What do IFBB pro bodybuilders look like when they’re not on the stage?

In this informative video from Ivan Bodybuilding, YouTuber Ivan Bodybuilding breaks down the physiques of pro bodybuilders and what they look like before, during, and after competition. It’s an interesting lens to hold up to the sport of bodybuilding because there is so much debate about the cycles of cutting and bulking these athletes go through to get in peak physical condition.

Obviously, bodybuilding is about building the best body. But having the best physique is not the same as having the best physical fitness — if you took Brandon Curry or Phil Heath, or anyone else on the Olympia stage for that matter, and you told them to stay in that exact shape all-year round, they would be in the worst health of their lives. The body is not designed to meet the demanding exertion of a challenging bodybuilding workout in the gym 24/7. Giving your body rest is important.

In this video you can see the realistic progress many bodybuilders have made with natural techniques that factor in the time the body needs to rest and reset. These are real outcomes from real bodybuilders taking the time to do it right. You can see the rewards, too, in the shape they’re in when they’re actually competing.

The other factor to consider when you think about the extreme difference between an off-season body and a competitive bodybuilder is that most pros use steroids to enhance their physique, while amateur bodybuilders are more likely to be natural. Incorporating performance-enhancing drugs into your workouts — and of course the effect that has on your metabolism and health generally — plays a huge role in whether your off-season body looks dramatically different than the one on the competition stage or just slightly bigger and heavier. Even though steroid use can create more consistency in your physique, it is such a gamble in terms of health that it is just as likely to cause medical problems down the line.

One thing worth noting is that cutting not only decrease size, but dramatically increases conditioning. This means that as you lose fat, you are also more able to see the striations in the muscle and the shape of what you’ve built. And the more you do it, the more flexible your body becomes in its ability to bounce back. This should be great news to anyone who has ever been out of shape or let themselves go a little too much in the off-season. The more often you pick yourself up out of that slump and get back in shape, the more muscle memory you develop, and the easier it becomes to do it again.

So, whether you’re a little out of shape after the holidays or you’re doing your own research on cutting/bulking, this video could be really helpful in showing you what to expect from that experience. It’s a realistic look at a fascinating and often misunderstood element of bodybuilding.

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