Presented by Generation Iron, the bodybuilding, strength sports, and fitness world is filled with a whose who of talented athletes, businessmen, and personalities, all of them leaving their own impact on the health and wellness industry. Generation Iron’s Power 30 honors thirty unique and important individuals who have left their mark on the bodybuilding, fitness, and strength sports industry this year.
The Power 30 is our annual attempt to create a ranking, through in depth discussions amongst our editorial staff, of the 30 athletes, CEOs, and personalities that have made an impact on bodybuilding this year.
30Edwin Mejia Jr.
One of the top film producers and managers in the fitness and bodybuilding industry, Edwin Mejia Jr. has helped generate massive interest in strength sports and bodybuilding in recent times. Co-producing the likes of the films such as the Generation Iron movie series, Ronnie Coleman: The King, CT Fletcher: My Magnificent Obsession, The Hurt Business, and the recent chart-topping Kai Greene documentary film titled – Kai, Mejia Jr. has become an influential figure in the industry. He continues to build mainstream appeal by bridging media across Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV, Hulu, Amazon and many platforms worldwide.
The INBA and PNBA founder and president, Denny Kakos put natural bodybuilding on to the map. Kakos has helped to bring a spotlight to natural bodybuilding at a time when untested bodybuilding is at its height of popularity. While there are many natural bodybuilding leagues – only the INBA/PNBA league stands tall as a unifying force in the mainstream of bodybuilding. Kakos is the perfect person to cultivate the natural scene and bring it to the mainstream.
A budding and successful entrepreneur carving out his name in the bodybuilding and fitness space, Domenic Iacovone is certainly an individual to watch in the industry. Founder of the R3VIVE Medical Franchise which is making waves in the supplement world, Iacovone is quickly asserting himself as one of the fitness industries budding new powerful figures.
Matt Jansen is a major authority in the bodybuilding community. Having trained the likes of Dallas McCarver, Nathan De Asha, and most recently helping cultivate the up-and-coming Nick Walker, it’s safe to say Jansen is a coach of repute. Most recently, Jansen has helped Shaun Clarida realize his dream as a 212 Olympia king – showing that he has the wealth of knowledge to turn the top pros into champions.
After his wildly successful powerlifting career, Mark Bell has shifted focus to becoming one of the most respected podcast figures in the fitness space. Along with his Sling Shot sleeve brand, Bell has established himself as an intelligent entrepreneur always looking to reinvent himself. His podcast, The Power Project, is one of the top podcasts in the bodybuilding, strength, and fitness space – it’s definitely worth a look and listen.
One of the top bodybuilding coaches in the world today, George Farah is still cultivating top champions in the IFBB Pro League. Having worked with the likes of Kai Greene and competing with legends in the sport, Farah has a massive wealth of knowledge that has kept him at the top of the sport. Having most recently worked with top prospect Andrew Jacked to help him secure his first major IFBB Pro League victory, Farah has his hand on the pulse of bodybuilding and will remain a fixture for years to come.
There’s no question about it. Michal Krizo is one of the top prospects in the IFBB Pro League. What started as a crossover curiosity from the IFBB Elite Pro league – news of Krizo’s move to the IFBB Pro league sent waves through the industry. With so many respected figures singing his praises, including former reigning Olympia Jay Cutler (who compared him favorably to Phil Heath), the future is bright for Krizo who has real potential to become an Olympia champion.
The veteran bodybuilder turned trainer has been earning his legendary status recently. Taking talented bodybuilders under his wing like Regan Grimes and giving pointers to the talented Andrew Jacked, there’s no question that Milos Sarcev remains a major player in the bodybuilding scene. With his wealth of knowledge there’s no doubt that we’ll be seeing more and more competitors win championships under the tutelage of Sarcev.
A twenty-time Olympia winning coach, Hany Rambod is the premiere bodybuilding trainer of our time. Helping many pros reach the promise land and beyond, Rambod has helped Jay Cutler, Phil Heath, and Jeremy Buendia obtain Olympia glory on multiple occasions. These days Rambod is helping Hadi Choopan in his own quest for the Sandow and was behind the scenes with Derek Lunsford as he earned the Olympia 212 title this past year. Clearly, Rambod has not slowed down – his knowledge as coach is truly indispensable still to this day.
One of the most popular strength athletes in the world today, Larry Wheels is always looking to reinvent himself. When he’s not breaking personal records in one strength sport or another, Larry Wheels is training alongside some of the best athletes in the world. If he’s able to hold his own with the likes of Hafthor Bjornsson in strongman, train with the up-and-coming Andrew Jacked, and still remain dedicated to his powerlifting, there’s no doubt that Larry Wheels will be considered one of the best all around strength athletes of all time.
Having carved out a space for himself in the fitness industry, Mike Rashid has become an authority in the space. Never afraid to reinvent himself and explore the many different avenues of fitness, Rashid is a man who has garnered respect and a loyal following through his actions and consistent hard work. Years of success through proven projects and his partnership with Trifecta Nutrition show that more than ever Rashid is still a dominant force within the industry.
The seven-time Olympia champion himself, Phil Heath is still going strong. While he has not competed in almost two years, his popularity among bodybuilding fans hasn’t waned one bit. Most notably, Heath is set to be the color commentator for the 2022 Mr. Olympia. The former Olympia champion has also hinted at a comeback in the future, and he still has the potential to challenge the competitors at the top of the division. As he said himself, “It ain’t over yet, I’m just getting started!”
A former bikini competitor, Michelle Lewin has seen it all in the fitness and bodybuilding industry. One the most popular and recognize figures in the fitness industry, Michelle continues to build upon her fitness empire. Having made it through a tough time her husband Jimmy Lewin, the two are now expecting their first child together. But that hasn’t slowed down Michelle one bit. She continues to provide quality training programs to her millions of loyal followers.
17Chul Soon Hwang
A popular figure who has brought awareness to bodybuilding in his native South Korea, Chul Soon Hwang has garnered world renown for his incredible physique and multitude of talents. Through his dominant victories on the Muscle Mania stage to his turns in acting and modeling gigs, Chul Soon has gained quite a bit of notoriety both in and out of the bodybuilding industry. Massively popular on social media, Chul Soon has amassed an army of loyal followers in the millions making him one of the most influential and recognized figures in the fitness and bodybuilding space.
Tom Stoltman is one of the strongest humans walking the Earth – literally. After winning the 2021 World’s Strongest Man competition, Stoltman followed it up by repeating the feat in 2022. Stoltman has broken many records during his tenure as a strongman and his two World’s Strongest Man victories are icing on the cake. With how incredible his last several showings have been, it would come as no surprise if Tom Stoltman maintains a stranglehold in the strongman world.
The reigning Mr. Olympia, Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay has proven twice that he is the best bodybuilder on the planet. Ramy caused quite some controversy earlier in the year after he skipped out of the prestigious guest posing spectacle at Jim Manion’s Pittsburg Pro. But his most recent update makes it clear that the Egyptian bodybuilder is still the favorite to walk away once again with the Mr. Olympia title. If he continues to come in shredded and well-conditioned the question will shift from if Big Ramy can win to how many Sandows can he collect.
President and Chief Olympia Officer Dan Solomon is at the heart of the 200-billion-dollar fitness industry. Responsible for putting on the Olympia year after year, you could argue that Solomon is the most important behind-the-scenes figure in bodybuilding today. Always looking to bring something fresh to the table, it will be interesting to see where Dan Solomon leads the Olympia show next.
Head judge of the IFBB Pro League Steve Weinberger is one of the most important men in bodybuilding today. Weinberger sets the standard for what we see in competition today and without his vision many wouldn’t have a road map to traverse in their journey for bodybuilding supremacy. His continued dedication to the evolution of bodybuilding will be paramount in the years to come.
One of the most popular figures in the strength industry with a ton of crossover appeal, Hafthor Bjornsson has reached a new audience thanks to his most recent endeavors. In his boxing match with rival Eddie Hall, the 2018 World’s Strongest Man showed that he was serious about the craft and looked the part of a polished boxer. Bjornsson has always looked to push limits in his career and his victory over Hall has given him a taste for continuing his boxing journey. When he’s not throwing down in the ring or breaking deadlift world records, you can be sure to find Bjornsson tackling some kind of endeavor in the entertainment industry truly making him a force.
The eight-time Mr. Olympia king, Ronnie Coleman has remained popular and relevant in modern times through his continued motivational training to his successful supplement line. Always in high spirits despite the injuries he’s suffered throughout his career, Ronnie Coleman is a vision of determination and embodiment of never giving in no matter the difficulties faced.
One of the most talented bodybuilders in the world today, Nick Walker has shown and proved that he’s the future of the bodybuilding division. Winning the 2021 Arnold Classic and breaking into the top five at his first Olympia show proved that there’s a ton of upside to this young man. His massive size and yearning to improve every fine detail make him a threat to the top of the Men’s Open division. His progress has been so impressive – there are many who predict he can be a threat to Big Ramy’s throne this year and become the new Mr. Olympia champion. Only time will tell.
The Olympia owner himself Jake Wood has done well to keep the brand afloat after purchasing the event and brand name from AMI. The pandemic could have destroyed, or at the very least cancelled, the Olympia event in these last couple years, but through his ingenuity and business smarts Jake Wood was able to overcome the hardship and succeed where others would have faltered. He is considered a key component of bringing back the Ms. Olympia into the schedule. And he continues to be determined to transform the biggest event in the year into a more accessible, more finely produced competition worth of its title.
A long-time and avid bodybuilder, Mike O’Hearn is a staple in the industry. The self-proclaimed natural bodybuilder has taken his fair share of criticism over the years. Despite the detractors and the naysayers, Mike O’Hearn has proven time and again to be a truly impressive bodybuilder. Most recently, O’Hearn has launched The Mike O’Hearn Show co-produced by Generation Iron and Barbend to give audiences a deeper look into his life including his training and his opinions on the latest happenings in the bodybuilding world. In addition to this, he is set to appear in the upcoming feature film – Magazine Dreams.
A budding entrepreneur who got his start in the competitive bodybuilding scene, Bradley Martyn has turned his passion for bodybuilding into a multifaceted fitness empire. From opening his own gym, Zoo Culture, to launching apparel lines, a supplement brand, and a podcast, Bradley Martyn has certainly become the picture of success in the bodybuilding and fitness industry. Keep your eye on this man as he continues to grow in the world of fitness!
6Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Always looking to improve himself physically, mentally, and financially, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson remains one of the most influential figures in the fitness world. When he’s not dominating the film and liquor industries, The Rock is showcasing that age is nothing but a number with his incredible physique and inspiring training online. Most notably, this year he will appear as Black Adam in the DCEU – brining his hulking bodybuilding frame to the superhero world. He’s also set to break into the promotional side of bodybuilding as well as professional football proving that The Rock is a force to be reckoned with in the sporting industry.
Always looking to embrace different facets of his creative personality, Kai Greene has become one of the rare crossover successes in the bodybuilding world. Having joined the RedCon1 brand and collaborated with a who’s who in the fitness and bodybuilding space, Kai Greene has proved as popular as ever. If his millions of followers weren’t proof enough, his foray into different forms of entertainment showcases just how in demand Greene is. With his upcoming documentary, Kai, the world will learn everything about the talented bodybuilder’s life.
Still training hard and remaining relevant in the bodybuilding community, Jay Cutler has constantly reinvented himself since retiring from the stage. His Cutler Nutrition and TRIFECTA nutrition brands have exploded in recognition and popularity. His podcast has also become a great source of information for avid fans and Cutler’s ability to pick winners has made his one of the most important voices in bodybuilding today.
Undoubtedly one of the most powerful individuals in bodybuilding, Jim Manion continues to be a major influence in the industry. His sharp mind, business savvy, and leadership has taken the IFBB Pro League, still standing tall as the most well known bodybuilding league in the sport, to brand new heights. The mastermind behind all the machinations in the IFBB Pro League, Jim Manion has proven to be the glue that keeps the bodybuilding world together.
A fixture in the bodybuilding scene and its most popular figure to date, Arnold Schwarzenegger continues to sit atop the industry as revered royalty. Commanding a ton of respect in the realm of bodybuilding, Schwarzenegger still manages to put on one of the best and most important shows of the year, the annual Arnold Classic. No matter the industry, from bodybuilding to movies, Schwarzenegger has always dominated whatever space he’s entered making him the most influential fitness figure of all-time.
The three-time Classic Physique Olympia champion, Chris Bumstead has proven himself to be one of the most popular figures in bodybuilding. Sporting a powerful and aesthetic physique unmatched by his peers, Bumstead has become very influential in the industry. After once again dominating the field at the 2021 Olympia, Bumstead further cemented his legacy as the quintessential Classic Physique champion. With three victories under his belt, Bumstead is looking to further his legacy as champion and who knows, perhaps we could one day see him moving up to take on the Men’s Open division.