Many fans of bodybuilding know Logan Franklin as one of the rising stars of the IFBB Pro League’s Classic Physique division. While he enjoys being a part of his sport, that wasn’t the career he thought he would aspire to during his childhood. He knew that when he grew up, he would have a higher calling — serving his country.

“From a very young age, that was the path. Everyone in my family served in the military,” Franklin said. “My grandfather was awarded two Purple Hearts in the Vietnam War. My uncle was an Airborne Ranger. My dad was in the Army. My mom both served in the Army National Guard. So I have a lot of family history in the military.”

Logan Franklin knew that college wasn’t going to provide the path he personally needed after his sister passed away when he was a teenager. He admitted that he didn’t take his grades as seriously as other students during that time. His parents were obviously grieving over that loss as well. Joining the Army signified the next step in his life after high school. He also felt called by the events of September 11, 2001.

“I remember watching that in fifth grade. It was another one of those things that made me want to serve,” he explained. Franklin would actually fulfill one year of his commitment in Afghanistan, which was considered an Al-Qaeda stronghold. Franklin was in Afghanistan during the time that Osama bin Laden was captured in Pakistan. There was a lot of debate about whether American forces should even be in that part of the world after that, but Franklin said that they didn’t pay attention to any that while they were on the ground.

“I knew there was chatter, but I felt that people viewed that Afghanistan is where the Taliban originated. That was where they came from when they attacked us on American soil. I wouldn’t care what people thought about us being there. They don’t see what we see when we’re down there.”

Logan Franklin in military battle gear posing with his ar-15 and his platoon
Courtesy of Logan Franklin

No place like home

When asked about the first positive memory that came to mind about his service was, he recalled the feeling of returning to the United States after he did his part in protecting America.

“One of the greatest days of my life. Not many days match the day you touch down on American soil,” Franklin recalls. He even remembers touching grass again once he returned home. “The grass, the fresh air, that is what I think would be my greatest military memory.”

Franklin was on active duty for five years, the last part of his career being spent in Seoul, South Korea. An athlete as a kid, Franklin trained to stay in shape during his time on active duty. However, the thought of bodybuilding never crossed his mind. He was more focused on “go” than “show.”

“I just trained to be as lethal of a soldier as I could be,” he says. As I got closer to the end of my service, I discovered social media, specifically Instagram, and that is where I was introduced to the fitness world.”

After Logan Franklin became acquainted with fitness, he followed the late Greg Plitt, who had served in the Armed Forces himself. Franklin called Plitt, who died tragically in a freak accident in 2015 his “O.G. fitness inspiration.” Plitt’s service and career was what inspired Franklin to begin pursuing his own path to prominence in the industry.

“I didn’t have parents that competed. I wasn’t in the gym at 12 or 13 years old, and I didn’t have any magazines,” he admitted. “Social media was what helped me get into bodybuilding.”

His first major connection to competing came when he attended the 2014 Mr. Olympia to take part in photo shoots. Prior to that, he never thought about taking to the stage. It was that trip to Las Vegas that made him reconsider.

“I saw the best guys in the world on that stage. I saw the passion and felt the energy. I remember looking at the Men’s Physique division. My physique was kind of on par with those guys and I thought, ‘You know what? I’m going to give this a shot.’”

From battle tested to stage ready

He would begin his career in Men’s Physique, and he turned pro by winning the overall at the 2014 NPC Nationals. He would return to the Olympia two years after that fateful first trip, but now it was to stand alongside those physiques he saw onstage. He finished that show in ninth place. He won two pro shows before making the switch to Classic Physique in 2019. Logan Franklin is one of a handful of athletes to compete on the Olympia stage in two divisions. He explained his decision to make the move to Classic came after the 2019 Arnold Classic.

“I just felt like I wasn’t placing any better. I kept bringing what I thought was my best look for Men’s Physique, and to be honest, I didn’t understand why I wasn’t placing better. It appeared to me that it was pretty much an abs show. Some of these guys had better abs than me, but I felt my physique overall was better. I decided to take the leap.”

The move had paid off. He placed third at the 2021 Arnold Classic Physique, and he took home the “Best Poser” award as well. He recently won the 2021 Shawn Ray Classic in Hawaii, which qualified him for the 2022 Olympia. He’s looking forward to taking a year to prepare for that contest. However, prep for him isn’t that difficult compared to what he did while he was in the Army.

“That never quit attitude that burns inside me came from my service. That mindset of ‘you’re not finished until the job is done’ and ‘you can always do more’ carried over in my opinion.” Franklin stated. “The discipline, the waking up at 5:40 AM to make flag call at 6:30 AM, then go run three to five miles in formation with a six-minute mile pace, and ignoring the weather, even if it’s freezing, raining, snowing, or if it’s over 100 degrees outside and you have a 75-pound ruck with equipment and a weapon – it makes bodybuilding prep feel easy.”

When he finishes that prep and returns to that stage, he will attempt to dethrone reigning Classic Physique Olympia champion Chris Bumstead. Logan Franklin doesn’t plan to compete before the Olympia next year.

“I’ve got 12 months until the Olympia, and I can be healthy and make the progress I need. I want to be the guy that takes out the guy that everyone says can’t be beaten. Taking the time and putting everything into that show will give me the best opportunity to do that.”

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