Derek Lunsford Reveals Why He’s Skipping the 2023 Arnold Classic

Derek Lunsford is skipping the 2023 Arnold Classic. Here’s why.

Derek Lunsford recently revealed why he is skipping the 2023 Arnold Classic. The 2022 Olympia runner-up speaks on the reasoning behind his decision and how he came to the conclusion.

Staying at the top of the bodybuilding game is no simple task. In order to bring the best physique to the stage competition after competition is extremely difficult. It takes time to recover from a high level competition. It takes a specific regimen to get prepped, to execute the game plan once on stage, and time to recover from competing at a high level.

Year after year many bodybuilders compete in order to gain some of the most prestigious titles in the bodybuilding world. To reach the top of the food chain requires proper preparation. It also takes proper timing. A competitor can’t compete throughout the year without destroying their bodies and health at a high level. A bodybuilder must take time to recover in order to not only build muscle but to repair their bodies after the harsh prep for a bodybuilding show.

Reason for Skipping The Arnold

Health and recovery is the exact reason behind why Derek Lunsford is choosing to skip the 2023 Arnold Classic. In a recent episode of Hany Rambod’s podcast, Lunsford revealed his reasoning behind choosing to put off his return to the stage. Lunsford explained that his wife factored heavily into his decision.

“I had my wife’s full support either way I wanted to go,” said Derek Lunsford. “Her main thing was that she wanted me to be healthy. That has always been her number one thing. She said, ‘if you are pushing into Arnold and you’re doing it unhealthy, I don’t want you to do it.’ I agree. I’m the same way. I got to thinking about the Classic title, a lot of money, only a couple months away. But then I got to thinking what’s our ultimate goal here. The ultimate goal is to be Mr. Olympia and build my absolute best physique.”

Ready to Make Improvements 

It’s clear that Derek Lunsford is in pursuit of a very specific goal. He wishes to become the 2023 Mr. Olympia and he’ll have a much more difficult time accomplishing that if he competes too many times ahead of the big show. Lunsford acknowledges that he has improvements to make and that is his biggest motivation for skipping the Arnold Classic.

“If I do the Arnold Classic, sure, we have a good shot at taking home the title and the $300,000, but I want to make significant improvements. I know where I need to get better and giving myself two more months or two and a half months of being healthy and having a little bit longer of an off season is going to give me a better shot at coming away with that Mr. Olympia title and that’s ultimately what I want.

“Now that we have made the decision to just focus on the Olympia, make improvements, be healthy, I’m excited and I’m going to let these guys battle it out for the Arnold Classic.”


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It makes sense that Derek Lunsford would skip the show. It gives him much more time to prepare for the 2023 Olympia and gives him the opportunity to potentially improve and topple the current reigning king Hadi Choopan. While it would have been great to see him face off against Nick Walker, it will likely give him the best chance at becoming Mr. Olympia this year.

What do you think of Derek Lunsford and his decision to skip the 2023 Arnold Classic?

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News and Editorial Writer at Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.

Managing editor of Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. He has been writing about bodybuilding, combat sports, and strength sports for over 8 years. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.