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Analyzing Stereotypes in Bodybuilding

When you present the word “bodybuilder” to the average American, he or she is going to come up with one of three immediate and predictable reactionary words. The first will be “Arnold!”, indicating their knowledge of the sport of building new muscle mass and strength is limited to what Hollywood told them. The second might be ‘drugs’, in which case they have been trained by an ignorant and biased media to associate anyone with biceps measuring greater than 12 inches to have been injecting testosterone into their backside twice a day. And the third may be some classic stereotype of the lunkhead, meat head obnoxious bodybuilder. Let’s look at the good, the bad, and the ugly perceptions of those who lift iron, and how these stereotypes can be better managed.

The Good

The ideal bodybuilder is one that lifts and enjoys it as a way to improve his or her own life – and that’s it. They don’t preach to others, but they’re happy to help. They look and feel healthy. They aren’t covered in acne, they aren’t bloated, and they aren’t forcing their lifestyles upon anyone else. This is the categories in which most lifters fall. In fact, with some smaller framed lifters, you don’t even know they practice well balanced bodybuilding training until you see them sans shirt. They keep their lifting on the down-low!

The Bad

You’ve seen these guys, and there’s a good chance you’ve been this guy before. They want to talk about bodybuilding 24/7. They carry protein shakers to the bathroom with them in case their anabolic window happens to try to close while they’re urinating. They have FLEX mags everywhere, and they’re always on the forums. They leave written diets in the company lunchroom next to the cooler they use to bring their 4 meals for an 8-hour shift. They’re obnoxious, but not overbearing.

The Ugly

Worst. Bodybuilder. Ever. They use the word “bro” in every sentence. They wear TWO bandanas. Their vintage 1980’s Zubaz shorts and Optimix shoes were actually purchased in the 1980s. And they love spandex. They spend 3 hours in the gym talking, and 27 minutes training. They carry more Tupperware than a Walmart SuperCenter. And we won’t even talk about their bodily emissions…

It’s okay to work out and it’s okay to talk about it. But there’s no need to shove it in the face of others. You should never “suggest” to someone that they need to work out – there’s a good chance they already know it! Be there for friendly advice if they ask, but beyond there, just live your life and be the best “you” that you can be.

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