T Nation

Competitive Bodybuilding: Sport or Not?


DISCLAIMER: I am not looking for a debate/argument on the topic.

I'd just like to hear whether you think it is a sport or not and why.

I have competed in the past. I don't consider it a sport at all because there is no objective way of determining who has a better physique or not.

I'd like to hear what everyone thinks, especially those who have competed before.


Competitive bodybuilding = chess with bodyparts instead of pieces.


Your disclaimer is useless.

Getting to the stage is a sport, the stage itself is just a show.


Not a sport at all in my opinion. Its more of an art. Much like sculpture.


That's a good way to look at it. Definitely....


That may be the absolute best way I've ever heard it put.




It's like any other sport. Athletes don't just go to the game(in case of bodybuilding it would be a show). They must train hard so that they can perform well in the game(show).


I agree, darkness. See above statement of lack of objective criteria.


It is not a sport. Sport are distraction, games.
It is not an art. Arts are creative and comes from the mind.

Maybe a discipline




I found this


While I know some classify it as a male beauty pageant, no one but a bodybuilder can know how much hard work and dedication it takes.


Off topic: otep, where the fuck have you been? havent seen any of your posts for ages? not since i considered starting strength 2-3 years ago.


On topic:

Its a sport - like boxing, you train for months/years on end for one singular event, you diet, you rest, you hone your skills, correct weaknesses, all to out do your competitors/s

Its an art form - like music, like painting, noone really knows what it takes to get it to a point in which people go WOW!

Its a lifestyle - like a religion, a way of doing things, a way of life which everything around you is affected by what you learn performing/practicing your religion (ie. bodybuilding).


I'm gonna get flamed for this...

I don't think modern bodybuilding is a sport. It's a male beauty pageant. That is not to say that hard work, dedication, willingness to do more drugs than the other guys along with epic genetics isn't involved... I totally respect the amount of dedication it takes and literally foregoing every other aspect of you life to get there. It's admirable to have that amount of discipline. But let's face it - it's a bunch of guys in squirrel hammocks flexing. NTTATWWT

If body building is a sport, then so is Miss America.


yes because putting on lip-stick is as hard as squatting 500+lbs for reps.


Who fucking cares what people outside of the activity call it? What I do know is I trained chest tonight so hard I nearly screamed. I know I had 4 different people come up to me and either ask me something about training or make a positive comment about my progress. I don't think Mrs. America is training like that or sweating that hard in the gym.

You can call it what you want but Paddy M's post sums it up nicely. The stage may be a show, but it took competitiveness, drive, and athletic ability to get big enough to reach that stage in the first place assuming we are talking about significant bodybuilding comps.

The real work is done in the gym for years and there is no way you discount that to only focus on the stage.

It makes no sense at all...yet people keep doing it.

Maybe it makes them feel better to discount 20 years of hard work in the gym to build a Toney Freeman and act like it compared to a fucking Beauty contest alone.


yeah well try applying mascara while driving, that's an elite athletic skill set right there.

Serially though, I agree that the preparation, both physical and mental, are a sport, and one that I have a ton of respect and admiration for because I could never do it. The show is a pageant.

OP, you've been on stage what's your opinion?




Die chicken. Die.


Same as yours. The road to get stage ready is a sport. The stage itself...well it depends on how you look at it. From a judging/winning perspective it's not a sport i.e no objective comparison criteria.

However, from the perspective of actually being on stage as a competitor, flexing the hell out of every muscle so damn hard that you would get cramps were it not for the hours of posing practice put in, and damn near passing out from trying not to breathe too much so that your abs stay flexed.....yup sure feels like a sport!