T Nation

Bodybuilders, Feel Misunderstood?


As a bodybuilder, not a day goes by that I don't encounter a situation where my lifestyle is either completely misunderstood or openly derided. I don't expect people to know a damn thing about bodybuilding, but I expect them to not make a joke out of it, as if I eat five meals a day because I'm "just a goofy guy." I have no idea how to repsond to assinine questions, and I don't feel like I should have to.

For instance, I'm currently bulking, and when I'm out and about on campus I carry around a gallon jug of water. People stare at me when I take a big pull from it in the middle of class, or someone sitting next to me will jokingly remark "Thats a lot of water..." with a dumbass smile on their face, like its a fuckin joke. What the fuck do I say to this?

Also, I still eat in the dorm cafeterias because it allows me to eat mass amounts of food. The other day at dinner I went back for my fourth or fifth helping, and the girl working got an exasperated look on her face and said in a pissy tone "Haven't you been here like a hundred times tonight?"

I was out on a date a while back, and the girl got a sense that I live a really structured, routine life. She finally said, albeit jokingly, "aw, you're no fun..." I don't usually do this, but I came clean and explained to her that I'm a bodybuilder, and the nature of this lifestyle requires some sacrifices in my life. I told her that I usually don't explain that to people because they take it the wrong way. She responded with "Yeah, its kind of intimidating." WTF?

This shit is getting old. The examples I listed are just a few among MANY. I could go on and on. I don't ever question other people's lifestyles, and I don't understand why they have to question mine.

Does this shit happen to anyone else?


just dont let it get to you

really the stuff they are saying isnt that bad, it is just ignorance

next time someone tells you "that's a lot of water"

tell them it is vodka


I get comments all the time. I stated in a post a while back that because there are so many fat asses and de-conditioned people living in this country that when you are not a fat ass or the complete opposite such as you and I, we are looked at as freeks. People that carry around muscle, eat healthy, and get 6-8 hours of sleep at night are "no fun". I get the compliment that I am boring and need to live a little. If living a little is eating shitty food and binge drinking on thursday, friday, and saturday nights, then I don't want to live a little. I have plenty of fun.

I love to workout and not complain about it, have sex like an animal because I am in shape, watch good movies without eating an entire tub of popcorn and 40 ounces of coke and hangout with my freinds without pounding down beer.

I think I get more critical looks than 400 lb tubs of lard that walk around on a daily basis. It is a disease for them and they can't help it, but we hear "why would you want to be that big" we get stereotyped as dumb meatheads we hear from people that a very muscular male is a turn off. Bullshit. They are just mad because the fat shit they go home to can barely get off the couch. It's amazing the shit fat people come up with when describing a fit person. Here they are

"too skinny" mostly female's gossip
"too muscular"
"he uses steroids"
"I would never want to be that big"
"they are no fun"
"they look like that because they are making up for some other flaw" my favorite
"being that lean can't be healthy"

I am sure there are plenty more!!!


Looks like you want to be accepted by the people around you. Unfortunately, what you do is just not 'normal' and will never be.

The only advice I can give is to not take yourself so seriously. I mean, it's bodybuilding, bro.

Have fun with it or you will torment yourself.


or you could just say that hydration is important for your health... they should try it sometime. If people question your appetite, say that you're "a growing boy". Just don't get pissed at people and act like a jerk because they're ignorant otherwise they'll just think you got "roid rage" and it'll only get worse.


Yeah. Pretty much. However, the reality is that you will pretty much just have to live with it. It certainly isn't fair, but bodybuilding/weightlifting is a fringe lifestyle for the most part. People comment on things that are out of the ordinary.

Personally I dont bother explaining to most people. If they say, "wow, that's alot of water!" I might say someting like "yep" and leave it at that. The person in the cafeteria you might as well just ignore her.



Absolutely. I don't exactly consider myself a bodybuilder, but I do most of what you talked about.

Anyone who lives a productive life is an open target for ridicule and criticism. This is motivated by many factors, but mostly ignorance and jealousy.

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."



Or there is my favorite one...

"Yeah, it is (fill in the blank), but at least I won't look like you in a few months"

Yeah... For the dumb ass water guy I would just go "Yep, sure is." For the dumb ass food girl, "Yep, and its not the only thing I can eat alot of."

The funny thing about the whole meatheat idea is that the meatheads are the only ones who have figured out, and are dedicated enough, to stick to such a rigid plan that produces fantastic resutls. I would imagine we would be called "workoholics" if we translated that same intensity and focus into our jobs.


I think, herein lies your problem...when someone says something jokingly, they usually are joking.

Yeah, a fitness lifestyle is misunderstood. A lot of jokes may have to do with people really just being jealous of your commitment and discipline. When they poke fun, just laugh along, and know the truth in the back of your head. And, hell, sometimes it is just a friendly busting of chops.

I think everyine has to be able to laugh at themselves once in a while.


Yes, there are negatives as far as the perceptions of others. However, some of you are whining a tad bit much because the positives are often much greater. I finished training last night and went to get something to eat. Three girls (looked high school or early college age) were sitting at one of the tables and started talking to the one guy at the table something to the effect of "Damn, he's swole!", spoken in the loudest fucking whisper I have ever heard. This went back and forth a couple of times between them before one of the girls yells over at me, "hey, how long did it take you to look like that". After making some comment about lifting most of my life one of her friends then asks, "are you a stripper?". Needless to say, ego was feeling pretty good at that time. All else can go to hell if I can get that response from women.

yes, I get entire conversations devoted to what I am drinking.

"Is that chocolate milk?"
"No, it's a protein shake."

This leads to a look of disgust as if I had just said "liquid turd juice". They see the half gallon jug I carry with me and I get, "wow, you must REALLY be thirsty!!". That is the stupidity of the general public. They won't change, but I have no doubt that many of them wish they had half of the discipline it takes to look like many of us that train regularly and actually show it. If you actually look like you lift, more people respect that than they may actually let on. Making ridiculous comments is often their only way of dealing with someone that different than the norm.


Well said. If you take yourself too seriously, it borders on insanity. Yes, carrying around a gallon jug of water IS a lot of water.


You should have told them yes, would you like a private demonstration?


Most of the replies are spot on.

But I want to make it clear that I don't take myself too seriously, and I like I said before, I don't expect people to understand my lifestyle. I never get angry or upset when people ask stupid questions or make dumbass remarks; I would just prefer that they didn't. I buffer their verbal garbage with a smile and some form of trite response.

I don't EVER make judgments about other people's lifestyles, because namely I don't care, and even if I did, its not my place. To me, they are just other people trying to find meaning in life, and its not my place to question how they go about doing that.

I have friends that are collegiate cross country runners, and they always get the same bullshit remarks thrown their way: "Why would you want to run that much?"; "Why would you want to be so skinny?"; "I hate running." As if anyone gives a SHIT what these pussies think or feel about an activity they don't have the balls to attempt. I cringe whenever my buddies get asked this shit, because if they say what is really on their minds or if they refuse to comment they get labeled as assholes.

Usually, remarks about a certain athletic endeavor, be it cross country or bodybuilding, eminate from the mouths of those who have never competed...


"After making some comment about lifting most of my life one of her friends then asks, "are you a stripper?"."

---Well, are you? :O)

I used to get the "ewww a protein shake" look all the time. At this point tho, most people don't say much.


I readily admit that it may look unusual that I carry around a gallon jug. But it is lugged around out of necessity. I leave my place in the morning, and don't get back until evening. Further, I don't like refilling regular-sized water bottles because I lose track of how much I am consuming, and most of the water fountains around campus have an extremely low volume of water that comes out. As a result, I am left standing at the fountain for literally five minutes. I finally said "fuck it" and started using gallon jugs.


My response was, "Only privately".


The bigger you get, the less people question it. I still get people joking around making comments like, "that sure is a large lunchbox", because of the big ass cooler I carry to work. They aren't saying it to be degrading. I know most of them pretty well so I know where it comes from. Most people wouldn't even question a larger guy carrying a large amount of food other than possibly staring at them longer.


And the classic...

"It'll all turn to fat someday you know"

Fuck 'em I say!!

Im still pretty skinny and a few people have said to me, "youre skinny why are you bothering to do weights, its only for big guys"


Wait, it's not supposed to be liquified fecal matter? Fuck, no wonder I haven't been making gains...


They assume I always had some size on me. That is just how people think. Many on this board do that. They can only visualize the final product. It is why you had so many completely ignore that Da Freak had to DIET down to get to his final weight as they made comments related to "see, you can look big at 180lbs!" Most people are like that. They see someone bulked up and assume they can't get lean. Newbies are the worst for that mentality.