WHAT MAKES A BODYBUILDER?
When seen by the average or public eye, bodybuilding is seen as an outcast sport. A strange underground movement where men and women go to insane lengths to have the most abnormally muscular body possible. Bodybuilders are often called freaks and there’s a major misconception that they are all pumping themselves full of steroids. But the “average Joe” might be surprised to find that bodybuilding, while most definitely niche, is a massive sport garnering over 100,000 fans in the United States alone. And it’s growing year after year. Not surprisingly, as we this new millennium continues to focus on the importance of fitness as a whole, so too does bodybuilding continue to grow in popularity.
So how could a sport that appears so strange and freakish be so popular? What makes a person want to be a bodybuilder?
First let’s get one thing out of the way. While steroids do run rampant throughout the bodybuilding industry it’s not a magical potion that can make anyone a mass monster bodybuilder with little effort. Bodybuilding takes the same principles behind fitness and takes them to the extreme. Hard work and dedication go into every day and not just in the gym. More than a hobby or a sport, bodybuilding is a way of life. It requires every aspect of one’s life to focus in on perfecting the human physique. Training, diet, rest, and posing add up to hours upon hours of time focusing on one single thing – to have the perfect massive body.
But if we want to trace what makes bodybuilding such a large yet underground sport, there’s one specific man to thank for that. You might be able to guess it. Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most popular and well-respected bodybuilders of all time. He is also a Hollywood superstar who brought his hulking bodybuilding physique to the mainstream. Changing our perception of what a “cool action hero” is supposed to look like.
By the time the 80’s hit us with films like Predator and Terminator, the shift was already in full force. An element of bodybuilding was now in the mainstream. The world suddenly wanted to see hulking bodybuilder frames on their action stars and it inspired a whole new generation of people who would eventually become bodybuilders.
But before the action movie hype. Before Hollywood transformed our perception of what a muscular person really looks like. Arnold captured the hearts of soon-to-be bodybuilders through one very important film: Pumping Iron.
A documentary looking deep into the lives and personalities of major bodybuilding icons. Pumping Iron blew the lid off what the bodybuilding lifestyle is really all about. This allowed people who never even knew about bodybuilding’s existence to suddenly learn, and in essence, become interested in the sport. Add all of that on top of the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s charming and charismatic personality took center stage – and you have a recipe for an explosion in the bodybuilding world.
The rest of the story is history, Arnold went on to become a multimillion dollar Hollywood movie star and celebrity, the Governor of California, and firmly planted into the history of pop culture in the United States and the world.
By the time we hit past the 90’s and into the new millennium, the mass monster bodybuilding craze slowed down. Arnold may still be a memorable muscle bound icon – but the glory days of Pumping Iron have passed. It’s no wonder bodybuilding has become a massive sport, yet still firmly planted in the underground. Not just any “average Joe” can achieve the extreme heights of a bodybuilder. Making the bodybuilding hard to content with more accessible sports such as basketball or football.
2013 saw the release of the “spiritual sequel” to Pumping Iron. Titled Generation Iron, the documentary brought the fresh new faces of the modern bodybuilding world into the spotlight. While there was no magnetic Arnold Schwarzenegger to truly turn the movement global again. It has proven that there is still a budding interest in bodybuilding. It may not be a mainstream sport – but it is surely not going away anytime soon. It’s here to stay and growing bigger every day. It’s a very special corner of the sports world. Able to maintain the collective togetherness of a niche community while also holding onto the excitement of events filled with over 100,000 people.
Generation Iron is also expanding the brand on an international level. The launching of Generation Iron Brasil was a major accomplishment for the team and ensures the bodybuilding news will also be filtered to our loyal Brazilian fans. Along with mixed martial arts, bodybuilding and fitness are vastly popular in Brasil. Generation Iron is hoping to offer all things bodybuilding Brasil can handle.
Generation Iron as a brand is happy give athletic individuals a platform to showcase their personality. A Brasil bodybuilder now has the opportunity to further increase their reach and influence through Generation Iron Brasil posts and original programming. This is a major win for the brand and one that will be sure to leave our Brazilian fan base more than satisfied!
What makes a bodybuilder? There’s no easy answer. And that’s what is so exciting about it.