Armando Marquez - IFBB Judge

Author: Jonathan Landau, Owner - Models Observer
August 2017

1. Thanks for joining me, Armando. Could you start by telling me a little bit about yourself, how long you have been involved in bodybuilding? When did you start judging?

Armando Marquez: I started in Bodybuilding in 1985, at 18 y.o. and had no idea about the sport, but a lot of illusions. In 1996 I became a national judge and, in 1998, international. I lived in Madrid, and IFBB President, Dr. Rafael Santonja, helped me a lot in my career, as official. With his support, I've been more and more involved in Bodybuilding, introducing dozens of events, and in touch with athletes worldwide.

I´m a lover of Fitness & Bodybuilding... Although I competed only twice in my life (2002 & 2003), this sport is a part of me and I'm blessed working on it 365 days / year.

A post shared by Armando Marquez (@ifbb_armando) on

2. In which division - Bikini, Figure or Women's Physique - do you find it more challenging to decide who the best competitor is? Why?

Armando Marquez: Of course, Bikini. There are much more subjective rules than in any other Division. Judges we are looking for qualities that are not always possible to reach in the gym with hard work: charisma, elegance, beauty, skin tone, etc… In any case, Women's Physique is, as well, really challenging: Who is the best: the most credible or the most muscular…? It is not always so easy…

Bikini changed a lot the perspective of women´s categories. These athletes take a lot of attention in their global image (make up, color, walking, posing, attitude…) and all of this became in the right standard for judges. If you compete in Figure, for sure you will need more muscles to succeed but judges will like to find details in your presentation, as Bikini athletes do. Again, you need beautiful face to be successful in Bikini and, for sure, a beautiful face always helps to get high scores in any division. Judges are always looking for the best global aesthetic!

3. What is your view about tattoos? Do they make difference?

Armando Marquez: Formerly, tattoos were considered, in the rules, as “imperfections on the skin”. Nowadays, almost everybody have one or more tattoos so, this criteria let´s say “relaxed”. Personally, I don´t like and I have not anyone, on my body, but I accept in athletes. Simply, athletes must know that judges will not assess easily the bodies, when there are several tattoos so… athletes without (or small ones) will have an advantage, in scores.

4. Please give an example of a motivational talk you've had with a female competitor who hit a wall and stopped progressing (no need to mention name). Which advice did you give, and how did it help her rebuild faith in herself?

Armando Marquez: As an international judge and IFBB official, I always try to be really diplomatic and don't give personal opinions. In any case, I can tell you one anecdote:

One Figure competitor was always qualifying lower than she could get. For me the reason was clear: her face was not as “feminine” we like to watch as judges. I told her “stop pay attention to your bodyfat level and muscle size and make your face your priority”. Her next contest she was bronze, the next silver and, the next gold and overall title. For me, it was clear what was wrong with her.

Usually, athletes are not so open to discover the truth, although they ask for it… Our sport is really subjective and genetic conditions make the difference, even more than the hard work in the gym. When somebody is not genetically gifted and wants to get the victory with hard work, how to explain that this is not enough? This is a task for coaches, not for judges.

5. Laboratory studies have documented that women often respond less favorably to competition than men. Conditional on performance, men are often more eager to compete, and the performance of men tends to respond more positively to an increase in competition. Gender differences in competitiveness tend to result from differences in overconfidence and in attitudes toward competition. Gender differences in risk aversion, however, seem to play a smaller and less robust role. (Gender and Competition, Stanford University). What do you think?

Armando Marquez: My opinion is just a drop in the ocean… If there are scientific studies about such issue, how to give another opinion? Men and women are not as similar as our occidental society tries to convince us. We have different biologic roles. In my personal experience, I found men much more competitive, by nature, but women much more focused and able to resist the pain following a goal.

6. If you had to pick one memorable story in the years you've been judging, what would it be?

Armando Marquez: About women, I remember the Fitness final in 2013 World Championships, where the best body fights with the best charisma and routine. I was asking myself who really deserved the title. I scored according my answer and seems the other judges did the same.

7. Any advice for those who are going to compete for the first time?

Armando Marquez: Sure! To get the victory does not mean you are a great athlete. As previously mentioned, our sport depends more on genetic qualities than on hard job in the gym. If you lose, but you love the sport, you reach your best shape and you are able to motivate others… you are a star! Results will come with time but respect and appreciation from others comes from the very beginning.

8. What would you like to see happening with the sport in the future?

Armando Marquez: I will see –sooner or later- our sport recognized by the Olympic Committees in the 5 continents (already is recognized in Asia and America). I want to see people discovering that Bodybuilding and Fitness is about healthy way of life and proper nutrition. I want to see that society discover what we know from ages: our sport is the best anti-aging therapy.

9. What most people don't know about you?

Armando Marquez: I´m not so important… I'm just “another brick in the wall of Bodybuilding”. In any case, it´s good to mention that I took my University Degree in Economy (and a Master course) but I chose to be in shorts, living in front of the sea, and doing Bodybuilding every day. I´m 50 y.o. and I love my life and I don’t regret anything. When I see my University mates, overweighting and complaining about their lives, I realized that out sport is a fantastic Way of Life where the success does not depend on the medals, but about how healthy, happy and aesthetic you feel every day.

Follow Armando:
Instagram- @ifbb_armando

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