HomeArticlesChristian Duque

Jo Lindner ‘Joesthetic’ Dead at 30

by Christian Duque

The death of Jo Linder sent shockwaves throughout the fitness industry for a variety of reasons. Any news that deals with the passing of a bodybuilding icon hurts. That’s pretty obvious. However when we’re talking about someone this young it should give us all pause.

When guys are dying at 30 like Jo or 26 like Dallas it means that something very wrong is taking place in the fitness industry. While the cause of death was an aneurysm, Johnny Bravo’s reporting spoke volumes to me. The fact that Linder was living off as much as 4 liters (or 17 cups) of coffee per day was mind boggling to me. He may also have been using other chemicals which Bravo didn’t want to speak about on his youtube video. One can only imagine what that might be. My guess would be something that’s used as a pesticide and no one is supposed to talk about, but who really knows

The fact of the matter is that if Jo was drinking that much coffee it wasn’t for the stimulant effect. It was for the hunger suppressant qualities. This is why some guys have even resorted to using nicotine. They’re not trying to stop smoking, but rather they want to curb their appetite. That’s something that a lot of people in and out of bodybuilding simply can’t understand. People outside the sport wouldn’t get it. They figure bodybuilders eat everything in sight and that everyone has fast metabolisms. People in the sport answer everything with drugs, but what happens when the body develops certain immunities to even the strongest chemical compounds? So while the aneurism might have been the cause of death, who’s to say that the results of long term drugs didn’t play a role.

Guys like Jo had the physique everyone wanted. Guys wanted to look like him and many were committed to eating the meals, taking their supplements, and giving their all in the gym. If that’s all it took, maybe more would be able to achieve it. Sadly we know better. We know that in the fitness industry people may look their best but in reality be their most vulnerable from a health standpoint. This is because you have guys who are training like beasts but eating less and less calories.

Joesthetics’ look was his brand. He had one of the tiniest waists in the business. He always showcased razor-sharp abs, great symmetry, and great balance. This is a look that many competitors are able to nail for the stage or a photo shoot. Hardly any competitive physique-based athletes keep this look year-round like Jo did. Many even have off seasons where they balloon up and look nothing like bodybuilders, much less fitness models. And they’re able to do that because their look is pegged to a contest or a season that runs a few months. When you’re dialed in 24/7 that will ultimately take a toll on the mind and body. We can’t be naive about this any longer.

Does anyone remember that now-classic line from John Romano “where are the bodies?” That was a rebuttal to the John Stossil’s judgment about anabolic steroids. Back in the 1990’s, elected officials were on a witch hunt. They blamed AAS for a litany of illnesses and deaths. Romano’s soundbite was perfect because it made the point that synthetic, exogenous hormones weren’t directly responsible for anything. And maybe anabolics alone weren’t; however, most physique-based athletes use AAS and a combination of other agents that help with muscle recovery, muscle maintenance, and fat burning.

As the body becomes more resistant (which is normal), athletes start to take matters into their own hands. The fact of the matter is that guys like Jo are usually hungry all the time. They train at a level that requires a huge amount of calories, but the key to having shredded abs and a tight midsection is less calories in vs more energy out. There’s no other way to break it down. If you want to walk about in single-digit body fat percentages while looking jacked it’s all about suffering. This is why so few people can achieve this look much less without ever taking a break. In all the years I’ve been following Jo, I have never seen him fat or bloated. That’s impressive but it’s also very concerning.

Who’s going to tell a shredded fitness model who’s made it to slow down? There is no such thing as slowing down in the fitness hustle. The bar is constantly raising. There’s expos all throughout the year. When you’re a top level influencer the ride never slows down. You never know when the phone’s going to ring with new job offers and you want to be known as a guy who’s easy to work with. What that means is you can work at the drop of a hat.

Back when I was doing extensive contest coverage I knew of a great many guys, who like Jo, were always in shape. They always had a duffle ready with clothes and toiletries. They lived in great pads, had nice cars, and led the life of a mid-level attorney or doctor. They had plenty of money and enjoyed whatever their heart desired. That said they were seldom if ever home. One weekend they were in Dubai, another one they might be in Fiji, and another they might be in some random place in southern California. If you think I’m embellishing – I’m not. While it may seem super glamorous, it gets old very fast. And it becomes very taxing on the body.

I have no idea what Jo must have been going through but you figure something wasn’t right. No one just dies at 30. It doesn’t happen, but it goes back to the sad reality that when people look their best in our industry, they might be falling apart inside. I’d like to think these deaths are going to stop and that at some point the industry is going to push actual health and well-being.

That’s the point right? We’re trying to promote a healthier lifestyle that sees people go to the gym, eat a sensible diet, and lead happier lives. That might be the goal but influencers don’t practice what they preach. They sell an alternate reality of perfection and perfection comes with a price. That price isn’t death but once you start pushing yourself to the limit and that becomes your normal, then anything can happen. And while I’ve written extensively about the many casualties in our sport, it never gets easier.

We will all mourn Jo’s passing. He will be remembered for all the great work he did. It just sucks we had to lose him so young. It’s a real shame.

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