It’s baffling, but according to the reliable Merriam-Webster, competitive bodybuilding can be considered a ‘sport’, without that much ‘stretching’ of the definition or even ‘liberal interpretation’. A quick flip through the pages or search will provide:”Sport (n): a contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other”. In bodybuilding, competitors engage in physical activities in the form of resistance training, cardio, etc. In competition, the physical aspect would be ‘posing’. There are specific rules in our ‘sport’, although a rather enlightened and libertarian approach has been taken towards the use of anabolics with the federation overlords. Actually, I personally don’t consider bodybuilding a ‘sport’. Far from diminishing its importance, I hold it almost a level higher than a sport, as it surpasses such a narrow definition. Bodybuilding can be considered: an art, a trade, a hobby, a lifestyle, a subculture, etc.
At this point, Rabdo-Ronnie (our crossfit nemesis) informs us that: “Bodybuilding requires very little actual athletic talent. The process of lifting weights could probably be instructed to anyone with even a fraction of balance, mind-muscle control; very minimal skills are required.” However, the discipline and dedication one finds in them-self, when pursuing the lifestyle and later the subculture that is bodybuilding, is a genuine phenomena. For whatever reason, and whenever the time you discovered the first genuine love of improving physically with measurable success, everything changed. From the handling of finances, meal preparation, and even thought processes; bodybuilding can become like a weary list of chores. For some of us we’ve been able to make money through our experiences as bodybuilders, or in related areas. Others, will simply plug away thousands over the course of years, possibly never reaching their goal. There is something to said about the general persistence, and psychological makeup it takes to be a champion competitive bodybuilder. The obsessiveness shown by many of us in the pursuit of our physique goals is very similar to meeting the models of addiction, and I hate to admit it to myself.
We all know bodybuilding isn’t a ‘draw’, or receives much press at the mainstream level. With the paltry amounts of money handed out at the Olympia or any other pro show, you’d think competitors were flexing down by the river for a can of tomato soup and cybergenics kit. However, I know this isn’t true as well. There is plenty of money to be made in bodybuilding. This is well evident by the thriving supplement companies, magazine publishers, and supplement store franchises. Regardless of the financial appeal, bodybuilding has a real, global appeal. There are gyms across the world, where new bodybuilders are starting their genesis. The genuine comrade of a friend that enjoys lifting as well, the atmosphere of a home-grown mom and pop gym, the rewards of looking like a human action figure.
Bodybuilding is, and always will be an underground endeavor. That’s one of the appeals of it to me, in fact. I’m not trying to be like the herd, and it feels uncomfortable when I am. Don’t call bodybuilding a ‘sport’, not because it doesn’t deserve the title, but because it deserves more. Actually, forget the ‘sport’ debate all together, and just appreciate what we have. Even after drug abuse, gay for pay, pitiful payouts; it will always remain a sanctuary for us. Fuck ‘making bodybuilding mainstream’, and instead, embrace forever living on the fringe, a diaspora of obsessive-compulsive meat-heads from across the perimeters of a dying world, floating on a rock in space.
– Danny Manslaughter, For More From DM: HERE