T Nation

Non-Bodybuilder Bodybuilding Inspirations?

I was thinking recently about how many people got their inspiration to develop an impressive physique and possibly even end up as a competitive bodybuilder from the movies of Sylvester Stallone.

Obviously the 1980s had plenty of action heroes sporting impressive physiques that made lasting impressions on the youth in movie theaters all over the world. As much as I truly loved Stallone, and even Van Dam, I think it really all started for me watching Bruce Lee movies when I was very young.



As a kid I knew about Bruce Lee before I heard of bodybuilding or Arnie. He supposedly used steroids and amphetamines to help get his look. Nevertheless I was impressed by his physicality, at the time.
It wasn’t until I saw Arnie in Conan the Barbarian I thought holy fuck who is this guy, I want to look like that too.
Yes Stu the old Bruce Lee was much loved and inspired me to greater physical goals.

Hercules Hernandez was the first guy I remember seeing and thinking “That’s a lot of muscle.”

Like action movies around the same time, pro wrestling in the '80s and into the '90s probably got a good amount of guys into doing their exercises, eating their vitamins, and saying their prayers.

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These are more recent. Not from my youth.

For women who lift, pics of Jamie Eason made me realize that I wanted to put on more muscle. She’s about my height and weight, which made it easier to visualize what that could look like on a petite feminine frame.

A non-lifting example?

Misty Copeland. She’s 5’2" and about 110 pounds. Petite and carrying more muscle than a typical dancer.

I was always self-conscious about my calves, but I’ve learned to be really happy with them.

Of course, I have more muscle on my upper body, but she has a surprising amount of muscle on her back. Just beautiful.

I like the direction it was going :smile:


To name a few

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So much yes for DBZ.

Was Arnie in films that got me interested, but DBZ definitely played a part in fanning the flames of inspiration.

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Glad I’m not the only one that got inspiration from DBZ. Those guys were jacked. I’ve been watching a lot of the new Dragon Ball Super, and I’ve noticed they’ve kinda moved away from the big, jacked look and are more of the “ripped Bruce lee” look now.

From this:

To this:

Bruce Smith

Fred Taylor

I’ll second Bruce Lee.

The first 2 books I ever owned related to physique/fitness/Tnation-type-stuff were the Arnold Bodybuilding Encyclopedia, and Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do. I was fascinated by both as a teenager. Those were 2 books that actually inspired real action for me, around the age of 18, to start making substantial physical changes to myself.

DBZ is great, lol. I’ve come across soooooo many lifters obsessed with DBZ.

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Conan the Barbarian and Tarzan book covers at the local library. At a very early age. Not sure if Boris was the artist back then, but his stuff and Julie Bell’s are certainly in the realm.

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From kid I like Bruce Lee a lot.

Brock Samson
Edit: Also hair goals

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I think much of my inspiration to lift when I was a kid came more from seeing how big, strong and powerful athletes such as heavy weight boxers and wrestles were & thinking: YEAH!! That’s ideally how a man should look like…when I grow up I wanna look like that!

Of course, watching WSM on telly & watching Rocky was part of it too…but much of my inspiration came from seeing actual athletes.

Wrestling for me originally, as in kayfabe, short shorts and intro music.

My inspiration to start lifting was Ivan Stoitsov.
I accidently found a photo from him on the net, and I thought:
“Hm, maybe I can look something like that”.
I don’t like the typical bodybuilder look, he was a weight lifter, don’t know what are the real differences in built.

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