T Nation

More Bodybulding Stigma


I felt the need for a little rant that others would sympathize with, and this is obviously the place to go.

I am currently on vacation visiting some extended family. They always knew I was interested in weightlifting but in the past few months I've decided to refocus even more and do my best to become a legitimate lifter. Now with this being said in all of your eyes I am by no means a STRONG person, I have ok stats, but you should listen to these people reaction!

I've had 3 or 4 separate "interventions" in the span of 3 days
I've been told that I will annihilate my small intestine and box my kidneys because I have too much protein (ie I eat about 4300 calories a day with a carb/protein intensive diet and about 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per kilo- 80)
I've been told Weight gainers are the death and poison.
I've been told that my physical shape is only possible because I'm 20 and I "will see" when I age.
I've been asked "Why would you do this to yourself????"
I've been told that it is bad for my heart and should just do cardio.
I've been told that circuit training with low weight (15 lbs) for an hour and a half is healthier than heavy weight lifting.
I've been told it will be impossible to cut down my food intake when I get old (didn't even bother explaining the theory of a Cut at this point).
Among other things, spoken with a raised eyebrow and a condescending air.

If I were to show up saying I run 4 times a week people would just "say way to go!" and drop it. But when someone weight trains intensely, he must be SAVED.
I told people I'd have created less controversy had I shown up with a crack addiction.

On the plus side when I told them I squat 335, dead 420 and bench 230 one person said. "Oh! Are you going to compete at the Olympics???" Hahaha.

Rant over!


I would imagine that is pretty common for quite a few people. I don't even discuss weight lifting with my parents. I'm a doctor but they act as if I am clueless about how the body works in that regard which means any "discussion" just involves them waiting to talk and not actually listening to anything stated in opposition to what they want to believe.

Apparently, Tyra Banks had a show the other day with a bodybuilder talking about how he was addicted to steroids and his testicles shrunk. The only reason I know this (as I have never seen a Tyra Banks Show) is because my dad called me up while I was in the clinic (I thought it was an emergency) to inform me not to be like that. Mind you, there are no other docs in the family and I have been into bodybuilding since I was in junior high...I just didn't have the means to eat enough or the access to a decent weight room until much later.

The solution is to avoid all discussion whenever possible if you happen to have family members who think that way. You will not win a debate and stressing over it will just make you unhappy.

HOWEVER, if their discussion is because you are dropping out of school or something like that, then they may actually have a point.

I personally couldn't see going all out for "bodybuilding" without an education at all. That is just setting yourself up for failure.


Get used to it. It is a very rare thing to find someone who does not actively participate in our kind of lifestyle who both understands and accepts it. For every complement I get, I will undoubtedly receive 2 or 3 condescending questions from 140lb bags of bones who think their wheatgrass shots and whole-grain muffins will make them live forever. Tell the average American that you eat over 50 eggs a week and you can expect a myriad of ignorant rants to come your way. Better yet, tell it to your physician if you want to have a little fun. It's just something that you have to expect when you practice a lifestyle that puts you in the extreme minority.


When I was in high school, I was flat out told by my parents that I could not eat more eggs. It really is no wonder why I gained so much muscle so fast once I moved out.

The fucked up thing is I always wonder where I would be if I had actually received some help in weight lifting back when I first got interested.


You pretty much have to tell people only what you want them to know. Anything can be held against you, etc.

I'm a little more geezerly than you so people look upon whatever I do as a good thing. Then again I don't fill them in what I eat or take for supplements since they do not have a Need To Know.

Keep doing what you're doing and remins them that Jack Lalanne is 94 and still kickin'.



I have always considered myself extremely lucky that I had the support of my parents while I was still in highschool/college. They lived in a rural area about 30 miles away from the city where I attended college. It was always a joy to stop by almost every weekend and pick up 5 dozen fresh, fertile eggs, with no questions asked. Occasionally when they would slaughter a pig or co-op a cow I would get some great cuts of grass-fed meat by the trunk full. Having the support of those around you (family/friends) is a definite plus, but never a given.


Bringing up the topic of supplements with someone who does not take any is almost always a bad idea. I don't think I have ever discussed supplements with someone who is not dedicated to lifting, and then thought later "Wow, I'm really glad I brought that up."


If they even see a bottle of HOT-ROX in your bag the assumption is "steroids" if you have any size on you at all. I won't even take a Claritan tablet anywhere near a gym simply because I know what people are thinking. The bigger you get, the worse the assumptions are.

I think most high school kids still think creatine is a "steroid"...which, by the way, skews any random stats on who has used drugs at that age.


Dont worry dropping out of school for weightlifting was never implied. Like you can probably gather from my squat number (at 6 feet 180 lbs) I'm no where near that.
They knew about the weightgainer because my uncle was there when I bought it.

As for letting it get me down, not a big worry.
While here their comments have helped fuel me to change my 315 Squat 1 RM to a set of 4 reps, and my 405 dl max to 3 reps of 410.

The stigma is just interesting. I even showed me Aunt some articles from this website, which helped win her over a little bit since she is very fit, she just has different goals than I do.


When I was in high school, I had a can of Mega Mass 2000 hidden under the bed from GNC. I think it sucks that I needed to hide a basic weight gainer...but my mom found it anyway and called the gen phys we went to. Strangely, he was also into heavy weight lifting and even trains at the same 24 Hour Fitness I used to go to so he let her know it was fine.

The media has succeeded in scaring people to death when it comes to anything that involves getting big muscles. It has also been going on for decades.


Yup. Your either skinny, fat or you'd "Like to gain a bit of strength and size". The last one can losely be translated to. "George Valentino is a BITCH you just wait and see the size of me!!!!!"


This is what I always wonder about when I read Poliquin's articles about mega-dosing BCAA caps in the gym: Can you imagine the stares you'd get if you start popping 5-10 caps of white powder every 5 min.? Good luck trying that in a YMCA or a highschool/college gym. Far be it from anyone to actually come up and ask what you are taking and what benefits you derive from it. They will cry "steroids" immediately, thinking that they have saved their gym from a manic, drug-addict of some sort.


My grandma always rants and raves about how gaining weight is unhealthy and how I should use light weight lots of reps to get the body I want.

It's always hilarious when this comes up at the dinner table, and my dad puts here down by saying, "mom, how are you going to give my son advice, when I'm the only person in the family who has bench pressed over 400lbs."

She also made comments about my stretch marks on my arms this easter. Lol.

I have the support of the majority of my family, only thing that holds me back is my food intake. I am always told,"Austin you eat us out of house and home," and always get in trouble for eating "more than my share." I guess that's where my supps become beneficial.


Luckily my family doesn't give me crap, since it is my profession, I'm sure it helps. Then again, I'm not huge either.

Now, I've had a few clients ask why I would want to gain weight (even when I was 160 lbs).

One of which is a heart surgeon and he just couldn't fathom why I would want to gain weight and when I get older I'll just be fat, lol


Haha, I do this ALL the time. I do get some funny looks, but not as many as you'd think. I've never been asked about it either, but I definitely try to avoid making eye contact with the weirdos at commercial gyms.


my parents just dont want me to hurt myself, because i've come home with red marks across my back and bloodshot eyes. everyone on my dads side is strong as fuck, grew up on a farm etc so they are okay with it. but yeah i've gotten the "what about the long term effects" lecture before. which is hilarious because i dont drink smoke eat junk food stay up late do drugs. the only supplement i have used is a small amount of creatine.


I've dealt with many of the issues in this thread.

I've hidden the protein, now after some explaining, not necessarily understanding, it sits in the kitchen with the rest of my families stuff. Once you explain that in some cases its just high protein powdered milk, then people understand a bit better.

I contribute to the food I eat by bringing in extra, if I eat all the eggs, i'll buy a dozen more. That way, I get to eat my breakfast and no one moans i'm being greedy. Same with EVOO or almonds, when I finish the pack I replace it.

I've been accussed of mixing 'steriod drinks' at the gym, it was just whey and I pointed out you could buy them pre mixed in the cafe area. As for BCAA's only one of the trainers has ever asked me about it, I just threw him the container to read whilst I did a set.

People are clueless, if they want it explaining do it. If they dont, carry on regardless. I still get my chops busted over eating a lot of protein and not having many carbs and training with weights 3-4 times a week. Regardless of the fact i've lost 120lbs in 10 months, people like my nan still think that the "Ab King Pro" and Slimfast will get her results quicker, or my mum thinking that late cheese eating is worse than two slices of toast and jam and an apple before bed.

The stuff above that Prof X talks about is classic, Shugart refers to it a proximity bias or something. Its too true. Hell, Prof is a doctor, and his family wont listen to him. Its the same for many of us.


I can't say I can relate tbh.

This should sum it up:

My mom told me my chest was lacking, compared to my shoulder and arms...



You're mom's awesome ... no, really.


datz why i got 27 chickunz at my parent's house :smiley: