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How Much Money Do Top Bodybuilders Make?

Daniel Brady | December 15, 2012 in Strength
Fitness Money

Top Bodybuilders can make money from several avenues such as competitions, sponsorships, modeling and teaching. Read on to find out exactly what they earn.


Major competitions can have prize money for winners of between $250 (3rd in IFBB Valenti Gold Cup Pro Men’s Physique), $2,000 (25th place in Mr Olympia) and $250,000+ (1st place in Mr Olympia). So clearly the prize money is low except for the best of the best. You can see a list of IFBB competitions for a better idea, and to see location differences.

There are entry fees for competition participants, for example $150 for the 2012 GNC IFBB North American Championships, so with such small money on offer and a fair cost of entry, competitors are not there for the prize money. Entrants and winners get the benefit of increased personal fame. This fame can lead to bigger things such as product sponsorships or modeling jobs.


With lots of potential athletes for sponsors to choose from, packages are not overly generous. They are looking mainly for looks, a good attitude, and preferably a well known name. Packages for an unknown bodybuilder can range from just supplements to supplements, flights, hotels and photo-shoots. A more well known name, such as somebody who has placed well in competitions is more likely to receive money as part of the package.


Magazine Modeling

Magazine modeling can pay $500 to $2000 per day, but these jobs are not easy to land. You could start out with lower paying smaller magazines to build up a resume and experience.

Nude Modeling

Don’t laugh. Nude modeling is far easier to get into than a magazine. If you have a good physique then you will be a welcome change from the more average nude models in the university anatomy art class, or public drawing group. It can be good practice for competition posing too. Practice a mixture of relaxed and tensed poses, without clothes!

Pay generally ranges from $10 to $100 per hour, depending on the group paying you. Google for local nude art classes, contact the teacher for rates and ask them to contact you when there is an opening.

Personal Training

$50,000 per year is average for a certified personal trainer, with some of the more business-minded trainers earning $100,000 to $200,000. The better your physique, the more customers you’ll get and the more you’ll be able to charge. People skills are a must.

Your Own Gym

Some successful personal trainers move from a franchise gym position to opening their own gym. This allows the trainer to retain more of the profit by cutting out franchise commissions, but bringing in customers requires the business-mindedness as mentioned earlier.


Overall, a regular job will likely be necessary as few people make much money from sponsorships or competitions. However they can both contribute to your fame and in turn your future personal or business prospects.

Nude modeling is a viable option if the have the confidence. Otherwise personal training is one way to make money while refining your knowledge and leaving lots of time for training and eating when you don’t have clients scheduled.

Daniel has a strong interest in evidence supported fitness training, preparation and supplementation. His goal is to provide clear information that simply works. He's currently 16 kg of muscle above his starting weight (7kg in the past 12 months), and targeting a continued growth rate of 5kg+ per year.
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