The physical demand of being a bodybuilder and all of the pursuits we must follow to build our physiques has lent our status or description of what we do to being athletes. If we are to maintain that title, it may be in our best interest to participate in other athletic ventures besides just throwing around some weight and spending a little bit of time on the stepmill. Prior to getting involved in bodybuilding, many of us started out in sports and the weights became a tool for us to get bigger, stronger and faster within our sports. Then the draw of the iron became too much to withstand and we left our first priority for a brighter future in the gym. With that being said, I still believe it’s very important for us to maintain a certain level of athleticism and avoid becoming cumbered by our muscle; here’s why.
Much of what we do as bodybuilders would be considered unhealthy by the general public and to some degree, they’re probably right. The amount of food we eat on a daily basis coupled with carrying around an excess amount of body weight only to peel down to single digit body fat levels all while dehydrating ourselves to prepare for the stage, probably isn’t the greatest of ideas long term. This is why I wholeheartedly believe that staying active in other ways, especially during the offseason phase of your year, is so important. Rather than just piling on the weight and avoiding cardiovascular activities (which many will do), find physical outlets that will keep your heart and lungs healthy, promote blood flow throughout your body and keep your metabolic rate firing the way it should to help in utilizing all of the food you’re eating. This additional activity will also bring about the release of endorphins commonly associated with exercising which will keep your spirits high and mental state positive.
Fluidity in Movement
To maximize your chances of being successful on a bodybuilding stage, you have to be able to present your physique as best you can to highlight your strengths and hide your weaknesses. This involves a lot of movement and contorting of the body. If all you are used to is moving in the planes that you use when training, those twisting poses and transitions within your mandatories and routine, will look awkward at best. When you play sports and engage in athletic events, you have to be ready to move in any direction at a moment’s notice. The speed, agility and quickness commonly associated with sport and play will go a long way towards improving how you move on stage and how easily you are able to transition into each pose. Athletes tend to be graceful in their movements, which is why they are capable of getting around or through their opponents with the greatest of ease. If you can apply this to your bodybuilding presentation, you’ll be giving yourself a much better chance at success.
Think about all of the times you played pick-up ball down at the park or rented the ice to play hockey with your friends or just went to the football field to run some routes with your buds. Those were fun times and I bet you probably miss it if you haven’t done it for some time. Because the gym and the pursuit of being a bodybuilder can be lonely and solitary in nature, you have to be willing to step out of that world for at least a little bit here and there to enjoy the company of others and to revisit the games of your past to have some fun. When you can still move around easily when running, jumping or making cuts to blow by your defender, you will have tons of fun. If you’ve let that athleticism go by the wayside, all you’ll find out is that instead of enjoying sport and play, you’ll be worried about injury and how this is going to negatively affect your workouts in the days to follow, which in my mind sucks. Stay athletic so you avoid being one-dimensional.
If you want to be considered an athlete, you have to be physically athletic. In doing so, your workouts will be better, you’ll feel better, more agile and more capable of improving within the exercises you choose to use each week in your pursuit of muscle. Above all else, it will just make you a more well rounded individual. Bodybuilding, the way you know it now, won’t last forever so you have to have something else to look forward to when you’re done. Train, play, have fun and stay strapped in your Mission Trainers so that you can go from the gym to the court any time you want.
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.