Mohamed El Emam reflects back on his 2021 season and examines how doing six shows in a year hurt his chances more than helped.

Mohamed El Emam had quite the active bodybuilding season in 2021. He competed in six shows over the course of the year. This included some major shows such as the New York Pro and the Arnold Classic. He did consistently well, often placing in the top five for each competition. Yet he was never able to land that first place victory. In our latest GI Exclusive, Mohamed El Emam looks back on how competing in six shows might have hurt his chances for victory more than helped him.

Mohamed El Emam had an incredible drive to qualify and compete in the Mr. Olympia 2021. his drive was so fierce that he ended up coming in six competitions throughout the year. Ultimately, he did not compete at the Olympia competition. What was most frustrating is that El Emam’s physique is extremely promising and earned him a top five spot in nearly every competition of 2021. Still, the Mr. Olympia alluded him.

Looking back, Mohamed El Emam believes that he ultimately competed in too many shows. This left him less time for recovery and growth. It also gave him less time to reflect and adjust his methods properly for real change. The end result was a powerful physique but not necessarily the best one on stage. He stayed in the top five just enough times to keep hype and attention on him – but could not rise up for a victory.

This vicious cycle not only kept the fans hyped for each next competition – it kept Mohamed El Emam hyped as well. He was so close to earning the victory each time that he continued to jump back into the fray – believing that the very next one would be his shot.

In pro bodybuilding, competing in this many competitions is rare. While it does sometimes happen, there’s a reason why the top bodybuilding pros only compete twice – and often times only once – per year. Consider Big Ramy, the current Mr. Olympia champion. He has the ability to focus all year on one goal. One competition. Whereas someone like Mohamed El Emam has shorter term goals for each new competition he competed in. This splits up his focus.

Of course, the Mr. Olympia champion has the luxury of only competing once a year. He does not need to qualify, nor does he need to worry about prize money due to the heavy pay out of winning the previous year. Not to mention sponsorship opportunities that open up when you are the best in the world. Other rising bodybuilders don’t have that same luxury.

Looking back, Mohamed El Emam states that he probably should have started slowing down after the New York Pro. Given himself more time to adjust, grow, recover, and focus on something like the Arnold Classic. Ultimately, El Emam placed seventh at the Arnold Classic 2021. This was one of the few times he landed outside of the top five. This might be due to burnout from the previous five competitions. Although, it could also be due to a higher caliber lineup at the second biggest show of the year.

In either case, Mohamed El Emam has now learned his lesson and intends to slow things down. Sadly, he was also forced into slowing things down after a car accident in November put him into the hospital. While he is alive and well – he had stated he would be unable to compete for at least six months. An unexpected turn for sure and one that will certainly set him back.

But perhaps after recovery and a new found outlook on his bodybuilding plans and prep – he will return a new version of the Mohamed El Emam fans grew to love. It may not be in 2022 (we’ll see), but perhaps in 2023 El Emam will rise up with a new physique that places him as a threat in the Arnold Classic or Mr. Olympia. Only time will tell.

You can watch Mohamed El Emam’s full comments about his jam-packed year of competing by watching our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above.

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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.