Is Bodybuilding Really Functional?

Millions of people spend hours in the gym every day deeply convinced that they are performing an activity that results in the ultimate self-improvement. This is correct, to a certain extent.

Resistance training is far better than watching TV, going to the Mall, working late hours, eating bad food…etc. The gym gives you an opportunity to get out of your role as an obedient working drone and a happy consumer by communicating with matter that doesn’t lie to you – the iron.

However, not many people realize that the gym is a sterile environment. The exercises are designed to make different body parts work in a generic way. With small differences, most people look the same when performing bodybuilding drills. Different body types account for slightly different mechanics, but the end result is fairly identical – no style, just generic muscle flexion.


For the same reason, bodybuilding is not attractive to the general public as an activity. It’s boring. People may appreciate muscle men, but it’s far more interesting to watch “real sports”.

The way I see it, the gym was never the end goal. It’s like building a car that never hits the open road.

When people lose motivation, I usually advise them to focus on skill work. The goal is to stop thinking in terms of “what should I do to build more muscle” which is a rather depressive though, especially when you’re natural.

Once you start accomplishing “functional” goals, your motivation as a natural bodybuilder will have no choice but to increase.

Ultimately, bodybuilding training is semi-functional. It has some carry over to sports and “real life activities“, but technically, training in the gym is just that – training. Applying your training is what makes life more exciting. That’s why people experience more satisfaction from compound exercises than machine work. You feel alive and closer to reality.

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