So you’re considering becoming a bodybuilder, or maybe you are one already. There are many fantastic aspects about living a bodybuilding lifestyle, just as there are many downsides to it. Bodybuilding is in a category all its own in terms of athletic/physical hobbies to take up, and it is certainly not for everyone. I want to take a moment to describe why I personally love the sport of bodybuilding and why I think it has so much to offer those who are truly willing to put in the monumental effort it requires.
Bodybuilding is a sport about total control. We live in a world where everything happening around us is often completely, stressfully out of our control. You can’t control your company suffering from an economic downturn and laying you off. You can’t control the sudden and (usually) irrational maneuvers drivers around you make at high speeds while you commute on the highway. You especially can’t control the behaviors and emotions of the people around you, even those very close to you. Not so with bodybuilding.
As a bodybuilder, you have total control over you. What you eat, how long you sleep, how often you train, how strong you are, and most importantly what you look like. It is the only sport where you can literally look at a specific part of your body and say “I want this to look different”. Then you make it happen. This is an amazingly rewarding experience. How many people have you ever heard complain about not liking the way they look as if they were powerless to change it? Even other athletes do not have this power: runners look like runners, swimmers look like swimmers, and wrestlers look like wrestlers. As a bodybuilder, you have the power to look exactly the way you want to look.
Bodybuilding also provides real, measureable progress as you improve in the gym and in the sport. Whereas a basketball player may have a hard time seeing if his or her game has incrementally improved over time, a bodybuilder has only to look at how much more weight he or she can lift, how many inches were gained on the arms or lost on the waist, or how many pounds the number on the scale went up by. Achieving small, measureable goals as a result of your own hard work and discipline is an extremely empowering sensation. You gain confidence in your own ability to stick things out no matter how painful the training or how insufferable the diet, until you’ve achieved what you set out to achieve. And that confidence in and knowledge of yourself is something you carry with you in every aspect of your life, and for the rest of your life.
Another very unique aspect of bodybuilding is the effect your physique can have on those around you. The most obvious example is attracting a partner, but that really is only the tip of the iceberg. If over half of communication is said to be non-verbal, imagine the volumes your fit, muscular body is saying about you to those around you. Having a powerful and aesthetic physique makes you look more impressive and gives you confidence, and this directly effects the way those around you perceive you. Instead of your body just being your body, it now represents your discipline, hard work, and dedication, and without saying a word others will take note of these traits in you. This massive but subtle psychological effect makes looking more attractive seem like small potatoes.
These are the main reasons bodybuilding stands out among all the other sports to me, and why I am so passionate about it. Bodybuilding can be a sport all about sacrifices, be them to your social life, your favorite junk food, or any number of other factors. It really is the only 24 hour per day sport, and you must love it to live it. When you look past the pain of training and the sacrifices of living the lifestyle, the rewards you reap from striving in this sport truly do stand alone. If you train now, keep on striving, and if not, I urge you to test the waters and see if bodybuilding can be a passion for you the way it is for me.