by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
If you think you’re going to be rich and famous when you get your IFBB pro card, I have a bridge to sell you. Let’s face it, if you’re an IFBB Pro these days, that doesn’t mean a whole hell of a lot. Why? Because pro cards are given out like gifts at an Oprah Winfrey Show. Therefore, bodybuilders need to better understand money strategies to make ends meet.
The life of a bodybuilder isn’t all peaches and cream. It’s not like they’re living a lavish lifestyle and flaunting exotic cars and million-dollar homes. In fact, for most, it’s the complete opposite. They live humbly because the sport that they love doesn’t pay them much of anything and the cost to compete and look the way they do is incredibly high. It’s for that reason they need to understand the three money strategies I’m about to lay out below.
Let’s dive into things.
Why Should Bodybuilders Care?
It’s very simple, most bodybuilders don’t have super long careers unless they are at the top of the sport. If they are winning, why wouldn’t they want to keep going? But the money strategies they implement can mean the difference between having something to show after they hang up their posing trunks and eating Ramen Noodles for the rest of their lives.
Unless you win major shows like the Arnold, NY Pro, Pittsburgh Pro, or Olympia, you’re only making a few thousand dollars for a win (and if you compete in bikini, fitness, physique, or pretty much anything outside of Men’s Open, you’re making even less for a win).
That’s not a lot when that’s your only source of income. I’d highly recommend that all IFBB Pros also have a job/career outside of the sport to help make ends meet and for the benefits (insurance, 401k, etc.).
In case you live under a rock, the cost of living right now is insane. Add in the fact that many bodybuilders eat, sleep, and train in order to reach the pinnacle of their sport, most are living frugally since they either don’t have a job or don’t have one that pays them much of anything due to making bodybuilding their priority. And let’s just call a spade a spade here, if there’s an unknown bodybuilder out there who is flashy and all they do is bodybuild, they’re a poser and broke as a joke — it needed to be said. That’s the old “fake it until you make it” scheme.
So, how can bodybuilders actually have something to show for their efforts in the sport long after they’ve retired? It comes down to the three money strategies I have laid out below.
#1: How to Make Money
There is no shortage of money in the world. Money is being exchanged every second of every day across the globe. The question becomes, what are you doing to have it flow to you? As a bodybuilder, unless you’re top five in the world, you’re not making a living from competing. And if you’re telling people that you are, you’re only fooling yourself.
Go get a job. Do something outside of bodybuilding that can help support you and your bodybuilding lifestyle. Get a sponsorship from a supplement or fitness brand. You need streams of revenue flowing in that help pay your bills and provide for you and your family. Work a full-time job or, at a minimum, at least a part-time job that pays well for the time you put into it.
#2: How to Keep Money
Anyone can make money, but can you keep it? It seems too simple to be one of the money strategies that bodybuilders need to follow, but it’s something not many seem to accomplish.
Between food, gym fees, supplements, super supps, paying their trainer and nutritionist, bills, etc., it’s easy to light your money on fire and have it go up in smoke — leaving you with nothing. But bodybuilders still need to figure out a way for them to keep some of their money. And it’s going to be challenging to do this if they don’t have a regular job outside of bodybuilding.
The goal should be to put enough money aside for living expenses and then put the rest into savings. You’d be surprised how many Americans don’t even have $500 in their bank account to be used in an emergency. It’s astonishing. Being that bodybuilding is a sport that involves putting yourself and your body at risk, you need to be able to keep your money.
#3: How to Multiply Money
Last on our list of money strategies is multiplying your money. How can bodybuilders take $500 and make it $5,000? How can they take $5,000 and turn it into $50,000? So on and so forth (you get the idea).
Make your money work for you. Put some money into an IRA, 401k plan, or even toss some money into real estate. If you’re putting your money into liabilities (anything that doesn’t make you money, such as a car, watch, swimming pool, etc.), you’ll never use the money strategies necessary to build any sort of wealth. And again, being a bodybuilder, you’re probably not making a lot to begin with.
Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman, and Phil Heath were smart with their money. They put their money into assets that help multiply their money, such as real estate and starting a business. When you look at most bodybuilders, as much as it pains me to say this, they’re completely broke. You can’t live your life like that and find happiness. You’ll always be trying to look for money between your sofa cushions.
Use the money strategies found above and take your passion for being a bodybuilder and at least build a future for yourself outside of the sport where you can support yourself and your family and have a little something there for yourself when you retire.