Bodybuilding stalwarts weigh on new age categories, believe hardcore art is dead

1. Veteran bodybuilder Steve Williams (centre) enjoys a pose-down against Ollyn Martin (left) and Orson Martin (right).
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By Neto Baptiste

The introduction of a number of new categories designed to attract a wider cross-section of both competitors and spectators in bodybuilding has also served to kill the more traditional version of the sport as it pertains to hardcore bodybuilding.

This is according to two stalwarts of the discipline, Steve Williams and Keithroy Titus, who both believe that bodybuilders today will gravitate to the classic physique and other recently introduced categories because it involves less heavy lifting.

Williams, who is a former Sportsman of the Year, believes many young bodybuilders find it hard to keep up with what is required to be competitive at the regional and international level in hardcore bodybuilding.

“It is dying, and the bodybuilders themselves are dying too, because of what they have to do to keep up with the level it is at right now. If I was supposed to do it again, just like Bernard Percival, I would do classic bodybuilding and I think I have more of a classic physique,” he said.

The former Mr. Antigua who won the national title on several occasions, added that competitors from his era worked harder at mastering the craft.

“Our work ethics, I think, was different from what we are seeing now. I think we trained harder even though we did a lot of things wrong because as I said, we didn’t know the right way to train, so we did a lot of things wrong, but the point is that we trained hard with the little knowledge that we had. What I find now is that the youngsters, they will just go into the gym and train for a six-pack [abs] and they think that is bodybuilding so our work ethics was totally different,” Williams said. 

Meanwhile, Titus took a more direct approach, stating he was never in favour of the new categories as they promote laziness.

“I wasn’t really a fan of all the different classes I saw coming out of bodybuilding, but I saw the reason why. I am really a fan of the classic bodybuilding because it gives you a clean-looking physique whereas the hardcore style of bodybuilding has gotten to a point where people were just taking anything available just to get size and you had lost that appeal. People were going on stage, and if they could just hold in their stomachs for a little bit so they could look ok and as soon as they relaxed they would look as if they were pregnant,” he said.

“I think that, and I am going to say this, without fear or favour or contradiction, but I think that a lot of guys here in Antigua now, that they have chosen the physique because they are lazy,” Titus added.

In 2019, four of the country’s female bodybuilders in Kimberly Percival, Leanna CarringtonMichelle Seaforth and Sher-Rhonda Braithwaite flexed their way to success in Barbados’ Darcy Beckles Classic to earn their pro cards. Rosie-Ann WarringtonBernard Percival Jr, and Elvis Bailey had previously earned their pro card.

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