You Are Not a Bodybuilder (So Don’t Train Like One)

The first thing you need to understand is that most people don’t have the discipline or motivation to train like athletes. Most people simply want to look good naked and get laid. They’ll do anything to achieve their goal. Athletes, however, are motivated by something much higher than themselves: they must perform at a high level in order for their team/organization/country/etc.. To put it another way, they must win games for the sake of winning games. There is no higher motivation because everyone wins as a whole.

If you’ve ever seen the movie “White Men can’t Jump,” there’s a scene where Woody Harrelson’s character is talking to Wesley Snipes’ character after he walks out of a basketball game. He says, “You gotta want it.” That’s the difference between an athlete and non-athlete: the want.

Athletes have the want. You don’t.

Successful bodybuilders have the want, but not to play a sport; rather, they want to win a competition. They are just as motivated to win competitions as any athlete is to win games. Sure, they aren’t playing for crowds or any patriotic reasons, but they’re still winning for competition’s sake.

If you don’t like the sport of it, you’ll always fall short of your potential. If you like the sport of it, your potential is unlimited.

Why You Actually Train Like An Athlete

If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you want to look more aesthetic and athletic rather than being a bulky muscular mess (though I highly recommend you bulk up a bit so you have an adequate base to work from – don’t worry, you won’t get bulky). There’s also a good chance that you’re sick of being told to mime the actions of various activities such as throwing, jumping and striking; or that the only types of training you get to do are running and some pathetic attempts at imitating a boxer.

The fact is, if you’re trying to look athletic, then you are. You just need to train like one.

This can be accomplished by a lot of factors such as the exercises you do, the frequency in which you train and especially the mentality in which you train. If you go into every set thinking you’re a rugby player about to smash through a defender and get that try, then your body will adapt accordingly. (Incidentally, I was a rugby player in my first year of high school and I was not good).

You might be thinking, “I don’t have a training partner,” or “I don’t have equipment,” or “I live in the suburbs.” While these are all valid excuses, they aren’t good enough. There is nothing stopping you from finding a park so you can do your sprints or chin-ups. There’s also nothing stopping you from using playground or gym equipment to do some body-weight exercises. As for having a training partner, you can still work on techniques that don’t require a partner such as breathing and visualization techniques.


Sources & references used in this article:

The new encyclopedia of modern bodybuilding by A Schwarzenegger, B Dobbins – 1998 –

Pumping irony: Crisis and contradiction in bodybuilding by AM Klein – Sociology of Sport journal, 1986 –

Towards a geography of fitness: an ethnographic case study of the gym in British bodybuilding culture by GJ Andrews, MI Sudwell, AC Sparkes – Social science & medicine, 2005 – Elsevier

The female bodybuilder as a gender outlaw by C Shilling, T Bunsell – Qualitative research in sport and exercise, 2009 – Taylor & Francis

“Big freaky-looking women”: Normalizing gender transgression through bodybuilding by SA McGrath, RA Chananie-Hill – Sociology of sport …, 2009 –