Bodybuilding is a sport that many people are interested in. It has a great community, great ways to make money, and it impresses everyone you walk by when they see your muscle.
But- can anyone be a bodybuilder? Yes and no. To be a bodybuilder you need a strong mental game to workout for YEARS on end non-stop, eat tons of food every day, and dedicate bodybuilding as your number #1 sport. But, otherwise- anyone can be a bodybuilder as long as you have that mentality.
And before anyone gets into arguments about genetics, amputations, et cetera:
No. There are many bodybuilders that compete with amputations, injuries, and there are tons of famous bodybuilders with Down Syndrome that compete.
And no, genetics are not really a thing in bodybuilding, truthfully.
Let’s get into this, and cover this topic a bit more in-depth.
#1 – The Hardest Part About Bodybuilding is Mindset, That’s It
Right off the bat, I know a ton of people are going to think like, “Don’t worry, I have a great mindset!”.
Well, I thought I did too. And most bodybuilders will tell you too that when you’re 2 years into the sport, with no muscle to show for it, eating until your stomach explodes, working out 2-3+ hours a day, you really start to question everything.
There is a good reason so many people quit going to the gym. It’s hard, it really is.
The amount of people I’ve seen come and go is crazy. In fact, many veteran bodybuilders often make bets with each other how long the new guy will stay before he gives up.
I was actually one that they guessed would never return. I weighed 105 pounds soaking wet. After 6 months of solid lifting and a weight gain of 30 pounds, they came up to me randomly and congratulated me saying- “We all thought you’d give up months ago. We didn’t think you’d make it. You’ve made great progress, keep going”.
Bodybuilding Really Sucks, It Does
Everybody after their first few workouts falls in love with the sport.
But, think about it. Are you able to do this nearly everyday for the next few years of your life? (And we haven’t even gotten to the whole eating and nutrition part).
Think about when you go to college, get a job, have a family- will you have time to do it?
Truthfully, I think the answer is always: yes. I see people work 10 hours, workout really hard for an hour, then go home to their family and stay bodybuilding.
One of the most famous bodybuilders, Ronnie Coleman, actually used to be a cop while he was becoming a bodybuilder! Tons of long shifts, long nights- and he still never gave up. (Imagine being arrested by him, there’s no way anyone resists arrest when he’s around!)
The problem is, after a long day of college, a long 10 hour shift- most of us just want to go home and sleep. That’s not really an option if you’re a bodybuilder.
(It can be if you’re good at managing your schedule, but more often than not there will be endless conflicts)
Bodybuilding isn’t like sitting in an office all day. Yes, it sucks- but bodybuilding is PHYSICALLY and MENTALLY exerting. You have to convince yourself to keep pushing super heavy weight for HOURS a day- are you able to do this?
If you can picture yourself, years from now, still regularly going to the gym and lifting as hard as you can. You may be able to say- I can be a bodybuilder.
The Second Hardest Part of Bodybuilding is Eating
When you’re outside of the gym, you’re always eating.
When you start working out, you go through a whole diet change.
You start eating protein, in the upwards of like 100g of protein a day. Most people are eating 10-15 grams of protein a day normally.
You start having to cook differently, you need to eat more calories to grow muscle, you need to eat so so so so so much.
So, when you’re done with that 2 – 3 hours of working out, you sit there and have to plan to eat for hours on end too. Now, you’re eating during class, at work, while studying, et cetera.
It isn’t an easy task to be a bodybuilder- that’s why there are so few.
#2 – No, Genetics Do NOT Matter in Bodybuilding
This is a common argument I hear all the time by non-bodybuilders (specifically, only non bodybuilders.)
In fact, I was torn to SHREDS on a Reddit post once when I said genetics don’t matter to a whole bunch of tiny redditors who had never stepped foot in the gym in their life.
People saying genetics matter in bodybuilding are just using excuses. And it doesn’t even make sense. Do you think Arnold Schwarzenegger analyzed his DNA in a lab before working out? All of us can achieve that size, all of us can grow muscle.
Now, for those veteran bodybuilders- they know genetics matter only a very tiny bit, but all in all it doesn’t matter.
You can have someone with great genetics who loses in a competition against someone with bad genetics that works out harder and better.
That’s not to mention many judges take out genetics as a factor in bodybuilding competitions. People aren’t compared next to each other, they are compared individually based on their own body’s appearance.
This is why many bodybuilders who compete at the highest level have their own special workout programs that work muscles that make their OWN body look good.
So, as long as you focus on working out your body on what makes you look good- which is the whole point of bodybuilding anyways- you’ll be fine.
And I don’t want to hear excuses from anyone- especially not those tiny redditors in that thread (I’m still salty about it). I used to weigh 105 pounds, nobody in my family was or ever has been a bodybuilder or ever has lifted weights, I was never in sports growing up, I played computer games all day.
If anyone had room to speak about genetics, it’d be me. But believe me, I learned the hard way that genetics don’t matter.
#3 – Even People With Disabilities Compete in Bodybuilding
If you think I’ve been harsh- try telling some of the famous bodybuilders with Down Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy about how you “can’t do it because of genetics”.
It’s honestly incredible. Some of these bodybuilders have literally advanced scientific research into their disabilities because they have pushed limits doctors never thought was possible.
It hits home to me as my little brother has cerebral palsy. And he worked out for a bit too and often goes on hike that are 7+ miles long. Is it easy? No, but he doesn’t let his disability control him.
So, I hate the argument that people can only be bodybuilders if they are ‘genetically gifted’.
Collin Clarke, a bodybuilder with Down Syndrome is absolutely SHREDDED. He regularly competes in bodybuilding competitions and if you go through his Instagram you’ll find years of his progress.
Try telling him that the reason you can’t be a bodybuilder is your “genetics”- I bet he would laugh at you.
#4 – Only If You Have A Serious Medical Condition, Can You Not Be a Bodybuilder
I will say, that really the only exception is if you have a serious medical condition that directly inhibits bodybuilding itself.
This, unfortunately, happened to a famous bodybuilder- Flex Wheeler. He was one of the best bodybuilders to ever walk this planet, but he developed a very rare kidney disease that made it so every single time he worked out- he was poisoning his body, which led to his famous leg amputation.
He is like, the one exception to the rule of ‘anyone can be a bodybuilder’. And even with his severe kidney injuries he still tries to work out. (although, I’m not sure I recommend that).
If you do end up having something like Kidney disease where working out literally kills you- I would obviously advise against bodybuilding.
This is why every gym has a notice saying to consult a doctor before you workout, and I’m telling you the same thing. Most people don’t know things like kidney disease affect bodybuilding, and there are many other smaller complications you might have that could affect it.
#5 – But, Yes- 99% Of People Can be a Bodybuilder, It’s Just Tough
Generally speaking, 99% of people can be a bodybuilder- with exceptions for serious medical conditions.
It just takes a strong mindset. And no, genetics don’t play into this.
I don’t want to sound mean in this article, but I’m tired of people giving up their dreams of going to the gym and working out because of reasons they’ve heard online. The gym has a great community, working out is great for your health, and I want people to experience it.
That’s right- I want to see you work out and have fun working out. It’s truly a good time and great for your health. See you in the gym! 🙂