Photo courtesy Better Aesthetics

Hormone-Free Bodybuilding

The annual Cecil E. Phillips Classic competition is open only to contestants who haven’t bulked up with steroids

Bodybuilding is an art form in which the human body is the artistic medium. Men and, increasingly, women and folks of all gender identities, train throughout the year to sculpt their bodies into muscular perfection before competing on stage against one another for titles such as Mr. or Ms. Universe.

It’s hard, sweaty work, and around the country a lot of bodybuilders use steroids and other drugs to ease the process. That doesn’t happen, though, at the Cecil E. Phillips Classic in Eugene, whose contestants are subject to a battery of tests.

“We do drug testing for performance enhancing drugs, anything from testosterone and growth hormones to diuretics, cutting agents — things that just aren’t, you know, food ingredients,” says Aaron Orton, a bodybuilder and owner of Eugene’s Genuine Fitness Training, who runs the competition. “We use a polygraph process initially during registration, and then we do urinalysis for our class winners at the end of the show.” 

The competition, held under the auspices of the International Natural Bodybuilding Federation, was started in 2019 and named in honor of Cecil E. Phillips, a Navy veteran, University of Oregon athletic trainer and bodybuilder who was named Mr. Oregon in 1958 and Mr. Pacific Northwest at the Seattle World’s Fair in 1962. Phillips died in Eugene in 2017.

“We couldn’t think of a name for the competition and, after he passed, it got brought up that maybe we could do this in his honor. And that ended up being a gift because it brought in a lot of people who knew him or knew of him,” Orton says.

Some 50 competitors will be judged in such categories as Novice Bodybuilding, Open Men’s Bodybuilding, Novice Figure, Open Figure, Open Physique and Novice Bikini Short.

The Cecil E. Phillips Classic starts at 9:30 am and runs through 5:30 pm July 22 at Eugene Christian School, 2895 Chad Drive. General admission tickets for spectators are $50 at