Ryan, I’m pretty confident that you know your statement not to be true. In fact, I know that on another particular forum you post on, that the abuse/addiction is quite rampant, you contributed to that exact thread the subject was being discussed.
Face it, being different is bad in this society, especially when that “different” is not a “special snowflake” kind of different, but an attempt at merely improving oneself/being healthy. Society is addicted to handouts and quick and easy, so when people take the long, hard road, they get crap for it. One because you make the lazy look bad and two because you’re different from the societal norm.
That being said, bodybuilding isn’t healthy. Period. Let’s for a moment ignore the professional IFBB folks who use illegal substances… because they’re illegal. Consider that the bulk have openly admitted to addiction, either to the drugs themselves or the image they are trying to achieve, quitting isn’t an option. Then let’s consider that many bodybuilders get big because they have the opposite of anorexia, they can never be big enough. Its a type of OCD (and its called like body dismorphia or something), again, not healthy - any type of OCD is unhealthy.
Next, let’s consider the process of dieting down to extremely low bodyfat. Whether you use diuretics, drugs, or simply slowly starve your body - yes that is what you’re doing, there is a reason your body can not sustain that level - its not healthy for it. Hence why people pass out, have complications, etc.
Consider that there are many natural federations even today, who utilize illegal substances, they just don’t get caught. There was a recent popular fitness model who was “natural” that got caught during a test and had his win handed to second place. So again, barring illegal substances, you’re surrounded by a community of chronic liars at the most or steeped in severe denial at the least. Natural bodybuilders at 230 lbs, yet every scientific and anecdotal model points to that weight as impossible in competition condition (save for a guy at 6’8"). We aren’t producing super-humans these days, sorry.
Now lets look at the diet. Yes, bodybuilders are healthy, we eat veggies, protein, lower carbs (or at least healthy ones), watch our fat intake and only eat “the good stuff.” All sounds dandy. Except, now we weigh the food, watch our macros, and obsess over cheating. Again, OCD, not good.
Let’s talk about the gym. You have your try-hards, your gym rats, your bro’s, your hardcores, and then you have the guys/gals who actually compete (again we won’t touch on which use and don’t use because its a mix across the board). You’ll see anything from 2 days a week all the way up to 6-7 days a week, sometimes twice a day. Its great to exercise but at what point does it no longer because a “part” of your life and instead takes it over?
This is what people see. To the dedicated, those who want to improve, this is normal, acceptable, even commendable. To the lay-person, its unhealthy. Obsession is unhealthy, whether it be truly detrimental to your health or not. This is how society views things. The fact that you’ve chosen a “better” path does not matter to them. You are out of the norm, you’re pushing your bounds, and you’re not conforming to what they expect. This is strange and thus to them, its unhealthy.
So the choice you need to make is, where do you see yourself in life and what are your goals? Are you willing to sacrifice normalcy, being perceived as a “typical” guy, or do you have to “fit in?” Are you strong enough as a person to sit there and eat lean steak and rice out of a tupperware container and drink water or a diet beverage while your buddies and/or family enjoy beer and Sweet Iced Tea? Are you willing to spend an hour to an hour and a half lifting 4-5 days a week after work, then go home and be a responsible father/husband/son? Is this how you want to spend your life? That isn’t even the most hardcore person that’s your typical dedicated bodybuilder/gym enthusiast. Can you sustain that life, and is it worth it for what you give up?
It doesn’t matter what society deems as healthy or unhealthy. For the sake of sanity, society fell off the horse a long time ago. The decision lies with you and where you place your goals for whats acceptable and worthwhile.
This is a very well thought out post with many good points. It is very refreshing to discuss something other than set/reps/carbs when it comes to bodybuilding.