North Mpls native wins bodybuilding ‘Mr. Minnesota’ title

Submitted photo Robert Sanigular

One lean, symmetrical machine

Bodybuilders look like they can pick up a pickup with their pinky. But they’re judged on striking poses that display leanness and symmetry.

Each macho, delicate pose is a bit of musculature choreography striking a pleasant form. Executing that imposing and subtle dance has been the recent hobby of 21-year-old North Minneapolis native Robert Sanigular.

The upstart has shown a knack for bodybuilding, winning his first two contests outright. In the last, he was selected from over 30 competitors and named Mr. Minnesota in the National Physique Committee’s Men’s State Championships in Burnsville in June. The win qualifies him for regionals in Chicago next summer.

With the immediate success, bodybuilding has blossomed from hobby to a big part of Sanigular’s life. “I want to get a pro card,” says the newly crowned state champ, bodybuilding parlance for going pro. Singular aims to join a team or league, and the ranks of touring, competing bodybuilders striving to make a living in the sport.

The Eden Prairie High School alum’s newfound ambition came shortly after graduation. Sanigular was a competitor then as well, running track and making it to the 2016 state meet but coming up short of a first-place finish. “That made me mad, not gonna lie,” Sanigular said. After high school, he needed an outlet for that drive.

With no clear answer, Sanigular fell out of state-champion-adjacent shape. This disgusted his competitive spirit, so he went to the gym. A lot. So much so that the staff at the West Broadway Anytime Fitness asked if he was interested in working there.

Sanigular started and soon became a trainer and manager. Working out became his day job, which spurred his interest in his peak fitness.

“You find out a lot about yourself,” he said.

In that pursuit, Sanigular stumbled upon bodybuilding and, fascinated, hired a coach. He fell for the sport.

“What I like overall; there’s always room for improvement.”

After a year or so of preparation, Sanigular headed out for his first competition in October 2018 and won. Needing a challenge for constant improvement, Sanigular set his sights on Mr. Minnesota.

The competition has three judges scrutinize the leanness and symmetry of competitor poses. Each contestant is first screened privately in order to winnow away also-rans. Then bodybuilders are judged live in front of an audience.

Sanigular sailed through his class and then secured the overall title.

He might chase defending his Mr. Minnesota title next spring. For now, Sanigular is singularly focused on the National Physique Committee regional championship next June.