T Nation

TC , Chris and Others: Was It The Public; Or The "Powers In Control?"

I was doing that periodic “folder cleanout” this morning and came accross some pics of Anja Langer, Francis Bennefatto and Lee LaBrada. The symmetry and lines these guys had was amazing. It’s also amazing to believe that they probably could barely win a regional contest today. Question; was this trend toward 300 plus pound behemoths, she-males, bloated bellies and documented poor health REALLY because “the public demanded it” OR was it that the judging and “powers that be” just let thinks get out of control?

Probably a little of both. Yes, the public wants to see freaks. Actually, let me change that. Those who follow pro bodybuilding closely (many of whom don’t train, they just enjoy the “sport”, cough closeted! cough cough) demand freaks. Who wants to go pay to see people you could see in your own gym, right?

On a side note: go look at the really old bodybuilders from the 1940s and 1950s. It’s cool because you think, “Hey, I look that good and this guy was Mr. America!” Makes you feel good. I think people look at pros these days and know they’ll never look like that, which really can’t be good for the sport, right? But I digress.

It’s also true that the walking side effects these days represent the slow evolution (or perhaps de-evolution) of the competition. You start out by taking a little gear around competition time to get the edge, a few years later, everyone is getting that little edge, so you take more. So does everyone else. So you take gear all year long. That snowballs until you have what we see today, guys who take everything under the sun (steroids just scratch the surface)and are no longer even healthy or admirable. I mean, does anyone besides a couple of 15 year olds with low self-esteem really want to look like Mr. O? I know I don’t, even it could be obtained without the health risks. Maybe a mid 1970’s Arnold, but not a modern Mr. O.

As for female pro BB- it’s a dead part of the sport, it’s fate sealed by Kim C. going fitness instead of BB. The only ones who’ll pay attention to it now are fetishists. Good riddance, too. Female pro BBing has kept more women out of the freeweight section than body odor, which is a sad thing. Now if we can just get the fitness cuties to ease up on the drugs, too, because they’re headed down the same path.

Hmm, I think I just wrote a Guest Atomic Dog!

Another aside: I walked through the airport with a favorite pro BB you see in all the mags. I felt bad for him. He was so out of breath, he was wheezing and could hardly make it to get his luggage. I almost asked him if I could carry something for him because I thought he was going to keel over dead! Me, all 208 pounds of me at the time, about to carry the luggage of a 260 pound pro BB with arms bigger than my head. Sad, but funny.

Chris: Interesting thoughts. Something I mentioned on the Steroid Side of the Forum (it was related to a young, hungry competitor named King Kamali). Even though these top competitors are a walking pharmacy, and probably shorten their lives with each cycle, they do work hard, sacrafice and are dedicated in their pursuit. And therein lies the rub. Is dedication to something that causes them to often be unhealthy (like the bodybuilder you mentioned)not really dedication, but obsession? I’ve always thought that if these guys put as much time, effort and MONEY into other pursuits, they would be millionaires. Another “rub”; I REALLY think they love the game and the lifestyle, despite how unhealthy it appears to have become…

Mufasa, it’s kind of like the old John Holmes question (I think it was John Holmes who died of AIDS or some other STD when he was 40): If the deal was that you could make it with 20,000 really nice looking women in your life, but that the price you’d pay would be to die at 40, would you take it? When he died back in the late 80’s, this was the question at all the college parties I went to. And you’d be surprised how many guys said (in all seriousness) “yes”. Their thinking was that after 40 it’s all downhill anyway, so why not have a hell of a lot of fun before then? Better to go out in a blaze of glory than fade away, or some such. Personally, I don’t go for that particular logic, but a lot of people do. So maybe the IFBB pros, having the genetics to build the bodies of their dreams, make moeny pumping iron, get the gym-groupie babes and so on, think like that? Especially if they love the lifestyle. Just a thought…

AAAhhhh…the old Medival Legend of Faust, huh char? Selling his soul to the Devil in exchange for knowlege and power…I never really thought of it that way…

I agree with you…I don’t ascribe to the philosophy of “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die…” Instead… eat and be merry…but also prepare for tomorrow, would be better…

I don’t know…the PRO BB’s leave me with such mixed feelings. I admire their hard work, dedication and sacrafice, but there is always that “but…”