T Nation

Is Bodybuilding a Sport or a Pagent?


You could make the argument that they are athletes in that they are competing for a prize. You would be wrong, but you could try. They are competing, but not in a physical man to man way. They are being judged from an aesthetic point of view. Subjectivity at its zenith.

I would contend that Competitive bodybuilding is simply a pageant. The process leading up to it is arduous, grueling, and dependent on almost obsessive dedication, but I see the same thing in "Little Miss Teacup" pageants on Bravo.

This is the reason that I go out of my way to correct people if they ask if I bodybuild. I tell then that I am a weight lifter.


pointless thread and wrong


It's fairly easy to tell that you are just trying to stir people up. I don't think you are really looking for answers to your question because you seem to have your mind made up already, "You would be wrong." So why don't you just meander off to do whatever it is that you do and leave the Bodybuilding section alone.

Seriously, what is a 2002 member doing saying stupid crap like this? You would know by now that this is a troll-like comment and you wouldn't write it unless you were just trying to bother people. So again, go to whatever other subsection of this forum you frequent or just keep your ignorant thoughts to yourself.


I'm thinking of dog shows, but I don't know if they're sport or pageant either. A lot of dog shows have demonstrations of skill, which would yield sport...

I'm actually leaning towards pageant for what bodybuilding truly is. It's one hardcore pageant, though.

It's a tough call though because everyone who is involved is clearly an athlete. Are they bringing their athleticism to the stage, though?


Oh, have faith. I think there will be many points.


Whats the point of this?

Think of olympic diving or gymnastics. These basically share all the same characteristics you mentioned but are generally considered sports.

You could say that the actual competition in bb'ing isn't a sport, because there is little physicallilty or skill involved, but the training involves a huge amount of both.

You could also say that steroids play a huge role in bb'ing and thus it isn't really a sport, its just who is taking the right concoction. But you'd be wrong, because this is how all SPORTS are.

IMO, if you just train like a bodybuilder, or are just training to get bigger/leaner, you aren't a bodybuilder or an athlete. You are a person that lifts weights and works out or trains. And if you compete in bodybuilding competitions then you are a bodybuilder. Its like if I were to join an MMA gym, and train LIKE an MMA fighter, but never actually fought someone. I couldn't go around saying im a fighter.

Although this has been beat to death and is pointless, you do bring up an interesting point about beauty pageants.

Really, IMO, the actual contest of bodybuilding is not very different than a beauty pageant. Sure you could argue that all the training and prep goes into it, but the same is true for a beauty pageant.

Training for a competition is very different, but is really not any different than any other person that is weight training and not competing. WHAT WOULD BE THE DEFINING LINE BETWEEN SOMEONE THAT WEIGHT TRAINS, AND SOMEONE THAT BODYBUILDS? Would it be that they train with higher volume, or that they are concerned with symmetry. There is no way of defining this.

So IMO, a bodybuilder is no more an athlete than the average person that trains to better themselves or a miss America contestant.


Dog shows are an excellent point. There is posing and presentation. Aesthetics, aand structure are highly regarded. I would put dog shows in the pageant category and a 1st cousin to Body Building shows.


Maybe there needs to be a new competition that is a mix between bodybuilding, strongman, and powerlifting. It would be interesting to see, but the top bodbbuilders would probably win.


You are gaining great wisdom grasshopper.


Ah... simply a discussion question for us to mull over. I see now. How silly of me. I apologize.

In my opinion, "bodybuilding" is not simply the act of getting on stage to have others judge you. I see it more as the endeavor to hypertrophy muscles into a pleasing shape and size. This entails pushing yourself in the gym, dialing in your nutrition, and getting your daily habits to facilitate your physique goals. The average gym goer, therefore, most likely wouldn't fit into my idea of a bodybuilder.

There is also the preparatory work that all serious bodybuilders do before a competition so that they can hopefully win. This varies, of course, between bodybuilders, but a new workout routine, specialized nutrition to dial in their bodyfat, and things like sodium depletion/ water depletion are not uncommon.

The actual act of being judged on the stage in a bodybuilding competition, I suppose, seems more like a pageant. The only thing that would qualify that as sport in my opinion is the posing that they all do. Of course there is posing in a pageant too, but the posing in a bodybuilding competition, I think we could all agree, is a fair bit harder. You could call into question the similarity of the "talent" portion in many pageants to that of the posing of bodybuilders, though.

Therefore, I would say that there are not too many differing characteristics of ONLY the stepping onto stage portion of bodybuilding and that of a pageant. However, I don't think that, that should dissuade you from calling yourself a bodybuilder, because as I said above, being a bodybuilder is not simply the act of stepping onto a stage. My overall opinion of whether or not bodybuilding is a sport or pageant is decidedly that it is a sport.


standing on stage gets you the cash, leads to the sponsorship, but i think those who do this are in it because we love the iron, the training, pushing it, breaking through, seeing our lives and our bodies change, focus, excel.

i could give a fuck about the pageantry outside of marveling at look what that guy built and thinking that is amazing. it's a shame the contest itself doesn't show Joe Public the work involved in making the finished product.

Those of us who train day in and out know, shit doesn't happen by accident.


In the grand scheme of things, do it really matter? Calling it a sport, a pageant or a zwygersborg (made up word) has absolutely zero impact on the actual content (bodybuilding).

Take a table for example... lets say that I now decide to claim that it is not a table but a chair. Doses it actually change the physical appearance of the object? NO!

So you can call bodybuilding anything you want. Claiming its a pageant (or a sport) has absolutely no bearing on the nature of the activity.

Starting tomorrow my name is David... will that change who I am? Will I look different, think differently, act in a weird way? NO! I'll still be the same person regardless of how you call me!


This is a trick question, in order to properly anwser it you would have to define what constitutes being a bodybuilder. We all know that what constitutes being a bodybuilder will vary depending on who you ask.


CT, perception is the largest component of reality. Start calling it the Mr. Olympia pageant, and you audience begins to look even more like a San Fran YMCA. I dare say that the drive and passion the competitors feel are in some way diminished. I can get my juices up for a contest. A pageant, not so much. You change the culture almost overnight. Culture drives everything.
BTW, shouldn't that Canuch ass be asleep by now?


When I think of Body Building I think of busting my balls in the gym and downing a bucket of eggs.
That to me is a competition, yes; but a sport or a pagent, no.
A sport you score such and such, you win ... game over
A pagent your prettier than so in so ... and your done

I am competing every day againt the status quo, againt myself yesterday, last week, last year.
When I get under the bar I didnt feel like I am in a pagent getting ready to give a speach about gay marrage, or that I need to score 2 more points to win. I feel that I gotta dig my heels in and press a little more than last week to prove to myself that I am a better man now than I was last time I was under the bar.

But thats just me talking at 2:45 in the morning.


So people are going to stop bodybuilding cause it's not a sport but a pageant?

I don't think the serious competitiors are that shallow about something they love.


I would contend that we are still arguing semantics. I would say you are a weight lifter, locked into battle with the iron. The sole judge as to you success or failure--you. Slide into a speedo, oil up and fake bake, you is in a pageant honey, yous sho do look pretty.


Then I guess its back to the great debate... Who and what makes a Body Builder
I put my answer above.


An aspect BB is display of muscle control and co-ordination.
This debate doesn't matter , its either irrelevant or an oversimplification. Not all sports are physical man to man competitions yet all of sport requires/involve development and preparation of athletic faculties.


...and your post is common sense at its nadir.

Thoughts? Aye. Poor troll job.