A teenage boy tries out for his high school football team and quickly realizes, by virtue of his rag-doll status on the gridiron, that he’ll have to make some changes to his scrawny physique if he is to make his mark on the field. Across town, another lad is in a department store with his mother when he ambles past a gaudy newsstand and catches his first glimpse of a flexed bicep, seductively grasped by a beautiful, bikini-clad woman, and he knows instantly that there is something there for him. In the next aisle, a new mother passes a store mirror and winces at her reflection; she knows she can look and feel better, and she vows to remake her body. All of these folks, by recognizing their dissatisfaction with their current condition, have taken the vital first step toward taking control of their physiques and their lives. And, whether they realize it or not, they are about to embark on a journey that will turn them into something they never thought they’d be … bodybuilders!
Bodybuilders are usually thought of as huge, inhumanly muscular steroid users who shave their bodies, oil up, and strip down to their skivvies to show their wares to anyone who cares to look. In reality, these massively muscled people that glare at the public from the magazine rack or the occasional documentary on cable television represent a tiny minority of weight trainers who have both incredible muscle-building genetics and unimaginable work ethics and capacities. In this sense, they’re not much different than the very elite athletes in any sport. Interestingly, though, while lay people marvel at cyclist Lance Armstrong and his accomplishments, they are often totally turned off by a behemoth like six-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman. Unfortunately, this bias has caused many people to turn away from an activity that can markedly improve their appearance, strength, health, self-confidence, and even strengthen their relationships.
In general terms, anyone who has ever picked up a dumbbell or even done a sit-up has engaged in bodybuilding – “body building” – and the awesome truth is that almost anyone can benefit from lifting weights. Whether you’re young or old, short or tall, fat or skinny, or even if you are hampered by some physical disability, you can improve on your current condition by following a sensible program of weightlifting. What can you expect from bodybuilding? Well, almost everyone can add some muscle and lose some fat, improve cardiovascular health and posture, and increase flexibility. And don’t worry too much about becoming “muscle-bound”. As alluded to above, it takes a LOT of hard work and superior genetics to ever approach the build of professional bodybuilders (or even professional wrestlers).
Of course, people have many reasons for becoming involved in bodybuilding that have nothing to do with improving the health factors mentioned above. To successfully compete in sports at all these days, one really needs to be as strong as possible, and bodybuilding fits the bill as a strength builder. Some people have been known to work out hard so they can eat sweet treats without bursting the waistline on their pants. But, to be honest, the number one reason that people work out is, has always been, and will probably always be to become more attractive to the opposite sex. Hey, sex sells … gym memberships!
Bodybuilding is more than a way to improve the physiques of the “masses” (pun intended). As mentioned earlier, there is a competitive side to bodybuilding, and, as with any sport, the posing arena provides its own brand of drama and a unique glimpse into the human psyche. Because the competitors expose themselves so completely for the eyes of the fans, an interesting camaraderie exists between the champs and those who could be, someday, their competition. (By the way, an interesting debate that surfaces from time to time is whether bodybuilding is, in fact, a sport, or if it can be classified only as something slightly less dignified, such as an “exhibition”. Alas, that is a discussion for another time…).
Luckily for us, the various facets of the bodybuilding game enjoy strong representation on the Internet, so there is never a shortage of information to ponder. In the coming months, the Bodybuilding site here at Suite101 will become the place to go to find out what’s going on in the world of training, nutrition, and competitive bodybuilding. We’ll take in-depth looks at various lifting and diet protocols, examine the state of modern bodybuilding, and generally have a good time talking about good bodies. In addition, we’ll lead you to the (other) best bodybuilding web sites available and make sure you know which books are essential reading for the aspiring bodybuilder or the bodybuilding fan.
So, welcome to Bodybuilding and check back often to see what’s new and tempting. It’s going to be a great ride!
Until next time, enjoy the pump!