Every day, bodybuilding is growing in popularity, especially among young men, from age 14 – 26 due to a large increase in social media and online content about this sport.
With high access to online information, people started working on themselves, maybe to get a better appearance, increase strength or just improve overall health.
That being said, now we have the question: is bodybuilding bad for you?
Generally, no, bodybuilding is good for you and your health, if you exercise properly, put on muscle and maintain healthy habits in the gym, you will only get benefits like an increase in strength, self-esteem, lower stress levels, sleep quality, and overall better health.
But there is a catch, bodybuilding it’s not simple, and can go wrong if you don’t do it right. Heavy weights, supplements, pre-workouts, dieting, and nutrition are part of the sport, but should be done with caution, as anything related to your body’s nutrition, metabolism and hormones can be dangerous.
But we need to go a little more in-depth, there are some things we need to address on how bodybuilding CAN be a problem if done incorrectly.
Heavy Weights, Bad Form, and Injury
If done incorrectly, lifting heavy weights can lead to long-term injury, and that’s why you need to practice mobility and good form on all your exercises, keeping your body safe.
If you overload or overstretch the muscle, you can suffer from a muscle tear, and that will often need surgery and long recovering times. Another type of very common injury is overloading your tendons and ligaments, they can get injured from repeating the same movements over and over again.
Another important thing is, you NEED rest days, choose at least one day a week and just take the day off. Without this, you’ll end up injured and sorry. (Take it from me, I believed I was invincible too and then I was out of the gym for 2+ months due to a bad injury!)
If you want to build a good physique, at some point in your journey you will come across supplements that will promise to improve your energy levels, recovery, and strength.
While a large part of them is safe for consumption, you should watch out and only go for regulated supplements with large studies done on top of it, like protein powder, creatine, fish oil, or multivitamins. If you stay on that track, you should face no problem, just make sure to not overload your kidney with loads of things to filter. (Staying hydrated is KEY in this sport!)
If you need an energy boost before training, a pre-workout can be a good idea, but be careful and don’t overdo it.
Most pre-workouts have a lot of stimulants, and you will end up developing a resistance to those substances, leading you to increase their doses.
High dosage of pre-workout stimulants can lead to high blood pressure, strokes, or in some bad cases, cardiac arrest.
Another thing you should look out for on pre-workouts it’s their composition and dosage, as some pre-workouts can have unregulated substances that have been proven dangerous like DMAA. (While DMAA is banned in the US now, there are still other substances that could be in there that are dangerous!)
But most pre-workouts are safe, as long as you take moderate doses and give yourself a 14-day tolerance break when developing resistance.
Dieting and Nutrition
If you have any experience with bodybuilding you probably know the importance of nutrition to your body and training.
Calculating calories, eating your protein, carbs, and fats are all extremely important to the development of our body and health, but if done wrong, can lead to a lot of bad things, and that’s why you need to understand exactly what you are doing.
Bulking and cutting cycles should be done slowly, increasing or decreasing about 200 calories at a time, that way, your metabolism won’t suffer sudden changes and will adapt better to your needs, otherwise, they can be really tough on your body, leading to stress, mood changes, cravings, anxiety and more.
Water consumption should be calculated and prioritized, we all need it to maintain healthy levels of hydration especially when developing your body and practicing a sport like bodybuilding.
So as long as you are eating on a low calories deficit or surplus, beating your macros (protein, carbs, and fats) and drinking enough water, you will be fine and start to see changes in your body and strength.
Also, if you are bulking, pay attention to the amount of salt in your foods, you are eating a lot, but the maximum amount of sodium you should take per day stays the same.
Performance Enhancer Use and Heart Problems
In bodybuilding, some high performance athletes or people who want to speed up their evolution process can choose to take performance-enhancers.
These anabolic enhancers lead to muscle growth and maintenance, increase in hormone levels, strength and more, but are incredibly harmful to your health.
There are plenty of cases of professional bodybuilders who chose this path dying with different types of heart diseases, strokes and other health problems.
- Read: The Sad Zyzz Death, a legend lost caused by the use of performance enhancers.
- Read: The Rich Piana Death, a legend gone too soon.
Performance enhancers that affect muscle growth WILL make changes to your heart tissue, this isn’t healthy and not worth it.
Professional bodybuilders do it, but they are in serious competition and get lots of money to do it, and they do it with medical support. But even then, a lot of them run into health problems.
After all of this information, we can affirm that bodybuilding is good for you, as long as you pay attention and dedicate yourself to what you are doing, so let’s recap.
- Don’t overload your muscles and pay attention to your form and posture while lifting to prevent injury
- Be careful with what you put into your body, the most researched supplements are protein powder and creatine, and they will be the two pillars of your bodybuilding journey. (Don’t overload your kidney)
- Pre-workouts are fine on moderate doses and you should take a 14 day tolerance break once you develop resistance, high doses can lead to strokes, cardiac arrest, anxiety and will only negatively affect your training.
- You should calculate your calorie intake and slowly increase the surplus or deficit so you don’t affect your metabolism too much. Calculate your macros (protein, carbs and fats) and beat them every day. (And drink water)
- Performance enhancers are extremely dangerous and will most probably lead you to heart disease even on very low doses.