Popularly Known As Mr. Genetics, He Was One of the Most Promising IFBB Pro Contestant of the Golden Era

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1960, Matt Mendenhall, popularly known as Mr. Genetics, was one of the promising young bodybuilders of 1982, along with other legends like Lee Haney. Though, he is considered as one of the greatest bodybuilders. Unfortunately, he never got the opportunity to turn into a full professional bodybuilder reaching the peak and earning an IFBB Pro card because of unfortunate illnesses.

Nonetheless, his illness never becomes a reason to stop him until he can. And he forced himself and tried everything he could to achieve his dream until his body started to force to prevent it and shut down after years of intense bodybuilding

Matt Mendenhall’s Early Life

Born and growing up in a family addicted to fitness, where two out of three siblings were already bodybuilders, bodybuilding is something that came naturally to him. Nonetheless, in his early years, Matt didn’t get into bodybuilding but was more inclined towards football and also enjoyed pole vaulting. Further, his amazing genetics also allowed him to develop one of the best physiques without hitting the gym.

mohamed makkawy workout routine

Matt’s Injury & Entering the Gym

Matt gone through a severe injury in his forearm at the age of 15 at the time he was practicing for pole vaulting. He almost lost his forearm in amputation, and the doctor even told him that he’d never recover fully.

Encouragement from his siblings helped him, and he never gave up. Similarly, under his sibling’s guidance, he started hitting the gym and began rehabilitation using weights. Sooner he regained full use of his forearm while proving the doctor wrong. Further down the road, he even builds an impressive muscle mass onto his body frame.

Three years into working out, he even managed to sculpt an incredible body that surpassed his schoolmates in senior years when it came to muscle building. And he even started looking like a seasoned bodybuilder. Finally, at age 17, in 1978, he entered his first competition Mr. Ohio High School. Despite of any preparation, experience, and posing, Matt dominated the contest and even won the trophy.

Matt Mendenhall’s Workout Routine

Here’s one of Matt’s workout routines:

Monday – Chest

Incline DB Flys56
Flat DB Press56
Incline Flys56
DB Decline Press46
DB Pullovers410
Cable Crossovers410

Tuesday – Shoulders

BB Behind The Neck Press58
DB Side Lateral Raises58
Rear Delt Bent Over Lateral Raises58
Shoulder Shrugs58
BB Upright Rowing58

Wednesday – Legs (Circuit)

Hack Squats48
Lying Leg Curls510
Leg Extensions510
Standing Calf Raises (Machine)510
Seated Calf Raises58
Toe Raises – Using Leg Press Machine510
Donkey Calf Raises510

Thursday – Back

Chin–Ups (Wide Grip)48
T – Bar Rowing48
Lat Pulldown410
Seated Rowing48
Lat Pulldown410
DB Bent Over Rowing410

Friday – Arms (Circuit)

DB Curls (Standing)48
BB Preacher Curls48
Standing BB Curls48
DB Concentration Curls48
Reverse BB Curls48
DB Wrist Curls412
Lying BB French Extensions48
Seated BB French Extensions48
Triceps Pushdowns48
Triceps DB Extensions48

Saturday – Abs

Leg Raises – Hanging430
Sit – Ups430
Leg Raises – Lying430

Sunday – Rest Day

Matt Mendenhall’s Diet Plan

  • Meal 1 
    • Protein Shake
    • Apple Juice
    • Small Banana 
  • Meal 2
    • Fruit – 1 Piece (Apple or Banana)
  • Meal 3
    • Grilled Chicken or Fish
    • Steamed Vegetables
  • Meal 4
    • Grilled Chicken or Fish
    • Grilled Vegetables


  • Whey Protein
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B

An Unfortunate Event – One After Another

Once he started competing, for the next 7 years, Matt appeared in 9 more bodybuilding competitions, in which he happened to win 4 of them. Though, in other competitions, he happens to come second most of the time, making him lose very respectably. Further, in 1982 he stood against Lee Haney. Though he couldn’t win, but he lost to one of the future legends, Lee Haney.

Unfortunately, he never got the chance to reach his full genetic potential and has gone through severe illnesses and events. For instance, in 1983, he suffered from a flu virus for 3 weeks before competing for the NPC Nationals. And due to the flu, he lost a massive amount of weight and condition during his recovery.

Years later, he was hit by a car crash and flung out of the front window. Finally, he recovered and returned to his best shape for competition, but Mike Christian controversially beat him.

Later in 1985, Matt got the taste of success. He got into the NPC USA Championship competition and happened to get the trophy in the heavyweight division. Similarly, this victory also got him into the World Games of that year.

Though in NPC World Games, he couldn’t make it to the top. And in 1987 and 1988, he got placed 10th and 11th, respectively. Lastly, Matt competed in the 1991 NPC Nationals, but he couldn’t win and got placed in 5th position. And from there on, he retired and started focusing on other things. And later, on August 28, 2021, Matt took his last breath and passed away at 61.

Wrapping Up 

One thing we can learn from Matt never gives up attitude, and winning isn’t always about getting trophies. Unfortunately, though, on many occasions, he got placed 2nd, but he is still remembered as one of the greatest bodybuilders like other IFBB legends.

Here we’ve covered one of Matt Mendenhall’s workout routine and diet plans, so if you have any questions about it or want to try it, we hope this may prove helpful.

Satinder Chowdhry Avatar

Satinder Chowdhry