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.