What The Heck Is A Bodybuilder, Anyway?

What defines a bodybuilder? Is it the amount they can lift? Or is it how good they look in posing clothing? You might be suprised what the answer is...


For most people, when this term is heard, images of hugely muscled, oiled up men in bikini bottoms register in their minds. Men, on stage under bright lights, flexing their gargantuan biceps until they threaten to pop out of their arms. Giants like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lee Haney.

Men whose single, overwhelming goal in life is to grow bigger muscles, until they fill an entire room. And women too. Women, far more muscular than the average professional football player, flexing and straining under those same bright lights while crowds cheer them on.

These men and women are bodybuilders. It's obvious, of course, very hard to miss.

Who Else Is A Bodybuilder?

A baseball player hits the weight room hard in the off-season to improve his power at the plate. Is he a bodybuilder?

A sprinter performs 100-meter runs while attached to a parachute harness to improve his acceleration during competitions. Is he a bodybuilder?

A tennis player performs plyometric drills, hopping from side to side over cones and leaping onto and off box platforms. She does this in order to improve her quickness and agility on the court. Is she a bodybuilder?

A retired college professor, dismayed at the way his waistline has been steadily growing over the last few years, begins a morning jogging routine and changes his diet to get rid of those extra pounds. Is he a bodybuilder?

The answer to every one of these questions is yes. They are all bodybuilders. While their methods are as varied as the goals they wish to achieve, these people all have one thing in common. They are all making a conscious effort to improve their bodies. And that is what a bodybuilder does.

There is no minimum number of hours that have to be spent in the gym to become a bodybuilder. There are no required exercises, or number of sets or repetitions that have to be completed before one is considered a bodybuilder. A bodybuilder doesn't have to be under ten percent body fat.

In fact, a bodybuilder doesn't even have to lift weights. Most do, though, because - let's face it - lifting weights works.

Simply put, a bodybuilder builds a better body.

What Makes A Body Better?

What changes have to be made to your body for it to be improved upon?

If you ask that question to ten different people, odds are you'll receive ten different answers. And as long as those people truly believe their answers, they are all correct. What makes a body better is defined by the sole discretion of its owner.

To the physique competitors posing and flexing under those bright lights, a better body means a body like an anatomy chart with muscles that are as large, symmetrical, and defined as humanly possible. That perception of a better body is a far cry from that of the tennis player's, who most likely considers a better body to be one that is lean, fast and agile.

A body that helps her win set after set. It's an even further cry from that of the retired college professor, who's idea of a better body may simply be one that looks more like it did ten or twenty years ago.

So next time you hear the term "bodybuilder", hopefully you won't limit your thoughts to bottles of baby oil and posing briefs. The concept of the bodybuilder is much deeper and far-reaching than that. And if you look closely, you'll see that bodybuilders are everywhere.

About The Author

Matt Rogers is a professional mixed martial arts competitor, having been competing since 1999. Matt has incorporated the strength and conditioning routines of several well-noted trainers into his preparatory periods for his fights. Even before his martial arts career, Matt was involved in strength training in his high school days to improve his performances on the varsity basketball and baseball teams.