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How Can We Educate Others About Bodybuilding?

How can we educate others about bodybuilding? Find out what other people from the message boards think...

TOPIC: How Can We Educate Others About Bodybuilding?

The Question:

Many people think that bodybuilding is for freaks. Many people also associate bodybuilding with dumb people. They seem to think that the bigger the body, the smaller the brain â€" This is absolutely not true!

How can we educate people about bodybuilding?

What are some good ways of increasing the bodybuilding community?

What are some good books/resources to educate people about bodybuilding?

Bonus Question: Do you know anyone who believes in the false bodybuilding stereotypes? How does it make you feel? How did you respond? Did you once believe in the bodybuilding myths and stereotypes?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

      1st place - 75 in store credit.
      2nd place - 50 in store credit.

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ for more info.

1st Place - perldog007

First we have to be solidly grounded in the subject matter under discussion. What exactly is bodybuilding? According to

  1. bod·y·build·ing
    • n: The process of developing the musculature of the body through specific types of diet and physical exercise, such as weightlifting, especially for competitive exhibition.
  2. bodybuilding
    • n: exercise that builds muscles through tension [syn: anaerobic exercise, muscle building, musclebuilding]1

More Than Meets The Eye

The first order of business then is to let people know that bodybuilding is much more than what they have seen on television. Pro competitions are the pinnacle of the sport. They are not the whole sport. In the minds of many the word bodybuilding invokes visions of chemically enhanced freaks popping veins and looking like alien life forms.

Those of us who know how hard it is to build muscle can really appreciate such displays. A lat spread from an IFBB pro can scare the children, the weak, the meek, and the middle class.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Schliekamp & Coleman Scaring The Children!
See More From The 2005 Olympia Here.

Bodybuilding is a life built on the premise that we can become better than we are. Our physical health is an extension of our very selves. The human physique cannot be completely separated from the mind or soul. To improve one is to improve all three.

We know that by sacrificing some fast food and quality time with the remote, we can be better. We know that within the realm of bodybuilding art and science, nearly any goal can be achieved. We understand that the dedication to workout when we don't want to carries over to other areas of life. Our community knows that outward appearance is a goal and a side effect.

Telling others about it can be hard. We instinctively fear what we do not understand. We fear and loathe that which makes us feel inferior. We see this behavior within our own community, especially online in discussion boards everywhere. If we can turn on each other, why should "civilians" be any different. They should not.

Understanding Ignorance:

    The next step to educating others about bodybuilding is to understand that their fear and ignorance is natural. People who have misconceptions about the life are just following the instructions of their on board computers.

    In a classic work long out of print there is a story of a verbal attack on a bodybuilder. A lady paid a compliment to a bodybuilder, but her male companion expressed derision and contempt for the athlete. Said male companion then stated that he would kick the bodybuilder's @ss.

    This particular bodybuilder (who shall, for reasons of human kindness, remain nameless) took umbrage with the bravado of the little man and grabbed him by the neck. The little wolf ticket salesman was advised to "never say these things again".

    The idiot was just trying to mark his tree. The bodybuilder could have smiled and said,

    "... and I would happily take that @ss kicking
    if the lovely lady will be patching me up."

    Did we lose a fan, because he did not?

    When confronted by a wise acre beta male it is the gentlemanly duty of the bodybuilder to work it out gracefully. When verbally attacked, let the other guy be the jerk. It isn't likely to get physical unless you get stuck on stupid. Most bodybuilders take this approach. Bodybuilder should not lower themselves to verbal abuse.

Have You Ever Been Verbally Attacked Because Of Bodybuilding?


    Sometimes people will attack the sport because they have real fears borne of ignorance. Women are universally afraid of looking like the pros on "SuperSize She". A lot of men do not want to look like an IFBB pro, even if they could. The most extreme and elite group of our sport attracts the most attention.

    No matter how you feel about gear, steroid use is an easy target for haters. Be prepared to talk about the vast drug free majority of bodybuilders.

    When you encounter fear and ignorance, letting them know how uninformed they are might work. Usually it will just tighten their defenses. There is a better way than head on.

Overcoming Objections

Salespeople call it overcoming objections. There have been many methods of doing this taught over the years, here are some basic principles.

1. Get The Person On Your Side By Agreeing With Them.

    "Yeah, I know what you mean; I wouldn't want to be muscle-bound either."

2. Give Up A Little Logical Explanation.

    "You know, even those guys (gals) only look like that with a lot of dieting and shaving and oil, they don't look like that all the time. They are also very athletic and flexible. Besides, it doesn't happen overnight or by accident."

3. Make A Positive Statement.

    "Almost everyone wants to look and feel their best."

4. Ask A Positive Assumptive Question.

    "Don't you know somebody who might want to have more muscle and less fat?"

5. Close 'Em Up.

    "Wouldn't it make sense to follow a program that does just that?"

If you don't get a convert on the first try listen and be respectful. Be gracious in defeat. In essence you will be thanking the know-it-all for being intellectually mighty enough to kick your weak mental hind parts. This leaves the door open for future conversations.

The Art Of Diplomacy

Knowing that working out keeps us healthy in a sedentary world seems to be a mystery outside the community. Spreading the word without zeal is the trick. The glassy eyed intensity of a true believer puts you in a category with those folks who knock on doors spreading their version of the gospel. Yet another prime example of less being more.

What Does Zeal Mean?
Enthusiastic devotion to a cause, ideal, or goal and tireless diligence in its furtherance.

The art of diplomacy consists of not saying what is immediately on your mind. The science of diplomacy is the art of knowing when to cut your losses. The know-it-all already thinks you are stupid, let's not add rude to your list of charges. Respecting the hater's feelings puts them on the spot for not extending the same slack to you.

When you are aware of the history and diversity of the sport your conversation toolbox is loaded. You can talk about health benefits. You can talk about all of the young bodybuilders in the forums who go to the gym and then come home and post their workouts. For every negative that a naysayer visits, you can politely riposte two positives.

You can talk about how Thomas Inch lived from the 1880's to the 1960's and could deadlift over 500 lbs one handed at age 60. Charles Atlas was getting hit on by the ladies in his late seventies. Discuss the history of physical culture and let them discover that it is really about being the best you can be.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Thomas Inch Performing A Unique Variation
On The One Arm Lift.

A good ambassador is a diplomat. Such a person can get others to listen to them. This is important in educating others. This life is not for everybody. By being good ambassadors, we can at least get their respect and possibly their support. More people watch football than play the game.

At the end of the day, many people might agree with all of the benefits of bodybuilding, they may even try it for a short time, but they will not keep to it. The myriad of reasons for this are beyond our scope here. Just know that this is not for everyone. If we can't get them into the life, being a good ambassador might gain us some support. How strong does somebody have to be to write a letter to their legislator about over-regulating supplements?

Stop Congress From Passing The Dietary Supplement Access & Awareness Act.
It is time again to flex some community muscle like we did in support of Arnold earlier this year. But this time we need to let our politicians know, ENOUGH ALREADY, and to leave our dietary supplements alone.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

Building The Community:
What Are Some Good Ways Of Increasing The Bodybuilding Community?

Those timid souls in the middle are our gold. So many people go to the gym and work blindly just to look and feel better. These people are bodybuilders, they just haven't been told yet.

Find a way to reach that lifter who is on the fence. Listening to people talk about what they are trying to accomplish is the first step. Armed with this knowledge it is easier to relate a bodybuilding solution to their goals.


What Is Your Goal?
Is Your Goal Not Listed? Click Below To Learn More About Goal Setting.

An overweight person might be more interested shedding fat. A firefighter or EMT may want savage strength without mass. A police officer or security guard may want size and strength. All of these goals can be reached with weapons in the arsenal of bodybuilding. If these disparate folks can be drawn into the sport peripherally, they may become fans.

The booming supplement industry is the commercial arm of our sport. Are we holding them accountable? Do we vote with our wallets and buy from venues and companies that promote? Do we boycott companies who hurt the sport?

Gym communities can organize local events to benefit charities. It could be a show, a barbeque, whatever. We can e-mail news stations and ask for coverage of major events. Find out what shows are in your area and take a non-bodybuilder with you if you can get it done without duct tape.

Women who are turned off by the "monsters" might really like natural bodybuilders. Same with guys... show them the fitness models and welcome them to the world of bodybuilding.

Educate yourself on the history of physical culture. Bodybuilding and physique modeling have been around for a long time. Some of the first photographs were taken of strong men of the day. Physical culture has always been the best medication for the sickness of modern life.

Find allies where ever they may be. When we increase the types of trainers we accept as bodybuilders, we increase our numbers. A supplement manufacturer or publishing company doesn't care if you are preparing for a contest or a class reunion. As long as your money is good, it's all good.

Educating The People:
What Are Some Good Books/Resources To Educate People About Bodybuilding?

You have to be careful where you send people. I enjoy all kinds of web sites. Sending your mother-in-law to the more extreme websites may not provide the optimum dining experience at the next holiday meal. has the greatest variety of articles. Any subject remotely related to bodybuilding can be found here. Everybody from competitors to folks trying to get healthy are catered to. Some of my co-workers at my last job were amazed at the depth of topics covered on this site.

Did You Know? has over 17,000 pages of bodybuilding content!

Books are another story. Just about any competent writer can keep my attention. Not everybody is so easy. Generally speaking Fred Hatfield or Dave Draper will speak to most serious readers.

Fred Hatfield's World Record Squat
1,014 lbs!
Download Here:
Real Video (2 MB)

Tom Venuto also has a good style and his e-book has a great bibliography of other books.

You really have to let them browse and find their own thing. Handing somebody a book and saying "read this" seldom works in my experience. Where you can help is by finding out what their particular interest is and suggesting something you have read or a place where they can find a book like that.

Read everything you can on bodybuilding. You can't lift all the time. Knowing the subject matter makes you a better representative. Better represent.

When people say they don't want to look like "that," show them a picture of Brenda Kelly on Most women really do want to look like her and most men really do want to look at her.

Click Image To Enlarge.
The Lovely Brenda Kelly.

Do You Know Anyone Who Believes In The False Bodybuilding Stereotypes? How Does It Make You Feel? How Did You Respond? Did You Once Believe In The Bodybuilding Myths & Stereotypes?

Most people I know who are not severely brain addled in this area are in the life. Ignorance about bodybuilding is infuriating.

The best thing to do is not to get mad, even or ahead. The best thing to do is to kill them with kindness. Escalating is a loser's game. For a detailed explanation read Marc "animal" MacYoung's work.2

I try to respect the ignorant speaker, hear them out. Then I will see if can overcome any of their misconceptions. If all goes well they never know what hit them. A proper mental beat down turns an adversary into an ally, and the victim never knows it occurred.

I came into bodybuilding awareness in the 70's and 80's so I never did believe the hate hype. That was the thing of the older generation. Bodybuilding was so hip that even professional dart throwers like Kevin Hayes were hitting the weights.

One thing has remained constant over the years. Whenever you talk about bodybuilding in front of people, there is an excellent chance that the all-knowing hater will visit upon you. It is not the verbal skills or knowledge of the hater that matter, rather how you respond that will win or lose support for our world.

Thanks for reading, spread the word.


  1. Webster's online Dictionary [ online ]
  2. No Nonsense Self Defense [ online ]

2nd Place - Dallas68

Many people think that bodybuilding is for freaks. Many people also associate bodybuilding with dumb people. They seem to think that the bigger the body, the smaller the brain - This is absolutely not true!

Educating People:
How Can We Educate People About Bodybuilding?

Education is profound in our world and creates huge impacts when implemented to third world countries so how can we teach those around us? From our close friends to our family and acquaintances it is something we must help them to learn.

Bodybuilding must be taught in a way that is simply "on the ignorant or un-educated person's level." You heard of the "For complete idiot books?" Well that is how you must bring this lifestyle across. You may be speaking to very intelligent individuals yet you must understand it is a new world for them.

Simple Rule #1

    Ask them to state a question about bodybuilding or "continuous acclimation lifting" as it can be called. And you will reply to the best of your profound knowledge to bring back an answer that is researched and valid.

Simple Rule #2

    Ask them to say what they think about bodybuilding in all respects. Then answer with what your point of view on the sport is. When finished with that, come to a conclusion with what you will decide so there is a mutual understanding between both of the individuals.

Simple Rule #3

    Explain how incredibly difficult it is to the person to be competition ready or to gain 30 pounds of reasonably solid muscle and to retain it when cutting down. Show that the largest part of bodybuilding is the mentality behind it all.

Have You Successfully Gained 30 Pounds Of Muscle While Cutting Down?

Actually, I've Gained More.
Not Sure.

Simple Rule #4

    Supplements and anabolic-androgenic steroids is all that most people assume with the large freaky looking guys. I would know, I live with individuals who oppose this lifestyle without knowing the truth. So here you should show that hard work and dedication can bring your wildest physical achievements to light!

    They must also learn many rumors of the supplements are very untrue and ludicrous. Yes, be cautious and advise them, but show them the way.

Simple Rule #5

    The last rule; take them if they are willing (offer them something if they reach their goals) and take them through a week of your life; maybe they will learn something. Remember you need to walk in someone else's shoes to understand their reasoning.

So Summed Up You Need To Have:

  • Understanding.
  • Provide Knowledge.
  • Find Ccommon Ground.
  • Walk In The Boots Of The Bodybuilder.

Building The Community:
What Are Some Good Ways Of Increasing The Bodybuilding Community?

Well our community is obviously growing due to the epidemic of obesity and weight problems in our junk filled western world. This is turning people to take action and to get a hold of their bodies. Week after week we see incredible transformations. This does show us that our community of bodybuilders is growing.

Have you made a dramatic change either by gaining muscle of by losing fat? If so, send in your pics, stats, and what got you started and you could be next month's winner!
[ Click here to learn more. ]

A Few Good Ideas:

  • Create pamphlets for "classes" like karate or dancing; it may increase peoples interest as they may be in a group. They can also bring friends or family. Along with a trained professional to supervise and take charge the expereince would be great.

  • Keep our own community together. There is much strife in people's ideas, so there must remain a love for lifting and to acknowledge those who are willing and to help.

  • Help those men/women or young teenagers who are in gym. To be successful and stay on the right track they must be aware of how and how often to use the equipment. This will make the gym experience much more enjoyable.

  • If you're in school or at work you must ask if they would like to try to change their body and mind forever. I know that a dear friend of mine is obese at about 250 pounds and at least 35 BMI; he is not very healthy. Next year I am going to get him to lose fat. That's the key - find someone who is ready to supply the passion and energy, which is myself - the commitment should follow from the other person.


Feet and Inches


Education Resources:
What Are Some Good Books/Resources To Educate People About Bodybuilding?

It all depends on if the person is:

  • Serious.
  • Casual.
  • And what their age is.


    If they are serious on competing then they must simply find and use all the resources here at It is simply the world's best site with the most coverage for all areas of the bodybuilding lifestyle. The amount of amazing articles, that come directly from qualified sources, is insurmountable.

    I would say all enthusiasts must read Arnold Schwarzenegger's book The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. With 700 plus pages of great information it is a great book to say the least.


    The more casual trainer should still check out the site even though word of mouth will reach them more often. That sadly passes misinformation which leads to a media up-cry when something goes wrong. Advise them on the right path.

    One book I recommend for those who lift, if they want to see their rectus abdominus (Abdominals) is the Body For Life book by Bill Philips. My brother does not like bodybuilding but he is very lean, defined and healthy from this book. This book is for people who want to look trim not bulky.


    Age is merely a factor if they believe there is a future on the stage or if they have to rebuild the wreck built over the years and fix their body up.

Do You Know Anyone Who Believes In The False Bodybuilding Stereotypes? How Does It Make You Feel? How Did You Respond? Did You Once Believe In The Bodybuilding Myths & Stereotypes?

Sadly my answer to this is yes; I live in a roof of them. My dear family is very quick to criticize that they use all sorts of funny drugs to look as they do without referring to the large amounts of quality calories needed day in and day out. No thought is given to the intense training that must be done. I say most of the guys in the magazines, such as Flex, do use steroids but they eat and train like beasts. If they do use steroids then they need to keep quiet.

Another is a close friend of mine who is only now adjusting and acknowledging that I am who I am. He used to say the bigger you get the smaller your brain gets which is obviously shamefully ignorant.

As well as one of his teachers who says the same thing, but I see him and he is a wreck, so I am happy and content with who and what I am and am more patient with others because of it.

I do feel angry and violent sometimes towards them but I try not to. What's the point? At the end of the day when my friends stick some spirit coolers down their throats I am better and I know I am healthier because I do not follow the path of drinking.

Bodybuilding & Alcohol: Do They Mix?
This article is not intended to dissuade people from using alcohol moderately, for recreational purposes, but will point out its significant shortcomings.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

My own family does adjust and my mom accepts it and my father is proud. With my bad emotional background of being overweight I know they overjoyed that I do what I do; to stay as people say... good looking.

On-Line BrAC Calculator: About | Disclaimer
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Yes when I was small I would just say they stick needles in and all you need are supplements to get big. Of course though that changed quickly.

The problem is all you see are large muscled guys saying well this helped put on 20 pounds of quality muscle meanwhile they have a good training and diet regimen behind to back it up.

The funniest person to judge me is my grandma. She is the sweetest and best old person I know but when she saw the weights I bought for my Olympic bar she freaked out and said,

"No Alistaire you getting too big,
you can't do that, I won't let you!"

I know I will not be as big as Dexter Jackson but the only person who can say that and actually stop getting bigger is me.

I bid you adieu and fair judging and happy holidays again!