The Challenger That WON'T Bow Down!!
by Christian Duque
Imagine being told you're too short, that you don't weigh enough,
and/or constantly being ignored by the media in your sport. Imagine
being a top tier athlete who started competing in natural federations,
earning top honors and titles, and then moving up to the NPC,
winning the Bantamweight Class at the prestigious NPC National
Championships. This has been the case with IFBB Pro Bodybuilder
Shaun Clarida. He has been overlooked, underestimated, and
written off his whole career. Just one look at his contest record,
shows an undeniable improvement in his placings, and those
improvements run parallel to the evolution of his physique. He is short,
he isn't at the top weight-wise of The 212, but he's most definitely
in the mix. No one can take that away from Shaun, especially not now.
It's not just talk.
It's not just hype.
Here's some career highlights
IN BLACK AND WHITE.
|2015 Vancouver Pro, 1st Place
|2018 212 Olympia Showdown, 7th Place
|2017 212 NY Pro, 2nd Place
|2019 212 Olympia Showdown, 3rd Place
|2017 212 Dallas Europa, 1st Place
|IFBB Pro Shaun "GK" Clarida
The Giant Killer
In the old days, when magazines were king, the standard for fitness media was set very high. I'm
grateful for social media because I have a voice and I'm able to write articles that reach a great
number of people. I'm college-educated and I'm a great writer, but could I have landed a spot with
Muscle Mag, FLEX, or MD back in the day? I mean, there's a chance - there's always a chance, but
probably not. It's not like there was much turnover, either, especially in the days of the legendary
MD steak dinners, the big paychecks, and the red carpet for writers and photographers. Who'd leave
a gig like that? With that being said, when print was king and life was good, a lot more was expected.
There were meetings, there were full-time editors who checked and double-checked everything prior
to printing, and there was amazing circulation. Sure, there were deadlines, but there was ample time
to meet them. Social media, on the other hand, is totally DIY. There's little, to no, oversight, and
deadlines aren't monthly or even weekly; sometimes "the deadline" means getting the content out
minutes or seconds before the competition. How much quality control can there really be given these
With print nearly dead, the former print giants went fully digital, but in this new world, they're no longer
the uncontested champions. Nick Strength And Power, for example, is a guy in a little office,
and he's got more subscribers and more reach than entire companies. Imagine a fitness outlet with
offices in Manhattan or Los Angeles, with conference rooms, and a bunch phone extension trying to
compete with a twenty something year old, talking into his phone and/or computer. And it's not just
hits, you have huge companies in this industry throwing big money at social media influencers. For
the old giants, most of their income didn't come from magazine sales, it came from advertising. If
they're losing the race for viewers AND losing the race for ad sales, then they might as well pack it
up and call it quits.
Social media influencers are setting the bar now and they set the tone; the former giants have no
choice but to follow. These influencers love hits, they feed off of buzz, and they all want to be trending.
So how does this tie into guys like Shaun Clarida, or even reigning 212 Olympia Showdown
Champion Kamal Elgargani? Well, that's just it, it doesn't.
If you want media attention from the influencers, you have to be interesting to them. In bodybuilding,
interesting should be all about pushing the card in terms of mass, cuts, and/or symmetry, but for
influencers, they don't care about that. You have to talk trash, talk gear, say outlandish things.
What they want is a circus performer, a class clown, they want you to sing and dance to get them hits.
If you're not prepared to give them an interview full of sound bite opportunities, more than likely to
screw you over in the process, then they don't care to know you. They don't care if they jam you up or
if you destroy your career, they only care about their success. That being said, if influencers don't
want you, then your stock plummets with the former giants, as well. You take a low key, blue collar
bodybuilder, who wants his physique to do the talking on stage, and that guy's phone is never going
to ring, no influencer is ever going to DM him for an interview, and that's just how it is.
That's where we're at and that's again, why, I'm happy to have this page and my social platforms. I'm
also very fortunate to be a writer for IronMagazine.com. I write 10 articles a month, that's 120 articles a
year, where I can set the record straight and give press to the people who deserve it. Shaun Clarida
deserves the press, he's a real bodybuilder's bodybuilder and a very real contender to win it all in 2020!!
In closing, I needed to get the Nutrabio url to hyperlink on this article and upon visiting their page,
I surfed around a bit. It's a really great looking page and I've only heard great things about their
products, but there's one guy missing, Mr. Shaun "GK" Clarida. Shaun needs to be center stage,
he has a very REAL shot of being the next 212 Olympia Showdown Champion and as a result of
being Top 3 last year, he's automatically a top contender. My guess is that the company is probably
in the process of updating their page and once that's done, Shaun will get a boatload of presence.
Nonetheless, it's important to point this out because doing so will dramatically increase sales and it
will give Shaun a great deal of buzz.
Buzz is key. When someone logs onto the existing page, there's a bunch of categories from
Martial Arts to Extreme Sports to Women's MMA. That's great. It's great to have a wide variety of
athletes in a wide variety of disciplines, but if we're talking sports supplements - no one markets
sports supplements better - than a bodybuilder. When I say Shaun should get center stage, I don't
mean center stage under the Bodybuilding tab, I mean center stage on the main website. Look at
what Yamamoto Nutrition did with Flex Lewis. Not only did they put him center stage, they gave him
his own supplement line within the company. You don't want to bury Shaun, you want him front and
center. Again, I've run the marketing for two companies in the industry, and I'm all about social media
and contest coverage. You guys clearly know what's up, because you signed him, but you could really
blow the company up and Shaun, by some very minor moves on the page and social. I offer these
suggestions with the absolute best of intentions - making you the most money and giving plenty of
love to one of my favorite bodybuilders.
I hope you enjoyed reading my article, here, at StrengthAddicts.com.
Please be sure to follow @StrengthAddicts on Instagram Facebook YouTube Tiktok & Twitter
Let's also put some things into perspective. The 212 is a division of giant killers, but the consensus is,
Shaun is the most deserving of this nickname. There's unspoken power in that. You really have
to read between the lines because it's one thing to be in the 212 and it's another to be on lighter side
of it. Guys like Shaun, Derik Farnsworth, and even Hidetada Yamagishi, have always given up
considerable size to the bigger guys in the division, but they make up for it with incredible condition
and limitless heart.
Once again, we have to get the context right. The 212, unlike Open Bodybuilding, doesn't have any
guys who show up horribly out of shape. I hate to say that, but we all know it's true. We've all been to
pro contests where the guys who don't do well - or - get the very undesirable DNP acronym next to
their name, look like total crap. These guys don't usually get a lot of stage time and basically
disappear after prejudging, but they're there. We seldom, if ever, see this in The 212. I, personally,
never have. So given how ripped these guys come in, to say that Shaun makes up for the size
difference with condition, says a lot, and he totally does.
In the end, my critics could write me off as a fan, and they'd have a valid point. I'm very transparent
about the champions I like. I'm a hardcore fan of Rhoden, Curry, Clarida, Aragon, I'm very excited
about 2019 NPC National Bikini Champion, Ariana Brothers. In the NPC, I also have my favorites,
whether it's at the local, regional, and/or national levels. I'm only human, after all. That being said, it's
very hard to dismiss facts. Shaun has won key shows, but more importantly, he's consistently
improved his 212 Olympia Showdown placings and that's the biggest, baddest mic drop an
underdog can ever effectuate. It not only warrants a second look - it commands it.
2019 was a truly bizarre year. Since there was no more 212 at The Arnold - a move that perplexes
pretty much all industry insiders - all the hype for the division was shifted to the Olympia Showdown.
Now, mind you, this has always been the biggest contest, but in the absence of Columbus, its media
share increased substantially. Further, 2019 was the first year without 7x 212 Olympia Showdown
Champion James "Flex" Lewis! For the time, since the year the title came into existence, it was
totally vacant. Every single athlete wanted it and every single athlete hit the trenches, giving it their all!!
To add even more of a twist and further increase the stakes, this was also the first year without
Jose Raymond aka The Boston Mass.
The most symmetrical guy was gone. The freakiest guy was gone. You had a division full of
superstars, hungry and killing themselves in the gym; however, the media was totally and
unquestionably focused on just one competitor. They didn't care about Eduardo Correa,
Ahmad Ashkanani, or David Henry. They barely talked about Hadi Choopan, largely because
of his visa issues. If the big names, the media darlings, weren't getting any love, then you it went
without saying that underdogs like Shaun wouldn't, either. If done right by the media, 2019 could
have meant a bonanza of cutting-edge content, and that buzz that could have been, might have
been, so powerful that maybe The Arnold would have brought the division back in 2020. I'm serious.
That's how big 2019 could have been, but we all know it wasn't. I say, it was a huge missed
opportunity for the press, but even still, Shaun earned his best placing to date.
Shaun brought it, he gave 110%, and although he may have been second on score cards, the real
fight for the fans, was between Elgargani and Clarida. That was the real winner and runner-up.
Derek was off for prejudging and while he gained considerable ground for the nightshow,
prejudging was Kamal and Shaun all day. Both guys got pretty much zero coverage in 2019, both
guys were underdogs, and even today, the media is once again more or less ignoring them.