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Is Body building and body sculpting a healthy option?

We often perceive gym based activities as being great for your health, including body building and body sculpting. However if you look at the dedication and exactly what it takes to achieve muscle mass to this degree then we are looking at a full time hobby  – not to mention saying goodbye to any social life, eating whatever you like or having a what most of us might call normal lifestyle.

People who train at this level can often be seen wearing their very apt tee shirt saying:


You might think this is an exaggeration – think again, our body sculptors and builders live by this rule. There isn’t room for late night parties, too much alcohol and the odd hangover, dodging gym sessions, sleep deprivation, or eating whatever you like even if it is healthy and of nutritional value.

These guys have a prescriptive lifestyle, ordered and requires discipline and routine -I don’t mean a gym routine… its a life routine that supports performance and physical gains.

Having been a personal trainer for many years (far too many) when I first started there was no such thing as a lovely clean gym with smart cardio machines – if you wanted cardio you went out on your bike or for a run. The first guy I worked for was Mr GB for body building… the title sums it up doesn’t it… I won’t be rude just leave it to your imagination!! 

I cant fault the performance techniques, in fact I think I learnt more about lifting performance and technique in this spit and sawdust gym than I have ever since. 

However even then the guys couldn’t get to the size they wanted to be and all ripped without a little help from masses of protein powder and more than a little help from Mr Steroid. Growth hormones undoubtedly do just that make your muscles grow… well most of them, some anatomical areas shrink… I always thought it was a rather imbalanced look. 

Its fairly scary because as with everything the amount and type of growth hormone has become varied and very accessible. I read an article earlier this week about a personal trainer who trains body builders and sculptors. He was asked a simple question:

The personal trainer is Christian Thibaudeau – Would you encourage your children to body build or sculpt… heres what he said:

Hell no! Here’s why.


I was recently talking to an IFBB pro and he mentioned that some pros take as much as 60 units of growth hormone per day on top of 5000-7000 mg of testosterone or steroids per week. They also take a total of over 200 units of insulin (combination of long acting and short acting) and other products like pharmaceutical IGF-1, thyroid hormones, etc.

To put it in perspective, those 60 units of pharmaceutical growth hormone would be, by itself, about 500-600 dollars per day. How can they afford that? Well, not all bodybuilders have to pay for their “stuff,” and for some people there are no limits.

Granted, plenty of solid bodybuilders use “conservative” doses and do well. But they aren’t among the mass monsters. They get by because they have slowly built a good amount of muscle over years of training and are blessed with a good aesthetic structure. They also can move up a few placings by coming in super conditioned.

But you cannot do well in bodybuilding if you’re not taking drugs. Period. Some might require only a small amount; others will need to abuse. But except for the one in a million genetic freak, you’d have to go that route.

Steroids cause cardiovascular issues, kidney and liver problems are amongst the most common.

There’s one thing I tell people who want to do a physique competition. If you plan to go natural, your only shot to look like you belong is to come in freakily conditioned. Even if you’re fairly small, under the stage lights you’ll look good if you’re shredded. And natural guys can come in as shredded as drug users. But it’s much harder, will require a longer, smarter, and more difficult diet, and with that route comes the very good chance of losing a decent amount of muscle.

If you decide to do compete, prepare yourself to be really unhappy most of the time.

I remember when I was dieting to get to super-low levels of body fat. For the last 6 weeks, I basically felt like every ounce of joy had been squeezed out of my body. I was so tired that at the end I could only manage to train for 20 minutes and I couldn’t sleep at night. I also developed unhealthy eating patterns, becoming somewhat bulimic. I once ate 24 Arby’s roast beef burgers in one sitting. These bad eating habits stayed with me for years.

Call me crazy but I wouldn’t want my kid to abuse steroids and other drugs, risking long term health issues. Nor would I want him or her to have body image issues or develop eating disorders while being unhappy most of the time.

Train well train safe and get realistic natural results 

Exercise & Fitness

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