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Bodybuilding dying a slow death at the hands of physique?

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  • Bodybuilding dying a slow death at the hands of physique?

    Something happened to me tonight that prompted me to start my first thread here on intense muscle.com. Normally I just read and learn, but I feel compelled to write about something that is really bothering me. I was just on www.musclecontest.com viewing the results from a bodybuilding show that took place this past saturday. It's a show that is local to me and I saw something that really bothered me. For the first time, the men's physique competitors outnumbered the bodybuilding competitors. Now this may not be huge news if the physique class had been around a long time, but this class just popped up in my local area shows in the last year. It is brand new, and they are actually adding new divisions to the men's physique class, including a teen division.

    What the hell is happening to bodybuilding?!?! Arnold and the movie Pumping Iron made this sport absolutely explode in popularity and acceptance and, am I wrong, but it seems like bodybuilding has been dying a slow death ever since. Arnold helped build the family gym business, and he created a fitness frenzy that swept across the country! I recall as a teenager seeing guys who I actually didn't know at the time, but now that I'm older I know them to be Shawn Ray, Boyer Coe, Lee Priest, Kevin Levrone, and probably many others I didn't see, who were on these workout shows on ESPN. At the time I wasn't interested, but I also recall seeing what I now know is the Mr. Olympia competition on television. I cannot remember the last time I saw ANYTHING about bodybuilding on television except on two programs. One was on MTV called True Life I'm on Steroids and it featured a guy trying to get on the cover of a magazine and it mostly only showed him either injecting himself, talking to his trainer about steroids, or working out like a total pu$$y. He looks to be a little over 6 feet tall with not much muscle, and he's relying on steroids to give him his magazine cover physique. The other program was one that focused on weird habits people have which you may have seen. One of the people on the show was addicted to eating toilet paper. The bodybuilder on this show was a woman who makes money by having men come to her home to wrestle with her and worship her muscles. It's pretty fair to say that these two programs featuring "bodybuilders" did not portray bodybuilding in a good light. Especially the MTV special which followed somebody who obviously didn't have much passion or love for the actual sport of bodybuilding and was just trying to chase the dream of being on the cover of a magazine.

    So the things I stated in the previous paragraph have been going through my head for a long time and the mens' physique competitors outnumbering bodybuilders this weekend was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. Honestly, I know the physique guys diet hard and work hard in their own right. I'm not trying to disrespect anybody who competes in that class and I have friends who compete in physique, but I will be damned if I sit silently and watch as my local BODYBUILDING shows become men's physique and women's bikini contests with mens bodybuilding as a fucking side show!!! From the looks of things, this is where we are headed but damn it I don't have to like it and I am going to voice my opinion about it.

    So this is why I decided to post this. It's to ask you guys, WTF is going on in your opinions??? I have a few theories as to why this is happening but I'd like to open this up to as many people as I can and I'm very interested to see what the input from intensemuscle.com peeps will be...

  • #2
    It comes as no surprise to me that physique is gaining in popularity. I think it comes down to a few things, one of which is: attainability. I have no chance of ever looking like Phil Heath, Coleman, Cutler, etc... but the builds of mens physique are not something that I look at and say: "this is something I have to sacrifice my image and health to attain". Let alone the genetic factor to ever hope of approaching that size.

    Bodybuilding in it's current state is absurd... which is entertaining -- and i'm still a fan of it.

    BUT...

    If and when I compete -- it will probably be as a physique competitor. Physique competitors remind me more of the classic bodybuilding physiques of Arnold, Zane, etc... granted a little smaller -- but still, it's attainable.

    Another thing... Health. You can compete in physique and maintain a reasonable weight -- not kill your knees/ankles/hips walking around at 300lbs. in the offseason. You don't have to fear sleep apnea and the gamut of other health issues larger bodybuilders face.

    Last thing... lifestyle. A physique competitor has a better chance of taking part in many other athletic activities. Easier to go hiking, play sports, swim, walk up stairs at 6' 200lbs. then 6' 280lbs.

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    • #3
      I don't think Bodybuilding is dying, I believe it's just the end of an era. Thing goes in circles, what we might be seeing now may simply be the end of the mass era and a transition back to the "classic" physiques. We had Arnold, Zane and Columbu. Then Haney and Yates. Then the mass monsters like Coleman, Cutler, Heath. Maybe the next generation of bodybuilders won't be walking around at 300lbs, but 220 or 230 with small waists and the general V shape.

      However there are a few things we should consider. The reason why this is happening can be quite a few. Not that many people will ever have a chance of even looking remotely close to guys like Heath and Coleman, the body of a physique competitor is much more "achievable" than that of a modern bodybuilder. Dedication also comes to mind, and this is not a bash at physique competitors, just a personal opinion. I don't believe that many people are willing to put that whole lot of time in the gym, a lot more in the kitchen cooking and preparing several meals in advance, moving the weight needed to move plus cardio and gaining weight in the off season followed by pre contest diet. Not that many are willing to have this kind of dedication to achieve a 280 body, the phrase "everybody wanna be a bodybuilder, but nobody wanna lift no heavy ass weight" about sums it up.

      So, no, I don't believe bodybuilding will die and physique will take over. I believe both things will even out and bodybuilding might return to golden age standards. The O will still aways go to the bigger or freakier dudes on stage, it doesn't matter if they're 300 or 220lbs, the one guy that stands apart from the rest will still get it, like it always has been.
      "If you're ready to do DC, you're not gonna give a flying f*(k about fatigue from the previous exercise. You get under the bar and kill it, each and every time." - homonunculus

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      • #4
        I don't like the Men's Physique or Bikini competition's either, they just make shows run for too long. Not really fond of figure having like 5-6 classes at national shows either but that's another story.

        I do think that Men's physique is on to something, they are showing more realistically attainable physiques that appeal to the masses and that are marketable.

        I think there should be some sort of middle ground, I would like to see Men's physique evolve into Men's Classic bodybuilding where there are weight limits for your height and they reward classic v-tapered physiques. Really the Men's bodybuilding guys would look like top Natural National Level bodybuilders. I think the public can relate to that and so can bodybuilders. Also it would show off the legs (half of the body), lose the stupid board shorts and make those guys pose instead of just stand there.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Andre Gregoire View Post
          I don't like the Men's Physique or Bikini competition's either, they just make shows run for too long. Not really fond of figure having like 5-6 classes at national shows either but that's another story.

          I do think that Men's physique is on to something, they are showing more realistically attainable physiques that appeal to the masses and that are marketable.

          I think there should be some sort of middle ground, I would like to see Men's physique evolve into Men's Classic bodybuilding where there are weight limits for your height and they reward classic v-tapered physiques. Really the Men's bodybuilding guys would look like top Natural National Level bodybuilders. I think the public can relate to that and so can bodybuilders. Also it would show off the legs (half of the body), lose the stupid board shorts and make those guys pose instead of just stand there.
          I'm with andre for classic bodybuilding! +1

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          • #6
            I think the "attainability" thing is a big issue =( Very good points. Actually really like your point Andre about the Classic Bodybuilding. When I first heard about this class being introduced into the Arnold Classic I was really excited and I hoped it would find it's way into the NPC shows but what we got instead was physique! These shows run so long as it is I don't know if there's room for both so I agree and would love to see physique morph into classic bodybuilding. I still love bikini though, LOL!

            And 001Delta, I really hope you're right about the ridiculous mass era coming to an end and the Golden age circling back. I really, really hope you're right.

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            • #7
              Also +1 on the classics, they are the photo's on my wall. They are the look I and many others seek. I once printed out many of the lifts and measurements of natty lifters of old and checked them off as I achieved them with the age of modern powders like WPI and creatine. I don't take AAS but have managed 250lbs but it was too hard to maintain with a family and working shifts. 200-220 is easier.

              I am happy for others to be 300lbs. I am always impressed by some guys size. I was O/S last week and with a friend when we bumped into two mass monsters. My mate had never seen a real 300lb plus BB before and was amazed as he is about 170lbs at 5'6.

              I am happy for any new class especially if it is popular as it will bring more money to the sport as a whole.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by MikeMartinez View Post
                And 001Delta, I really hope you're right about the ridiculous mass era coming to an end and the Golden age circling back. I really, really hope you're right.
                I hope I'm not right :P

                I'm a big fan of both classic bodybuilding physiques, and the current " mass monster" modern bodybuilding. What I'd like to see is a merge or a balance between the two.

                Phil now being Mr.O, sports a massive physique but still shows some good "aesthetics" ( not sure if this is the word ), a small waist and broad shoulders, the classic V look. That's what I'd like bodybuilding to evolve to.

                We got amateur level guys like Alexey Lesukov ( okay, bad example ), and Antoine Valiant that have a lot of mass but also some degree of the "classic" physique.

                It's wait and see, everything changes eventually.
                "If you're ready to do DC, you're not gonna give a flying f*(k about fatigue from the previous exercise. You get under the bar and kill it, each and every time." - homonunculus

                "Nothing better than coming to IM and seeing a Wall of Text next to that big Tricep pic." - Lonnie123

                “Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another.” - Homer

                The scale doesn't show a number. When he steps on it, it simply reads: Big Mother Fucker. - Skip

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 0001Delta View Post
                  I hope I'm not right :P

                  I'm a big fan of both classic bodybuilding physiques, and the current " mass monster" modern bodybuilding. What I'd like to see is a merge or a balance between the two.

                  Phil now being Mr.O, sports a massive physique but still shows some good "aesthetics" ( not sure if this is the word ), a small waist and broad shoulders, the classic V look. That's what I'd like bodybuilding to evolve to.

                  We got amateur level guys like Alexey Lesukov ( okay, bad example ), and Antoine Valiant that have a lot of mass but also some degree of the "classic" physique.

                  It's wait and see, everything changes eventually.
                  Ya when Phil won it kinda made me hope that we are going to get away from the "professional mass building" and get more back down to earth. It's just always bothered me that the bodybuilding magazines always favor the huge guys, but guys who may not weigh as much but are actually way better kinda are either secondary, or not at all. Like how the 202 class at the Olympia is basically just an afterthought compared to the open "O". Do the 202 guys even get to have a press conference like the open guys? IDK...

                  I also kinda feel as bodybuilders have gotten bigger and bigger, less and less people follow the sport. I don't know, everybody has their own ideas of what bodybuilding should be and there's so many different guys out there to want to model yourself after and that's actually one of the things that makes bodybuilding such a cool sport, in my opinion.

                  But more to what you said, ya it would be awesome to see the "classic" class at the Arnold gain some traction and become a real popular division. Hopefully that would draw more people in cuz we're losing guys left and right to physique.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SAHD View Post
                    Also +1 on the classics, they are the photo's on my wall. They are the look I and many others seek. I once printed out many of the lifts and measurements of natty lifters of old and checked them off as I achieved them with the age of modern powders like WPI and creatine. I don't take AAS but have managed 250lbs but it was too hard to maintain with a family and working shifts. 200-220 is easier.

                    I am happy for others to be 300lbs. I am always impressed by some guys size. I was O/S last week and with a friend when we bumped into two mass monsters. My mate had never seen a real 300lb plus BB before and was amazed as he is about 170lbs at 5'6.

                    I am happy for any new class especially if it is popular as it will bring more money to the sport as a whole.
                    The huge guys impress me too, I just don't like how that is considered the epitome of bodybuilding. Not everybody wants to weight 300 lbs and for a long time, bodybuilders have always thrown around, "I'm weighing this amount and that amount" but who cares?

                    I mean from what I can tell, Arnold, Zane, Lebrada, some of the best bodybuilders in history, were more concerned with how they looked and building their own personal masterpieces, not about tipping the scale higher than the other guy. Would Arnold be "better" if he weighed 300 lbs?

                    I love Ronnie for his personality and brute strength, Jay for his hard work ethic, not necessarily for how they look. There's room for everybody but I just feel like the direction of bodybuilding worshipping the biggest guys has not served the sport well. Just my opinion.

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                    • #11
                      I think more people can openly compete at physique level as opposed to bodybuilding. I wouldn't be surprised if at least 80% of all physique competitors previously were striving to compete under the bb'ing class but failed (not even attempt to enter under the bb'ing class) either due to not enough discipline etc.... I personally see physique for taller individuals.
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by burger View Post
                        I think more people can openly compete at physique level as opposed to bodybuilding. I wouldn't be surprised if at least 80% of all physique competitors previously were striving to compete under the bb'ing class but failed (not even attempt to enter under the bb'ing class) either due to not enough discipline etc.... I personally see physique for taller individuals.
                        I know a couple guys who were competing in bodybuilding, doing pretty well for themselves, and switched over to physique because they didn't want to have to eat SO MUCH.

                        I mean I think it's great that a new class allows more and more people to jump in, it just bums me out to see, at a BODYBUILDING show, bodybuilders slowly shrinking in numbers and physique exploding. It will seriously bum me out if we get to the point where bodybuilding is like a niche class and the main draw is physique.

                        No offense, but when physique is on is when I go to the bathroom or go outside and eat.

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                        • #13
                          This man's opinion.

                          The idea that BB blew up with Arnold is crazy. It has never been accepted by the general public.... Never will be. It just does not impress the avg person and the avg woman is not attracted to BBrs...sure if you are into the culture you will find PLENTY of women who worship muscle(and 20Xs as man midle aged men...lol).
                          I'm sorry but this is bodyBUILDING! I WANT TO SEE HUGE GUYS....that are proportionate, defined (IMHO the over ripped look hurts BBing more than the size with the public). I don't like physiques like jays, I say and admit when he should have won his comeback Olympia but victor, shoulda beat him years ago, Phil was better last year, I think he got gifts at the O and in India but that's a diff issue. Give me huge, proportionate physiques like Ronnie at his best, like Olivia, etc... The BB comunity needs to accept that they are a sub culture and always will be and those most impressed by bodybuilders are BBrs. Embrace the sub culture.... Yea try to appeal to as many as you can but use the "sub culture" as the draw.... The hardcore image, etc...

                          JMO
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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by thedunhill225 View Post
                            This man's opinion.

                            The idea that BB blew up with Arnold is crazy. It has never been accepted by the general public.... Never will be. It just does not impress the avg person and the avg woman is not attracted to BBrs...sure if you are into the culture you will find PLENTY of women who worship muscle(and 20Xs as man midle aged men...lol).
                            I'm sorry but this is bodyBUILDING! I WANT TO SEE HUGE GUYS....that are proportionate, defined (IMHO the over ripped look hurts BBing more than the size with the public). I don't like physiques like jays, I say and admit when he should have won his comeback Olympia but victor, shoulda beat him years ago, Phil was better last year, I think he got gifts at the O and in India but that's a diff issue. Give me huge, proportionate physiques like Ronnie at his best, like Olivia, etc... The BB comunity needs to accept that they are a sub culture and always will be and those most impressed by bodybuilders are BBrs. Embrace the sub culture.... Yea try to appeal to as many as you can but use the "sub culture" as the draw.... The hardcore image, etc...

                            JMO
                            What do you mean bodybuilding didn't blow up with Arnold? Aren't they responsible for why we have Bally's and other family gyms all over America? Pumping Iron blew up and for a long time America has loved and embraced guys like Arnold and Sylvester Stallone in our action movies.

                            And the average woman absolutely is attracted to a bodybuilder, what the average woman is not attracted to are the mass monsters.

                            Is the Oliva you're referring to Sergio Oliva? If so, he was nowhere near as massive as Ronnie... Massive for his time and one of my favorite bodybuilders, but nothing like today's freaks.

                            One point I couldn't agree with you more is on the over ripped look hurting bodybuilding. There is a video on YouTube of Jose Raymond lifting his shorts to show his legs at the 2011 Olympia. I'm sorry, but at that point your vascularity is distracting from your musculature and that shit looked plain gross!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MikeMartinez View Post
                              I know a couple guys who were competing in bodybuilding, doing pretty well for themselves, and switched over to physique because they didn't want to have to eat SO MUCH.

                              I mean I think it's great that a new class allows more and more people to jump in, it just bums me out to see, at a BODYBUILDING show, bodybuilders slowly shrinking in numbers and physique exploding. It will seriously bum me out if we get to the point where bodybuilding is like a niche class and the main draw is physique.

                              No offense, but when physique is on is when I go to the bathroom or go outside and eat.

                              We live in a society were the cast of Twilight have ideal bodies... Hell... look at the physique of the new Conan? Notice the difference between the new one and Arnold's??? I could ask a surfer to keep his trunks on and walk on stage under physique... get awarded a trophy and he could come back next year and do the same thing without even lifting weight or dieting. Not for me.
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