T Nation

Children on an IFBB Stage?!


#1

Dunno if anyone else has seen this being thrown up all over the last day or so.. I don't know the full story though, but I'm sure the "how young is too young?" Question will come up.


#2

I don't know the full story either, but I'll offer a hot take anyway...

I think it's a fine idea for kid to lift weights in general (I started lifting on and off with my dad when I was 9, and really committed to it around 12-13 for sports) but my opinion would be that's best in support of other athletic pursuits, or maybe for the self-satisfaction of achieving some goals, like competing in your first powerlifting meet. I don't think putting pre-adolescents on stage for any sort of physique-judgement contest is a good idea, especially not kids as young as those shown in the photos (how old are they, 8 or 9?)


#3

I agree, and would add:
1) I question whether contest-style dieting is appropriate for growing children; and
2) I worry about the psychological effects on young children that may follow from asking them to present themselves in a sexualized manner (eg, 10 y.o. girls shouldn't be worried about the appearance of their 'glute-ham tie-in').


#4

Like everyone else I don't know the backstory to these photos in particular but as a lifter and a father I can say:

1) I would be okay with my kids doing this, as long as they were willing to do it safely, listen and learn. I would NEVER pressure them to do it (or do anything, sports or otherwise) if they really didn't want to.

2) If I had found lifting and competing at a young age I think it would have helped me steer clear of a lot of the trouble I got myself into as a teenager.

Just my $.02.


#5

I';m certainly all for teaching children about fitness, and even letting them aspire to pump up and look like their favorite heros when they're older, BUT, putting them in an arena where they will be JUDGED on superficial traits,.. that's just asking for issues.

S


#6

it's just creepy.

And that middle kid in the second photo's conditioning was terrible. If I was his dad I'd ground him for a month.

His lats development is fucking awful as well.

Kid should be ashamed; what a disgrace.


#7

Agreed, this is a more eloquent way of stating what I was trying to get at.

Kids lifting? Good.

Kids being judged onstage? Not so good.

I think lifting to play sports (or even compete in powerlifting) is great and would heartily endorse that for any kid who was/is interested in it. But I think physique competitions probably ought not to start until they're into or through the teen years.


#8

Totally bizarre and inappropriate. That's just how it strikes me.


#9

Kids dieting down to low bodyfat levels... what could go wrong.


#10

I agree with saying creepy because it is! Parents should let kids be kids and not stick to regimes consuming their young lives. I think it would also be hard socially because many other kids wouldn't understand them. They are obviously still developing and need to do it healthy but also naturally. I don't have children but if I did I would definitely perfer watching them excel in sports and not body image.


#11

I gotta admit; when society was concerned about strangers seeing their kids in their underwear in changing rooms, I never imagined that the creative solution would be to put the kids in their underwear out on stage so strangers could get a better look at them.


#12

http://www.ifbbsa.co.za/welcome/index.php/rules-criteria/criteria?download=28:ifbb-sa-childrens-fitness-division-2016

I'm not sure if I posted the link correctly as I haven't on a forum before. This shows the criteria for the children competing if you are interested in seeing.


#13

Really is a bizarre decision. This can only bring criticism and paint the ifbb in a bad light. If there is some underlying sense to this it has no chance of seeing the light of day.


#14

T3hPwnisher: You never fail to amuse me.


#15

This is wrong to me on a number of levels. I'd be interested to hear the parents' perspective on this choice of childhood activity.

This type of event will not endear the general public to a bodybuilding and fitness lifestyle. I think most people will look at something like this and add it to their list of reasons why people who lift weights are a bunch of weirdos.


#16

Bodybuilding shows as a whole are bizarre and sad anyway so that doesn't disturb me much.


#17

It's interesting because there has been a good amount of complaining the last few years about the over-sexualizing nature of certain poses used in female bikini classes.

Obviously any type of criteria that factors in "beauty" (yes, it is listed in some feds' score sheets for certain classes), and allows for a sexual nature to the posing should raise eyebrows when you're discussing if you'd want your child participating at an early age.

S


#18

That is some scary shit. We haven't even broached the subject of steroids. It will happen just like it did with Little Hercules, and various other phenom kids from Eastern Europe, where steroids are available over the counter.
For fucks sake these guys haven't even gone through puberty, to develop enough muscle to show off.


#19

Yes. And your comment reminded me of this. Remember a few years ago there was some controversy about "sexy cheerleading?" Parents and school administrators trying to rein in all the "inappropriate" moves. Then somebody made, "I heart sexy cheerleading" shirts.

Kind of a tangent, but related to some of the comments about the potential sexualizing of young girls. Lately there's been some backlash about girl's athletics requiring more skimpy uniforms than the boys. Volleyball for example.


"We’re concerned about the men here. All that extra shorts baggage has got to be keeping them from playing at peak performance levels! If they were wearing spandex with a 1″ inseam, they’d be able to bend and stretch in much more liberating ways. Who is the athletic shorts lobby that is enforcing such oppressive ideals on these male athletes? "

Honestly, some of the research is showing that young women are particularly sensitive to constantly thinking about how they look. The influence of social media has turned life into a big photo op. Instead of being in the moment, her attention is continually refocusing on appearance. Instead of just enjoying being at the beach, she's likely running an internal monologue... "I wonder if my thighs look big when I sit down, if my hair is messy, if people can see the zit on my chin.." I think the people objecting to the short volleyball shorts have a point. If your daughter doesn't want to go out for volleyball because she's insecure about her cellulite showing, or if she distracted when she plays sports with wondering if her butt looks big, that's a problem. Some of the research is showing that when women are dressed in less revealing ways, they are less focused on how they look. That's a good thing in competitive athletics.

About the kids on the BBing stage - If these kids were at a cheer camp, or a gymnastics event most of us probably wouldn't bat an eye at the little costumes and all the makeup. This is pretty common at a dance recital, though the boys wouldn't be shirtless. Apparently this comp has a "fitness" component which is gymnastics / dance/ acrobatics based. Still, I don't like it.

There are other places for kids who are into gymnastics, where there isn't going to be the same pressure to look a certain way, or to have young kids focused on their bodies in a way that might be unhealthy at that age. I DO really like the idea of lifting for athletics or just as something you do with your kids. My daughter is working on her chins and push-ups with me and it's lots of fun.

Agree. And those little girl's beauty pageants have never appealed to me.

About age, I'm not sure I'd be any happier about my 16-year-old or 18-year-old showing the middle-aged guy in the third row her "glute-ham tie-in." If I thought it was going to encourage my teenager to think that weight training is about posting duck faced "fitness" pics of butts and boobs on her social media feed, or that it might encourage a son that age to spend his time putting up shirtless "progress" pics ... That would NOT make me happy.

We all like to see progress pics in adults who have built a physique over time, or have lost a lot of weight, or who are prepping for a show .... BUT kids that age don't have the emotional maturity to even think about privacy, issues of safety, or to handle the often unwanted attention that those pics can generate.

End Mom Rant/


#20

The dark humor is strong with you, Yogi. I was waiting for someone to talk about how the little girls would look more "fit" with some great big breast implants...