Guest host and Pro Fitness competitor Jaclyn Baker holds nothing back discussing women representation in bodybuilding and how Liver King is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the lies of fitness influencers online
In a recent episode of the Generation Iron Podcast, special guest host Jaclyn Baker, a dedicated competitor in the bodybuilding fitness division, joined Edwin Mejia Jr. and Vlad Yudin to discuss various aspects of bodybuilding, women’s representation in the sport, the challenges faced, and some controversial figures like the “Liver King.” In this recap, we’ll delve into the insightful conversation and highlight the key takeaways.
Jaclyn Baker has been competing in the Fitness division for quite some time now. She’s earned runner-up at the Ms. Fitness Olympia and the Fitness International competition at the Arnold Classic. She has also spent time as a Fitness division NPC judge. Needless to say, through her experience competing and judging, she has a wealth of knowledge regarding the Fitness division in bodybuilding.
Not only that – but she is one of hundreds of women that have helped grow and evolve the bodybuilding industry. What was once a sport that was dedicated to only Open Bodybuilding, there are now over 10 divisions. This includes six female divisions including Women’s Open, Women’s Physique, Figure, Fitness, Bikini, and the relatively new Wellness division.
This week, Jaclyn Baker steps in while Victor Martinez is traveling to discuss the female side of bodybuilding as well as how freedom of speech has become a hot button issue during the era of social media. Let’s dive into it.
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Representation of Women in Bodybuilding & Media
One of the central themes of the podcast was the representation of women in bodybuilding. Vlad Yudin notes that Generation Iron, alongside other media entities, have faced criticism in the past for not covering women in the sport extensively. However, when they do, they often receive hate comments and sexist remarks.
In addition to this, the leagues themselves have had a somewhat controversial relationship with women’s bodybuilding. Despite there being more female divisions than ever – the Women’s Open division disappeared for nearly 10 years at the Olympia. This was reportedly due to lack of interest both from competitors and also the audience.
Jaclyn Baker believes we have made some great strides in terms of female representation across the board. However, also shed light on the double-edged sword of being a woman in bodybuilding.
She does believe that it is still a male dominated sport – both on stage and in the audience. Despite this, she points out that there are now more female divisions than ever before representing a wider variety of body types. This allows not only more representation for women who are passionate about bodybuilding – but also normalized different kinds of female physiques. While progress is being made, women in bodybuilding still contend with criticism, especially on platforms like social media.
Diuretics in Bodybuilding & Online Coaches
The discussion also delved into the use of diuretics in bodybuilding, particularly on the day of a competition. Coaches often recommend diuretics as part of the competition preparation plan, especially for women, who tend to retain water weight more easily than men.
However, Jaclyn emphasized the dangers associated with improper diuretic use, citing documented cases of medical emergencies and even deaths. Her advice: always work with a trusted coach who has your best interests in mind, both on the stage and for your personal health.
Jaclyn warns that today there are more ways to obtain information, coaching, and more than ever before online. But with those wider options – there are also more opportunities for people to take advantage of individuals.
This is especially effective against aspiring athletes who are looking for anyway to get an edge. Jaclyn believes that if you follow a coach or nutritionist blindly – you can easily be misled and scammed. Or worse, put your health in danger.
She points out that red flags are pretty easy to notice – once you start paying attention. The hard part is not letting your passion and drive blind you to those red flags. Always double check those who purport to be online coaches. Always check their clientele and get recommendations. Always do your research. These are the key tenets Jaclyn Baker believes should be known for all athletes looking to find guidance online.
Which brings us to our next topic…
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The Controversy Surrounding the “Liver King”
The podcast also touched upon the controversy surrounding the “Liver King,” who initially gained popularity for promoting a natural ancestral lifestyle but was later exposed for using drugs and sued for misleading claims about his products.
While not acting as a coach, Liver King gained extreme popularity due to his “ancestral lifestyle” and his incredible physique. Most notably, that he had obtained an impressive muscular body without using any form of PEDs. Alongside these claims, he was separately selling supplements as part of his ancestral lifestyle.
Once exposed for using steroids, many believed that he was legally liable for misleading consumers about his products. By promoting he was all natural and stating he only used his lifestyle alongside his brand of supplements – he was implying that you can gain his physique without using steroids and by only using his lifestyle tactics and supplements. This even led to one lawsuit from a customer.
Jaclyn emphasized the importance of critical thinking and advised individuals to be cautious when consuming information on social media. Much like her statements about coaches – she believes it is dangerous to blindly follow claims by those online. In fact, she believes that almost everything you see online is fake in some way.
To further prove her point, Vlad and Edwin mention that after Liver King was exposed, he promised to truly go all natural. He tracked his progress being natural… only to recently reveal that he is back on steroids.
Jaclyn Baker also points out that many athletes, including competitors, filter or photoshop their Instagram photos. Jaclyn claims that she does not do this herself – but knows many who do. However, she does find someone like the Liver King worrying due to just how many followers and attention he was able to get based off of lies. It shows how easily mass amounts of people can fall for an online trick.
Freedom of Speech and Online Regulation
The Liver King discussion led into a conversation about freedom of speech on social media and the challenges of monitoring toxic behavior online. Jaclyn and the hosts acknowledged the complexities involved in distinguishing between censorship and fair regulation, particularly in an era where misinformation and manipulation are prevalent.
Jaclyn believes that when there are individuals who can lie and even use dangerous lies to create prejudice or disorder – there needs to be some sort of regulation. However, she also understands that online communication has become a public square and is very vital – so freedom of speech should not be jeopordized. It’s complex and one that she doesn’t have an easy answer for to formulate a final opinion.
However, she does know that certain red lines must be regulated. She uses hate speech as an example. She sees that kind of language as black and white. If it’s direct hateful racist or sexist comments – it should be removed from social media.
In summary, the Generation Iron Podcast episode featuring Jaclyn Baker offered valuable insights into women’s representation in bodybuilding, the challenges faced, and the importance of discernment in the era of social media and online information. Jaclyn’s personal journey and expertise added depth to the discussion, making it a must-listen for anyone interested in the world of bodybuilding and fitness.
You can watch the full episode above. And don’t forget to make sure to check back every Tuesday for new episodes only on the Generation Iron Fitness Network or wherever podcasts are downloaded.