Shawn “Flexatron” Rhoden may have won the 2018 Olympia and cemented his name in bodybuilding history, but his Mr. O title hasn’t stopped bodybuilding fans from criticizing his physique in the off-season. Plenty had choice words for Rhoden following his guest posing routine at the IFBB Pittsburgh Pro because, well, he’s not in Olympia shape.
Rhoden took to the stage as part of a guest posing lineup featuring Roelly Winklaar, William Bonac, Dexter Jackson, Brandon Curry, and Kamal Elgargni. None of the athletes looked Olympia-ready, but many fans took issue with Rhoden, criticizing his decision to guest pose despite his current physique.
On NPC News Online’s YouTube video of the posing, reactions were mixed. While most seemed to skew on the mean side, some comments defended Rhoden’s physique since it’s the off-season and he’s got plenty of time to get chiseled before the Olympia in September.
Flexatron, who’s been outspoken about his relaxed off-season physique—and even shared progress photos in the past—took to Instagram to address the criticism. First, he reposted a series of three videos from fellow IFBB Professional League Bodybuilder Guy Cisternino, who shared his own experience to shed light on the matter.
While he admitted he wouldn’t guest pose in the shape Rhoden showed up in, Cisternino also defended Rhoden for deciding to pose at the Pittsburgh Pro.
“It’s Jim Manion’s show, and he wants the number one dog, Mr. Olympia, on that stage,” he said. “Shawn wasn’t going to say no to Jim.” Cisternino, a self-described “chubby f*ck” in the off-season, likened the Pittsburgh Pro situation to judging Tom Brady in the off-season—you just don’t.
In addition to sharing Cisterninos reaction to the ordeal, Rhoden posted his own slideshow displaying some of his stage-ready and off-season physiques.
As anyone could see in the photos he shared, this is far from Rhoden’s first time prepping for a show. He knows how his body works, and he doesn’t shy away from admitting that he’s not in stage shape at this point in the season. He said that in the off-season, he adds balance to his routine to give his body a break.
“We all can’t walk around with a six pack 24/7 but come show time we show up,” he wrote. “So, to all my fellow pros out there, continue to live a little and don’t be afraid to enjoy your offseason.”
When it comes down to it, the reigning Mr. Olympia could have shown up in better shape to guest post over the weekend. That said, his timeline revolves around the Olympia, not any guest posing gigs.
In the end, we’ll just have to wait to judge his physique until he takes the stage at the 2019 Olympia.