Bodybuilding, as a sport, is certainly a fringe sport. It is too intense for most mainstream audiences, and worse, it makes people feel self conscious about themselves. No one wants to be reminded that they carry a few extra pounds because they look at the tan, rippling body on stage that exhibits less body fat than most people carry on one thigh. When most people think of bodybuilding, these “muscle-bound freaks” are what comes to mind.
Are you a Bodybuilder
However, this is not really the case. As a matter of fact your next door neighbor might be a bodybuilder. Your sister or brother might be a bodybuilder. Believe it or not, you might be a bodybuilder. That’s right, I said you might be a bodybuilder. If you lift weights or train in such a way as to shape your body, you are a bodybuilder. The term bodybuilding has come to represent the sport of bodybuilding, but in all reality, anyone who works out to shape and tone their body is a bodybuilder.
Those guys you see posing in front of the mirrors at the gym are bodybuilders. They work intensely to build large muscles that make them stand out from the crowd. They actually enjoy being stared at, and even the term “freak” is a compliment. They want people to stare in wonderment and scratch their heads at why and how they got that big.
But, this is not a true representation of bodybuilding. There are far larger numbers of bodybuilders who would not be recognized as such in a business or casual suit. There are many more bodybuilders who hit the gym to improve their overall health and develop their physique to the best natural condition it can be, than there are the monstrous, creatures who growl and grimace their way through workouts with tons of steel. Now, this is not to say the mass monsters are not also bodybuilders, because they are, but they are not the only bodybuilders.
Casual Bodybuilding versus Competitive Bodybuilding
Anyone can be a bodybuilder. Simply entering the gym and training to change your body makes you a bodybuilder. A little attention to detail on the diet side and people will notice your bodybuilding pursuits. You may get quite a few compliments. As the muscles begin to take shape and increase in size people will accuse you of all sorts of performance enhancing tricks. A strict schedule of lifting and rest will enhance the progress, as well. Of course, it is not your life, so once in a while your training, and possibly diet, may take a back seat to other priorities in your life.
But, if you want to compete on stage it takes a higher level of dedication and some personal sacrifice. Competitive bodybuilders need to make a strong commitment to their training and diet. They must maintain vigilance toward what they put in their mouth, when and how they train, and getting proper rest between workouts. Competitive bodybuilding requires cycles of heavy, mass training and lighter, pre-contest training along with cardiovascular work. The diet follows the same cycles. Bodybuilding must become a priority for the competitive bodybuilder.
The Natural Competitive Bodybuilder
Most beginning bodybuilders are natural bodybuilders. Some to the point that they rely solely on food for their nutritional needs. A natural bodybuilder uses no drugs to enhance their performance and training. There are many nutritional supplements to aid the natural bodybuilder. Since the natural bodybuilder is not using any performance enhancing drugs they must pay special attention to their diet and training programs.
The natural bodybuilder cannot afford to slip off the diet phase they are in. Special attention must be paid to fueling the muscles and providing adequate amino acids for rebuilding and repair. The timing of meals is very important, too, because the muscles must be fed at the right times to support anabolic processes in the body. The workouts must be intense, with adequate rest for recovery. Natural bodybuilders do not have the benefit of drugs to speed recovery so they must allow the body to do it naturally. This often takes longer. When scheduling workouts this must be taken into consideration.
Bodybuilders who get paid to compete in bodybuilding competitions, endorse products, and pose for photo shoots are considered professional bodybuilders. These are the cream of the crop. They are very large, ripped, and hard. They often rely on pharmaceutical help to build and maintain their size. They also have the benefit of being able to train, eat, and rest on a cycle that is conducive to their bodybuilding lifestyle. Since they are paid to keep their bodies in top form, they can structure their daily schedule around the needs of their developing muscles.
Professional bodybuilders are often at their peak for size and therefore focus mostly on refining their musculature. They can train twice a day with plenty of rest and food in between. They have almost unlimited access to supplements and other products to feed their muscles through their endorsements. These men and women make very good money simply flexing and posing. However, like other sports, the percentage of aspiring athletes who make it pro is fairly small.
Bodybuilding is more than just the sport of posing and flexing on stage. Everyone who enters a gym, or lifts weights at home, to improve their body is a bodybuilder. That little old lady next door who scoots off to the gym every other day is a bodybuilder. Competitive bodybuilding requires a whole new level of commitment and dedication to the game. Whether natural or not, the dedication to proper training and nutrition is vital for success. Bodybuilders truly do come in all shapes and sizes, with varied goals and dreams, but share one common thread, a desire to improve their bodies.