Over the past couple of months, basically since the end of last semester, I've been extremely intrigued in the world of extreme bodybuilding. I'm sure many of you know this world: that Arnold Schwarzenegger was a strong man (a Mr. Olympia, exactly) before being an actor and eventually a politician. Some of you may have seen the competitions for the "World's Strongest Man" on television, where these behemoths resembling man pull trucks and throw literal boulders. Its all extremely impressive, and these are both related to extreme strength. However, I have been sucked into the world of professional bodybuilding. I've been pulled into the world of IFBB pros, of Ronnie Coleman, of Kai Greene and Jeremy Buendia, and I am not looking back.
Working out has been a hobby to me and, I'm sure, to many of you. There's a certain rhythm and relaxation one can find behind pushing heavy weights above your head, and pushing your body to (and past) its physical limit on a daily basis. Its fun, its relaxing, its a form of meditation, but to the select few who decide to undertake this overwhelming task, it is a way of life.
I'm talking about the men, and women, who you see on the cover of magazines. The people you see and your jaw drops. With the veins bulging out of their skin and their muscles which have muscles. These select few human beings are incredible.
Now, I'm not directly involved in this area of the world, per say, but I have researched it extensively, and I just want to tell you a bit about it. Now, I'm sure many of you look at athletes like Arnold Schwarzenegger and say "Oh, he does steroids. That really isn't that impressive." And that is a fair thing to say. Yes, most of these bodybuilding competitions do allow their competitors to take PEDs, but don't let this fool you, this does not make it easy.
No, these athletes have to put in a 150% effort, on a daily basis, to just have the hope of being anywhere near the ultimate title, the Mr. Olympia. They need to go to the gym for 7 or 8 times each work, for a couple hours each session. They need to eat 9000 calories a day, but not just any type of food. They need to weigh their food, and all the components in the food. They need to take in a specific amount of calories, a specific amount of proteins, fats, starches, and other nutrients which give them the fuel to push throw grueling 2.5 hour training sessions, sometimes twice a day.
These athletes are literally asked to do the impossible. To do what less than 1%, probably even less than that, are able to do: They are asked to lose fat, while gaining muscle. How is it possible to get shredded while also getting massive?
Its almost counterintuitive, and that is why this sport is so impressive. They need to space out their meals, learn the science behind how their body builds muscle, and loses weight, and everything else in between. They need to know the science behind the supplements they are taking. They need to push themselves, without injuring themselves, since one injury could lead to the end of their career. However, possibly the most important part of their job, is knowing how to show off their bodies.
The posing routines are rigorous. you need to know how to identify the pose when the judges call them out, but you need to know how to maximize the potential of your pose in order to show off the most muscle. You need to add personality, a flair to attract the correct attention from the judges, and so so much more.
Extreme bodybuiling is a 24/7, 365 day a year commitment. A select few men and women from around the globe compete in order to do the impossible, and they do it because they love it. They break their bodies, but their spirits only grow the closer they get to their goal, and it is beyond incredible.