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Is Bodybuilding a Sport?
from: www.the-biomatrix.net – home
of self enhancement for bodybuilders, martial artists, traceurs, athletes and
Is bodybuilding a sport? Bodybuilding is a sport and more.
Many people attempting to diss the activity I spend a large proportion of my
life pursuing, claim that bodybuilding shouldn't be classified as a sport. When
they say this they are often also implying that it's easy or somehow less
worthwhile an activity. Wankers. In actual fact bodybuilding is a sport - even Wikipedia
says so - and their whining isn't going to do anything about it. Furthermore,
I'd go as far as to say that it's also more than a sport in many ways. It's
like a sport x 2.
Here are what I perceive to be the reasons many people diss the sport. Firstly,
the 'soft' scoring system, whereby your points fall to the opinions of judges
rather than cold measurements, to many this makes the scores seem superficial
and unrepresentative of ability. To write bodybuilding off as a sport on these
grounds however is to write off gymnastics, diving, figure skating (okay, maybe
that one can go) and many other sporting events. Infact, almost every sport has
some elements that come down to the judges opinion such as when a ref gives a
red card in a game of football, which can just as easily change the outcome of
Perhaps a larger problem is the nature of the competition itself. Critics will
argue that there is no 'skill' or 'talent' in standing on a stage and flexing
your muscles for a few minutes; they see it more as a glorified Ms World than
an authentic competition because no one's throwing anything. Again this is a
rather limiting view of sports, and the detractors fail to realise that the
actual hard work in any event goes on behind the scenes. The competition itself
is to be in the best shape possible on the day, just as in sprinting you must
be your fastest on that day. It doesn't matter how fast or slow you are at any
other time, but on that single day you must be performing your best - in
bodybuilding it's no different and that is the nature of any competition. The
problem with a sport like sprinting however is that if it all goes wrong on the
day from a trip or cold, then all your training becomes moot and the outcome
isn't a true representation of who was the better sportsman. In bodybuilding
however, where the competitors are judged almost entirely on the work they put
in before the event this isn't a problem. In that sense bodybuilding is
actually more pure a sport. It is simply a measure of who has achieved a better
state of athleticism with no confounding factors - just as all sports should
Mixed in with this ill-informed view is the idea that bodybuilding requires
less 'skill'. Actually standing on a stage and flexing all your muscles for long
periods of time is very difficult (no less so than dance) and there are some
clever tactics involved in trying to outdo the opposition. The real skill
however comes in the training itself which is a very in-depth and exact
science. I challenge anyone who doesn't bodybuild to bench press 100kg - then
tell me there's no skill or technique involved. Even if they were strong enough
they simply wouldn't have the technique, the balance or the supporting muscles.
In fact I recently read in a scientific journal (I read scientific journals now
apparently), that although Gorillas are at least 5 times as strong as humans –
strong enough to rip trees up – they are not able to bench press as much as top
athletes as they lack the technique. As in any sport it takes skill, technique,
intelligence and large amounts of sweat and determination to succeed.
I heard somewhere recently that a radio presenter claimed bodybuilding wasn't a
sport because 'given 3 years anyone could succeed'. What a complete dick, he's
blatantly never touched a weight in his life - I have never heard such
bullshit. Firstly - only about 5% of the population has the necessary genes.
Secondly - only about 5% of that 5% has the incredible amount of dedication
that it takes to literally beast yourself in the gym 5-10 hours a week (and
then completely change their diet). It takes far more than 3 years just to
learn everything you need to know to succeed - how to train properly, how to
eat properly, which supplements to use, how to use proper technique, what your
own unique strong points and weak points are, which techniques work for you...
To be a champion you need to be constantly on the cutting edge of the science
and technology surrounding the sport.
Perhaps the radio presenter is one of the ignorant majority who believes you
can achieve an Arnie like physique by simply using steroids then again he's
mistaken. I know many people who use steroids and are still no bigger than me
(not to blow my own trumpet or anything) because they don't have the genetics or
the determination. In short steroids are simply synthetic hormones - they are
not magic pills that will give you Popeye-like guns with no work. Furthermore
there are many natural competitions that are far more strict on regulating the
use of illegal substances and there aren't any sports in the world that haven't
had cases of practitioners using banned substances.
I'd love to see this big-mouthed presenter crowned Mr Olympia. This could be a
case of 'bodybuilders killed the radio star'. Most like he has a 'body for
radio'. Ignorant twat.
Others have also made the complete opposite claim - that bodybuilding is just a
matter of genetics. Again this is a complete fallacy as you'll never get
someone who naturally looks like Ronnie Coleman - that takes years and years of
training and studying. Of course there are those who are genetically
predisposed to be successful, but again this is the case in any sport. If
you're 5'1'' you're probably not going to be very successful in basketball.
Does this diminish the value of basketball as a sport? Success in any sport
comes down to natural skill (genetics) and learned skill (training) and the
ratio simply differs between individuals. If you have the strength to go
against your genetics then more power to you.
I also think that many people look down on the sport as being a bit poncy or
gay; oiled-up men posing on a stage in front of a judge who then marks them on
the symmetry of their body. It doesn't exactly sound like an honourable or
worthwhile way for athletes to clash, but let me show you why you are wrong.
Fundamentally any sport is simply an alternative to war or combat and in this
sense boxing or martial arts are probably the purest examples with bodybuilding
close behind. It's natural for males to want to prove their dominance and to
settle disputes in this fashion. Boxing was probably invented when two cavemen
started attacking each other but agreed at the beginning 'You know what? Maybe
we don't kill each other? Just bruise each other a bit... my wife Ugg is expecting...'
- thus sport was born.
Since then man came up with many ways to prove his superiority without actually
having to kill anyone; seeing who could throw things the furthest or who could
run faster. For this reason sports in my opinion should hold real-world
validity - they should display a skill set that can be useful in our
day-to-lives or in actual combat. That's why I've never understood the appeal
of something like football. What are you really testing here? Someone's
'ability to kick a ball within a team towards a goal not using their hands' and
then as if that wasn't convoluted enough they then threw in a bunch of rules
which constantly stop the flow of the game and reduce it to a strangely
formulaic experience that would never really occur off the pitch.
Bodybuilding however is a display of strength - something that is useful in
almost every single task we perform and probably the single biggest factor in
deciding who the 'dominant' male is. If one guy can do loads of keepy-ups but
another man can crush a full can of coke in his hand which one are you going to
want on your side? In the wild animals actually use an equivalent of
bodybuilding as a competition to avoid getting harmed during confrontations -
for example stags rather than actually head butting each other will often just
show off their antlers until the opposition backs down. Gorilas will beat their
chests. Essentially what they are doing is showing off their weapons then going
'are you sure you still want a piece of this?'. In the pose-down this
comparison is at its most dramatic and most obvious (it even occurs between
countries showing off their nuclear weapons). It is a completely raw display of
masculinity, power and physicality.
This probably happens to bodybuilders all the time in the street. They get
sized up before the potential attacker thinks 'nah' and chooses to back off.
It's the ultimate form of self defence - the ultimate alternative to actual
combat. Still for ponces?
I also like the fact that success in bodybuilding comes down to the individual.
Team sports essentially come down to who has enough cash to buy the best
players, and then if the team is a success no one person can claim the victory.
No one person can claim to be the best. How this is satisfying for the sportsman
I'll never know. Even in a sport like swimming success can be effected by less
resistant swimwear. Formula one is probably the biggest culprit here with
success massively dependent on the car. Come on guys, stop picking on
bodybuilding and have a go at driving!
Bodybuilding is simply down to you. When you're in the gym it's simply your own
will power, your own genetics, and your own skill that's going to get you
through that final set on the squats. If you fail you have only yourself to
answer to, but if you succeed then the glory is all yours.
For these very reasons however, the reasons
that make it so pure a competitive pursuit, bodybuilding is also more than a
sport. It affects every single thing you do. Being stronger will change the
very way you think, the way you carry yourself, your mood, your success with
women, your confidence, even the clothes you wear. It will carry over into
every other activity you do and you will find yourself slightly better at
almost any other sport than you were before (not true of many other sports).
The training itself will also affect everything you do - it will change what
you eat, how long you sleep, how long you stay out at that party, what you
spend your money. If you do volley ball as a hobby you might go to practice
once a week. You don't do bodybuilding as a hobby.
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Bodybuilding is a sport, but like Parkour and Martial Arts (two of my other
favourite pass times coincidentally), it is also a way of life. Arnold
Schwarzenegger once said that everything he knows he learned from bodybuilding.
What he meant by that was that it taught him the determination and the
hardiness that has seen him succeed in business, movies and politics. In the
moment that you're fighting yourself to push through a final rep you truly know
yourself and you share more in common with the heroes of legend than with your
What does Ronnie Coleman call bodybuilding? What ever he wants!
I think I've made my point.
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