Over the decades, bodybuilding has evolved tremendously but it is generally understood that there are two main factions or philosophies of the lifestyle; natural bodybuilding and pharmaceutical bodybuilding. Around the time drug use entered the sporting arena, the lines between the two were more blurred and it wasn’t particularly easy to spot an enhanced athlete. Today however, the line between the two can be more clearly defined. Those who take the chemical alternative have perfected the dosage combination’s to develop muscles that far exceed even the most gifted of natural lifters. Just watching a natural bodybuilding show and comparing the contestants to it’s professional counterpart, it’s easy to view them as completely different sports, which they really are.
All bodybuilding associations promote natural bodybuilding, yet it is seldom practiced by the world’s top bodybuilders. In fact, none of those at the peak of competitive bodybuilding are natural bodybuilders. The IFBB Mr. Olympia, considered by many to be the greatest bodybuilding title in the world, is an excellent example of pharmaceutical bodybuilding. In competitive bodybuilding, it seems that winning has everything to do with how you play the game. Pharmaceuticals such as diuretics, growth hormone, beta-blockers, insulin, EPO, amphetamines, steroids and countless other doping substances are the rule, not the exception. One thing that is often ignored is the damage that can result from using these substances.
Natural bodybuilding is an art and a science. The objective is to create a body that is beautiful to behold, resilient, strong, graceful, flexible, lean and highly functional. Natural bodybuilding represents a positive life-giving phenomenon. It is a form of training that creates and preserves form, function and health. Natural bodybuilding uses exercise, dietary supplements and a healthy diet to enhance immune function and increase resistance to degenerative disease. With each repetition, cells are flushed with life-giving oxygen and micro-nutrients. Waste is removed efficiently and quickly. When practiced correctly, it does not destroy or eliminate. It adds much more than symmetry and quality muscle, but gives you benefits beyond what can be seen with the naked eye.
Natural bodybuilding represents the truest element of bodybuilding by requiring a clean lifestyle which promotes the achievement of optimum health. Optimum health gives us the opportunity and insight to define our goals and the motivation required to achieve them. Once truly well, we are able to adapt to change and stress without significant damage. A healthy person is well-nourished and physically fit inside and out.
Those who lift weights or use their own body as resistance to achieve any degree of muscle tone, strength or power are engaged in “building” their body. This practice has numerous names – body-shaping, body-sculpting, resistance training, weight-lifting, weight training or working-out. Whatever you call it, if you pump iron you are bodybuilding to some degree. Competition level bodybuilders simply take the same process of training and dieting to an extreme level.
Natural bodybuilding avoids any chemicals or toxic substances. Natural athletes avoid banned substances for two reasons. First, the rules of natural bodybuilding clearly state that they are not permitted and second, crossing the pharmaceutical line reduces health, and health is what natural bodybuilding is all about. Therefore the destructive use of performance enhancing drugs is deemed unacceptable.
The idea of natural bodybuilding is to take your genetic potential to the maximum using supplements, training and high quality food. Health is never compromised for aesthetic value; rather aesthetics are altered in response to controlled exercise performed faithfully and always progressively. This creates a natural cause and effect, facilitated through both hard and smart work and constant vigilance. Biological bodybuilding provides us with the opportunity to challenge ourselves, outperform ourselves and demonstrate our potential. It is not about looking better than anyone else. The lifestyle encourages wellness and provides a reliable means of extending health span.