If you consider yourself a bodybuilder, either competitively, or simply for staying in shape, you’ll know that the life of a bodybuilder isn’t always an easy one. To outsiders, the bodybuilding lifestyle may be somewhat glamorous, as there will be photoshoots, competitions, supplement sponsorships, and expos across the world. Whilst a select few bodybuilders and fitness athletes will indeed lead that type of lifestyle, for most bodybuilders out there, life will be any other individuals, except for the fact that you will have to eat, sleep, and breathe the bodybuilding lifestyle, whilst trying to run your own life in the process. Of course bodybuilding offers numerous awards and advantages, and can provide avenues to all kinds of other opportunities in the future, but life can be tough as a bodybuilder. Though most articles and content out there will focus on the numerous positives of bodybuilding (and there are countless ones) we’ll take a different approach here, as we look at a few of the downsides associated with being a bodybuilder.
Finding clothes that fit
First and foremost, if you’re really in beast-mode in the gym, and are piling on the pounds of muscle, finding clothes that fit you will be a real nightmare. To begin with, assuming your waist is narrow, if you are hitting your legs correctly, jeans will need to be custom made as there will be no way you’ll be able to squeeze your quads in, unless the waist is ridiculously big. Skinny jeans? Ha, forget it. The same type of problem will arise when shopping for shirts and jackets, as you may fasten them easily enough, but they will almost certainly feel far too tight on your upper back and arms. Because of this, you will almost certainly have to have any suits that you wear, custom made, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as a well tailored suit is a true beauty to behold.
Ignorant comments from others
Whilst society in general is finally waking up to the fact that not all bodybuilders are huge hulking brutes like the ones you see competing at the Olympia, people are still generally misinformed when it comes to bodybuilding. To get the most out of your sport, and your physique, you need to be training solidly, you must use the right supplements, and you must be eating the right foods at the right times. There will be people who will say things like “you’re obsessed with the gym” or “it’s not a healthy sport” and it will get on your nerves at times. The thing to remember is that people can be ignorant, and they can, and will, come out with stupid things. The best one of all is the “are you taking steroids” or “if I took steroids I could look like that as well”. Whilst annoying, it is best to simply ignore them, or politely try to educate them and make them see things from a perspective other than their own.
Your food bill
Unfortunately, if you are trying to save money, doing so will be a great deal harder if you’re bodybuilding. This is because bodybuilders require a lot of food each day, including plenty of protein, which does not come cheap. Whether bulking or cutting, you will need to eat several meals each day, and your food bill will cost considerably more than the average person’s. On the flipside however, rather than blowing several hundred bucks each weekend on alcohol and junk food, you cash will instead be spent on things that will help improve your health, and improve your appearance in the process, so things do kind of balance out.
When you’re bulking, eating out will not be much of a challenge, as you will be able to be lenient with your diet, as the aim of the game is to create a surplus in calories to facilitate muscle growth. When cutting and dieting down however, eating out can be a real headache. Finding junk food is easy, but finding clean, fresh, and healthy foods that allow you to hit your target macros is a whole other story altogether.
This isn’t the case for all bodybuilders, but there are some out there who will get the majority of their exercise in, in the form of weights and resistance training, rather than cardio. Cardiovascular exercise, such as running, walking, jogging, or cycling, not only helps burn calories, but it also strengthens your heart and improves your cardiovascular system. This is hugely important because it will help to prevent the risk of heart attacks, heart disease, hypertension, and much more besides. Ideally when bodybuilding, even when bulking, you should perform cardio at least 3 times each week.
Planning a social life
When you’re leading a bodybuilding lifestyle, it can be difficult to plan a social life, because the sport itself requires so much time, care, and attention. If your buddies want to go out partying at the weekend, you will probably want to stay clear of alcohol as it affects your physique and your performance in the gym. Going out for meals can be tricky, as we explained previously, and you may even struggle to spend time with friends, family members, or potential partners because you will also be trying to juggle the gym and your diet with seeing them. You can of course socialize like everybody else, but a great deal more planning will almost certainly be required.
When you’re training, when your training is going great, you will look great and will feel even better. There will come a time however, where you struggle to motivate yourself, where you struggle to find any energy, and where you struggle to make any progress whatsoever. All bodybuilders will plateau at some point, and when you are literally making sacrifices left, right, and centre, and seeing nothing in return, it can affect you mentally. Rather than quitting or going in off the deep end, try switching up your training, taking a short break from the gym, or trying things you’ve never tried before.