FLEX: I know you grew up in the D.C. area. Do you plan on ever moving back or promoting any contests there?
Shawn Rhoden: Not in the foreseeable future, no. Although a lot of my family is still there, I got really tired of the East Coast winters, especially having spent my childhood in Jamaica. Since I’ve been training with Charles Glass on the West Coast, I’m splitting my time between L.A. and Florida, and don’t get a chance to spend much time in D.C.
Believe it or not, I’m going to be promoting an amateur bodybuilding contest in the Philippines in 2014. It will be held just outside Manila. My manager is from the Philippines, and he opened my eyes to the fact that Filipinos are crazy about bodybuilding. They’ll get 200–300 amateurs at a show!
My ultimate goal is to promote a pro contest in 2015, but I haven’t yet decided where. I want to make sure that when I commit to promoting, I do it well. It takes a lot of time, and that’s something I haven’t had with the number of contests I’ve done in the past two years.
FLEX: Do you watch any of the pro routines from past Olympias or Arnold Classics to get inspired for your posing? Some people say you pose a lot like Flex Wheeler.
Shawn Rhoden: I don’t watch those, but I find the comparison to Flex extremely flattering! I think every pro bodybuilder has to find a posing style that suits his personality and body type. I prefer slower music because I can hit poses for longer and show of more muscle groups during the transition between poses.
One tip I give to up-and-coming bodybuilders is to pick music that they’re comfortable with and not try to imitate anyone else.
FLEX: What do you enjoy most about being a pro bodybuilder? It seems like a grind, just traveling, eating, and lifing.
Shawn Rhoden: One thing I always tell people who want to do this for a living is that you must truly enjoy competing, dieting, and the journey of improving yourself. You have to look beyond the day-to-day grind, because you’ll defeat yourself mentally if you don’t.
But it’s actually a lot of fun. I get to travel to Europe, promote my sponsors’ products, and guest pose all over the U.S. I have to carefully plan my workouts and meals around that, but being able to meet like-minded people all over the world has been something I’d wanted to do since I was a kid. - FLEX