Chris Bumstead defends against the argument that Classic Physique is the “easy way out” by detailing his bodybuilding prep.


Ever since the Classic Physique division was introduced to the NPC and IFBB, there has been a subsection of fans and athletes who see the division as a “cop out” or “easy way out” for athletes. Specifically, the criticism argues that it will become a division of bodybuilders who just can’t cut it in Men’s Open and settle for one step down. This ultimately gives off the impression that it’s easier to be a Classic Physique bodybuilder.

During the filming of Generation Iron 3, we sat down with a wide variety of athletes to ask them about this controversial opinion. Was Classic Physique bodybuilding actually easier? One athlete we spoke to was Chris Bumstead, the current Classic Physique Olympia champion. Much of his interview didn’t make it into the final film – so we’re unearthing the footage from our vault to give a deeper look into the now Olympia champ. In our latest GI Exclusive Vault interview, Chris Bumstead explains how Classic Physique requires just as much work as Men’s Open division.

Chris Bumstead posing at the Classic Physique Olympia (above).

Unsurprisingly, Chris Bumstead disagrees with the comments about how “easy” Classic Physique is for athletes. He points out that size isn’t the main factor in determining how hard an athlete works. For all bodybuilders in Classic Physique, preparation is a 365 days a year commitment.

To further prove his point, we follow up and ask Chris Bumstead to detail how he handles his prep and what sort of strategies he puts in place leading up to the Mr. Olympia. While it was hard for him to cover everything in detail (yet another detail showcasing just how challenging it is to be a Classic Physique bodybuilder), he did lay down the overview for what his daily routine looks like.

He explains that, while there are some athletes who do slack off until 12 weeks before a show, that’s not the norm. It’s the big difference between athletes you see who show up looking the same every year and those who continue to improve and grow.

Chris Bumstead isn’t a big fan of bulking and cutting. And while his prep looks different in the early stages vs being close to a show – he makes sure to always stay lean as much as possible. His routine is flexible to match how his body is reacting – but as he gets closer to a show the routine becomes more militant.

He wakes up, does cardio, eats breakfast, trains at the gym, eats again, does cardio again, and then goes to sleep. It becomes important for the focus and effort of the routine to come first and foremost above any other social distractions that life throws our way.

You can watch Chris Bumstead’s full comments in our latest GI Exclusive Vault interview segment above. You can also relive the best moments of Generation Iron 3 by owning it on digital. Click here or the banner below to own your own digital copy today!

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Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.