What Is A Bodybuilder? An Insight Into What It Takes To Become One


Ever wondered what it truly means to be a bodybuilder? It’s not just about lifting weights and flexing in front of a mirror. Bodybuilding is an art, a science, and a lifestyle. It’s about sculpting a masterpiece, your body, and showcasing it to the world. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s start at the beginning.

A bodybuilder isn’t just someone who hits the gym regularly. They’re an individual dedicated to pushing their body to its limits, constantly seeking improvement and perfection. It’s about discipline, dedication, and a whole lot of sweat.

There’s a certain allure to bodybuilding. Maybe it’s the chiseled physiques, the dedication, or the sheer willpower on display. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. It’s a journey of self-discovery, of pushing boundaries, and of celebrating every little victory.

The Physique

Muscle Guide for Bodybuilders

The very essence of bodybuilding. It’s not just about size, but also about symmetry, proportion, and aesthetics.

Crafting the perfect body is like sculpting a statue. It requires patience, precision, and a vision. Every rep, every set, and every meal is a brushstroke on the canvas of your body. And trust me, it’s not easy.

The “ideal body” in bodybuilding is subjective. It varies from person to person and depends on individual goals. However, there’s a common thread: an emphasis on muscle size, definition, and proportion. It’s not just about being big; it’s about being balanced.

Emphasis on Muscle Size, Definition, and Proportion

Muscle size is important, but it’s not the only factor. Definition separates the amateurs from the pros. And proportion? It ensures that you don’t look like you skipped leg day.

Fun fact: Did you know that the term “chicken legs” originated from the bodybuilding community?

Showcase Your Physique

Posing is an art in itself. It’s not just about flexing muscles; it’s about presenting them in the best possible light. From the side chest to the rear double bicep, each pose is designed to highlight specific muscle groups. And let’s not forget the role of tanning and oil. They enhance muscle definition and give bodybuilders that signature stage-ready shine.

The Role of Tanning and Oil

Ever wondered why bodybuilders look so bronzed on stage? Tanning enhances muscle definition by creating a contrast against the stage lights. And the oil? It adds that finishing touch, making muscles pop and giving them a glossy finish. But remember, it’s not your everyday suntan lotion!

Classic vs. Olympia


Aesthetics and Physique

  • Olympia (Mr. Olympia): Competitors in this division typically have more massive and bulkier physiques. The emphasis is on sheer size, muscle density, and extreme definition. The competitors often have wider waists and a more “blocky” appearance.
  • Classic Physique: This division emphasizes a more balanced and symmetrical physique reminiscent of the “Golden Era” of bodybuilding (think Arnold Schwarzenegger). Competitors aim for a V-taper look, with broad shoulders, a narrow waist, and proportionate leg development.


  • Olympia (Mr. Olympia): Judging is based on muscularity, definition, overall size, and stage presence. There’s a greater emphasis on mass and density.
  • Classic Physique: While muscle size and definition are important, there’s a stronger emphasis on symmetry, proportion, and overall aesthetics. There are also weight and height restrictions in this division to ensure competitors maintain the “classic” look.

Posing Routine:

  • Olympia (Mr. Olympia): Posing routines are more freestyle, allowing competitors to showcase their best angles and muscular development.
  • Classic Physique: Posing is more structured, with mandatory poses that harken back to the classic era of bodybuilding. These poses highlight the grace and fluidity of the physique.

History and Evolution:

  • Olympia (Mr. Olympia): The Mr. Olympia competition began in 1965 and is considered the pinnacle of professional bodybuilding. It has evolved over the years to favor more massive physiques.
  • Classic Physique: Introduced more recently, the Classic Physique division is a nod to the earlier days of bodybuilding, aiming to bring back the aesthetics and proportions of the 1970s and 1980s.

Popularity and Reception:

  • Olympia (Mr. Olympia): Being the most prestigious title in professional bodybuilding, it attracts the biggest names in the sport and has a large following.
  • Classic Physique: While newer, this division has quickly gained popularity among fans and competitors who appreciate the return to a more balanced and aesthetic physique.

The Lifestyle

Bodybuilding is more than a sport; it’s a way of life. It demands dedication, discipline, and determination.

Training is the cornerstone of bodybuilding. It’s where the magic happens. But it’s not just about lifting heavy weights. It’s about technique, consistency, and pushing past your limits.

Nutrition as the Cornerstone

You can’t out-train a bad diet. Nutrition plays a pivotal role in bodybuilding. It fuels workouts, aids recovery, and helps build muscle. Think of your body as a car; it won’t run efficiently without the right fuel.

Rest and Recovery

Rest is just as important as training. It’s when your body repairs and grows. Skipping on sleep or not giving your muscles time to recover is a recipe for disaster. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are muscles!

The Mindset

Behind every chiseled physique is a strong mindset. It’s the driving force that keeps bodybuilders going, even when the going gets tough.

Bodybuilding is as much a mental game as it is a physical one. It requires mental toughness to push through pain barriers and resilience to bounce back from setbacks. 

Setting and Achieving Goals

Setting goals is crucial in all sports, and bodybuilding is no exception. It gives direction and purpose. Whether it’s adding an inch to your biceps or shedding a few pounds, every goal is a step closer to the ideal physique.

Discipline and Consistency

Consistency is key in bodybuilding. It’s not about what you do occasionally but what you do consistently. And discipline? It’s what keeps you on track, even when motivation wanes.

The Journey


Embarking on the bodybuilding journey is like setting sail on uncharted waters. Every bodybuilder has a unique story, filled with ups and downs, triumphs and challenges.

Starting as a novice, every bodybuilder dreams of earning that coveted pro card. But the journey from the local gym to the grand stage is filled with sweat, tears, and countless hours of training. Remember, every pro was once a beginner. Even legends like Arnold Schwarzenegger had to start somewhere!

Common Challenges and Obstacles

The path to bodybuilding greatness isn’t always smooth. Injuries, plateaus, and self-doubt are just a few of the hurdles bodybuilders face. But with determination and the right mindset, these challenges become stepping stones to success. 

Pro tip: When life gives you lemons, squeeze them into your post-workout shake!

Celebrating Achievements

Every milestone, no matter how small, is a cause for celebration. Whether it’s hitting a new personal best, mastering a challenging pose, or simply staying consistent with your diet, every achievement brings you one step closer to your goals.

Training Techniques

Training is the heart and soul of bodybuilding. It’s where dreams are forged and physiques are sculpted.

Building muscle mass requires a combination of heavy lifting, progressive overload, and adequate nutrition. It’s not just about lifting weights; it’s about lifting them right. Fun fact: Did you know that the term “pumping iron” was popularized by the bodybuilding community? It’s a humorous way to describe weightlifting.

Developing Strength

Strength isn’t just about how much you can lift; it’s about how you lift it. Proper technique, combined with a well-structured training program, can skyrocket your strength levels. And remember, it’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.

Shaping and Defining Muscles

While building muscle mass is essential, shaping and defining them is what sets bodybuilders apart. This involves targeted exercises, isolation movements, and meticulous attention to detail. 


You’ve probably heard the saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen.” Well, it’s true! Nutrition plays a pivotal role in bodybuilding.

Diet is the foundation upon which a great physique is built. It provides the fuel for workouts, aids in recovery, and helps in muscle growth. Without the right nutrition, even the best training program will fall short.

Meal Planning and Macros

Planning meals and tracking macros ensure that you’re getting the right nutrients in the right proportions. It’s not just about eating clean; it’s about eating smart. Fun fact: Bodybuilders often joke that they spend more time meal prepping than working out!


Supplements can give bodybuilders that extra edge. From protein powders to pre-workouts, they can enhance performance, aid recovery, and support muscle growth. But remember, they’re called supplements for a reason; they’re meant to supplement a balanced diet, not replace it.

Competition and Recognition


The stage is where bodybuilders showcase their hard work, dedication, and passion.

Mr Olympia Winners Times Won Years Won
Lee Haney 8 1984-1991
Ronnie Coleman 8 1998-2005
Arnold Schwarzenegger 7 1970-1975, 1980
Phil Heath 7 2011-2017
Dorian Yates 6 1992-1997
Jay Cutler 4 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010
Sergio Oliva 3 1967-1969
Frank Zane 3 1977-1979
Franco Columbu 2 1976, 1981
Larry Scott 2 1965, 1966
Mamdouh Elssbiay 2 2020, 2021
Chris Dickerson 1 1982
Samir Bannout 1 1983
Dexter Jackson 1 2008
Shawn Rhoden 1 2018
Brandon Curry 1 2019
Hadi Choopan 1 2022

From local shows to international championships, bodybuilding competitions are the ultimate test of a bodybuilder’s mettle. It’s where they go head-to-head with the best of the best, under the watchful eyes of judges and fans.

Different Levels of Competitions

Competitions range from local amateur shows to prestigious international events. Each level comes with its own set of challenges and rewards. And the dream? Earning a spot at the Olympia, the Super Bowl of bodybuilding.

Judging Criteria and Scoring

Judging in bodybuilding is based on various criteria, including symmetry, proportion, and overall presentation. It’s not just about size; it’s about the complete package. Pro tip: Always remember to smile on stage; it might just earn you some extra points!

Year  Classic Physique Winners Venue
2016 Danny Hester Las Vegas, United States
2017 Breon Ansley Las Vegas, United States
2018 Breon Ansley Las Vegas, United States
2019 Chris Bumstead Las Vegas, United States
2020 Chris Bumstead Orlando, United States
2021 Chris Bumstead Orange County, United States
2022 Chris Bumstead Las Vegas, United States

The Community

Bodybuilding community

The bodybuilding community is a tight-knit group of individuals who share a common passion and dedication. It’s a place where bonds are forged, and lifelong friendships are made.

One of the most rewarding aspects of bodybuilding is the sense of camaraderie. Whether it’s spotting a fellow lifter at the gym, sharing nutrition tips, or cheering each other on at competitions, the bonds formed are unbreakable. Fun fact: Many bodybuilders joke that they have more “gym friends” than “real-life friends”!

Support Systems and Mentorship

Having a support system is crucial in bodybuilding. From coaches to training partners, having someone to guide, motivate, and push you can make all the difference. Mentorship plays a pivotal role, especially for newcomers. Learning from seasoned pros can fast-track your progress and help you avoid common pitfalls.

Health and Safety

While bodybuilding is about pushing limits, it’s essential to do so safely.

Avoiding Injury

Injuries can set back months, if not years, of hard work. Proper form, adequate warm-up, and listening to your body are crucial to avoid injuries. 

Pro tip: Remember, it’s better to miss one day at the gym than one month due to injury.

Monitoring Health and Well-being

Regular health check-ups, staying hydrated, and ensuring adequate rest are essential for overall well-being. Bodybuilding is demanding, both physically and mentally. Taking care of your health ensures longevity in the sport.

The Dark Side of Bodybuilding

While the sport has brought fame and recognition to many, it has also seen its share of tragedies. Some renowned bodybuilders have faced severe health issues, and some even lost their lives prematurely due to complications arising from the sport’s extreme demands and, at times, substance misuse. ‘

It’s a somber reminder of the importance of prioritizing health and safety. In the bodybuilding community legends like Dallas McCarver and Rich Piana passed away at a young age, highlighting the potential risks associated with extreme bodybuilding practices.


Which country has produced the most Mr. Olympia winners?

The United States has produced the majority of Mr. Olympia winners over the years.

Has any Mr. Olympia winner ever made a comeback after retirement to win the title again?

Arnold Schwarzenegger made a notable comeback, winning the title in 1980 after a brief retirement.

Who is the youngest winner of the Mr. Olympia title?

Arnold Schwarzenegger holds this record, winning his first title at the age of 23 in 1970.

Wrapping Up

And there we have it! We’ve flexed our way through the ins and outs of bodybuilding, and it’s been one heck of a swole journey. 

From the grind in the gym to the discipline in the kitchen, it’s all about that gains life. Whether you’re a newbie just starting your fitness journey or a seasoned vet chasing that next PR, always remember: it’s not just about the destination, it’s about the journey… and the gains along the way! 

So, keep crushing those workouts, fueling up with the right grub, and most importantly, never skip leg day. Stay swole, and may your gains be ever in your favor!