First off, your string of questions exhibit many false premises and does posit several false dichotomies–at least when applied to my situation. Let me challenge a few of these: who says that bodybuilders or those who desire a better physique do so just to appear more massive than the next person? This may apply, in part, to pro-bodybuilding but only in part (even here there is more to be said for the motivation of the sport than just comparing yourself to the next guy). Ruined health? My health has only improved with better physical conditioning, healthy eating–as a life style, and a commitment to sufficient rest. Why can’t I focus on MANY important pursuits including bodybuilding? I have a Master’s degree in the humanities, excel at my job (corporate America) and enjoy many other hobbies/pursuits besides bodybuilding/weight training.
Second, here are my personal reasons: 1) On a more philosophical level, it has to do with my view of masculinity. My ideal of a man is one that is well rounded. A man should strive to realize his potential to the fullest on all levels of his existence: spiritual, social, intellectual, professional and physical. 2) I enjoy weight training. The exhilaration that accompanies it, is better than most drugs I have tried. I guess it's the whole endorphin thing. 3) Mental clarity and savvy--weight training really notches this up for me. 4) Better quality of life when it come to energy and sleeping better. Granted these benefits are a by-product of other forms of exercise as well--but I don't enjoy other forms of exercise nearly as much as I do weight training. 5) I would by lying if I said that physical appearance was not a factor in the equation. I do like the fact that I appear fit, lean and muscular--buffed. I notice that I get more respect from others and positive vibes from many of the females that I encounter (more than before I was buffed). This makes me feel better about myself since my perceived social/sexual value is promoted. And, to add to this last point--I don't think this morally deplorable; what is deplorable is the EXCESSIVE value placed in a culture on appearance, i.e., valuing superficial characteristics over (or at the expense of) more "deeper" qualities that actually contribute to the betterment of humanity. In other words, for me at least, it would make better sense to give my seat on the bus to Mother Teresa rather than Pam Anderson (although, If I was cycling onto Mag 10, I might give it to the latter--he he). This leads me to #6) Increased sex drive and feeling better about me when I'm in a naked sweaty panting tangle with my lady.