, Samson Dauda, Derek Lunsford, Big Ramy, and Shaun Clarida. If the spectacle is anything like last year, bodybuilding fans will have a lot to talk about in the lead-up to 2023 Mr. Olympia.