8X Mr. Olympia Lee Haney Reveals His Take on Modern Pro Bodybuilding: “It’s Not as Prestigious”

Published 02/19/2024, 2:30 PM EST

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Bodybuilding has changed a lot over the years, and now more competitions can help people get their pro card. Earlier, it was not so easy to become a pro bodybuilder, and the champion had to work extremely hard to participate in the IFBB World Championship. If they qualified for the championship, only then would they get their pro card.

Lee Haney is the one who revealed how different the modern bodybuilding world has become. Being a pro is not rocket science; it is extremely easy to do. The YouTube short video showed the 8x Olympia winner talking about his bodybuilding.

He said, “During 1982 and beyond there were only about 4 to 5 athletes that turned pro a year.” Compared to that, now there are more than at least 10 bodybuilders who will become a proper year and hence, he said, “It is not as prestigious as it was during my era. It was hard to do. Hard to accomplish. Now it is pretty easy. You can win it in any national event now. ”


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He also described the process that was present during his time and said that an athlete had to win a national event in their bodybuilding class. They were national events such as Mr. Germany, Mr. France, and Mr. Holland.

The champion declared that he was the NPC national champion from the USA. However, according to him, there are now many other competitions that people can go to. He has also previously said that there is a lack of symmetry in the physique and conditioning of bodybuilders nowadays. He reminisced about whether that decade of symmetry would be back or not.

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“Will there ever be a rebirth…”: Lee Haney on symmetry during his time


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He previously posted a throwback picture on Instagram of his competition days posing with his biceps and quads, which look extremely jacked and chiseled. His muscles were extremely symmetrical, and his conditioning was aesthetic to the T. 

He captioned the post, saying, “There was a day when the holy grail of Bodybuilding was symmetry and masterful posing presentation. Will there ever be a rebirth of Excalibur?” He is one of the few bodybuilders who has competed and retired without any severe injuries.


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In 1991, he became the first eight-time consecutive World Bodybuilding Champion to win Mr. Olympia. He was also inducted into The International Sports Hall of Fame; a rare achievement. Haney continues to look back at his prestigious days now and then and reminds people of how things were decades ago.


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Do you agree with his opinion on the fact that becoming a pro is now easier?

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Written by:

Tanushree Bhowmick


One take at a time

Tanushree Bhowmick is a Bodybuilding Writer at EssentiallySports. Her Master's degree in English literature is reflected in every carefully crafted sentence she writes. A lifelong fan of action movies, Tanushree has a keen interest in covering Arnold Schwarzenegger’s newsletters.
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Edited by:

Riya Singhal