Generation Iron Rich Piana Bodybuilding is not a Sport

Rich Piana shares his thoughts on whether bodybuilding is actually a sport.

We’ve touched on this long standing argument before. First you have one camp that believes professional bodybuilding is absolutely a sport. Look at the hard work and training they put into sculpting a well defined, symmetrical, and massively muscled form. There’s no way that it can’t be considered a sport on that basis alone (or at least that’s what the pro-sport camp will tell you). Then there are those who believe that bodybuilding is less of a sport and more of a pageant competition. Nothing can be done to ensure winning or losing. You don’t score any points, you don’t “out muscle” your competition. There’s really nothing that can be done but stand there and wait for judgment.

Rich Piana seems to fall in the latter group, those who believe that bodybuilding is an extremely difficult & tremendously rewarding hobby that has garnered widespread attention, but is not a sporting event. Piana seems to think that a sport based purely on subjective opinion, can’t truly be considered a sport at all. The judges look at what they like and who they believe deserves the top spot and then make their decision. Never mind the training, never mind the sacrifice, bodybuilding in itself is simply a recreation that takes extreme dedication. Don’t take our word for it. Check out Piana discussing the topic in this video:

Piana’s always been an opinionated guy. Though he was never an IFBB Pro, Piana has still been through the same kind of hellish training as other bodybuilders, which gives him a bit more credibility than the average Joe. And yes, the fact that bodybuilding can be broken down to opinion, kind of hurts the argument of the pro-sport crowd. That being said, the training entailed in order to be a professional bodybuilder, can easily be considered a sport in itself.

Is this all semantics? Probably – but the debate has gone on for some time now. And as long as people like Rich Piana (or us for that matter) decide to state their opinions out loud on the internet – then there will always be room for this discussion.

Just don’t tell Arnold Scwharzenegger though – not only does he think bodybuilding is a sport; he thinks it’s the best sport in the world:

So is Rich Piana right? Is bodybuilding just a pageant competition? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jonathan Salmon
Managing editor of Generation Iron, Jonathan Salmon is a writer, martial arts instructor, and geek culture enthusiast. He has been writing about bodybuilding, combat sports, and strength sports for over 8 years. Check out his YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Sound Cloud for in-depth MMA analysis.