Young Guns

How Cody Montgomery built pro-caliber arms by age 20.


Although there are two bona fide pro legends, Shawn Ray and Branch Warren, among the 32 NPC Teen National champs, only six overall victors had turned pro before 2015. Now Cody Montgomery has joined that exclusive club. Already he’s had a legendary amateur career. Of those 34 Teen Nats, he’s the only person to win more than one, and he did it thrice. Then he leaped into 2015’s USA Championships and once again took home the heaviest hardware, becoming the first person to go pro in his debut NPC open contest and, at 20, the youngest overall winner of a pro qualifier. Expectations are now sky-high. Can he keep his winning streak alive in the big league? Can he have a legendary pro career to match his amateur years? Settle in. We’ve witnessed only the first steps of what will likely be a long journey.


“Words can’t capture everything I’ve experienced already,” Montgomery says. “When I first started bodybuilding, I just wanted to be noticed, because I was a nobody, and as time went on I wanted to be remembered as the greatest teen bodybuilder ever. I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case, but I definitely have the titles to back it up that I was a very good teen bodybuilder. Regardless of whether or not I’m the best ever, I don’t think anyone’s going to beat that record [three Teen National overalls], so it feels good that I’m going to be remembered for that for a long time.”

Cody Montgomery was born in Anchorage, AK, on Aug. 6, 1994, the youngest of three children. His parents, oil engineers, relocated the family to suburban Dallas. There, the youngest Montgomery was a skinny skateboarder before, at 12, he began lifting weights for football. “I still remember when I broke 100 on the gym scales,” he says with a laugh. Soon that number was rapidly expanding. “The summer between junior high and high school, I really got into eating and lifting to get bigger. As a freshman, I competed as a powerlifter in the 181s [division for those who weigh 165-181 pounds].”

Jay Cutler and Flex Lewis were his early inspirations, and he remains a fan of both even as they’ve become his friends. “I started looking at YouTube videos of bodybuilders, lifestyle videos, and training videos, and those were the two guys I focused on the most.” Four-time Mr. Olympia Cutler and four-time Olympia 212 champ Lewis were each, like Montgomery, teen prodigies and youthful professionals. Cutler won the heavyweight class of the 1993 Teen Nationals before losing the overall to Warren. Lewis was the British junior champ at 19. Both O titlists earned pro status at 23.


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