Walker is keeping close tabs on Lunsford.
In the current bodybuilding pantheon, few names are as big as Nick Walker and Derek Lunsford. Two young athletes have entered respective paths to the forefront of the sport, becoming titans overnight. Walker first rose to prominence by winning the 2021 Arnold Classic, while former 212 Olympia champion (2021) Lunsford recently won the 2022 Mr. Finished second in debut Men’s Open at Olympia. New Mr. Lunsford falls just short of defeating Olympia champion Hadi Choopan. Moving forward, being in the same category, the duo will now inevitably butt head on stage again. This fact is apparently not lost on Walker.
On January 19, 2023, in the episode The Mutant and The Mouth podcast, Walker spoke about his official expectations at the upcoming 2023 Arnold Classic (AC) Columbus, OH. In the process, the March 2-5, 2023, debate about the competition — which recently announced a $300,000 first-place prize — finally focused on Lunsford. Meaning: Walker keeps a close eye on his elite peers.
One of the first notes Walker clarifies about Lunsford is his status in 2023 AC. Given the language used by Walker, they were initially unaware that Lunsford had confirmed that they would not compete in the pageant, but Walker later clarified that they would not face each other on stage. Nevertheless, Walker speculates on his rival’s current fitness and why he may be pulling out of the important tentpole contest.
Walker believes Lunsford needs to make adjustments to the size of the men’s open division, as opposed to sticking to the 212 division weight limit. In that, Lunsford may be taking his time to train and build size before competing again.
“I heard through the grapevine that he was [Derek Lunsford] Arnold doesn’t [Classic]” Walker said. “This is where I’m going to jump. Did he gain muscle or keep it off? I think he just restricted himself [in previous] Off-seasons [to fit the 212 Olympia weight class]. So I think that’s what he got back [when preparing for the 2023 Men’s Open Olympia] What he usually has, plus a little more, I’d say. But they didn’t put in astronomical amounts of mass. To do 212 they suffer and do not have to lose mass.
As someone who could potentially stand in the way of potential upcoming victories, Walker noted that he’s watching for the gains Lunsford makes. Walker thinks the upcoming off-season will be important for Lunsford as he fully commits to the Men’s Open as he tries to win the 2023 Mr. Olympia. That competition will be held November 2-5, 2023 in Orlando, FL.
“It will be the off-season where we will see how much tissue there is [Lunsford] puts on and we see what he looks like when he stands up  Olympia stage.
The answer is simple as to why Walker chose to compete at AC again instead of focusing his efforts entirely on his Olympia preparation. A new lucrative prize prompted him to return to the Columbus, OH, stage.
“They are [The Arnold Sports Festival] It gave me a chance to think about it after the holidays,” Walker said. ” … I felt good. So they reached out again, they basically said they would raise the prize money to $300,000. I said ‘count me in’.”
Walker has already been quite outspoken about what could happen in 2023. In early January, he noted that he was satisfied with a third-place result at the 2022 Olympia but would probably have finished higher in an ideal world. Before he works to improve such results, he will first put his crosshairs on a second AC title. While he doesn’t have to worry about Lunsford in that particular contest, Walker understands that it may only be a matter of time before he and Lunsford cross paths again.
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