What comes to mind when someone mentions the sport of Bodybuilding? Hardworking men/women posing on stage showing the world the craftsmanship dedicated to their bodies? Sorry to burst your bubble but that was the golden age of bodybuilding.
Nowadays, Bodybuilding is all about being the biggest on stage and not necessarily the leanest or the most aesthetic. And I don’t blame competitors; the judges seem to favor that. Back in the boom-time of competitive bodybuilding, if you showed a picture of Arnold to anyone on the street, they’d most likely say that he looks incredible and they would want to look like him. But if you did that today with current Mr. Olympia, Phil Heath, the answer would probably be very different.
The biggest flaw of Bodybuilding is how they’re being perceived by the world. When you think of modern day Bodybuilding you think of mean self-obsessed stringer wearing men who never put on deodorant before they leave their homes. The problem with this besides the fact that it couldn’t be further than the truth is that anyone lifting weights as a hobby or individuals looking to start their fitness journey would be too intimidated to even step into the gym. And as a result of that they resort to Planet Fitness which they shouldn’t even have considered in the first place.
The flaw of Bodybuilding lies in the athletes themselves. Bodybuilding athletes nowadays look very different from golden-age bodybuilders if you looked at them side by side. Where did the Greek god aesthetic physiques like Arnold and Frank Zane go? All we get now are bloated oversized athletes whose only goal is to be as big as possible and not necessarily an indicator of what a healthy human body should strive to look like without insane exaggeration.
Another concern with Bodybuilding is the evolution of the sport itself. I’m sorry to say this to all the athletes and fans, but Bodybuilding is possibly one of or if not the most subjective sport in the world. Take other sports as an example. Sports like football/soccer or literally any other sports are dependant on athletes winning the game using their own abilities. Bodybuilding wins are dependant on the opinions of the judge. It’s ultimately rather subjective and the only thing that you, the competitor, can control is your preparation and your posing.
Luckily, realistic expectations for students interested in bodybuilding are readily available through the fitness Youtubers that have grown in popularity in recent years. Saving the fitness scene are these builders of honest, healthy muscle mass who, to be honest, probably win more fame than Olympic Bodybuilders. Online influencers such as Jeff Seid, Steve Cook, and Christian Guzman have been dominating the online fitness game for a while now and definitely saving a love of lifting from extinction.
In the end, Bodybuilding is a great sport that is badly represented by its professional heroes. But I still believe that there is a lot of hope for an expansion of the lifting scene since gym use has become a part of almost many lifestyles, whether we’re doing it for serious gain or for health purposes. Social media has become the vehicle for inspiration, not competitive competitions, and as long as this continues, the sport of bodybuilding is in safe hands.