Muscle construction was once considered a niche for insecure men without a father figure. The storyline has changed. Now lifting is one of the neurotypical activities that even the hot and popular engage in.
The fight against gravity symbolizes the modern struggle to ascension and manliness. For that reason, the bodybuilding theme often finds itself in the words of motivational speakers.
What changed? The Internet increased the focus on the visual as well as the direct rivalry between people. But even after the commercialization, the activity called bodybuilding still carries properties that render it weird and nasty despite the conditioning we have undergone to see all peculiarities as normal.
I guess I will just have to say what everybody is thinking.
1. It’s a freak show
Male bodybuilding represents a modeling event in which the participants showcase their muscular development to dudes who have an appreciation for muscle fibers raising red flags.
Extreme dehydration, revealing lingerie, artificial tanning and full-body hair removal are among the measures enhancing the muscular detail and facilitating the analysis of the meat that the crowd and the judges have to do.
During most of the show, the warriors stand next to each other, put on fake smiles and assume bizarre victorian poses highlighting specific muscle groups.
The combination of brave men in thongs creates grotesque sequences that would hysterically shock the psyche of people from the past unfamiliar with the modern obsession with muscles.
But the really freaky part starts when the bodybuilding ladies come out – they appear to be sex-shifters possessing traits of both men and women.
Female bodybuilders are unattractive and suffer extreme consequences for playing with their hormonal profiles to the point where their underlying sexual base starts to change drastically for the sake of building thicker muscular filaments.
Why is this thing called bodybuilding when muscles are the number one priority? Maybe it should be renamed to muscle-building or muscle-augmentation-at-all-expenses. Those labels sound more appropriate.
Whenever you find yourself obsessing over a bodybuilding clip or a show, ask yourself the question – what the hell am I watching? Seriously. Do it. The answer will amaze you.
2. Bodybuilding is like modeling for drug users
Steroids are the heart of bodybuilding. Without them, the carnival wouldn’t exist. No drugs, no bodybuilding.
Every increase of the so-called “standards” in bodybuilding has been made in the lab rather than the gym. There are no upgrades without new drugs.
Without steroids, the level will drop so low that even the local gym rats would be surprised.
3. Everybody is natural
Every fitness celebrity is natural because:
“I am not that big.”
“I have been training for 50 decades.”
“I do cluster sets.”
Nobody with a working brain should accept similar explanations.
The number of fake natties is higher than ever because bodybuilding is part of the most profitable niche – self-improvement.
The modern world is built around the concept that you have to be constantly transforming into a better version of yourself. Bodybuilding fits the criteria because it produces transformations carrying an amazing contrast.
Sadly, for the fans, most of their idols do not owe their physiques to a mysterious program or training technique – the dudes are on steroids regardless of the crazy explanations they come up with.
The drugs power the discrepancies between average lifters and famous big bros. But since the perception of the natty limits is altered, most beginners are inclined to believe that most online muscle heroes are natural.
4. Bodybuilding is extremely subjective
Who wins? Who looks better? The criteria are inconsistent. Unless a bodybuilder is really out of shape, it’s very difficult to pick a winner. It’s up to the judges’ minds to decode who has the better hamstring separation.
This makes bodybuilding extremely subjective. The competitors have a very limited control. If the political environment is against them, they can’t do much to compensate and get back on track. No amount of skill or effort in the gym can change the score in their favor.
5. Extreme predeterminism
Genetics and drugs decide one’s bodybuilding fate. The motherfuckers in the gym can scream Branch Warren style all they want, but in the end, training has a limited effect. Nothing can compensate for the lack of proper genes and steroids.
Predeterminism turns bodybuilding into a sterile, predictable endeavor making men feel powerless. Of course, that feeling manifests only if you have the vision required to see how futile training becomes past the initial gains. Many can’t or wouldn’t let themselves see that far. The naive souls continue to follow voodoo routines while looking the same for years despite their marathon sessions.
6. Broken record marketing and constant content recycling
Once you have spent a couple of years in the muscle construction sector, you will start to identify repeating patterns everywhere – the magazines keep pumping similar covers, the YouTubers continue to interview champions fixing your squat and bench for 100th time, the kettlebell masters never stop spamming the world with their functionality, and of course, the haters like me keep hating by presenting the same notions with different words. I am not an exception, and I know it.
Why is this happening?
Resistance training is not highly depended on technology. It does not change nor does it have to change. A workout that was effective 50 years ago is just as potent today because the body still operates the same way. If you are waiting for new training equipment that will revolutionize the game completely, you will be waiting forever. Decades from now people would be focusing on the same exercises and tools. Occasionally, the metagame shifts and one method gains popularity over the rest, but those peaks and lows do not change the overall cyclic shape.
7. Too focused on looks rather than skills.
Bodybuilders often say: “It’s not about how strong you are, it’s about how strong you look like you are.” That is 100% correct in a world focused on the visual, but without action, lifting becomes boring and unnatural.
Of course, bodybuilding requires skill development. You have to learn how to lift, eat and inject, but performance is not judged in the strict sense of the word. There are points for good posing, but they are of smaller importance. The big awards are for those who look the best according to the judges.
The persistent focus on appearance rather than doing is off-putting. Obsessing over the image in the mirror gets old.
8. Bodybuilding is for the boys and the psychos rather than the girls.
Females are not impressed by Ronnie Coleman and other mutants. The extra mass that bodybuilders add is for the boys rather than the girls. Women are not analyzing the shredded glutes of the competitors either. Obsessive fans posting on forums and in the comment section of YouTube are. So, if you care about those men’s opinion, get shreds.
In the best-case scenario, you would reduce your level of care about either side’s point of view. You simply can’t satisfy people. Somewhat ironically, the less you care, the more attractive you become.
It takes a certain amount of inner growth and strength to decode the world for what it’s worth, develop the courage to accept it and grow wiser once you have assimilated the knowledge. When that happens, people notice.
9. It’s always your fault.
The individual rather than industry takes the blame for every shortcoming. If your plan has failed to produce results, it’s your fault.
You train 3 times a week?
Brah, that’s your problem. Train 6-7 times a week. You have to work harder.
You train 6-7 times a week?
Brah, that’s your problem. Train 3-4 times. The body needs rest.
You are doing deads and squats?
Brah, fuck that powerlifting stuff. Get on a machine and get a pump.
You are getting a chest pump on the press machine?
Brah, that is homo. Bench or death.
You are taking whey protein?
Brah, eat real food.
You are not taking whey?
Brah, you can’t supply your body with the needed protons unless you supplement.
The industry and its megaphones (paid and unpaid) will continue to play with the minds of the delusional brahs who can’t see the bigger picture. The noobs still think that one can win the game by playing “honestly”.
The mechanism is similar to capitalism – a handful of successful companies and individuals keep telling the “losers” that their lack of success is solely the result of insufficient effort while purposefully ignoring the fact that there are other factors such as timing, luck and cheating that play a huge role in one’s final results.
10. Men develop body disorders and obsessions
Many young muscle constructors live like monks – perfect diet, plenty of sleep, lots of lifting. They feel guilty if they miss a session or fail to hit the projected PR for the day. If someone at the office has a birthday, and they taste a small portion of the cake out of courtesy, they go to the bathroom to liberate themselves from the food traces taking them further away from the superior anabolism and leanness advertised by the supplement mafia. Those men spend a good portion of their time analyzing theirs and others physiques.
Is this obsession worth it?
Absolutely not. If you think that a burger here or there is the reason why you don’t have the body of a fitness model, you are mistaken.
If you think that an extra nap will make your muscles insanely big, you are still not getting it.
The room for error is rather big. You have to drop the hammer hard to really feel the difference. For instance, you would have to eat junk food regularly to truly suffer the nasty consequences that the muscular world is trying to scare you with.
The bigger problem is not the unhealthy discipline that naturals develop. The most negative side effect is the extreme self-awareness and hatred towards one’s body that synthesizes as a result of prolonged exposure to “perfect physiques”.
Not so long ago, I used to look in the mirror and hate myself for being too fat and/or skinny. This is unnecessary torture. Don’t worry. It goes away with age. The older you get, the less you care about what others think.
In the past, I was afraid to take my shirt off because I was suffering from the classic natural bodybuilding drama – I didn’t look like I was lifting despite lifting. Today, I care substantially less. In the summer, I ride my bicycle without a shirt and go to the store the same way. This may appear disgusting to the purists who think that only a muscular and ultra-shredded man has the right to do this, but I am simply too old to register the opinion of those people as valuable.
Nice article man as usual. You should write one on how workout advice is similar to working. In the sense that people view you as lazy if you only train twice per week instead of 6 days per week. You know all the stupid little shirts with exercise memes on them and dumbass motivational quotes plastered on social media. Shit like that fucks with peoples heads
i started reading your stuff back when it was Iron Gangster, Im 54 started lifting in 1979
been in a few shows, started drugs in 1984 after going in a teen show and not even placing. The kids were huge, I didnt understand they were on drugs until someone told me. After a few state levels shows and a few plastic awards, I stopped drugs in 1988.
lost all my size within a year and ended up right back were I started from with an athletic
body I built before drugs hardly huge due to being mostly an ecto.
I want you to know how much your posts still mean to me , I wish I had read your articles 30 or 40 years ago. I wish more guys would.
We have all been fed so money lies.
Thank you for the support and this comment. Good luck!
Nice man. Really like your post.
Ric Drasin, the living bodybuilding icon, has stated in a recent YouTube video, “Bodybuilding isn’t about health, it’s about lifestyle”. It’s a quite revealing narrative about a quirky pastime that (at it’s core) is so much more about spectacle and pageantry than it is about long term health, mobility and longevity. It makes one appreciate how prophetic those words truly are.
It’s also ironically amazing (and tragic) how such an activity, in it’s purest form, is ultimately the greatest physical aspiration in terms of building one’s body to it’s strongest and most healthy and conditioned state (via Jack Lalanne), to what is at the opposite side of the pendulum – a body that not only looks deformed and grotesque, but equally is so destructive to living a long and healthy life (modern professional bodybuilding).
So the physical culture that started the bodybuilding movement which was primarily was about health and vigor and maintaining a super high quality of life free of destructive practices and toxic poisoning became exactly that; namely, a destructively shallow pursuit in spite of health and a quality of life in later years.
It’s also sad in that, even before pro bodybuilding became a complete carnival act, that the image of even yesteryear visually appealing bodybuilders reflected (quite falsely in most cases) strength and health, as the specimens looked so amazing and indestructible that they threatened (to the unknowing and unobserved eye) to outlive any human being on earth.
Unfortunately, most of them were outlived by out of shape whiskey drinkers and cigar smokers who hadn’t seen the inside of a gymnasium since grade school.
those were the days…when one analyse other men’s physiques as if one could emulate someone else’s muscle shape
Good article. I laughed at number 9, so true.
I used to obsess over my training programs and tweak them every second day. Now I try to leave it alone and stick to a unchanged program for as long as possible without any difference in sets, reps or exercises.
I also used to blame my lack of progress a lot on exercise choice. Sure there are some exercises that are better than others objectively such as leg extensions vs squats. But overall the exercises you choose aren’t going to drastically be the reason for your change in appearance.
I also used to get paranoid about my testosterone temporarily dropping (if at all) from drinking beers haha. Now I still don’t drink much alcohol but for different reasons.
Same with protein. All I eat for protein now is 6 large boiled eggs, a small tin of pilchards and sometimes some chicken or pork at night. Maybe some cheese and plain peanut butter here and there. I can’t believe I used to waste money on supplements like magnesium and zinc.
I wish I could go back and slap my younger self and tell him to get his shit straight. But then that wouldn’t be life.
I wouldn’t trade my mistakes for the world because I know the agony of regret.
Very entertaining article.
I have 2 questions about 1 and 10:
Nr. 1. Do you mean with bodybuilding ladies the category ‘bodybuilding’ or bodybuilding in general? (I believe the categories these days start with the ‘bikini’ category)
Nr. 10. Is it only for men? Doesn’t female bodybuilders also pay lots of attention to diet and training?
Why doesn’t my comment appear?
Sorry my mistake.
“Dues posing victorian style…” lol…
I don’t know why in the F hell this extremely unhealthy, extremely unnatural, and no-woman-want body building is called “Fitness Industry”. #FO
Why did you take down your last article about “suboptimal training” producing acceptable results? I really liked it 🙁
This is the best (ever) bodybuilding-related website that I know of, hands down. Why? Because every posts contains the truth and only the truth. Decided to take a break for a while until bunch of new posts of yours appear since I burned out all the previous ones with great haste and unlimited approval.
After battling YouTube bicepsflexkillas logic (or lack of it) all day long and exposing local gyms shadow pinners on weekly basis, I am starting to lose my motivation. The quest for truth seems impossible to accomplish – once again. This realization struck me while researching and discussing other fields/subjects such and especially as world politics and economy. But when it comes to BB, I somewhat understand video makers using fake accounts and their friends to dis me, after all, their whole business is based on lies and this is how they make money, but it’s the dummies that get to me almost every time. The dummies want to believe and dummies defend the manipulator no matter what (*x-files soundtrack*). These dummies (inmates) are trained to like their invisible prison.
The official bodybuilding story:
That 200lbs vascular guy with hard dry blasting muscles and below 8% bf is natural athlete and you are hater for questioning it. No mr. hater loser, It does not matter that having these stats was obviously impossible before WW2 era because steroids weren’t around. What matters is this – you suck and this guy is awesome so you better listen and hope for the best. A secret to success of a great muscular man: 20 years of super-advanced cluster-fuck training programs that “shock” the muscle every time and which more often than not include screaming, foul language, intentionally dropping heavy weight to the floor so the gym trembles and everyone pays attention; super-custom protein-rich diet, big brand whey supplement and some creatine, lots of BCAA, some vitamins (in pill form ofc), and of course, last but not the least, doing biceps training on a squat rack for ultimate bicepsflex gainz. When hater losers such as the OP on this website and someone like the poster of this comment try this, they can’t reach his level because he is simply more motivated, hard working and overall smarter and wiser. Yes this includes those big guys at the gym that have big trouble adding up numbers when putting up weight plates on. Even if you break the law to get yourself into a max security prison for testosterone boost you will still lack 70 light years behind in gainz. Those big and ripped inmates are of course natural as well btw, they have huge testosterone levels not because they smuggle gear in and pin anything and everything they get their hands on, but because they are wild animals put into one place together, thus their test levels increase by 9000+ (at least). So these great men all be like – stop hating you physically underdeveloped loser and go destroy yourself in gym instead! If you want to be like me, buy these useless supplements at betterthanroidssuppsdotcom/ref/allnaturalmusclefreak
So yeah, brainwash backed by cognitive dissonance is a powerful and very successful (profitable) thing to unleash upon the masses. Works every time and bodybuilding is not an exception. Getting really tired of it all.
Arguing is a waste of time. Only life can convince people.
Thanks for the comment.
This website is telling the truth, but at the same time there’s the fact that some of the nicest people and friends I met, are the ones with big muscles and tatoos. I take another aproach. I try to see the good things in people and focus on that.
But it’s a fact that the fitness industry is full with lies and tricks.