Bodybuilding can be one of the most highly challenging and highly rewarding passions a person can pursue. Primarily a physical pursuit, bodybuilding also touches on the philosophical, the aesthetic.
To be clear, there is a difference between simply adding muscle to the human body and actually endeavoring into the world of bodybuilding. Bodybuilding is about much more than simply leaning the body mass index towards more and more muscle. A good bodybuilder is not simply downing protein shakes and lifting weights.A great bodybuilder is more like a sculptor, treating his own body like Michelangelo would a block of marble or a lump of clay. He does not simply build muscle, rather, he builds muscle in very specific ways, in specific areas of his body to create his own ideal of physical perfection.
Eugen Sandow is widely considered the first modern bodybuilder. There had been “strongmen” before Sandow, but Sandow was, first and foremost, a lover of the arts, and he envisioned a future wherein bodybuilding would be considered on par with the fine arts. He studied anatomy and Greek sculpture, eventually crafting and shaping his own body, like a blacksmith with a piece of iron, to the shape he considered the most handsome.
While the ideal of physical perfection has changed with time thanks to bodybuilders like Charles Atlas and Arnold Schwarzenegger emphasizing a large chest and rounded shoulders and so forth, all of bodybuilding owes a debt of gratitude to Eugen Sandow, who was the first man to introduce the notion of actually building one’s body to a specific design over the simple idea of merely adding as much bulk as possible.
It really is as much of an art form as it is a sport, a game, an entertainment and a means of staying healthy. The whole body building community is built around notions of competition with one another, but more importantly, competition with oneself.
Setting specific goals and then meeting them as a bodybuilder is immensely rewarding and very much worth all of the work that goes into attaining and maintaining the perfect chest, the perfect shoulders or a rock hard six pack. An individual’s personal ideal of physical excellence may vary from person to person, but all bodybuilders share a similar passion and a similar Never Say Die attitude when setting themselves to the challenge of getting exactly where it is that they want to be.