THE MEN’S PHYSIQUE DIVISION CONTINUES TO GROW, AND IFBB PRO ANTON ANTIPOV TELLS US WHY HE THINKS IT JUST MIGHT BE THE NEXT BIG GAME CHANGER
In 2012, the IFBB inaugurated its men’s physique division, opening the competitive door for countless men blessed with great genetics and strong work ethics. For Anton Antipov, it marked the start of a new career and a new life.
“Every year I make 12 resolutions, one for each month, something doable, like reading a book by a new author or visiting someplace new,” Antipov says. “One of those resolutions was to compete in a men’s physique competition.”
Antipov went to the 2012 NPC Steve Stone Metropolitans to spectate, but he made a game-time decision to hop into the show and wound up placing fourth. “If I could jump into a show half-assed and get fourth, I wondered what I could accomplish if I actually prepared,” he says.
Antipov did nine contests in 2012, winning his pro card at the IFBB North Americans. To date, he’s won multiple pro shows and has earned recognition as one of the top Men's Physique athletes in the indutry.
Many men’s physique competitors share the same characteristics: They’re former high school or collegiate athletes who got into modeling or bodybuilding. Antipov didn’t start competing at age 17 like current Olympia Men’s Physique Showdown winner Jeremy Buendia, yet he has more athletic history than Arnold Classic Champion Sadik Hadzovic. In fact, sports are how Antipov learned to speak English. “In 1997, I came to the U.S. from Belarus, where I played hockey,” Antipov says. “I didn’t speak English, so I knocked on the doors of kids who lived on my block and asked if they wanted to play hockey with me.”
THE PERFECT BEACH BOD
Antipov started his career as a 140-pound fashion model, traveling the world doing photo shoots. After realizing it wasn’t sustainable, he signed with a fitness modeling agency and starting booking fitness shoots and learning more about bodybuilding. “I didn’t think about competing until my booker told me about men’s physique,” he reveals.
“You want to come in looking like the perfect body you’d see on the beach,” NPC and IFBB judge and chairman of the NPC Northeast, New York and New Jersey, Steve Weinberger says. “You go, ‘Look at that body—I can attain that just by going to the gym, dieting, and doing my cardio.’ ”
THE CARDIO KING
Another constant in Antipov’s training is his cardio. He starts with ab training in the morning on an empty stomach, then does sprints followed by the StairMaster and StepMill. Then comes the day’s first meal.
Running and walking are staples of Antipov’s life, and he competes in charity races to raise money for various causes. He also completes Tough Mudder and Spartan Race obstacle races just to challenge himself. Based in New York City, Antipov walks virtually everywhere, which adds up to a lot of calories burned. “All of the walking helps keep me in shape; it’s steady cardio.”
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