Have you ever liked the idea of becoming a bodybuilder? It’s easier than you might think. You might never get to be a worldwide competitor, but you don’t have to be the best in the world to enjoy bodybuilding as a hobby.

Bodybuilders: Perception and Reality

When most of us think about bodybuilders, we think about people like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Lou Ferrigno in their prime, towering over the competition and presumably capable of crushing a human skull in one hand. We think of these people as enormous, oiled, and constantly parading in front of a team of judges for international competitions.

However, bodybuilding is simply the act of training to build muscle. Working out frequently, with heavyweights and heavy protein intake, is all it really takes to be a bodybuilder. You don’t need to sign up for any professional competitions. You don’t need to be 400 pounds. You don’t even need to flex for people. Some bodybuilders don’t care about all the extras and are only interested in building new muscle because they’re interested in strength or improving their physical appearance.

Bodybuilding as a Hobby

If you’re not going to compete, why would you become a bodybuilder?

The truth is, there are many different motivations that can lead people to bodybuilding as a hobby.

  • Aesthetics and attractiveness. For some people, bodybuilding is just a practice to improve their own physical aesthetics and make themselves more attractive. Young people sometimes start bodybuilding so they can attract a partner. Other people like to sculpt their bodies for their own purposes since being more attractive makes them more confident and makes them like themselves more.
  • Competition and achievement. For others, bodybuilding is a prime opportunity for competition and achievement. Here, we usually see entry into the competitive scene; after building enough muscle, and sculpting it the right way, you could end up winning a trophy or a cash prize. Even if you don’t, hitting your personal goals can give you a sense of achievement.
  • Social interaction and bonding. Bodybuilding is, in some ways, an individual endeavour. But you’re going to have plenty of opportunities to interact with other people and bond with them. You’ll be working out together, competing together, and probably sharing tips and advice. It can be a great way to make new friends.
  • Discipline and confidence. Bodybuilding requires you to have discipline. It’s impossible to build muscle unless you’re committed to a regular workout routine. It’s impossible to sculpt the shape you want unless you’re committed to a very precise diet. Over time, as you follow this disciplined routine, you’ll gradually build more muscle and work toward the shape you want; and as you make progress, your confidence will naturally rise.

Getting Started With Bodybuilding

What does it take to get started with bodybuilding? Probably less than you think.

  •  Adopt the right mindset. Start with the right mindset. This is a very long, challenging process, and you need to be prepared for that. You’re not going to build muscle overnight, and even if you train for years, competitions may elude you. If you’re going to experience setbacks, plateaus, and hard days, are you prepared for that?
  • Find the right program. No matter how much experience you have with resistance training, there’s probably a program out there for you. You can find a program suitable for a total beginner, an advanced expert, or something right in the middle.
  • Master your form. Good form is essential if you want to be a bodybuilder. Not only is it going to help you get more value out of every exercise you perform, but it’s also going to keep you safe. Make sure you thoroughly understand proper form before attempting any exercise, but especially ones involving very heavyweight.
  • Hire a personal trainer (or work with a group). Most amateur bodybuilders benefit from hiring a personal trainer. When you’re just starting out, you may have only a limited understanding of proper form, the best exercises, or the right way to build a routine. Even if you have some experience, personal trainers provide you with motivation and inspiration, keeping you working towards your goals.
  • Set achievable goals. Speaking of goals, make sure you set some achievable goals for yourself, especially at the beginning of your journey. They serve as excellent direction, they function as a mile marker for success, and they’ll make you feel incredible once you actually achieve them.

There are certainly people who want to pursue bodybuilding because they want to push the limits of what the human body can do, or because they want to become a world-class, internationally famous competitor. But that’s not everybody. Some people choose bodybuilding as a hobby simply because they want to bond with peers and improve their physique in a meaningful way. 

Whatever your goals are, this hobby is probably more accessible to you than you originally thought.