Bodybuilding is the process of constructing muscle through persistent and excessive weight lifting followed by a strict high-protein, low-fat diet. This process results into a sport called competitive bodybuilding, where athletes display their physical body to judges and get evaluated for their physique.Bodybuilding is becoming more and more popular among men. Bodybuilding can be considered a lifestyle and an attitude towards life. Bodybuilders are regarded as a subculture with their own set of values, beliefs, and traditions.
There are different reasons as to why more and more men are entering the world of professional bodybuilding, but the most significant one is the urge to fit the social standards for a lean, muscular and flawless body. Nowadays, where society judges people by their physical appearance, and not by their inner appearance, having the perfect body is the dream of many. Indeed, having an attractive body, can really impact the way the individual sees himself by increasing the person’s self-esteem. A healthy amount of self-esteem, helps the person feel inherently worthy, acceptable, and valuable. Additionally, if the individual was that awkward, skinny, and shy kid in school that got picked on all the time, by lifting weights and bulking up, he might start to get respected more.
This exact situation has happened to tons of teens. When I asked my brother’s friend, Andrea, who is on his way to becoming a competitive bodybuilder, why he decided to become part of this subculture, he said: When I was in middle school, I was a chubby, insecure, and stammering kid. Everyone would make fun of my stutter and call me names such as fat and ugly. I thought that getting bigger and ripped would increase my confidence, and that going to the gym could help me release all my anger. Bodybuilding really helped my do that. A lot of future bodybuilders start going to the gym in seek for a refugee and place where they can go and release all their emotions. This leads to them getting so engaged with weight lifting, and proud of the progress obtained, that they can’t ever stop training. Subsequently, gaining a certain love for the sport, for them to pass from being recreational weight lifters to becoming professional bodybuilders.
Another reason as to why someone would want to become a bodybuilder is to feel something different. Most bodybuilders start their careers at an early age when they become having strong desires to make themselves different from the crowd. In the modern society impressive muscles are a sign of masculinity and men decide to start taking up bodybuilding practices because they want to exceed the stereotypes present in the modern society and impress everyone around them. In fact, when talking to Andrea, he told me that some of his friends decided get into the world of bodybuilding because they wanted to exceed the stereotypes present in modern society and feel somehow different from everyone else. Bodybuilders consider uniqueness as a positive thing. Being different from the rest of average society by showing your aggression, and demonstrating dominance by excess strength and musculature is what some members of this subculture really aspire to. Said Andrea. In fact, bodybuilders, place their physical appearance as a top priority.
Members of this subculture are easily to recognize. Beside presenting an almost fat-free, but substantially bigger than average body, with overdeveloped muscles and perfect tans, they are usually very confident and proud of who they are. They are proud of their stubbornness that brought them their desired results. In fact, all the hours spent at the gym and the overly strict diet are rewarded by the results obtained. Additionally, bodybuilders are mentally determined; they know how to work hard towards their goal which is a personality trait not present in many people. Supplementary to the extreme work out, athletes participate in competitions where, by performing specified poses for a panel of judges, they get judged based on criteria such as their muscle’s symmetry and muscularity. Since the prizes at stake include money and fame, this may trigger the urge for viewers to join this subculture. Additionally, the results obtained in these competitions, scatter the desire for the competitors to get even stronger and more defined.
In order to become a member of this subculture, a beginner bodybuilder, must first appreciate the achievements of those who have already succeeded and secondly, be consistent and be both mentally and physically strong. Once individuals become part of the bodybuilder’s subculture, they take on a new unique set of values and morals that are often different from average society. This subculture is made up of a very specific group of people who all share common physical goals. These individuals place a priority on exercising and eating a proper diet that will create more muscle.
Bodybuilders spend a colossal time at the gym; as a matter of fact, bodybuilders, tend to socialize and hang out only with other bodybuilders. One of the reason as to why this might happen could be because regular people, who are not part of this specific subculture, don’t always have the ability to get them, or what they do, as much as another member of their subculture would. After talking to Andrea I remember him saying: Without the help my coach, who is a professional bodybuilder and who started at my same age and my friends, who I met at the gym and who have the same goals that I have, I would have never reached the results that I have accomplished. When individuals start practicing the sport of bodybuilding, they need to not only devote themselves to training, but they also need to be mentally ready. Therefore, it takes a great deal of mental and physical strength to become a successful bodybuilder and having someone who can support you in doing so is essential. As Andrea said: Bodybuilders go beyond their limits.
The sport requires too much strength for the average individual. In order to be part of this subculture, one really needs to feel a huge amount of motivation since everything about the sport is so extreme.
Besides an extreme work out, another reason as to why someone would want to become a bodybuilder is for the high caloric diet that members of this subculture must follow. Training without proper nutrition is like rowing against the stream. In fact, in this subculture, diet is as important as the workout. By working out and following a poor diet, an individual would never see as good of results as if he works out and follows a proper diet. The proper bodybuilding diet includes small and frequent meals. Every meal should consist of carbohydrates, lots of protein, and good but small fat quantities.
Also, always being hydrated is very important, as it can help the development of the muscle. Secondly, the assumption of protein shakes and protein bars is a must to reach the daily amount of protein needed to build that extra muscle mass. Thirdly, the use of steroids is also part of the bodybuilding diet. As Andrea said: Anabolic steroids are the ones that are most commonly used by professionals and even though these drugs can have some side effects, it is believed that one cannot reach their maximum potential without their use.
The bodybuilding subculture is so intense and extreme that in order to become part of it, an individual truly needs an over the average mind and body connection. It is both mentally and physically draining. During their work out, bodybuilders literally have to feel like their muscles are striving to grow bigger and stronger and, in order for this process to happen, they need to detach their focus from the pain they are into, and shift it to the results that that pain is going to give them. In addition, the strict high caloric but low-fat diet is not for everyone. Who would want to give up that greasy donut or sugary desert after dinner?
The fact that more and more men are becoming part of this subculture, could lead to this extreme sport, to become a mainstream activity. It takes a great deal of enormous strength and motivation to become a successful bodybuilder. One needs to feel a huge amount of motivation to be able to hit the gym every single day and follow their strict diet. Also, average people do not share the values of the bodybuilding subculture. The need for excessive muscles are not valued by everyone.
The subculture is made up of a very specific group of people who all share common physical and idealistic goals. There is a special bond that members of the bodybuilding subculture share and, people who are not in the circle of bodybuilders generally do not understand. The rise of the spread of this sport may be mostly due to the increase value modern society gives to a muscular body. Wanting an admirable and muscular body, the need for an individual to increase his self-esteem through weight lifting, eating a high caloric diet or the need to feel different from average society, are some of the other reasons as to why more and more men want to be part of this unique subculture.
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