The 2023 Arnold Classic is just days away and frontrunner Nick Walker is shedding some light on his difficult preparations. In a recent Mutant & The Mouth podcast, Walker was brutally honest about his prep and laid out his physique goals for the rest of the year.
“I’m going to have a great time. Honestly, I’m just looking forward to standing on that stage again,” Nick Walker said.
As an IFBB pro bodybuilder in the Men’s Open division, it didn’t take long for fans to take notice of Walker’s physique. He brought extremely conditioned packages to the 2021 New York Pro and Arnold Classic, which resulted in back-to-back victories. The success gave Walker momentum going into his first Mr. Olympia contest, where he placed fifth in his debut.
Unlike his busy schedule the year before, Walker utilized the entire 2022 off-season to make improvements. His plan was to add muscle tissue while keeping the waistline as tight as possible. At the 2022 Mr. Olympia competition, Walker’s efforts paid off, as he finished third, behind Derek Lunsford and champion, Hadi Choopan.
After careful consideration, Walker eventually threw his name in the hat to compete at the nearing 2023 Arnold Classic. He was one of the few participants to enter the contest on short notice after the organizers increased the Men’s Open prize money to $300,000. With little time until the competitors square off, Walker joined Guy Cisternino for a candid discussion about his progress.
Nick Walker on 2023 Arnold Classic: “These Last 2-3 Weeks Have Probably Been The Hardest I’ve Ever Been Through”
Walker explained that his prep for the upcoming AC has been one of the most difficult of his career.
“I’ll be honest man; I think these last two to three weeks have probably been the hardest I’ve ever been through. Just going to speak honestly because I think everyone should understand that I am human. And as much as I preach how confident I truly am in myself, and I always think I could win – I think everyone has a point where they kind of just break sometimes. It has happened over the past couple of weeks. I’ve wanted to give up a few times because it did get really hard mentally. It’s fine, because this is what it takes. So, I accept it.”
According to the 28-year-old, athletes must truly suffer in order to get ready for a show like the Arnold Classic.
“I think my body went through a little point where it stalled a little bit. So, we really had to crank the cardio really high for a while, drop the food really low for a while, no. I honestly, I’ll be honest, I even said this to Maria, I said this is going to be a breeze.
I actually had the mentality like this was going to be fuc**ng easy, and it’s been the fuc**ng hardest, literally, the hardest. But yeah, mentally, I know I can win, and that’s just the mindset that I have. People just need to understand: if I truly believe if you’re truly suffering, you’ll get to a point where you want to quit. That’s just facts. If you’re not at that point, I don’t believe you’ll be ready,” says Nick Walker.
Walker said the carb-up process greatly impacted how his physique looked on stage at the last Olympia. He added that competitors who are afraid to get flat, won’t be in shape when it’s time to be judged.
“Before prejudging or finals, I posted a picture of myself the morning of the show [2022 Olympia]. And people were like, ‘oh my God, he’s flat as shit, what’s he going to do,’ yeah, and I come out at night, and everyone was like, ‘WHOAAA,’ it’s like bro, just let me have some food and I’m good,” Walker shared. “If you’re afraid to be flat, you will not be in shape.”
Walker Has ‘No Desire’ to Push 300 Lbs in 2023 Off-Season: ‘I Don’t Want to Go Above 270-280 Lbs’
Instead of bulking to 300 pounds, Walker said he’s targeting ‘slight improvements’ to his chest and back width.
“Moving forward, I no longer want to be 300 pounds in the off-season. I have no desire. I don’t think it’s needed. I have the muscle; I have the size. My goal moving forward is to literally refine the body as best as I possibly can, meaning, keep slimming the waist down, bring out more detail show after show and just make slight improvements in the areas where
I think I need. think my chest could grow a little bit more, back thickness, back width a little bit, more sweep a little bit, but I’m not trying to fuc**ng become 300 pounds anymore. The way I look at it, I turn out to be 250 or 252, I don’t want to go above 270, 280 pounds max. I don’t think it’s needed. I don’t think I need to get that big anymore. I’m 5″7′ man,” Walker shared.
Plenty of bodybuilding veterans are voicing their concerns ahead of the Arnold Classic. Kevin Levrone, a two-time AC titleholder, discussed Walker’s chances. He echoed that Walker doesn’t need to get any bigger and should focus on coming into the show as shredded as possible.
If Walker wins in Ohio this weekend, he will become a two-time Arnold Classic champion. However, to accomplish that goal, he will have to defeat a star-studded lineup, including Andrew Jacked, Shaun Clarida, William Bonac, Big Ramy, Samson Dauda, and many others.