Bodybuilding is part sport and part art. Throughout history, there have been many Black bodybuilders who have achieved physical and mental greatness throughout their careers. While bodybuilding is a sport that is represented by races and ethnicities across the world, here, we want to highlight the achievements of some of the most notable Black bodybuilders of our time.
6 Black Bodybuilders Who Attained Amazing Physiques
Becoming a bodybuilder takes a lot of time, energy, patience, and discipline. And the following examples (in no particular order) show just what can be accomplished when you dedicate yourself to an art you are passionate about.
1. Chris Dickerson
Chris Dickerson is an American bodybuilder with a massively impressive career. For more than 30 years, Dickerson participated in bodybuilding events, earning 15 titles. In 1970, Dickerson made history as the first Black man to win the famous Mr. America competition. Additionally, Dickerson became the “oldest first openly gay” winner of the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB). He was 43 years old at the time. Dickerson retired in 1994, and in 2000, was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame.
2. Phil Heath
Phil Heath is an outstanding athlete known as “The Gift.” A bodybuilder, basketball enthusiast, and wrestler, Heath is an inspiring example of determination. Though his athletic background was in basketball, Heath decided in 2002 to change his path toward bodybuilding. Since making this transition, he has placed first 16 times and is a five-time Mr. Olympia champion. These titles tied Heath to Arnold Schwarzenegger with the second most Mr. Olympia wins. He is also the first pro bodybuilder to create a supplement company while competing.
3. Mike Rashid
Mike Rashid is a professional boxer and bodybuilder known for his social media influence. During his career, Rashid has won two Golden Glove awards. He also founded two companies. But what he is known best for is his presence on social media. With nearly two million followers, Rashid is one of the most influential bodybuilders on the internet. On YouTube alone, he has almost 400,000 subscribers.
4. Iris Kyle
Iris Kyle is a professional Black female bodybuilder with an incredible career. Born in 1974, Kyle played sports throughout her school years. After college, she moved to California where fitness became a passion. In her passion for gaining an incredible physique, Kyle studied and worked out constantly. After being spotted by a promoter, Kyle won her first bodybuilding competition. She went pro shortly thereafter and went on to have an incredible career. She is considered the most successful professional bodybuilder of all time. She has 10 Ms. Olympia wins under her belt, along with several heavyweight titles, and Ms. International wins.
5. Ernestine Shepherd
Ernestine Shepherd is known for many things, including being declared by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest bodybuilder in the world. Born in 1936, Shepherd was considered a girly girl. It wasn’t until later in life that she developed a passion for fitness and health. At age 56, a shopping trip changed everything and Shepherd decided to take her fitness more seriously. Since then, Shepherd has competed in bodybuilding competitions consistently making waves for her physique over younger athletes. At 86 years old, Shepherd still body builds, though not competitively. She is also a personal trainer, fitness model, author, and overall fitness guru.
6. Alana Shipp
Alana Shipp is a champion bodybuilder with an incredible physique and determination. Her fitness journey began as a means of losing weight after two pregnancies. It resulted in much more, however. Shipp has participated in numerous events including Ms. Universe and Ms. Olympia. Shipp is also a former Marine and mother.
The next time you are unmotivated by your health and fitness goals, take a look at the accomplishments of the six people listed above. These 6 Black bodybuilders achieved more than a great physique – they achieved greatness. Their journeys certainly were not easy, but with the right balance of dedication and resilience, they broke records, won awards, and paved the way for generations of athletes to come.