Saturday, October 08, 2011

In defence of female bodybuilders

There was an outpouring of largely negative comments over at Mamma Mia the other day about female bodybuilders, which prompted me to write this post. Yes, I know I said I wasn't going to link to the site, but I can change my mind. (Shush!)

Quite apart from the utter crap that was spouted over there, I'm astounded by the vehement opinions on the subject expressed by people in general, who have NO FREAKING IDEA about bodybuilding. In my experience, nobody who screeches: "Gross", "Yuk", or "Euw!" has ever been to a show, researched the sport, or had so much as a 30-second conversation with a bodybuilder. In fact, I'd lay money on them having gained all their knowledge from a story they once saw on some current affairs TV show.

So, FYI, people: Yes, there are some extreme examples around, but they're not the norm. Leaving out the nutters who inject themselves with veterinary steroids, in the drug-tested federations, you will find a bunch of hard-working, committed and fit ladies whom YOU WOULD NOT GIVE A SECOND GLANCE if you saw them walking down the street during 99% of the year.

Not that I'm a stunning example of muscularity, having been a rank beginner when I competed, but this was me two weeks prior to competition:

And on stage, bronzed up "like a golden statue", as Sara put it:

A few weeks before and after my comps, I had acquaintances asking me "But where are your muscles?" I don't strut around in my normal life flexing (OK, so I have been known to strike an impromptu double bicep pose now and then) and with skin the colour of an Oompah-Loompah, so I tend to look - well, normal

See? Normal.... :p

Yeah, that photo was taken right after my show.... I wish I could have had that look on stage. If there's a next time, maybe I should fill up on Indian food and red wine before I go on...

The shock media LOVE to show photos of women in the sport looking particularly muscular - but they deliberately choose photos that are unflattering, taken whilst the competitor is flexing like mad, purely to get a reaction. The truth is that most women look pretty lean and athletic when not competing, nothing more.

For a short period, they reduce their body fat to below normal levels (and no, it's not dangerous unless you're stupid enough to try and stay that way), and just for a day, manipulate their carbohydrate stores and fluid levels to get that extreme muscle definition. Then they tan, "pump up", and step on stage to enjoy the glory for just a few minutes. 

If it's not your thing, fine. But you still should be able to appreciate the work it takes to get there, and that when not on stage, these women are just like everyone else. Everyone else who gets up at 4:30am, trains like a demon and cares about what food goes into their bodies, anyway.

The bottom line is, we're all different and we ought to be celebrating our individuality, not criticising each other for not being identical clones.

For some more thoughts on the subject, head over and visit Liz.



Sue said...

WOW Kerryn, that is a good blog. I must admit I am not a lover of bodybuilding, male or female, but although you and I have known each other for some years, you have even opened my eyes to the sport. Good work Kerryn.

Kek said...

Thanks Sue! :) I know it's not everybody's cup of tea, but it's pretty fascinating to see the difference just a few weeks and a kg or two of body fat can make.

One of my Hobby Blogs said...

yeah it doesn't help that any story about a bodybuilder shows them flexing their muscles like mad!! (even bronzed!!!), but hey, I thought most people knew that unless they are on a stage, flexing, in a skimpy bikini, female bodybuilders walk amongst us, and we wouldn't know it! Quite normal, just fit. Good post Kek!

Sara said...

It is true, the media love to do 'shock and awe', no matter if it's truth or just.. photoshop. ;) People don't realise that a lot of what you see with bodybuilders is optical illusion. Even the girls that look 'huge' on stage, mostly look normal in clothes and some are actually tiny because they are so lean. I mean, a body builder in the 'under 57kg' category, how big is she really going to be?

Kek said...

Annie, I wish everyone understood that...

Kek said...

Sara, perhaps I ought to have mentioned in my post that I weighed a massive 52kg. And I was one of the heavier ones...

Most women around my height compete at under 50kg. Even the tallest girls aren't usually over 60kg.

bhyc35 said...

Wow Kerryn what an attractive mature muscle lady, a great article too.

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