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Bodybuilding has been around for a considerably long time and basically involves the use of progressively changing the resistance of weights while exercising, to control and develop one’s musculature. Bodybuilding came to be in fashion when Eugen Sandow, who is also known as the ‘Father of Modern Bodybuilding’ began to promote it and allowed audiences to view his body and musculature for a fee.
Bodybuilding competitions are judged by looking at the bodybuilder’s symmetry, musculature, size, and presentation. Some popular competitions you may have heard of are the IFBB Men’s Physique Division, Musclemania, and BNBF.
Over the last few years, natural bodybuilding has begun to gain importance again as the side effects of steroids come to light. A natural bodybuilder is one who abstains from performance-enhancing drugs like insulin, the growth hormone, steroids, and more. Different organizations have different rules about the amount of time the athlete should test drug-free for – this can vary from the day of the event, a few months prior to the event, or a certain number of years.
Since natural bodybuilders must avoid such drugs, in order to build their bodies and continue their progress, they often adhere to strict training schedules, follow diets and regimes to stay on top of their game. Natural bodybuilders must also become skillet at dieting and learning how to lower body fat percentage, rather than adding mass. As a rule of thumb, a male bodybuilder could have anywhere between 3-4% body fat percentage, whereas a female bodybuilder could have anywhere between 8-10% in comparison.
Recent studies have shown that bodybuilding may have a lot to do with a person’s genetics too. Body types can be classified into Mesomorphs, Endomorphs, and Ectomorphs. In general, Mesomorphs are better at building their bodies as they have what is described as ‘good genetics’. Mesomorphs usually have well-defined muscles and large bones. While it is easier to poses world-class genetics for bodybuilding, as one will gain muscle faster, if you have a decent structure, respond well to training, follow a good nutritional plan and are motivated, there’s no reason why you can’t work towards getting the body you desire.
Some philosophies of the Top Natural Bodybuilder’s and what you can learn from them –
Mike O’Heaern –
Bodybuilding Titan and winner of Mr. Universe and various other accolades, Mike O’Heaern believes that a great base is important when it comes to working out. Learning about your body and how you can grow from different workouts is the first step. Mix up your workouts – he recommends doing cardio almost every day.
Mike also follows workouts with compound movements. These are exercises that work for several muscle groups simultaneously and do 8 to 10 repetitions of each.
A great example is a squat that targets the lower back, core, and glutes all at the same time.
Eugen Sandow –
The Father of Modern Bodybuilding, Eugen Sandow was a big supporter of full-body training. He proclaimed his usage of light dumbbells (5lb to be exact) and a very high number of reps (120) led to his Greek god-Esque stature.
He was quoted as saying –
“Nothing, in my opinion, is better than the use of the dumb-bell, for developing the whole system, particularly if it is used intelligently, and with a knowledge of the location and functions of the muscles.”
Steve Reeves –
The professional bodybuilder, actor, and philanthropist believed in a philosophy called ‘Attention to Recovery’. Commonly most athletes focus on their training, Reeves on the other hand worked on resting and recovery between sets and after workouts. He never trained two days in a row.
Steve liked to focus on the body holistically and set small goals to reach his long-term goals. Often changing his time limits, repetitions, weights, etc. he looked at new ways of maximizing the time he spent training.
Abbye Stockton –
Known as the ‘Queen of Barbells’, she appeared in oven 40 magazines and was known for popularising bodybuilding for women in the 1940’s. Known for putting Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach on the map, they defied the notion that weightlifting made female bodies less feminine. Abbye Stockton was affectionately known as ‘Pudgy’ and was an exceptional athlete, gymnast, and bodybuilder.
Rob Riches –
Fitness model and bodybuilder Rob Riches has competed in over 30 shows and won two world championship titles. Being passionate about training, he believes in continuously changing his regime and learning about new things that help his training and physique.
He uses the Weider Principle to maintain his body. Developed by Joe Weider, the Weider Principle refers to following forced reps till you reach failure, then having a spotter help you get a few extra reps. Essentially pushing your muscles beyond fail and forcing them to grow, the method is considered controversial. Rob also follows a diet eating complex carbohydrates, lean protein and lots of fibre.
Donte Franklin –
The bodybuilder was recently awarded the title of Greatest Natural Bodybuilder in the World. Following a 100% natural mind-set, Donte started working out at a young age and is known for following a vegan diet, a factor that may contribute to his low body fat.
It is great to learn from natural bodybuilders and understand more about their fitness regimes, or the different fitness options available to you. If you are looking at trying out a new routine, be sure to consult a professional trainer who can help you pick out a plan tailored to your goals.