By Christian Duque
As we come within weeks of the 2022 Mr. Olympia, I’d be remiss if I didn’t address the 10,000lb elephant in the room. This issue is not with a person rather with how much work a single person has. I’m talking about legendary contest prep guru Hany Rambod, the guy who brought us the greatest looks guys like Jay Cutler and Phil Heath ever brought to the stage. He prepped legendary Men’s Physique Competitor Jeremy Buendia. Now he’s prepping four of the biggest names in the 2022 Olympia. He’s got Brandon Hendrickson, Hady Choopan, Derek Lunsford and Chris Bumstead. Each one of these superstar clients could easily have a coach all to themselves, monitoring from the day they arrive through weigh-in, and the nights before the prejudging and finals. The fact that Hany is coaching all of them for one contest is insane. And while coaches don’t necessarily have conflicts of interest in preparing two competitors for the same contest, that’s not to say individual clients might feel like they’re a lesser priority than the next. I can’t say that Hadi won’t feel less love than Derek or vice versa. It helps that Hany also pays these guys as sponsored athletes for Evogen, but sponsorships aside, these guys are accustomed to being top priorities. So far there’s nothing to suggest anyone’s getting less attention than what they expect, but what’s going to happen if Lunsford places higher or if Hadi has a slip up and Rambod can’t swoop in to take care of it. The fact of the matter is that the higher the level, the more competitors rely on coaches. This is something a lot of folks in the industry just don’t understand. It’s also a common mistake up and coming coaches make.
What do I mean? Well, let’s say a coach has had success with men and women in various divisions. At that point it’s no longer luck. If and when a coach develops true expertise, their book of business will undoubtedly grow. It’s at this point where business acumen and professional responsibility have got to kick in. A good coach has to know his or her worth. As clients start placing better, rates need to go up. That’s the logical way to keep doing what you’re doing and gaining more money as you gain experience. Sadly, a lot of coaches lack good business sense and instead of raising rates, they increase the number of clients they work with. As their people do better, their demand skyrockets. A good coach works with however many competitors he/she can realistically give their all to. When you spread yourself too thin everyone suffers and your business can tank.
Now of course, a guy at Hany’s level charges rates commensurate with his level of expertise. He’s not missing any meals and he’s living the good life. I mean he has his own supplement company and has his hand in a number of ventures in the industry; however, he may not know when to say no. The fact is, his star has only risen over the years, but sometimes when you’re on top you lose the ability to know when it’s too much might be beyond you. And this is where I think Hany is at. I think he’s got way too much on his plate and one – if not more – for his star clients are going to end up getting the short end of the stick. It’s just not possible for him to give all of them 100%.Derek has a real shot of winning the Olympia. The former 212 Olympia champion has packed on tons of muscle and is being compared with the greatest bodybuilders of the past. The former Mr. USA is going to Vegas for the win, but then there’s The Persian Wolf Hadi Choopan. The former People’s Champion has long been Rambod’s star client but may feel slighted now that Hany is working with Lunsford. I mean let’s face it, Choopan has had several cracks at the apple and hasn’t been able to surpass 3rd. At what point does Rambod start to think maybe Hadi can’t win? Then of course there’s Chris Bumstead who’s ruled Classic Physique for years and is going for #4. CBum is the most popular physique-based athlete in the world. His popularity surpasses even that of Big Ramy. If Bumstead hired Hany it’s because he not only wants to win again, but maybe he’s looking to eventually cross over to Open bodybuilding. He doesn’t need Hany to win – he’s done that 3x without him; there’s clearly something bigger he’s got in mind, but if Rambod is busy with Derek and Hadi, what’s to say CBum doesn’t drop him after the 2022 Olympia? Then there’s Brandon Hendrickson. This is a guy who has ruled over MPD for years. His name is synonymous with big wins and big endorsements. If he hired Rambod it’s because he expects to be treated like an A Lister, not get overlooked for other competitors.
How can one man give his all to four top superstars? And what if more big names decide they want to work with Hany? When will he turn business away? I honestly think he’s bitten more than he can chew this time. I think something’s going to give. Someone is going to get the cold shoulder and/or someone is going to have unexpected issues and they’ll be posting on social about their coach more or less ghosting them. Because that’s exactly what will happen if a top tier competitor slips up and they’re left to their owne devices to handle it. They won’t suffer in silence – that’s for sure.
Then again maybe Ramrod has all these guys on their own plans and he’s trained them mentally not to fall off the wagon. Maybe these guys have ironclad trust in him and the process. Many of them have seen some tremendous improvements while working with the guru and they know that they’re the only ones who can sabotage a sure thing. If an athlete follows the plans and sees results that’s going to build a very strong work ethic in them. All of these guys have tasted success and now they want to be the top in their respective divisions. They don’t want to just place well – they won’t to win everything!
Do you think Hany can juggle all these preps successfully or do you think it’s just a question of time till the shit hits the fan? I hope you enjoyed reading my article, here, at Iron Magazine. I look forward to reading your feedback in the comments.