What Exactly is Female Bodybuilding?
Female bodybuilders are athletes and bodybuilding is undoubtedly a competitive sport. Just like volleyball, basketball or soccer, this is their dedicated lifestyle and sport of choice. As with any other sport in order to be the star player you must reach your physical and mental limits. Women in this field train very hard and frequently implement extreme measures to look this way. They must prepare for months with a combination of dehydration, fat loss, strength training, cardio and strict dietary guidelines. Some become obsessed with the "sport of winning" and they turn to a mixture of drugs such as, testosterone and diuretics. Check out this article about the "Secret World of Women's Bodybuilding" to hear the inside scoop from many former bodybuilders. Some of the irreversible side effects are eye opening. Two former female bodybuilders wrote:
"It's the opposite of anorexia," says Arnoldi, who wrote a novel called Chemical Pink about the world she left behind when she quit bodybuilding. "It's a compulsion. It's an obsession. And there is no satisfying that."
"Somehow it becomes an addiction," says Mimi D'Attomo, a former bodybuilder. "It's like an alcoholic."
Most women looking to lean up and become tone don't exactly have the female bodybuilder mindset. Instead we want to know how to achieve the balance of lean, chiseled muscles while keeping our feminine look. One of the main worries we hear from women is that they are scared to lift weights in fear that they may begin to develop physical characteristics similar to competitive bodybuilders, taking away all their feminine qualities. Although not impossible, in order for this to occur one would have to take many of the drastic measures previously mentioned. With every sport there are both negative and positive attributes. There are many female bodybuilders that balance the the masculinity of the sport while maintain femininity. For some it is not an obsession, rather a lifestyle or a chance to succeed at a sport they love. Bodybuilding teaches these women discipline, perseverance and to fight towards a goal. In recent years bodybuilding has evolved into a greater consciousness towards healthier approaches rather than solely on implementation of muscle building techniques. Fitness and figure competitions are more about the cut and symmetry of muscles than the amount of muscularity often needed in bodybuilding competitions.
Extreme Workouts and Dieting. Is it For You?
Extreme workouts and dieting aren't for everyone. It might be a fast fix for competitions, but adopting this lifestyle over the long haul can affect your overall physical and mental health. Essentially, it's a nutritional numbers game. According to Livestrong:
"While the average woman might base her eating plan on trying to lose weight, if you compete in bodybuilding or figure competition, your diet focus will often be on gaining weight. You don't want to gain fat, though -- rather, you want to increase lean muscle mass while still retaining a feminine shape. The key to achieving your ultimate physique is to consume the right number of calories and macronutrients while adjusting your food intake to support your intense training regime. When putting on muscle, you must be in a caloric surplus, which means that you take in more calories than you burn. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, active women should consume 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day to maintain their weight, so to bulk up you'll need at least this amount, if not a little more. Try 2,200 calories to begin with and adjust as needed. Ideally, for lean bulk you should gain around half a pound per week."
If you are looking to lean up or create a more balanced nutrition plan, a less extreme approach can be very effective. Removing healthy fats and carbohydrates is not a good long term approach for many people. Putting an extreme bodybuilding routine into overdrive for long periods of time can lead to burnout, health issues and/or irreversible outcomes. Rather, a healthy lifestyle is about balancing your macro nutrients and staying fit with a consistent workout routine. Consistency is Key!
Bodybuilding vs Building a Better Body
Bodybuilding has a dedicated audience and we salute the discipline of these amazing women. At MBB Fitness our focus is on building a better body through comprehensive workout routines and balanced nutrition. Our philosophy is to reach long term fitness goals the healthiest way possible. We believe in a non-intimidating, relaxed atmosphere where you can be yourself and set your own stage for a fitter YOU. We'll certainly challenge you, but not at such extreme measures that might cause harm. Results will come with a consistent and honest effort especially under the guidance of a certified personal trainer. Start building a better body and make an appointment a today!
Dedicated to your success,
Andrea Steponaitis- ACSM_CPT