Lionel Beyeke (FLEX Pro winner) and Janaina Barral (FLEX Bikni Model winner)
This past weekend I attended the 2012 IFBB Flex Pro in beautiful Santa Monica, CA. This is the first pro show of the year, and there’s no better city to hold a professional bodybuilding competition than in the home of Muscle Beach.
1. Lionel Beyeke from France won the men’s open division and qualifies for the Mr. Olympia in Las Vegas. He was the hype coming into the show, but many felt he shouldn’t have won given his [lack of] conditioning. This was especially apparent in his back poses, where he seemed to be holding a film of water. Nevertheless, his genetic structure (and small waist) was enough to earn him a victory.
2. Ben Pakulski was my favorite to win. Although not structurally superior to Beyeke, Ben “Pak-Man” Pakulski brought jaw-dropping mass, better conditioning (with hard glutes) and the most wow factor to the stage. Pak-Man is mostly known for his tremendous legs–when he would stand to the front or back, his quad sweep would seemingly spill outward. It’s an insane thing to see, not to mention his enormous calves. I also was very entertained by Ben’s poise on stage, and when I talked to him about it at the show, he said he’s “a very passionate person”.
3. Fouad “Hoss” Abiad took 3rd. He had balance, shape, symmetry, size, and conditioning, and ironically this hurt his placing because nothing really stood out about Fouad (to the judges, at least).
4. Sean “Flexatron” Rhoden was a crowd favorite. Although structurally superior, like Beyeke, he couldn’t quite hang with the big boys in terms of size. He was a little soft as well (by bodybuilding standards, “soft” can still be ripped), and had he been in better condition, he may have moved up a spot.
5. Eduardo Correa took 5th, probably the most disappointing decision of the evening, as many felt he should have won the show. He was the smallest of the top five competitors, but where he really shined above everyone else was his hard-as-nails conditioning. In bodybuilding terms, there’s ripped, and there’s shredded. Correa was inside out shredded. He brought freaky conditioning with the striated glutes, triceps, deeply set abs, and peeled apart quads. He was so shredded it looked like it hurt.
In the women’s divisions, Adela Garcia won Pro Fitness, and Janaina Barral won the Bikini Model Search. The fitness routines were especially very fun to watch. There was also plenty of eye candy on stage, as well as in attendance (which is true for most bodybuilding contests).
Phil Heath (current Mr. Olympia) was also in attendance. I’ve been to several Olympias and my goal one year is to fly out to the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, OH.
It was a great weekend and I got in a training session at Venice Gold’s Gym. Dexter Jackson was training legs with Charles Glass (2 weeks out from the Arnold Classic), as were a few other pros, such as Ben Pakulski. 50 Cent was also in the gym working out. You never know who you’ll run into at The Mecca.