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Old 03-14-2012, 08:26 PM   #1
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Default 70s Big on Modern Bodybuilding

Posting this for discussion. Interesting topic.

The culture of today’s bodybuilding is where the disconnect is. When I look at Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding, it just seems different than today’s bodybuilding. Yes, guys were still training to improve their physique, but the drugs resulted in a more streamlined look.

They had good shape, and even the bigger guys weren’t uncomfortably bulky; the size seemed to fit each man’s frame. But the issue isn’t that the physiques are significantly different (as a result of the drug improvements), but instead the difference is the culture surrounding it.

Remember the scene in Pumping Iron when Arnold visited a prison and did a posing routine? The thugs and gang bangers had an honest appreciation for the beauty of the human body. It seemed like the world was more impressed with bodybuilding and strength sports back then.

There were powerlifting broadcasts hosted by Bryant Gumbel in the ’70s and routine public appearances by bodybuilders. It seems like it was all so new to society that there was still that “go see the strongman at the circus” aura behind it. It’s only natural since the preceding century saw the Civil War, World War I, and World War II; society didn’t have the luxury to bodybuild and it was fascinating because it was different.

Yet, today’s culture has gone through a metamorphosis that makes it…weird.

The majority of attendees at the Arnold Classic finals were wearing designer clothes, plucked their eyebrows, and applied fake tanning solution — and I’m not even talking about the girls. This crowd also trains to only improve their physique, but there’s also that “we’re going clubbing” feel to it.

It seems that if you integrate yourself into today’s bodybuilding culture by working out or competing, you inherently implement the “peacock” mentality of spreading your wings. “Look and be flashy” is not only standard ops, but what it’s all about.

And it doesn’t matter why this is the case, because it doesn’t matter. What matters is that there is a culture that not only prides itself on how good it looks, but on how flashy and shiny they can appear to others in the same group.

Ultimately, that’s just weird to me. Sure, I want to be attractive, masculine, and muscular, but to me these traits (at least the latter two) are dependent on ability, performance, and health.

Be strong and look strong.

I’m not saying that the inherent level of narcissism in today’s bodybuilding is wrong, I’m just saying that it’s different and not my kind of thing.

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