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Professional bodybuilders earn money by placing in bodybuilding competitions. Hard work and dedication are essential to achieving professional status, but ultimately contestants are judged based on their overall muscle development, including mass, definition, proportion and symmetry. The money a pro bodybuilder makes can vary depending on gender, skill level, number of competitions entered and geographic location. But because winning fitness competitions is not guaranteed, pro bodybuilders commonly have full- or part-time jobs to supplement their earnings.
According to Indeed.com, the average earnings for a professional bodybuilder is $77,000 per year in 2014. The earnings are influenced by location. For example, a pro bodybuilder in New York makes about $93,000 a year. Pro bodybuilders in California make an average of $83,000 annually, while in Florida, they earn about $72,000 a year. In Nebraska, pro bodybuilders make an average of $56,000 a year. For top-tier bodybuilders, the earnings are much higher. According to "Muscle and Fitness" magazine, the first place winner of the Mr. Olympia competition received $675,000 in 2013. The Ms. Olympia winner received $60,000.
Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.