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Some athletes in the IFBB Pro League have a lot of fanfare and hype that surrounds them. Then there are those athletes that stay quiet, do the work, and then impress everyone when they take the stage. Justin Rodriguez falls under the latter category.
Justin Rodriguez puts his head down, trains hard leading up to a competition, then he executes when facing the judges. The results speak for themselves. Rodriguez won the 2021 Indy Pro, and he placed 8th at the 2021 Olympia, cementing his place as one of the best bodybuilders on the planet. The Santo Domingo native spoke with Dennis James on a recent episode of The Menace Podcast prior to the 2022 Arnold Classic, and he explained that he just got into bodybuilding seriously seven years ago.
“I got serious the year before my first show. So, 2014,” Rodriguez said. “My first show in the NPC was in 2015.”
Rodriguez wasted no time moving up the amateur ranks, either. By 2016, he turned pro, and he was already being compared to legends of the sport. James mentioned that he poses like former Arnold Classic champion Victor Martinez, and Rodriguez said he’s been compared to a former Mr. Olympia winner.
“Some people say that I pose like Shawn Rhoden in the front double,” he said. Rodriguez took that as a very high compliment because he followed and admired Rhoden’s physique when he got serious about the sport.
“I wanted to look like him.”
As a pro himself, Justin Rodriguez took him time rising up in the ranks. He made his pro debut in 2017 at the New York Pro where he placed third. He then finished as the runner-up in the Chicago Pro that same year. He wouldn’t compete at the Olympia for the first time until 2020 when he got in on points with the Olympia Qualification System. However, he finished the Olympia that year in 10th place. 2021 was his breakthrough year thanks to his first win in Indianapolis and his eighth-place finish at the Olympia. James asked him to explain the reason for his success.
“In 2021, I told my wife ‘Let me take one year off from my job,” he said. After receiving the blessings of his wife and his boss, Rodriguez focused on bodybuilding first for the first time as a pro. He felt that this was what led him to reaching the success he has.”
“For me, it was the best because now I can take my rest and make it my schedule.”
Rodriguez and James also speak about working with his coach, AJ Sims, his future goals in the sport, and more. Catch the episode in its entirety at the Muscle & Fitness YouTube channel, where you can see every episode of TMP as well as the Reps podcast, and more exclusive videos.