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What is Body Building?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 23, 2024
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Body building is the technique of "building" the maximum strength and muscle tone in the body through weightlifting. Body building is concerned with shaping and defining the body's musculature, or muscle system. Most body builders are concerned with what foods and drinks they put into their bodies in addition to lifting weights and working out.

The first known and most famous body builder was Eugen Sandow. Sandow, born in 1867 in what is now Germany and what was then Prussia, started his body building career as a sideshow Strong Man. Sandow, known as The Great Sandow, felt that a muscular body was a work of art. He made famous the flexes and other posing techniques still popular in body building competitions today. Sandow is often called the "Father of Body Building."

A body builder can come from any socio-economic background and profession. Some body builders work out regularly in gyms, but many others work out, at least initially, at home. The earliest body builders, such as Sandow, had to invent muscle building techniques by trying out different exercises to see what worked and what did not in making the body strong and toned. For example, it was discovered that body building work on opposing muscle groups, called "antagonistic workout split", helps increase muscle mass. Body building takes extreme dedication and perseverance.

Weight training to be fit does not always have to mean bulging biceps and over-accentuated muscles. Body building is popular with many celebrities today, both male and female, as a way of just staying fit, toned, and attractive without being overly muscled. Some celebrities do use body building as a means of having defined biceps and pronounced musculature also, of course, such as those starring in feature "action" films. Arnold Schwarzenegger was both a body builder and an action movie star before becoming Governor of California. Schwarzenegger's autobiography, published in 1977, is entitled "The Education of a Body Builder."

Besides lifting weights, nutrition and other forms of exercise are important in body building. Weight lifting does not provide cardiovascular benefits so body builders usually have walking routines as well. Walking can also reduce fat by burning calories. Many body builders have special diets that focus on particular combinations of foods while strictly avoiding other foods, so eating can be difficult for professional body builders who travel frequently. Many bring their own foods to body building competitions.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By AuthorSheriC — On Jul 07, 2008

Interesting! Thanks for the comment. Yes, I guess the cable allows for more movement etc.

By minombre — On Jul 07, 2008

Some recent studies have shown that free weight exercise equipment builds muscle much more then stationary equipment does. Dumbbells and equipment with cable give more room for motion therefore there is more muscle build up.

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