“Bodybuilding is creating a living masterpiece.” Anonymous
What is the first thing to come to mind when you hear the word bodybuilding? Is it huge, sweaty, and vain men toiling away in gyms? Or perhaps it’s the Mr. Olympia contest. One thing is for sure. Few things are as misunderstood as bodybuilding. So just what is bodybuilding? Some would say it’s building big muscles. Some would say it’s stepping on stage and competing in a bodybuilding contest. Some would say it’s building the most aesthetically perfect body possible. Some would say it’s meal prep, hours at the gym, the list goes on. All of those answers are correct to some degree, but there is much more to bodybuilding than just those things and that’s exactly what we’re going to talk about. Bodybuilding is the reconstruction of cells and tissue through specific exercise and nutrition, however there is much more to it than that. Bodybuilding is creating a living sculpture, a masterpiece that is never complete. This notion is welcome because once you truly fall in love with bodybuilding you never want to be finished. It goes beyond that though. Bodybuilding is knowledge, skill, will power, effort, and discipline. It is literally putting yourself up against resistance and then using that resistance to make yourself stronger. Done right, bodybuilding builds a strong character. One of confidence, of integrity, and of excellence. Bodybuilding is life! What does this mean? In life when we want to do a thing we often come up against resistance. We persist for a time but often, after a while, we give up. This is due to many reasons, we lack confidence, discipline, focus, will power, and most importantly grit. It is grit, the ability to stay the course when facing challenging obstacles, that is the strongest determining factor of not only success, but inner peace, happiness. You may have heard that happiness is a choice, and to choose happiness every day despite circumstances that would typically leave you feeling the opposite, takes tremendous inner strength. Bodybuilding builds that inner strength. It strengthens one mentally as well as physically. The idea of bodybuilding as a sport is laughable. Bodybuilding is an art. There is an aspect to training that is almost spiritual. You get into the flow state, transcending pain. Time seems to stand still, and it’s just you and the weights. You feel your body so deeply. You can hear it talking to you, telling you how to best perform a movement to bring out a specific area of the body. It tells you when to keep going, and when it is done. This dialogue between the mind and body grows over time, and is present even when you’re outside the gym. There is an aspect of bodybuilding that is a competitive sport, but that is not what it’s about. In a sport the results are cut and dry. If I score more points than you I win. Judging bodybuilders is like judging paintings. Sure you would have your own personal favorite, but it is all subjective. A great bodybuilder builds his or her body to his or her own ideal. This is then shown in an artistic way. It inspires and motivates onlookers, which is one of the most amazing benefits of bodybuilding. However, to say one persons ideal is better than another, is where the art can get lost. This is why bodybuilding is in the state it is in today, with the top competitors looking grotesque and unhealthy. Drug abuse is accepted, as the idea is to build a body that will win, rather than to sculpt a masterpiece. An artistically developed physique inspires awe not from sheer size, but because it is reminiscent of the divine. When displayed artistically, a physique such as this opens the heart, pierces the depths of the soul, and can bring a tear to one’s eye. Building a physique such as this requires every fiber of ones being. Love, total dedication, and passion bordering on obsession are all mandatory. The ideal physique that you wish to create must become your sole focus. No drugs, no synthetic hormones or supplements should be used as artificial products being put into the body tend to result in an artificial looking body. The hallmark of a great bodybuilder is his physique. You can see his or her character, strength, and personality through his or her physique. The problem though, is that many people that call themselves bodybuilders are using performance enhancing drugs. These drugs work tremendously, but create an unnatural look to the body. This takes away from the natural beauty of the physique. Drug use is so rampant currently that people have been brainwashed into thinking that a chemically altered physique is a natural one. Also, the lay person can’t tell the difference between a natural physique and a chemically altered one and often speculates that anyone with a well developed body is using drugs. This is a consequence of such widespread use of drugs. These drugs offer a shortcut to developing a physique and so, are very tempting to the youth. However, as with any shortcut, they come with many unwanted side effects ranging from physical, to mental, and emotional. Performance enhancing drugs or PED’s shortchange the mental development that comes with fully developing the physique. It takes patience, tremendous inner strength, discipline, focus, consistency, imagination, and a strong connection between the mind and body. This connection is what allows one to develop the physique, including weak points to their will, and is only strengthened by years upon years of proper training. To master displaying that physique takes years of posing practice as well. Why would anyone put in so much effort? There’s really only one reason to take up a bodybuilding lifestyle, and it’s love. Train only because you love it. There are many other ways of getting and staying fit, and bodybuilding goes far beyond that. You may enjoy a bodybuilding workout only one or two days a week, or on a daily basis. Regardless though, to whatever extent you incorporate it you will experience the benefits attained by your own will power, and that my friend, is what it’s all about.