The bodybuilding 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 and fitness 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. We’ll be updating the list every Friday for the entire month of August.
This week, the Power 30 list counts down 30-25 on our list.
Angelica Teixeira makes the list for her astounding upset victory over recent Olympia Bikini champion Courtney King at the 2017 Arnold Sports Festival. While Teixeira’s star has steadily risen through the years, a win at one of the most well respected bodybuilding shows of the year has put her on everyone’s radar. Heading into the Olympia she has established herself as the favorite, but that also means she’ll have a target on her back and whole lot to prove. She has also recently signed with GAT to become their official sponsored athlete.
29Edwin Mejia Jr.
A deal maker with a penchant for converting bodybuilders into prospective Hollywood stars, Edwin Mejia Jr. is a producer who bridges the gap between bodybuilding and the entertainment industry. Bringing bodybuilding and combat sports projects to the masses via Netflix, ESPN and Amazon, with films like Generation Iron, CT Fletcher: My Magnificent Obsession, The Hurt Business and Generation Iron 2, Mejia is a media giant in the making. Co-managing Kai Greene and recently signing Calum von Moger to his ranks, Edwin Mejia Jr. is proving to be a force in the fitness and bodybuilding industry.
28Calum von Moger
Calum von Moger has had quite the year. From finally making the decision to compete in the NPC to starring in Generation Iron 2, Calum’s stock has been exploding in the last few years. Between his social media presence and his victories in competition, Calum von Moger is quickly establishing himself as one of the top prospects to watch in the industry. Should he earn his pro card within the year we could see Calum competing at the 2018 Olympia against the best of the best in the Classic Physique division.
One of the most iconic bodybuilders in the history of the sport, Flex Wheeler is a man who commands a ton of respect within the fitness and bodybuilding landscape. While competing in open weight bodybuilding in the 90s he established himself for having one of the best physiques around. Now that he’s chosen to make a comeback to the stage, interest in Flex Wheeler has exploded making his appearance at this year’s Olympia all the more intriguing. He has also expanded into the business of bodybuilding as a n official Blackskull Labs athlete, owner and partner of The Kooler (which appeared on the famous show Shark Tank), and sponsored athlete of Otomix shoes.
CEO of Redcon1, Aaron Singerman is proving himself to be an entrepreneur to keep an eye on. With Redcon1 Aaron Singerman is establishing a strong, up and coming supplement brand that is already flourishing. He’s also responsible for co-founding Blackstone Labs, is the CEO and founder of Prime Nutrition, and also helps co-manage brands such as Dynamik Muscle and Iron Addicts. With athletes like Dallas McCarver under this great brand, it’s already apparent that Aaron Singerman is doing something right. This is a man to keep an eye on in the bodybuilding and supplement industry.
Owner and operator of one of the most famous bodybuilding magazines ever, Steve Blechman is a man who commands a ton of respect in the industry. Muscular Development is one of the premier bodybuilding magazines out there and is still going strong. With Blechman at the helm, Muscular Development has produced a ton of content and given bodybuilders exposure directly to the fans for over fifteen years.
One of the top bodybuilders in the sport, Cedric McMillan has been proving himself to be a man to watch in the Open Weight division. Genetically talented with a never say die attitude to training, McMillan has pushed himself to be a superb bodybuilder, captivating the masses with his mix of natural charisma and classical form. In fact, Cedric McMillan’s classical physique and presentation inspired Arnold Schwarzenegger to add new rules to the Arnold Classic in order to accommodate presentation and not simply focusing on massive size. With his big win at the Arnold Classic 2017, Cedric McMillan is looking to bring a ton of momentum with him to the Olympia this September.
A Ms. Fitness Olympia and Arnold Classic Champion, Oksana Grishina has proven herself to be one of the most influential female fitness figures in the industry today. With her charisma and daring fitness routines, it’s easy to see why Oksana is such a crowd favorite at every fitness competition. The impact that she’s had on the fitness category is obvious and with the 2017 Olympia being her last, you can bet all eyes will be on Oksana at the biggest event of the year.
When you think of the Arnold Classic competition most individuals immediately think about the man who the competition is name after. But there are so many other figures who have a major influence on ensuring the Arnold Classic events go off without a hitch and Tony Doherty is one of them. As show runner for the Arnold Classic Australia, Tony Doherty has been influential in making bodybuilding a global phenomenon. Owning six gyms in Australia, it’s apparent that Tony Doherty is leaving his stamp on bodybuilding on the international stage.
With a massive mainstream audience and tremendous fanfare, Steve Cook has become one of bodybuilding’s major players. Cook has been able to generate a large following through social media and online training programs that yield tremendous results for his clients. Sponsored by Optimum Nutrition, having his own clothing line, and inventing his very own fitness program, Steve Cook is only getting more and more attention as time passes. His next endeavor is to open up his own gym which will no doubt continue to bolster the success of one of the fitness industry’s best and brightest.
One of the best trainers in the industry today, Hany Rambod has proven himself to be a wizard at cultivating pro talent. While these days he’s known as the man who trains Olympia open weight bodybuilding king Phil Heath, Rambod has also trained the likes of former Olympia champion Jay Cutler cementing himself as one of the best trainers in the business. With other champions like Jeremy Buendia under his tutelage and his fitness plan the FST-7 Training Program, Hany Rambod has created a legacy of molding the best of the best bodybuilding athletes in the modern era.
After a life threatening car accident, James Grage would be changed forever. With the severe damage to his lower body, it was near impossible for anyone to believe Grage would ever walk normally again, much less make a return to fitness. But James Grage defied the odds and through hard work and determination was able to rebuild what he had lost. But he wouldn’t stop there. Grage also became Executive Vice President of BPI Sports, a world renowned distributor of supplements and training gear. With such a compelling story its no wonder how Grage was able to help make BPI Sports a household name.
CEO of the popular BodyPower brand, Nick Orton has cemented himself as a man to watch in the bodybuilding industry. Orton has established himself with the BodyPower pro that has steadily grown in popularity over the last few years and is held as one of the most grand and important bodybuilding shows out there. The BodyPower pro show has grown to the level of other major shows like the Arnold Classic and from the looks of things, this is only the beginning for Nick Orton’s brand.
A true veteran and well respected for his achievements in competitive bodybuilding, Shawn Ray has shifted focus since retiring from the pro stage. As a perennial contender for the Olympia title back in the 90s, Ray showed just how incredible his physique and work ethic is. In fact, his venture into the world of bodybuilding journalism has seen him take the same drive and focus he utilized in his bodybuilding career to become one of the more hard hitting reporters in the sport.
Often referred to as the GOAT, Ronnie Coleman is a name that every bodybuilding fan recognizes. Even despite the fact that he’s been off the stage for years, Coleman has managed to keep a solid following and has even hinted at a possible return to action. Besides his bodybuilding career, Coleman is renowned having one of the most well respected supplement brands in the business. In fact, Ronnie Coleman’s brand is ranked among the top international brands worldwide.
One of the leading entrepreneurs in the world, Hugh McGuire is a name that many casual fans may not be aware of. As the CEO of Glanbia, a leading supplement distributor, McGuire has established himself is one of the most powerful individuals in the fitness and bodybuilding community. His well known brand Optimum Nutrition is one of the largest supplement brands in the world. With a considerable amount of athletes under the Optimum Nutrition banner, Hugh McGuire has proven himself to be a talented business man with a great deal of power within the industry.
Owner of what’s becoming one of the most illustrious gyms in the world, Bader Bodai is certainly a major player in the bodybuilding world. As the owner of Oxygen Gym, Bodai has a facility that caters to some of the best talent in the world. With champions like Roelly Winklaar, Big Ramy, Nathan De Asha, and Brandon Curry training at the Kuwait based training facility, Bodai has created a home for some of the most hardcore competitors in the sport. Among those who train at Oxygen Gym, a wide range have qualified for the Olympia and will likely place in the top of their respective division.
One of the most powerful people in the bodybuilding industry, Rafael Santonja is extremely influential in the worldwide popularity of the IFBB and bodybuilding in general. Santonja is the president of the international division of the IFBB which means he’s in charge of organizing, producing, and coordinating a countless amount of bodybuilding events throughout the world. With successful events like the Arnold Classic Australia, the BodyPower Pro, and other international shows of the like, it’s easy to see why Rafael Santonja is so well respected in the bodybuilding industry.
A bodybuilding veteran and IFBB Hall of Famer, Rich Gaspari is one of the most well regarded bodybuilders to ever compete in professional bodybuilding. While his career as a competitive bodybuilder is in his rear view, Gaspari is still having a major impact on bodybuilding. After his retirement, Rich Gaspari started his own supplement company that saw a major amount of success. While the company fell on hard times in 2016, his ability to bounce back and once again have the brand flourishing shows just how capable of a business man Gaspari has become since his days as “The Dragon Slayer” on the Olympia stage.
11James “Flex” Lewis
When you think of dominant champions in bodybuilding there’s no way you don’t hear the name James “Flex” Lewis and not think of his reign of the 212 division. One of the most genetically gifted and impressive bodybuilders currently competing today, Flex Lewis has become a household name with five consecutive Olympia victories. Flex Lewis has also worked with some of the biggest nutrition brands out there including Gaspari Nutrition and BSN. He also has a documentary about his life on the Olympia stage called HISTORY showcases the major influence and interest in the 212 champion.
10Dana Linn and Rob Bailey
While it’s unusual to see two individuals take up one spot on a list, Dana Linn and Rob Bailey have proven themselves to be such an inspirational and powerful team that it would be foolish not acknowledge their successful synergy. DLB is a former Women’s Physique Olympia champion who has turned her success on the stage into major success outside of competition. Dana Linn and Rob Bailey’s Flag Nor Fail has risen to be one of the most well respected fitness apparel companies today. With their many sponsorships with supplement brands and gyms, it’s easy to see that this husband and wife make an awesome team.
A former Olympia champion with a great deal of influence on today’s up and coming pros, Jay Cutler has always been a well respected bodybuilder. After winning four Olympia titles and beating out arguable to the greatest bodybuilder to compete in the open weight division, Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler has since moved on to other fitness related endeavors. With a passion for health and fitness, as well as a yearning to help others fulfill their own glory, Cutler has established his own supplement company. Not only that, but he also offers workshops and works closely with prospective pro bodybuilders in hopes of shaping the future of the sport.
8Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
One of the most popular actors of our generation, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a prominent figure in the fitness and bodybuilding industry. Not only has he performed as a professional wrestler, an endeavor with a ton of cross over with pro bodybuilding, The Rock has proven himself to an avid bodybuilder in his own right. This passion for bodybuilding has carried over into his career as well as his involvement in the sport. At last year’s Olympia The Rock made a special appearance and made reference to the fact that big things were in-store for the 2017 show.
If you’re an avid follower of bodybuilding on the pro level then there’s no way that you haven’t heard the name Steve Weinberger. As the head judge of the IFBB, Weinberger has a host of knowledge about the sport at his disposal. He knows exactly what he and the other judges are looking for in a physique and posing routine. Steve Weinberger sets the standard for what makes a champion standout among the crowd and as such sports a tremendous amount of power and influence in the bodybuilding world.
6Jim and Bob Lorimer
There’s no doubt that the Olympia is the biggest bodybuilding show in the world, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other very important and prestigious shows out there. The Arnold Classic is considered to be one of the most prominent bodybuilding shows of the year. The men responsible for the event, brothers Jim and Bob Lorimer, have expanded the popularity of the show on a global scale. The Arnold Classic can now be found in several international markets showcasing that Jim and Bob Lorimer have left a major mark in the bodybuilding industry.
One of, if not the most, prominent individuals in the supplement and nutrition business, Jared Wheat is one of the most successful business men in the health industry. The CEO of Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, Jared Wheat has proven himself to be a giant in the nutrition and supplement industry. Wheat has further solidified his standing as one of the best of the best in the industry with his acquisition of Gaspari Nutrition as well as having popular brands like APS Nutrition, Iforce Nutrition, LG Sciences and ALR Industries under his umbrella. With such big names under his management, it’s safe to say that Jared Wheat enjoys a great deal of power and influence in the health and fitness industry.
The reigning and defending Open Weight Olympia champion, Phil Heath has proven to be an absolute beast on stage. Not only has Heath proven himself to be untouchable in his six title win streak, he has manage to represent the sport admirably. The face of bodybuilding, Heath continues to build his legendary status with every new win. He also has his own clothing brand, Gifted Athletics, which has seen growing success over the years. Phil Heath is proving himself to be a savvy business man as well as all time great bodybuilder.
One of the most wildly popular figures in modern bodybuilding, Kai Greene has been the eternal underdog in bodybuilding. Despite that, or perhaps because of that fact, Kai has managed to gain a massive amount of fans. His unique posing routines and artistic approach have seen him set himself apart among other bodybuilders. Kai’s artistic side has also led to the production of a graphic novel. His business savvy has extended to building the supplement brand Dynamik Muscle from the ground up. Kai Greene is no longer the underdog of bodybuilding, but a figure with immense influence and power while at the same time still remaining humble and composed.
The man considered by many to be the best to ever do it, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a man who has been able to transcend bodybuilding and become something else entirely. Besides winning seven straight Olympia titles, the achievements of Schwarzenegger’s career seem unfathomable. One of the most recognizable faces on the planet, Arnold has been a Governor, an actor with box office smash hits, as well as co-promoter of one of the biggest bodybuilding shows in the world, The Arnold Sports Festival. His influence goes far and wide as he’s been able to change the rules of the Arnold Classic shows to implement more focus on posing in order to determine the best of the best bodybuilders. While he may have transcended bodybuilding, Arnold Schwarzenegger still acknowledges his love for the sport and has tried to further it’s growth throughout the world.
The most powerful man in bodybuilding, Jim Manion comes in at number one on this list. As President of the IFBB and NPC, Manion oversees all the machinations in all IFBB related competitions, including the illustrious Olympia. The amount of power and influence he possesses allows him to make drastic changes when necessary, all in order to further grow and bolster the sport. When the fans called for a return to more classic physiques, Manion implemented a plan to create a new division to accommodate more traditional bodybuilding forms. With his willingness to give the fans what they want, Jim Manion truly has become the most influential figure in all of bodybuilding.