What is bodybuilding?
Bodybuilding is a sport in which participants build muscle for purely aesthetic reasons. The practice can be traced back to Eugen Sandow,How Does Bodybuilding Work? Articles a Victorian era strongman who performed “muscle display performances” so patrons could admire his physique. The physique of a male bodybuilder is based on Greek ideal of beauty seen in their sculptures. Muscle size, definition, and symmetry are emphasized.
While Sandow judged some of the earliest male bodybuilding competitions, female bodybuilding didn’t get off the ground until the late 1970s. Instead of adhering to the Greek female ideal these women go for the same muscular look as the men.
How is bodybuilding different from other strength sports?
Stability exercises have gotten a lot of emphasis in recent years, helping weightlifters control their lifting motions. As bodybuilding emphasizes visible muscles, athletes tend to ignore less noticeable stabilizer muscles which puts them at greater risk of injury.
While some body fat is advantageous in most strength sports, bodybuilders aim to have as little body fat as possible to expose the underlying muscle. While visibly impressive, a bodybuilder is physically weak when he or she competes due to the high body stresses from dieting and low water retention.
How do bodybuilders get their physiques?
Bodybuilding can be divided into two major phases: bulking and cutting.
In the off-season bodybuilders “bulk,” going all out to put on muscle. They eat a lot and even the most careful bodybuilder will put on fat.
Shortly before the season begins bodybuilders shift to “cutting.” Their focus shifts to getting body fat as low as possible. Weight training continues at a lighter pace while dieting is restricted and cardiovascular exercise is increased. Just before a competition the athlete will try and reduce water weight as much as possible, with some going as far as taking diuretic drugs. Tanning and oiling also help emphasize muscle definition.
Keep in mind that this is relative: a off-season male bodybuilder dianabol will probably be below 10% body fat, while on a competition day they may be at 5% or lower. For comparison, an average American man has around 25% body fat.
What do bodybuilders eat?
Bodybuilders eat what they call a “clean” diet: lean protein, whole grains, and vegetables with just a little fat. Processed foods, fried foods, and deserts are not part of this diet, although some ascribe to occasional “cheat” meals where they can eat these things.
This is spread out in six or seven small meals throughout the day to keep metabolism as high as possible. The only difference between bulking and cutting diets is the amount of food eaten.
Do bodybuilders have to use steroids and supplements?
There’s a lot of misinformation on the subject: Even while a lack of supplement regulation means powerful supplements often turn out to be mislabeled drugs. The safety and efficacy of steroids and supplements is questionable but some bodybuilder may choose to “juice” because even a slight difference may be enough to win a competition.
The problem is that the constant barrage of new drugs and supplements means there isn’t enough research out there to make informed decisions. Concerns over health problems have lead to a movement toward natural bodybuilding.