Meet the Giant Killer

Shaun Clarida trains legs at Hidden Gym leading up to the 2023 Mr Olympia Contest

King of the Mountain

When Shaun Clarida was a child, he was bullied in school. Bullied for being small, at 5’2” and only 98lbs. Even now, Clarida stands at 5’2” tall… but you wouldn’t call him small now, and his 98lbs has been forged into a 185lb physique rivalled by a very few people in the world. Known as “The Giant Killer,” for his ability to dominate much larger competitors, the 212 Mr Olympia (2020, 2022) is a force to be reckoned with.

Born in New Jersey in 1982, his school hobbies of wrestling and weight training have since turned into an impressive IFBB professional bodybuilding career. His career began with his first competition, at the NPC Mid-Atlantic Natural Classic in 2005. He took third place in the novice lightweight division. In 2006 he earned his WNBF pro card, then his IFBB pro card in 2012 at the National Bodybuilding Championships.

Among his most impressive achievements are the winning of the Men’s 212 Olympia in 2020 and 2022, and a fifth-place finish in Men’s Open Bodybuilding at the Arnold Classic in 2023. His only other appearance in that category was at the 2021 Legion Sports Fest Pro, where he took first place. Twenty-two of his twenty-five major career contests have been as a 212 athlete, in fact, but his ability in the Men’s Open category is undeniable.

The Road to the Top

How did Clarida achieve this? It comes down to three things: Focus, intense workouts, and diet.

He really suits his nickname, as being a Giant Killer takes extreme focus and no small amount of confidence and commitment. Not only has he built an impressive career for himself, he’s also changed a lot of the expectations of what a bodybuilder needs to be, and who can participate in the sport.

Clarida sets his goals and takes on intense training, from barbell rows and curls to military presses and leg workouts. Each session focusses on specific muscle groups.

He eats a diet rich in lean proteins, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates – but it isn’t a static diet. He alters it according to his training needs, ensuring that he gets what he needs when he needs it, and isn’t overloading calories when he doesn’t need them. His off-season diet differs quite a lot from his diet when he has a competition coming up.

It’s a system that’s really worked well for him, and he has the championships to prove it.

Life as the Champ

Many in that position could get cocky and lazy – watch Rocky III and you’ll see the trap many pros fall into – but not Clarida. As the reigning champion, he is still humble and friendly. That doesn’t mean he’s kicked back and called it a day though. He remains focused and goal-driven, employing a work ethic that is aimed at future achievement, not the reliving of past glories.

One of his ongoing goals is to be a good influence on the lives of those around him and who follow his career. Potential isn’t about size; it’s about grit, dedication, and making the most of what you do have. This is a lesson he teaches through his words, actions, and results.

Here at Hidden Gym, we’re proud and honored to have Shaun choose us as his place to continue his stunning career and impressive example. His focus and desire to be his best fit in well here, and his energy adds to the overall feel of the gym. We love his determination to keep going, beyond championships, to maintain and improve an already stunning level of discipline and achievement.

Shaun’s presence here is another indicator that the elite level of training, facilities, and results that we’re developing at Hidden Gym is hitting the mark, meeting or exceeding the expectations of some of the world’s top athletes and the nation’s best.

We’re not exclusive though. If you have the desire to be the best you can be, take a page from Clarida’s book and reach for the top. Develop your focus, workouts, and nutrition with our experts and take advantage of the best facilities. We’d be happy to have you here, too. You’re welcome to stop by and check us out.

Ready to take your fitness game to the next level? If you live in Allen, Dallas, or Plano, make sure to get your free day pass to join Hidden Gym! Become a part of the most motivating place in the DFW area that will help you live a healthier life!