Lunsford has had his personal battles but is on a mission for Olympia glory.
This coming November in Orlando, FL, Derek Lunsford will chase ultimate greatness in the sport of bodybuilding. After finishing at the 2022 Mr. Olympia runner-up, the superstar athlete will plan to unseat defending champion Hadi Choopan from his throne at the 2023 edition of the bodybuilding mega-contest. With several months still to go before the next Olympia, Lunsford offered a thoughtful update on his training progress and some of his own personal adversity.
On June 13, 2023, Lunsford appeared on the Hany Rambod podcast to discuss where how his 2023 Olympia preparation is going. The athlete also offered some clarity on his battles with anxiety, especially in stepping on stage as an elite competitor. Notably, Rambod is Lunsford’s coach.
Being Lunsford’s coach, Rambod is intimately familiar with Lunsford’s approach to training and nutrition. He explained that Lunsford usually tries to slow down the meat of his preparation around three months before the Olympia. However, Lunsford’s jam-packed schedule can sometimes make such a goal difficult.
If it holds, that planned timeline will coincide with around early August 2023.
“Usually about 10 or 12 weeks out we [Lunsford and Rambod] try to shut it down,” Rambod said. “So, we’re far enough out, we have plenty of time. But I think what he’s [Lunsford] alluding to is the fact that he’s been so busy, when you’re out constantly, even in the off-season, it’s hard to even get all the meals in because you’re traveling … to get all of the really good, high-level workouts in because you’re using gyms that you’re probably not accustomed to.”
While he apparently feels good at the moment, Lunsford would jump into the conversation to clarify that he’ll really appreciate training in environments he’s familiar with again.
“Things are good right now, training is good,” Lunsford started. “I’ve made solid improvements since the  Olympia. But I really want to get into my own routine at home, my own gym, and be able to just crank up the training over these next couple of months, for sure.”
Lunsford could be a prime example that even when professional athletes are on top of the theoretical world, they’re not immune to the same struggles as an Average Joe or Jill. As he charges headlong toward his first hopeful Olympia title later this fall, Lunsford maintained he first had to fight off a heavy bit of anxiety and depression.
From an athlete that some might see as “indestructible,” so to speak, the honesty appeared illuminating.
Lunsford’s noble battle remains ongoing.
“There was a point in my life where I was in such a dark place, man.” Lunsford explained. “So depressed that it was to the point that I literally didn’t even want to be here anymore … I thought it was the placings at the time but it was really just how I viewed myself. I just kind of started realizing, ‘Oh, man, I’m not the person that I truly want to be.’ I want to be one person, I say I’m one person, but I’m acting in a different way. I don’t like it. And I want to truly live my life better.”
Featured image: @dereklunsford_ on Instagram