The Bad Reputation of Bodybuilding
There seems to be an ever-growing trend within fitness/training circles to bash bodybuilding whenever the opportunity even remotely presents itself. Bodybuilding-style training has been relegated to being synonymous with meathead, big-for-nothing, non-functional, vanity-driven training revolving around arm curls and attitudes.
Many among the ranks of the new fitness trends such as Crossfit, group bootcamp classes, kettle bell training and other variations of functional-specific training are the first to tout the benefits of their system while slamming anything that uses the words body or building.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for anyone getting in any type of physical activity for improving themselves and getting healthy, but where did all of this hate come from? I could come up with 99 reasons, but I can think of a few that stand out more than others.
There are bodybuilders who yell and carry on like a bunch of cavemen while training feeding the meathead stereotype. These few individuals are rude to others, monopolize equipment and are so wrapped up into their inner circle that they look down on “outsiders.”
Another reason is more of an environmental issue. Most health clubs have become more family oriented with smoothie bars, childcare, pools, pro shops, hair salons, etc. This is not the ideal environment for the hardcore bodybuilder.
I have two points I would like to make regarding perceptions and the haters out there with what they deem a bad reputation of bodybuilding:
I consider myself a bodybuilder through and through. Having competed in numerous drug-tested events, I believe that bodybuilding is a wonderful thing that gives you power, strength, muscle and confidence. Nothing, in my opinion, can shape your physique more effectively than bodybuilding.
- I don’t hate on other forms of training. I know that many protocols call for that specific training mode because of the demands of the event itself. A powerlifter trains a certain way because his/her sport calls for that. Crossfit members train that way for competitiveness and camaraderie. Let’s stop the hate and encourage and respect each other instead of tear each other down.
Do I yell and carry on like a madman in the gym cutting down others and constantly trying to be “better” than everyone else? Not at all.
Do I like to train hard, bust through PRs and get an intense workout without too much chit-chat? Absolutely!
Bodybuilding has gotten a bad rap for a while now and I can’t help but understand why in some ways. There are some guys at my gym, for example, who compete regularly that are completely unapproachable, intimidating and are (to be completely honest) passive dicks!
But this cannot overshadow the fact that most guys are considerate and share a common goal of building a better body. The key is not to generalize.
If I come across a Crossfit disciple who is a total prick, I am not about to stereotype the entire Crossfit organization and criticize that all members are that way. So, why is it okay to label all bodybuilders in a bad light?
The fact of the matter is that everyone can learn from all forms of training. From time to time I like to perform some heavy powerlifting-style sets AND include some more functional moves as well.
I am a huge proponent of always including bodyweight-type moves in every workout such as push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, dips, lunges and other single-leg variations along with the big, basic, compound lifts such as bench presses, squats and rows (including many of their variations). And yes, I do curls!
Try different styles of training, throw in a few new moves you have never tried before and you may reap some great benefits along the way.
The trick is to not lock yourself into just one style – get a taste without the hate.
About the Author
Brad Borland paid for and earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Kinesiology and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA).
As a drug-free natural competitive bodybuilder Brad has trained, motivated consulted and harassed many clients from all aspects of life from the competitive bodybuilder and athlete to the elderly and rehabilitated. Having trained in commercial health clubs, wellness clinics, hospitals, university facilities and military installations such as tents, sand pits and old Russian bunkers he has also helped many with diets and eating habits as well as contest preparation.
Brad currently writes for some of the top fitness magazines and websites on the subjects of training, nutrition, supplements, and motivation.
Brad created The Workout Lab, a health and fitness website that offers practical, real-life advice and tips regarding training, nutrition, supplements and a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to check out his website here.
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