What’s Bodybuilding?

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Bodybuilding involves weight lifting to build strength and muscle tone. Eugen Sandow, the “father of bodybuilding,” popularized posing techniques still used today. Bodybuilders come from all backgrounds and often follow strict diets. Cardio and nutrition are also important. Celebrities use bodybuilding to stay fit and toned.

Bodybuilding is the technique of “building” maximum strength and muscle tone in the body through weight lifting. Body building is concerned with shaping and defining the musculature of the body, or muscular system. Most body builders worry about what foods and drinks they put into their bodies other than lifting weights and working out.
The first known and most famous bodybuilder was Eugen Sandow. Sandow, born in 1867 in what is now Germany and what was then Prussia, began his bodybuilding career as a sideshow strongman. Sandow, known as The Great Sandow, felt that a muscular body was a work of art. He popularized flexes and other posing techniques that are still popular today in bodybuilding competitions. Sandow is often called the “father of bodybuilding.”

A body builder can come from any socio-economic background and profession. Some bodybuilders train regularly at the gym, but many others train, at least initially, at home. Early bodybuilders, like Sandow, had to invent muscle building techniques by trying out different exercises to see what worked and what didn’t in making the body strong and toned. For example, bodybuilding work on opposing muscle groups, called “antagonistic split training,” has been found to help increase muscle mass. Body building requires extreme dedication and perseverance.

Weight training to get fit doesn’t always have to mean bulging biceps and overly accentuated muscles. Bodybuilding is popular with many celebrities today, both male and female, as a way to keep fit, toned, and attractive without being overly muscular. Some celebrities also use bodybuilding as a means to have defined biceps and pronounced musculature, like those that star in “action” movies. Arnold Schwarzenegger was both a body builder and an action movie star before becoming governor of California. Schwarzenegger’s autobiography, published in 1977, is entitled “The Education of a Bodybuilder.”

In addition to weight lifting, nutrition and other forms of exercise are important in body building. Weight lifting does not provide cardiovascular benefits, so body builders usually have walking routines as well. Walking can also reduce fat by burning calories. Many bodybuilders follow special diets that focus on particular combinations of foods while strictly avoiding other foods, so eating can be difficult for professional bodybuilders who travel often. Many bring their own foods to bodybuilding competitions.

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