Doug SchneiderSomething big happened on July 23, 2011: Erik Alstrup celebrated his first professional win in the IDFA. But Erik’s victory didn’t come easy – close behind him was Winston Johnson, the IDFA’s newest pro, who quickly established himself as one of the most formidable competitors on the natural scene. (Winston earned pro status on July 16 at the IDFA National Capital Classic.) Behind Erik and Winston were Oge Robin and François Beauregard in a very close race for third and fourth places. Oge ended up third and François was fourth.

Despite the closeness of this contest, at the end of the day it was Erik Alstrup who became The Champ and, to my eyes, deserved the victory. Erik wasn’t quite as sharp definition-wise as he had been at some contests before, but he was close enough to his best-ever condition. He looked bigger than he’d ever been, and displayed overall and muscle-group balance that was best among the group.

His presentation was also a cut above the rest. The moment Erik stepped onto the stage, he looked like the winner, and most of the mandatory poses he hit backed that up. As always, when the posing routine came, Erik brought down the house with a rousing physique display. And when he was announced in first place, Erik not only accepted the first-place trophy with grace by congratulating his fellow competitors, he also stepped to the microphone and spoke to the audience, something few bodybuilders do well, if they can do it at all.

Erik AlstrupJuly 23 wasn’t the first time Erik won a big title – I emceed the event and called him “one of the ‘winning-est’ bodybuilders on the natural scene today,” meaning he’d won a lot of contests before. But I think this was one of his most important wins, because it was just over two years ago that Erik made his comeback to competitive bodybuilding after a ten-year hiatus, and it was on the IDFA stage. When I filmed Erik last year during his guest appearance at the 2010 IDFA Montreal Classic, one year after his comeback, he confessed that he didn’t think he would return to bodybuilding at all, given his experiences in the ‘90s. It was seeing the quality of natural bodybuilding on the IDFA’s stage that made him want to return.

Erik will compete next on August 20 at an event called “Cronus” in Stafford, Texas. This is the first time this competition is being held and it’s being billed as “The first multi-affiliated bodybuilding world championship.” What’s happening is that pro competitors from any natural federation in the world can apply to compete. There are a limited number of spots. Erik was one of the 12 or so who was accepted and will be on that stage trying for the title and the $10,000 first-place prize money.

Winning Cronus won’t be easy, but Erik has proven his ability to win many times before, and I have no doubt that he can take the top spot in Texas if he puts his mind to it and backs it up with the kind of physique he is capable of bringing there. But regardless of whether he wins or loses that competition, or any others he might go into in the future, Erik has proven himself to be a champion on the stage numerous times, and has also displayed it off the stage through his professional conduct as well as his candor and honesty.

My only hope now is that August 20 won’t be the last time we’ll see Erik on the competitive stage. The IDFA’s Pro Universe competition is on November 5, once again in Toronto, and that’s a title I’d also like to see Erik take home – and I’m sure he would too.

2011 IDFA International Championships
Left to right: Winston Johnson, Shaun Campbell, Erik Alstrup, Nadine Young, and Oge Robin

. . . Doug Schneider, Publisher

Doug Schneider is the publisher and chief photographer for