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Bodybuilding is defined as the usage of progressive resistance exercise, in order to build and control muscle tone in the human body. Anyone who practices bodybuilding is described as a bodybuilder. There are different types of bodybuilders. For example, men and women may pump iron on an amateur basis or become professional bodybuilders who pose in competitions worldwide.

The goal of professional bodybuilding is to assess the symmetry, muscularity and conditioning of competitors. A group of judges will be asked to rate different bodybuilders based on select criteria.


Bodybuilders get ready for competitions by using a range of tried-and-true, preparatory techniques. Methods that are commonly used to get the right look at just the right time include dehydration, weight loss, body oils (to condition the skin), and self-tans, spray tans or “real” tans that make the muscles appear more defined and impressive.

Famous Bodybuilders

Examples of famous bodybuilders include Charles Atlas, Steve Reeves, Reg Park, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno. The crème de la crème of bodybuilding competitions is the Mr. Universe competition. Those who win this competition are elevated to the pinnacle of bodybuilding, alongside other famous legends of the discipline.

Of course, women also compete in women’s bodybuilding competitions, for cash prizes and/or acclaim. Bodybuilders often make a living by promoting supplements, protein powders, workout plans, bodybuilding apparel, and related merchandise. They promote themselves by winning or placing high in competitions, and through layouts in bodybuilding magazines.

Professional Bodybuilding Requires Self-discipline and Focus

At a competitive level, bodybuilding is a full-time job. Long workouts that build symmetrical muscle throughout the body are combined with proper nutrition. Bodybuilders need to consume large quantities of protein in order to get the muscle growth that they need. Some bodybuilders may cheat by using dangerous drugs, such as anabolic steroids, to gain the massive muscle gains that they want.

However, there is testing for these banned substances at the professional level. In addition, amateur bodybuilders may dabble in steroids in order to transform their bodies. Side effects of anabolic steroids are well-documented (acne and heart problems may occur, among many other health issues), so these drugs are best avoided. Anabolic steroids used in bodybuilding are now illegal.

To stop the usage of steroids and to gain membership into the IOC, the IFBB (International Federation of Body Building) introduced tests for steroids and other prohibited substances. These tests did not stop all competitors from doping before their bodybuilding competitions. In the 1970s, usage of anabolic steroids was widespread and not illegal. By the 1990s, using the drugs was against the law, under the Schedule III section of the Controlled Substance Act.

History of Bodybuilding

Bodybuilding was practically non-existent before the late 19th century. Then, it appeared in Germany, where it was promoted by Eugen Sandow, who is renowned as the founding father of modern-day bodybuilding. He performed for audiences, displaying his sculpted, perfectly-formed muscles. Audiences really responded to Sandow’s physique, and other men soon became curious about his methods. Typically, bodybuilding performances of the time happened while men did feats of strength or wrestled one another. Sandow was a showman who used these types of performances in order to inspire his audiences.

Sandow became more famous when he became the inspiration for an Oscar-winning musical, The Great Ziegfield, in the 1930s. His part was played by a professional thespian named Nat Pendleton. Sandow himself was believed to display the Golden Mean, which was a phrase that described his mathematically “perfect” proportions.

In later years, carnival-type displays gave way to formal bodybuilding competitions. In American, in 1904, there was a contest held in Madison Square Garden, in New York City, which was called “The Most Perfectly Developed Man in the World” contest. It was won by Al Treloar, who was given 1,000 dollars for displaying his awe-inspiring physique. Thus, the modern era of bodybuilding for profit and acclaim began.

Today, the power of the World Wide Web makes it even easier for bodybuilders to learn the art and science of building muscle through exercise and nutrition. These days, bodybuilders may also display their muscle tone via blogs, personal websites and social networking websites, such as Facebook. Bodybuilding celebrates the potential of the human body. However, not everyone appreciates the extreme figures and physiques of professional bodybuilders.