Who is the Next True Fitness Pioneer Going to Be in the Industry?



by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN

When you look back on all the greats of the fitness industry, it’s hard to look past the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger. The man has done so much for the sport of bodybuilding and the fitness industry that he basically carried the entire thing on his back. Today, the industry lacks a fitness pioneer who can grab the torch and run with it.

Now, we can’t look past some of the people who have also played a role in getting the sport of bodybuilding and the fitness industry to where they are today, like Joe Weider and Jim Manion.

Joe Weider was responsible for making the sport of bodybuilding what it is today, and with Jim’s vision for the IFBB, they hit the ground running, and to this day, the IFBB continues to be the largest bodybuilding and fitness organization in the world. But who can be the next true fitness pioneer to get more people involved in health and fitness?

The focal point of this article is health and fitness. I’m not talking about how to build the sport of bodybuilding or get people involved in competing, but rather strictly getting people interested in living a healthier lifestyle and changing their nutrition and fitness habits.

Let’s dive into who I feel may be the two best candidates to fit the mold as a true fitness pioneer.

1.    Christian Guzman

Watching Christian Guzman reminds me of (in my opinion) the best fitness pioneer we’ve had in a long time, and that’s Greg Plitt. I had the honor of working with Greg when we were both at MET-Rx, and the things that man did during his time on this earth without ever stepping on a competitive stage were miraculous.

Gregg had people from around the globe hanging on his every word. It didn’t matter if it was fitness advice, workout clips, motivational talks, or giving out nutrition and supplement tips while at expos, the man drew a crowd wherever he went. And his hub was his website, where he had a ton of people paying monthly just to get access to his brain.

I truly believe that Christian could become the next Greg Plitt and the next true fitness pioneer. While Christian is by no means old, he’s been in the industry a very long time. While most don’t even look at him as being a competitor, his notoriety has come from what he’s done off the stage.

Christian Guzman walks the walk and talks the talk. His YouTube channel has over one million subscribers, as does his Instagram, and that’s not even taking into account the millions of people who have bought into his ethos through Alphalete Athletics (apparel), Alphalete Gym, 3D Energy, and his newest project that has never been done before, AlphaLand.

When looking at Christian’s physique, it is more appealing to the masses than anyone else out there who I would consider the next fitness pioneer. He’s not a 250lb bodybuilder, nor is he a string bean that people would ask if he even lifts. He has the motivational aspect that Greg had, he has the attitude and drive that Greg had, he has a great physique that could hold its own next to Greg, and his business savvy is unheard of.

If I had to choose one person to fit the mold as the next true fitness pioneer, I’d have to give the nod to Christian Guzman. But there is one other person who could step in and make some noise as well, and that’s Chris Bumstead.

2.    Chris Bumstead

I remember when everyone was giving Calum Von Moger the title of Arnold 2.0. Well, we’ve all witnessed how that panned out, and I never thought Calum would be a good ambassador or even a true fitness pioneer anyway. But there’s something about Chris Bumstead that could have him giving Christian a run for his money.

Now, Christian and Chris seem to have a good relationship, and it appears that once Chris is done competing, they may have some things in the works. Could they team up as a duo and become the next fitness pioneer together? They very well may—but only time will tell.

Chris has a physique that demands attention. As if it’s not enough that he’s a tall competitor that dwarfs many on stage, it’s his overall physique that many are left in awe over. His personality is contagious, and he seems to go out of his way for the fans, and they flock to him. The interesting thing (and one that many may criticize me for choosing Christian over) is that Bumstead has over 10 million followers on Instagram and more than two million subscribers on YouTube.

If you were to compare the reach of Christian and Chris, many would say Chris would be the clear winner when looking solely at the numbers. While Chris has a physique that many in the industry strive for, he may still be a little too big for the masses in order to become the next true fitness pioneer.

The knowledge Chris possesses is something many can learn from, and he has his hands in many different industry projects. I’m just not convinced (at this point) that he’d be a better candidate for being the fitness pioneer over Christian. He’s big in the bodybuilding world, but I don’t feel as many people know him outside of the stage as people would of Christian due to his clothing line. You can’t go to any gym without seeing Alphalete apparel—it’s more mainstream (in line with that of GymShark).

But I’d love to know your opinion. Would you pick one over the other, or is there a wildcard you’d like to throw in that you feel I’ve overlooked? I’d love to hear your comments down below.