Strong man bodybuilding with dumbbell in black and white

Bodybuilders and Marmite have a lot in common: they’re both divisive, full of B vitamins and rarely found in pubs.

It’s true, bodybuilders love what they do and it’s much more than a training (or tanning) regime – it’s a lifestyle.

But the people who don’t bodybuild are often left asking – why do it?

For some, bodybuilding can seem quite extreme, but for others it’s about being in peak physical condition, feeling incredibly strong and showing off all their painstaking, hardwork on stage.

Bodybuilding is a science, an artform and takes 24/7 dedication. The ultimate in training, it’s setting yourself the highest in goals, smashing it and taking it one step further.

And whether you practise it or not, dazzling feats of strength have always captivated a huge and dedicated audience – World’s Strongest Man competitions, late night repeats of Ninja Warrior and who can forget TV’s very own Wolf from Gladiators? – Legend.

And while we get caught up trying to lift an extra kilogram or two down at the local gym, let’s just take a minute to appreciate this amazing sport – Speedos and all.


Bodybuilding: in the beginning

With the development of protein powders, gym equipment and supplements, bodybuilding seems like a relatively new concept. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Gyms – although not as we know them today – have been around for a good 3,000 years.

And even though the Ancient Greeks weren’t hanging out with their power cages and protein shakes, they did know how to build strength and they loved to compete.

And as culture, food and fashion developed over the years, bodyshape moved more and more into the limelight until the late 1800s, when weight training took on a new meaning. Building strength wasn’t just about creating a desired physique, it was about being part of an awe-inspiring spectacle and thrilling crowds with amazing feats.

Of course, without the training, equipment and technology, the physiques on display weren’t as defined as we see today – but they still put on a jolly good show.


Bodybuilding and its progression

Strong woman lifting dumbbell in black and white

Throughout the 1970s and 80s, bodybuilding really took off when the likes of Arnie Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone started hanging around in their pants looking buff.

It was also around this time when it wasn’t just men getting up on stage to show off their guns. In 1977, women’s bodybuilding started to take off and develop with new divisions being added to the list as it progressed such as Bikini and Figure categories.


Why bodybuild?

Strong man on power cage in black and white

As human beings, it’s natural for us to want to compete, be the best, stretch ourselves and push our bodies to the limit. You only have to flick through the Guinness Book of Records to see the extremities that people go to be the best.

And even though when you first start training, bodybuilding may seem extreme, as you learn more about fitness, weight training and muscle development, you will start to see your own results.

And when something that once seemed so unattainable, starts to become within your reach, the goals kick in, the training gets harder and the results show more often. Maybe you’ve imagined yourself to look a certain way and you make an effort to try and reach that physique on a daily basis – bodybuilding is exactly the same but with a relentless amount of physical and mental dedication.

Bodybuilding means training hard, pushing yourself to the max, making sacrifices and learning more about the body than you could ever have imagined.

Who knows, maybe you’ll decide to become a bodybuilder one day too…


Why do bodybuilding competitions?

Strong man showing off his abs in black and white

• It’s exciting – standing on stage and showing off a physique that most can only dream of undoubtedly gives you a rush. Smiling outside and smug on the inside – it’s the ultimate in happiness and pride.

• It’s beautiful – our bodies are magnificent machines and it can be quite astonishing just how much they can adapt and what they can handle.

• It’s about being disciplined – bodybuilding takes 100% commitment and dedication. After work cocktails? Nope. Spaghetti carbonara? Nope. Tins of tuna taking over your entire kitchen? Yes.

• It’s about feeling good – not only will you be in peak physical condition, you’ll have an immense sense of pride. Every healthy meal, every gym session, every turned down biscuit – is an accomplishment, and having a focused and positive mental attitude is not just beneficial – it’s life changing.

Live better, feel better and be the best version of you.