The 2023 Arnold Classic saw Samson Dauda win, prompting many to question whether judges are favoring shape more than condition. In a recent Prime Time Muscle podcast, Terrick El Guindy and Chris Cormier took a closer look at the Open class and site enhancement oil use in bodybuilding.
Dauda’s victory in Columbus, Ohio sent shockwaves through the Open division. Jacked, who earned his pro card last March at the Arnold Classic Amateur, capitalized on his debut performance, securing third place. Before the competition, he joined bodybuilding guru Chris Aceto and trainer Chris ‘Psycho’ Lewis, for preparations, which seemingly paid off.
Nick Walker was unable to procure a second Arnold Classic title after taking home the honor in 2021. Fans were critical of Dauda’s victory days after the competition. However, Walker told them to accept the outcome respectfully despite their reservations.
Even though plenty of bodybuilders thought Walker deserved the nod, there is no question that it shook up the division. With the success of Dauda and Jacked in Ohio, many, including Terrick El Guindy, believe aesthetic bodybuilders will present issues for athletes who rely on sheer size and conditioning to win shows.
Terrick El Guindy Says Aesthetic Bodybuilders Are Trouble for Mass Monsters
According to bodybuilding judge Terrick El Guindy, aesthetic bodybuilders like Andrew Jacked and Rafael Brandao have the potential to push competitors like Nick Walker and Michal Krizo out of the limelight.
“You know, just like Andrew Jacked, him, Andrew Jacked and Samson Dauda and obviously, we got to put Derek [Lunsford] in there, they are the most genetically gifted guys. If Andrew Jacked and Rafael Brandao have backs, then you can start going into the 90s, Flex Wheeler, Chris Cormier, Shawn Ray, everybody looks pretty.
And that’s bad news for guys like Nick Walker and Michal Krizo. The best thing for those guys is those big monsters, such as Big Ramy winning the show. Once you have aesthetically pleasing guys moving up, you’re about to look like a box if you don’t have the lines and these guys are moving quick,” Terrick El Guindy said.
Chris Cormier on Competitors Using Synthol: ‘You’re Shortening the Lifespan of the Muscle’ Using a ‘Shortcut’
Cormier urged competitors to avoid injecting site enhancement oils like synthol as they cause career-ending damage.
“I mean, it was done a long time ago [site enhancement oils], I just think people are looking to do some type of injection more so than putting forth the effort in the gym to try to create the muscle size that they’re looking for. I think that it’s going to be one of the determining factors that’s going to demolish a lot of these guys’ careers a lot sooner than what they need to be.
With that being said, you guys… you got to understand that you will be shortening the lifespan of your muscle just by trying to do a shortcut. And I don’t know if it’s an internet thing, if you want some instant gratification of what your hard work is in a fake way. I know when you guys are posing on Instagram or social media, it’s not the real deal, it’s not the real thing that’s happening,” says Chris Cormier.
‘The Real Deal’ took issue with active competitors using shortcuts to achieve gains over hard work.
“You’re glamorizing everything in your life, not the worst parts in your life but the most glamorous parts of your life. That same mentality for me is being put forth on these guys physiques. Guys and girls, not just guys. Guys and girls are trying to look for the shortest fastest way to get where they’re trying to go. Anything that’s good — it takes time to get it.”
When judging a bodybuilding contest, El Guindy says officials judge ‘what they see’ and look for imbalances in physiques.
“Obviously, those are called imbalances right. We identify it. It doesn’t look natural. We know the human anatomy. I got to be honest. We don’t have to [understand what’s happening under the body]. I don’t know what kind of chemical is being inserted,” El Guindy explained.
He emphasized that the judging process takes into account a combination of factors like symmetry, muscularity, conditioning, and shape.
“My job and the job of every judge is to judge what we see not to speculate what has transpired on an athletes’ life prior or after the show. I don’t know what kind of exercise Chris Cormier did to get his biceps big to win the 1993 Mr. USAs. I don’t know what kind of exercise, but what I see is muscle development, and I have to judge that based on the criteria of bodybuilding such as symmetry, muscularity, conditioning, and shape.”
“As a judge when you see some of these imbalances – they’re not natural. You just mark it down. This does not look natural. You can include injuries as well, Dorian Yates’ biceps, that’s an imbalance. The lat for Ronnie Coleman is an imbalance. If you go and inject some type of detergent on your arm and it inflames for the five hours you’re on stage and you think you’re impressing the judges, you’re not,” El Guindy insisted.
This isn’t the first time Chris Cormier spoke out against site enhancement oils like Synthol. While warning against the practice, Cormier revealed he injected synthol into his calves during his bodybuilding career. He stressed that it would destroy the muscle over time and said to steer clear of shortcuts.
In addition to Cormier, Milos Sarcev regretfully used site enhancement oils in his biceps. Whether it’s an injury or an imbalance caused by synthol, Terrick El Guindy says judges are trained to notice these discrepancies.