Remember when you were a kid growing up how you’d watch the action movie heroes in the 80s such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, as well as the enormous wrestlers in the then WWF such as Hulk Hogan? What was the one thing you noticed about them? It likely wasn’t their amazing acting skills, or their ability to make a common leg drop look like the most devastating move in existence. No, it was their physiques. As you grew older, you likely purchased your first weight set, joined a gym, took your vitamins, said your prayers, and drank your milk, and started to learn about bodybuilding and fitness in general. If you’re now all grown up and are committed to living life as a bodybuilder, it’s important to take the rough with the smooth. Whilst being jacked is great and offers many benefits, there are also downsides to be aware of. Here’s a look at some of the main downsides of being a bodybuilder.
To some people, the thought of constantly eating will be appealing and could be seen as a pro. If you imagine having to eat yet another meal, despite having eaten six meals prior, you get an idea of how annoying it can be. In order to build and maintain muscle, you need plenty of protein, you need energy to train, and you need nutrients to function properly. Most bodybuilders will eat at least six whole food meals each day, as well as two meals in the form of protein shakes. A large portion of your day will therefore be taken up by eating. Even if you’re not hungry, you can’t skip a meal, so you’ll need to force it down.
If you thought that having to eat so much food was bad, just wait until it comes to prepping your meals. In order to reap the rewards of being a bodybuilder, you need to ensure that your diet is on point. This means spending hours in the kitchen, cooking up chicken breasts, pasta, rice, and veggies, and portioning them up in Tupperware container after Tupperware container. Prepping your meals for the week will make life much easier during the week, but on the day when it’s time to prep your meals, you’ll understand why bodybuilders grow frustrated.
Finding clothes that fit
Being big and jacked may have its advantages, but when it comes to finding clothes that fit, this is something that causes many a bodybuilder a headache. Shirts for example, will be hard to find as you’ll likely have a large back and large arms and chest, with a smaller and narrower waist. Finding a shirt that does up properly will be hard. As for finding a suit that fits off the shelf, you’ve no chance. The only way to get a suit that fits properly will be to have a fitted suit specially made.
If you’re in decent shape you likely won’t get too much unwanted attention when out and about. The bigger you are, though, the more attention you’ll attract. During nights out when people are partying, and too much alcohol has been consumed, some less than savoury characters may target you and perceive you as a threat. Even if that scenario is unlikely, you’ll likely receive unwanted comments about your physique and your appearance in general, so just bare that in mind.
Your flexibility and general range of motion will also likely suffer exponentially as you build muscle and become bigger. Many bodybuilders are not the most agile or flexible of individuals, and if your flexibility is already lacking, bodybuilding will not do you any favours at all. Thanks to foam rollers, physios, and what we now know about stretching and adapting our training, there are things we can do to improve our flexibility as we build muscle and become bigger, so that is certainly something worth considering.
Lack of a social life
If you’re just into training like a bodybuilder at the gym, your social life won’t be damaged too much. If you’re serious about becoming a bodybuilder, you need to commit to the lifestyle and eat, sleep, and breathe bodybuilding. This will mean turning down a lot of invited to social events and gatherings. If you’re prepping for a contest, you can’t head out to party with your friends, or go for a unplanned meal with family. You will need to stick to your diet and your training regime, and avoid alcohol and unhealthy food.
Finally, we can’t talk about the downsides of bodybuilding without talking about the financial expense. Bodybuilding is incredibly expensive. You have gym memberships to pay for, you have to purchase training kit and accessories, you’ve supplements to buy, and there’s the food. Eating 6 – 8 small meals per day can rack up your weekly grocery bills, so if you are struggling financially, committing to the bodybuilding lifestyle will be far from easy.
As you can see, bodybuilding isn’t all glitz and glamour like the fitness magazines would have you believe. It’s hard on your body, your mind, your social life, and your wallet, and it is far from easy. With that said, most bodybuilders out there wouldn’t change it for the world.