“The worst thing I can be is the same as everybody else. I hate that.”
Being a bodybuilder and living the lifestyle that accompanies this awesome journey is not suited for everyone. The amount of effort and dedication needed to succeed in this sport is second to none. Along with the innate desire to build muscle, one has to be able to deflect outside negative influences which are geared towards knocking you off course. Those who stay true to the bodybuilding way of life almost always experience success, in all facets of life, due in part to the regimented and structured lifestyle we live. Aside from that, there are of course other reasons not to get involved in bodybuilding and the following is a list of 10 things to consider (in no particular order) before you make the jump from the dark side into the light and experience all the trials and tribulations that comes from being a part of the physique elite.
We have all seen people struggle with some sort of physical task and most times the struggle stems from the fact that they are simply just not strong enough. Whether it’s opening up a jar of pickles, tearing a phone book in half or being able to carry your drunken buddy back home after a night out, the strength you have acquired by training as a bodybuilder will most definitely carry over into other parts of your life.
Any time a legitimate bodybuilder enters the room or walks through a crowd you can guarantee they will be attracting some attention from inquisitive onlookers. Big, round muscles and thickly built individuals always look imposing to the average person and a certain level of respect is automatically given. I know many people who started lifting weights for this very simple reason; intimidation of others. While that aspect doesn’t rank particularly high on my personal list it has certainly been the catalyst for many.
Obesity is a major epidemic in certain parts of the world and it doesn’t look like it’s getting any better any time soon. Upon closer review, most will agree that the fundamentals in which we base the bodybuilding lifestyle upon (regular exercise, nutrient dense clean foods and rest) fall into the category of healthy living or a prescription to get someone back on track and feeling better. Remember; bodybuilding and competitive bodybuilding are two very separate things.
I know, the only time you really need to shave is if you decide to take the plunge and step on stage. Most of your body hair (if not all) needs to be removed to best display your physique. That being said I personally think once you get into the habit of removing unwanted body hair you end up sticking with it and liking how it looks. For this reason, you’ll be spending lots of time and money on razors making sure your skin is hair free allowing for your hard earned muscles to shine through.
If you’ve seen the latest movie rendition of what it’s like to be an elite bodybuilder, then you probably remember the scene in which one of the main characters talks about being asked where he finds the shirts he’s wearing so that they fit. His response is one in which he says he has them tailored. If you get big enough, eventually you’re going to have a hard time finding clothes that fit you; especially jeans. Try having a 32-36 inch waist (or smaller) with 30 inch plus quads and finding a pair of pants to fit these measurements. It’s damn near impossible. The same can be said for dress shirts and finding one that will button up to the top so you can wear a tie. This is why most times you’ll see bodybuilders in shorts and tees.
There’s no other sport out there that requires the around the clock dedication to succeed. This type of dedication will pass over into other avenues of your life and will make everything you do that much better. You’ll never half ass any venture you decide to take on, all of your work will be exemplary because you won’t settle for less and you will never leave tasks undone.
It’s true that some of the things we need to do as bodybuilders could possibly fall in to the obsessive category. We need to be at the gym for certain times and for a set duration, we need to eat at exactly the right times to support our training, we need this supplement and that one for this reason and that reason, we need to have a nap at two in the afternoon every day, we need at least eight hours of sleep at night, we can’t eat that because it will take us over our caloric intake for the day, how many ounces of chicken did we eat with meal four, was it seven thousand milligrams of aminos in our intra-workout drink or was it eight, and on and on and on! I think you get the point here.
Many people enjoy the act of a physical pursuit but not everyone enjoys playing on a team. For this reason, depending upon how you look at it, bodybuilding offers you the choice of both. You only have yourself to rely on to achieve the results you want and you will only ever get let down if you do so yourself. On the other hand, there are always people working behind the scenes to help get the bodybuilder to where they need to be. This could be someone cooking meals for them or making sure other daily tasks are done so they can rest. However you look at it, you can go at it alone or as a part of a very small exclusive team.
The iron community is growing and slowly but surely scratching its way out of the subculture it once was. More and more people are joining the iron ranks of bodybuilding (especially with the rise of physique and bikini competitors) and this bodes well for society in general. When you train at the gym you build certain camaraderie with the fellow lifters there. When you compete that bond grows even deeper and when you help someone achieve their physique goals, the pride of accomplishment you both share is unparalleled. The iron age is here to stay and you’re going to want to be a part of it.
As much as I would like to say that the bodybuilding community is all rainbows and unicorns, it’s unfortunately not true. Just as with anything out there, you will have your good and bad along with a host of decisions you have to make for yourself. Whether you decide to keep things on the straight and narrow or you decide to take a detour here and there and dabble into questionable activities, that’s up to you. My advice here would be to stay true to your own values and morals and allow those to steer your course.
However you look at what it is to be a bodybuilder, the best thing about choosing to become one is that once you’re in you’re in! It’s hard to shy away from all the good that comes from it and the sense of accomplishment you get while working your way towards your physique goal. I guess all you can do here is take the good with the bad, filter out the aspects that are least appealing to you and always remember at the end of the day it all boils down to a better, healthier and stronger you. Bodybuilding is just that; building your body into something you imagine being the best representation of who you are; nothing more and nothing less.
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, ENDEVR Brand Ambassador, SKECHERS Brand Ambassador, Sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.
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