CAN BODYBUILDING HURT YOUR HEALTH?
I was raised with the awareness that many things in this world can be either good or bad for you. Eating an orange is healthy for you, but eating too many oranges can be bad. Drinking water is essential, but drinking too much water can be bad. Guess what else falls into the category? Yep you guessed it..Bodybuilding. It can either be good for you, or can become something that may actually be bad for you. So let’s discuss & figure out together if bodybuilding really is healthy.
HEALTH IS WEALTH
Your health is your most important asset. Without it everything else really doesn’t matter as much. What is having a ton of money, nice cars, and a nice body if you cant enjoy it. Your health is the foundation for your life.
There are many ways to improve your health. Having an active lifestyle can really maximize your physical potential. Also having a solid nutritional diet can be a huge factor.
The earth is covered with approximately 71% water. Our bodies are approximately 60% water. So let’s assert that drinking water is very important. That is another way you can work on improving your health.
TOO MUCH OF ANYTHING IS USUALLY BAD
Like I mentioned earlier to much of anything can be damaging for you. This can be true for almost anything. No matter what it is, no matter how helpful it maybe – if it’s to much it can be bad.
Let me give you some more examples. Vitamins are meant to help you, but too many can be bad for you. Washing your face is necessary, but if you wash your face too much, it can be bad for your skin. We need protein to build muscle, and help our body perform its functions, but too much can really be bad for you. For example one of the side effects of too much protein is that it may cause kidney strain, especially with people who have pre-existing conditions.
Am I saying that too much bodybuilding is bad for you? I don’t think there is such a thing as too much bodybuilding.
For most people bodybuilding begins as an endeavor to improve ones health, and become better. Bodybuilding revolves around training, nutrition, supplements, resting & sometimes PED (Performance Enhancing Drugs). The dangerous thing about bodybuilding can be that in each category – you can get caught up & end up doing too much.
Ultimately The Key In Bodybuilding Is Finding Balance...
WHAT MAKES BODYBUILDING UNHEALTHY?
I broke it down earlier that bodybuilding is mainly divided into several sections.
Each of these categories if done correctly can enhance, and add so much benefit to your life. Proper nutrition, training, resting & supplementation can help you feel and perform at your best.
However like with anything, there can be a slippery slope. Most bodybuilders begin their journey solely to start improving their health, to look for improvement, or to use the gym as an escape. The initial commencement of bodybuilding is mostly pure and simple.
BODYBUILDING IS NOT INSTANT & CAN TAKE YEARS TO REACH YOUR GOALS.
So many of us want results instantly. I mean I do too. However this is where the slope can begin to get slippery. After putting in the work for maybe a few weeks, or months, you will look to see how you can reach your goals quicker and more efficiently. You might be inspired by some top bodybuilders and want to look like them. So you start trying to figure out quicker way to reach your goal.
1.) BODYBUILDING NUTRITION
This might be one that can be a little hard to really go overboard on the unhealthy side. The nutrition aspect in bodybuilding is generally a pretty healthy road compared to many things out there.
You have your Veggies, Proteins, Carbs & Fats. You also pretty much learn to track macros. This helps ensure you are getting the right amount of food to reach your goals. In bodybuilding the ultimate goal is usually – to grow muscle.
WHAT CAN MAKE BODYBUILDING NUTRITION UNHEALTHY ?
Most of the danger that may come from a Bodybuilding nutrition can be related to the increase in protein intake. We know that protein helps with building muscle. So one of the things we do is increase our protein intake.
Protein supplements & high proteins foods help us achieve this demand for protein. However maintaining a very high protein diet & especially over-doing your protein consumption may have it’s risks.
A few of the most common side effects maybe kidney damage more specifically on individuals who have pre-existing renal conditions. High protein diets also cause constipation due to the lack of fiber in most high protein diets. High protein diets may also cause dehydration. Your body uses fluids to flush out the excess nitrogen. Dehydration can cause a host of other problems on it’s own.
2.) TRAINING CAN BECOME UNHEALTHY
Training in Bodybuilding is important. This is the act of tearing down your muscles to make them stronger. This is what I like to call “The Fun Part”. However this can easily become a very unhealthy and counter productive aspect.
The appropriate term is called “overtraining“. Over-training can actually be worse than not training at all. This is something that is so easy to fall victim too because of how FUN and enjoyable training really is. Also we tend to think that the more we do – the more results we get.
I have fallen victim to this and have experienced these side-effects myself. The most common and unhealthy sides of overtraining are:
- Decreased Physical Performance
- Sudden & Uncommon Nagging Injuries
- Metabolic Imbalances
- Feeling Agitated and Heightened Mood Swings
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Becoming Sick & Ill More Often
As you can see – all these issues are VERY serious. They can really impact other aspects of your life not just the physical aspect. The worst effects I got from over training were Mood Swings, Bouts of Depression, & Increased Illness. Your body is a wonderful machine, but to make real progress rest is important.
3.) SUPPLEMENTS & PEDS
This one tends to be the most obvious when we discuss Bodybuilding & health. I can guarantee you that most bodybuilders that started bodybuilding don’t begin with the urge to take supplements or PEDS from the start.
This is an urge that seems to grow as the urge to become better and better arise. There are many bodybuilding supplements that can help you. Popular choices usually are Protein, Creatine, BCAA, Glutamine, Multi-Vitamins& Pre-Workouts.
All of these are mostly harmless,and like I mentioned several times anything in moderation is usually okay. The thing you must do is learn which products you need to cycle. Usually for example you need to cycle creatine for example. Another thing that is good to cycle is pre-workout. This helps in being able to consume the product but also let’s your body not get used to it. It also helps in decreasing side effects that may occur if you stay on it long term.
THE BODYBUILDING DEAL BREAKER
Most people who start bodybuilding and start getting deep into the rabbit hole, find out that many pro’s are on Performance Enhancing Drugs. The thing is that it is not just bodybuilders, many different types of athletes have used PEDS.
The problem is that many new comers who start bodybuilding, assume that to be a bodybuilder you must consume PEDS. To be a top level bodybuilder does require some sort of PED use. However many Pros are very knowledgeable on how to properly consume PEDS.
PEDS tend to be a very sensitive subject. Weather PEDS cause damage or not, I am not a medical researcher to give you the facts of any studies. However I have been in the field for over a decade, and have my share of knowledge.
The most common unhealthy problem in Bodybuilding is the fact that many who strive to become bodybuilders, begin taking PED WITHOUT proper knowledge.
THIS IS THE MOST DANGEROUS ASPECT OF BODYBUILDING BY FAR
Taking PEDS without knowing how to properly do it, can amplify the damage by ten folds. If you think PEDS are bad, well taking PEDS without knowing how to take them is 10X worse. Most people who I have seen damage their health, was due to not taking PEDS properly. That can have a lifetime lingering effect on your health.
Some side effects are:
- Developing Gyno
- Shutting Down Your Endocrine System ( Stop Production Of Natural Test)
- Blood Clots
- Liver Damage
- Severe Acne & Cyst
- Jaundice – Skin Disease
Many of these are common with PEDS, but the risk increase greatly when you are unaware on how to properly consume them. So PEDS are in the extreme side of the spectrum for bodybuilding. When you are on this spectrum of the sport, you have to ask yourself “Is my health worth this risk”? That is a personal decision we all have to make. Don’t ever feel pressured to do something you don’t want to.
YOUR HEALTH ULTIMATELY IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY
So my opinion is that Bodybuilding is only as unhealthy as you allow it to be for you. We discussed how so many things in bodybuilding can actually benefit your health. Those same things that make it healthy, can also make it unhealthy.
There is a Bodybuilding Spectrum. It can range from a lifestyle bodybuilder, all the way to a competitive bodybuilder. As you start to sway towards the competitive side, it does tend to get more unhealthy. The main reason being the “winning” factor. Many will do whatever it takes to win.
Ultimately you decide how healthy bodybuilding is. Don’t ever let someone else make that decision for you. You have one body & you won’t get another one. So take care of it.