The purpose of this article is not to bring anyone down or belittle someone’s expectations in regards to bodybuilding, but the statement of several facts and truths some may deem too harsh.
If you plan on becoming a professional bodybuilder and compete at the most elite level you should know you’re going to have to give up and sacrifice a lot of things in your life.
This is a feat that very few have the physical and mental capabilities to accomplish. Everyone wants to be the best at the sport that they practice and love.
Let’s explore in detail just a few of the many things you’ll have to consider should you choose bodybuilding as your career.
This is a cold hard fact, but the majority of us will never get close to having the physique of a bodybuilder. We’ve all been dealt a certain hand when we came to this world, in terms of genetics, and we have to work with what we’ve got.
The majority aren’t so lucky. If you’re a skinny guy weighing barely 140 pounds with your clothes on, you need to get realistic about how much muscle you can put onto your frame.
Forget about jumping on stage and looking like Ronnie Coleman or Kai Greene, you simply don’t have their amazing genetics.
But that doesn’t mean giving up. You can still build an awesome muscular body which will be aesthetically pleasing. It’s just that your body doesn’t have the capacity to carry additional 100 pounds of solid muscle.
2. The Workouts
Bodybuilders are almost addicted to training and are sometimes considered to have an unhealthy obsession with exercise. You hear a lot of health experts nowadays about needing to lead a balanced lifestyle.
But the truth is that in order to become truly great in anything, not just sports, you need to develop an obsession with it. In terms of bodybuilding, you need to develop an obsession with building a strong, muscular, aesthetically pleasing physique.
To do that you need to spend a lot of time in the gym training and micro-tearing muscle fibers, so they can be rebuilt bigger and stronger and cope with the ever-increasing load. Once it becomes an obsession it’s much easier to do it.
It’s not unheard of for bodybuilders to skip important life events or close themselves off from family and friends in order to have more time to train.
Some often refuse to skip a day of training and will go to the gym to train a specific muscle group or at least do cardio. They know that each training session has its specific purpose. They’re fully committed and have the utmost dedication and focus to put their bodies through the most grueling workouts.
Such is the intensity that the majority of the population and recreation lifters wouldn’t even dream of ever making it through the end of it.
There is a big difference between just carelessly going through the motions during a training session and giving all you’ve got. The majority simply don’t have the mental capacity to push through the pain which is where the real magic happens.
Along with training and nutrition, rest is the third pillar of bodybuilding. You’ll need to give the body lots of time to recuperate and rebuild the muscle tissue that was torn by the mechanical stress of exercising.
There are some who would say bodybuilders are lazy, but the fact is that they’re one of the hardest working people with one of the strictest lifestyle regimens ever, without even mentioning the commitment to their sport.
They usually sleep for more than 8-9 hours at night (with the slight interruption during the night to drink a protein shake), followed by naps during the day and when they aren’t in the gym training they usually engage in light physical or non-physical activities when they are not committed to some other daily obligations.
What many people fail to realize when they get frustrated that they can’t have the physique of a bodybuilder is that for a bodybuilder that’s his job. Bodybuilders don’t work a regular 9-5 job. For them, this is their job.
Without getting a proper rest, a bodybuilder can still train in the gym, but he’ll see very few results lest he allows his muscle fibers to completely recover before he trains the same muscles again. That’s why preserving his energy and not spending too many calories is ideal for him.
So, even though many people may sometimes consider them indolent, there is a very specific strategy in every bodybuilder’s training and why he does what he does. There are even some bodybuilders who train, eat and lounge around in their homes all day long.
Others are spending all of their free time sleeping or playing video games. This is the exact kind of lifestyle they need to live to get the best results possible.
4. Proper nutrition
No one got big by eating like a bird. If you wanna get huge, you need to eat a lot. And we’re not talking about an average-sized meal. A bodybuilder’s meal is usually the size of 2-3 of a meal of a regular person.
And don’t think for a second that all of that food is junk food. Every calorie bodybuilders consume is precisely accounted for and has its own purpose.
They might let themselves go during the off-season a tiny bit, but the majority of bodybuilders will still eat a clean food diet throughout the year and only change the macronutrient ratio to achieve their current goal, either bulk or cut.
Because every bodybuilder is different and different food types affect them in a different manner, it’s not exactly easy to pinpoint what they consume on a regular basis.
Some of them go with a high-carb, low-fat diet, and other use a high-fat, low-carb diet. Regardless of the variations, there’s one thing that remains unchanged and that is the protein consumption which is always high.
5. Anabolic substances
A lot of people in the fitness community avoid this subjects, but it’s like the big elephant in the room that no one talks about. It’s a fact that drugs are a large part of this sport. They are used and very frequently abused by both professionals and amateurs.
And quite frankly, it seems that the amateurs are the prime suspects of abuse since they aren’t patient enough and want to pack on as much muscle as possible to win some shows which can get them the IFBB pro card. Is this the action of a reasonable person? No. Might they do an irreversible damage to their bodies? Yes.
The list of drugs used by bodybuilders nowadays is really big, and there’s no need to go into detail about that. There are lots of other articles on the net which explain their properties and how to use them.
But you should be notified beforehand that if turning pro is your goal, there are certain things that you’ll need to do to be at least on the same level with all the competitors on stage.
Nobody says this is the right thing, neither that it’s wrong. It’s just the way it is. This is the reality in this sport and you need to take it into consideration when you decide how far you want to go with your bodybuilding career. Don’t believe a word of a professional bodybuilder who says he’s “natural”. He isn’t.
6. The costs
When you look at all the things listed above, what do you think they have in common? They come with a price. We’re talking about gym memberships, plenty of food, drugs, supplements, personal trainers, nutrition advisors etc. It can be pretty overwhelming for some people.
Lots of amateur bodybuilders have 9-5 jobs so that they can pay for their expensive hobby. There are some who want to turn into pros, others are in it for the fun. Regardless, there are lots of expenses involved with bodybuilding competitions, traveling to various shows, self-tanning products, and many other things.
As mentioned previously, if you want to be a pro bodybuilder, you need to sacrifice a lot of things. And that’s something that not everyone can or is willing to do.
And the toughest pill to swallow is that if you’re not winning competitions or get into the top 5, you won’t be making money. And that’s not all, even if you do place in the top 5, most of the time that’s not enough to pay for all the expenses you made to get there.
Pro bodybuilders are something else entirely, and even though they can do the above and it works for their lifestyle, for the majority it’s simply not feasible, especially if you’re a man with a family to support.
If that’s your dream and life goal, then you shouldn’t give up on it. But always be realistic with how far you can go without sacrificing too much and having enough finance. If bodybuilding were easy, everyone would do it. The same goes for being rich.