Outside of the competitors that graced the Olympia stage, one bodybuilder that broke out as a rising star was Brett Wilkin. The Colorado native by way of Iowa surprised many people in the sport by placing second at the 2021 Chicago Pro. Hunter Labrada was ultimately crowned the winner, but Wilkin served notice that when he’s ready, he’s got next.

Many people didn’t see Wilkin coming because of how he came to prominence. He told Dennis James on the latest episode of The Menace Podcast that he turned pro in Classic Physique.

“I didn’t have a coach, I didn’t have any direction, I did this on my own,” Wilkin said regarding training as an amateur. His wife, Figure Pro Ivana Ivusic, did play a role in helping her husband learn what to do onstage. “Ivana definitely helped me, and her brother also competed. He helped me as well.”

He turned pro in 2017, but he never competed in his original division. He would actually debut in the 212 division in 2019. After a sixth place effort at that year’s Toronto Pro, Wilkin and current coach Matt Jansen decided it was time for him to jump up to the Open.

“(Matt) was supportive, and I think I wrote Tyler Manion as well because he was the judge, I wanted to get the judges’ feedback, and he agreed with me,” Wilkin told James. While Wilkin no longer restricted himself from growing, he did find that the process of getting bigger wasn’t as easy as one may think it is, especially when it comest to eating.

“People don’t realize how much you have to eat to be an Open bodybuilder,” he explained. “The training is fun, we love to train, we love to pose, even cardio isn’t that bad. I spent two years waking up in the middle of the night to eat a seventh meal.”

While the effort was great, it paid off for Brett Wilkin because he’s now one of the competitors that fans are looking forward to seeing onstage in 2022. He hopes that his next appearance will be at the Arnold Classic, but the ultimate goal is to join Labrada and the other elite athletes on the Olympia stage.

“Ultimately, I want to qualify for the Olympia, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t want to win the Arnold to qualify for the Olympia. That’s a dream come true to win the Arnold in March, and not compete again until the Olympia in December.”

Wilkin and James talk more about the transition to Open from Classic Physique, his wife Ivana Ivusic, responding to critics, the 2022 Arnold Classic, and a lot more. Catch all episodes of TMP on the Muscle & Fitness YouTube channel. Regular episodes drop every Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern time.



0:09 – How He Became “The Butcher”

2:42 – Brett as a Teenager

4:28 – Getting into Bodybuilding

9:08 – Turning Pro in Classic Physique

12:00 – Moving to Denver

15:06 – Phil Heath

16:31 – From Classic to 212

19:39 – From 212 to Open/Chicago Pro

21:36 – Why Not Do Another Show?

24:17 – Nutrition Requirements

26:36 – Arnold Classic 2022

30:16 – Responding to Critics

32:55 – Hobbies Outside of Bodybuilding

35:15 – Where He Sees Himself Against Olympia Contenders

37:15 – Qualifying for the Olympia

37:49 – Living and Prepping with a Figure Pro

44:25 – Brett’s Sponsors

46:40 – From Photos to the Stage

48:01 – Conditioning

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