How Much Does A Bodybuilder Make? Is It Worth it?

  • By: Dave Moffat
  • Date: June 10, 2023
How Much Does A Bodybuilder Make?

The earning potential of a bodybuilder can be a topic of curiosity for many, as it offers insight into the financial rewards associated with this physically demanding and highly competitive sport.

Factors such as competition level, sponsorship deals, and personal branding play a significant role in determining a bodybuilder’s income.

Though earnings can vary greatly from one individual to another, understanding the various sources of income and the factors that influence them can provide a clearer picture of what a bodybuilder might make in their pursuit of muscular excellence.

In this article, we will explore the different aspects that contribute to a bodybuilder’s earnings, shedding light on the potential financial gains and challenges associated with this unique profession.


Competitive bodybuilding events serve as one of the primary sources of income for many professional bodybuilders.

The earnings from these events can widely vary depending on factors such as the level and prestige of the competition, the athlete’s performance, and their respective categories.

For instance, at the pinnacle of the sport, the Mr. Olympia contest offers substantial prize money, with the 2021 winner, Mamdouh Elssbiay (Big Ramy), taking home $400,000.

However, it is important to note that only a small percentage of bodybuilders reach this elite level, and earnings from lower-tier competitions are considerably lower.

Regional and national-level contests may offer prizes ranging from a few hundred to several thousand dollars for the top finishers.

Additionally, amateur bodybuilders who have yet to obtain their professional status typically compete for trophies and recognition, rather than monetary rewards.

Consequently, while high-level professional bodybuilders can earn significant sums from competition winnings, the majority of competitors in the sport experience more modest financial gains from their participation in events.


Sponsorship deals play a vital role in supplementing the income of bodybuilding athletes, providing them with financial support in exchange for promoting a company’s products or services.

Companies typically seek to sponsor athletes who have a strong competitive track record, a dedicated following, and a marketable image that aligns with their brand values.

Sponsorships can range from free products and gear to substantial monetary compensation, depending on the level of the athlete and the sponsoring company.

Some well-known bodybuilding athletes with lucrative sponsorship deals include Phil Heath (sponsored by Ultimate Nutrition), Kai Greene (Dynamik Muscle), and Ronnie Coleman (Ronnie Coleman Signature Series).

The earnings from these sponsorships can vary significantly, with some athletes earning as little as $10,000 per year, while top-tier professionals can command six-figure deals.

For instance, it has been reported that Kai Greene earns around $1 million per year from his various sponsorships and endorsements.

Securing sponsorships can be challenging for many bodybuilding athletes, as competition is fierce, and companies are often selective about the athletes they choose to represent their brand.

Factors such as gender, ethnicity, and personal brand can influence an athlete’s earning potential through sponsorships.

Female bodybuilders, for example, may face additional challenges in securing sponsorships due to the limited number of companies targeting this demographic, and the more niche nature of women’s bodybuilding competitions.

The average amount of money bodybuilding athletes make through sponsorships per year can range from a few thousand dollars for up-and-coming competitors to several hundred thousand dollars for seasoned professionals.

To maximize their chances of securing sponsorships, athletes should focus on building their personal brand, maintaining a strong social media presence, and fostering relationships within the industry.


Bodybuilders can make a sizable income from modeling, with their earnings depending on things like experience, endorsement deals, competition success, and their personal brand.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for models in 2020 was $17.81, with the top 10% earning more than $30.00 per hour. However, these figures encompass the broader modeling industry and do not specifically focus on bodybuilding models.

For bodybuilders, modeling earnings can vary considerably based on factors such as their level of experience and the prestige of the clients they work with.

For instance, a beginner bodybuilder model may earn around $200–$500 per shoot, while more experienced and successful athletes could command fees upwards of $2,000 per shoot or even higher.

Endorsement deals and sponsorships can further supplement a bodybuilder’s income from modeling, with top-tier athletes potentially earning six-figure deals from major brands.

Competition success can also impact a bodybuilder’s earnings from modeling, as winning prestigious titles can boost their marketability and increase demand for their services.

For example, winning Mr. Olympia or Arnold Classic titles can significantly enhance a bodybuilder’s reputation, leading to more lucrative modeling and endorsement opportunities.

Personal Training

As a fitness expert, I can attest that personal training sessions offer professional bodybuilders a viable opportunity to monetize their expertise and generate substantial income.

On average, personal trainers in the United States charge between $40 and $100 per hour, with more experienced trainers commanding higher rates. Location, target clientele, and the particular services offered can all have an impact on a bodybuilder-turned-personal trainer’s earning potential.

In addition to traditional in-person training sessions, many bodybuilders also explore alternative avenues such as online coaching or creating and selling fitness programs. These platforms allow them to reach a wider audience and potentially earn passive income, further supplementing their earnings from one-on-one sessions.

To become a successful personal trainer, bodybuilders should possess the necessary qualifications, including certification from a reputable organization such as the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) or the American Council on Exercise (ACE), as well as practical experience and a strong skill set.

By leveraging their competitive background and industry knowledge, bodybuilders can establish themselves as authorities in the fitness industry, which can, in turn, lead to increased demand for their services and higher earning potential.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that successful bodybuilder personal trainers can earn six-figure incomes, particularly when factoring in multiple revenue streams such as online coaching, fitness programs, and sponsorship deals.

While these figures represent the higher end of the spectrum, they demonstrate the significant earning potential for bodybuilders who successfully transition into the personal training market.


Who is the highest paid bodybuilder ever?

Arnold Schwarzenegger is often considered the highest-paid bodybuilder of all time.

Although his earnings from bodybuilding competitions alone may not have been the highest, his overall financial success, including his acting career, business ventures, and endorsements, has made him the wealthiest individual associated with the sport.

Arnold’s net worth is estimated to be around $400 million, making him the most financially successful bodybuilder in history.

How much money does a bodybuilder win from winning Mr. Olympia?

The prize money awarded to the winner of the Mr. Olympia competition has increased over the years. As of 2021, the winner of the Mr. Olympia contest, Mamdouh Elssbiay (Big Ramy), took home a prize of $400,000.

However, it is important to note that prize money can change from year to year based on factors such as event sponsorship and the overall budget of the competition.

How do bodybuilders make their money?

Bodybuilders can make money through various channels, leveraging their skills, knowledge, and reputation within the fitness industry. Some common income sources for bodybuilders include:

  1. Competition winnings: Prize money from winning bodybuilding competitions, such as Mr. Olympia, Arnold Classic, and other regional or national contests, can contribute to a bodybuilder’s income.
  2. Sponsorships and endorsements: Many bodybuilders sign deals with supplement companies, fitness brands, or other businesses, promoting their products in exchange for financial support, free products, or gear.
  3. Personal training: Bodybuilders often provide personal training services, coaching clients on exercise techniques, nutrition, and other aspects of fitness, either in-person or online.
  4. Fitness programs and online coaching: Many bodybuilders create and sell custom workout programs, meal plans, or offer online coaching services to clients looking to achieve specific fitness goals.
  5. Modeling: Bodybuilders can earn money by modeling for fitness magazines, advertising campaigns, or stock photography, showcasing their physiques for commercial purposes.
  6. Social media and influencer marketing: With a strong social media presence, bodybuilders can earn income through sponsored posts, paid partnerships, or by promoting their own products and services to followers.
  7. Merchandise: Some bodybuilders create their own line of apparel, supplements, or fitness equipment, selling these products to fans and customers.
  8. Public speaking and seminars: Experienced bodybuilders may be invited to speak at fitness events, conferences, or workshops, sharing their knowledge and expertise with audiences.
  9. Writing and content creation: Bodybuilders with a talent for writing or content creation may contribute articles to fitness publications, create instructional videos, or even write books on various aspects of bodybuilding and fitness.

The actual income generated from each of these sources will vary depending on factors such as the bodybuilder’s reputation, competitive success, and personal brand. While some bodybuilders may earn a modest income from these activities, others can achieve significant financial success through a combination of multiple revenue streams.

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Hi, I'm Dave Moffat the founder and Chief Editor of and certified International Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist. My passion has always been bodybuilding but with 15 years' experience in weight loss programs too, it's hard not to mention all that when you're working at your fitness level fullest (I hope). When Im not in the gym or spending time away from my family i often think about what advice would help others achieve theirs goals just like these inspired mine.