21 Bodybuilding Statistics: Sizes, Steroids, BMI and Weights

Bodybuilding is growing in popularity thanks to social media and better competitions. Here are 21 of the top bodybuilding Statistics.

Part 1: Pro Bodybuilding Statistics Vs. Amateur Bodybuilder

In general, bodybuilders carry more lean muscle mass and have lower body fat levels compared to the average Joe. But what about when it comes to comparing pro bodybuilders to amateur natural bodybuilding?

A Polish study published in 2019 looked at 29 pro bodybuilders and compared them with 26 amateur bodybuilders. Here are the top two stats and takeaways from that research.

Professional Bodybuilder VS Amateur Arm and Waist Sizes

21 Bodybuilding Statistics: Sizes, Steroids, BMI and Weights

Although both control groups were of similar age, the professional bodybuilders had arms that were 5.4cm bigger and quadriceps that were 5.12 cm bigger. Moreover, the pros had waistlines 5.7cm slimmer than their amateur counterparts.

Pro Vs Amateur BMI and Fat Measurements

Furthermore, the pros had a body mass index or BMI that was slightly higher; however, when skinfolds were taken, their fat measurements were, on average, 5.7% compared to 18% body fat in the natural bodybuilding group. (1)

The big takeaway here is that BMI, although touted as being the “gold standard,” does very little to accurately measure body fat levels. To do that, old-school skinfold tests still seem to be the most effective way of measuring body fat levels. 

Part 2: Bodybuilding Anabolic Steroids Statistics

Anabolic steroid use is prevalent in bodybuilding competition, with many bodybuilders not only using them but abusing them. There are countless numbers of anabolic steroids available on the market today designed for muscle building. Many of which, if not used responsibly, can cause severe long-term health problems like high blood pressure and, as you’ll see later on in this article, even death.

So let’s take a look at the most important stats when it comes to anabolic steroids and the sport of bodybuilding. 

Top Bodybuilding Statistics Anabolic Steroid

  1. Generally speaking, the more anabolic steroids a bodybuilder takes the more muscle growth. The same rings true for female bodybuilders.
  2. 3 out of 4 competitive bodybuilders have reported using anabolic steroids throughout the competitive bodybuilding season.Β 
  3. Prior to competition, many of the same bodybuilders add to their compound by using other performance-enhancing drugs, PEDS, such as Stanozolol at 52%, Boldenone at 31%, and Oxandrolone at 18%. (2)
21 Bodybuilding Statistics: Sizes, Steroids, BMI and Weights
Most bodybuilders including female bodybuilders take anabolic steroids during the offseason for muscle growth and muscle mass, with the most popular being Nandrolone at 48%, Sustanon at 46%, Boldenone at 42%, and testosterone at 36%
21 Bodybuilding Statistics: Sizes, Steroids, BMI and Weights
Other popular PEDS are Clenbuterol, Liothyronine, and Clomiphene.Β 

I would also like to note that data on performance-enhancing drugs amongst professional bodybuilders is pretty much “non-existent.” However, most industry insiders believe steroids use among competitive bodybuilders is widespread. 

Part 3: Bodybuilding & Weight Training Statistics

It’s fair to say that in recent years pro bodybuilding has seen a massive boom in popularity, especially when compared to, say, 20 or 30 years ago. Back in those days, the general public viewed bodybuilding as an “underground” sport performed by a bunch of muscle mass weirdos.

Fast forward to 2023, and the sport of bodybuilding is as mainstream as ever, with the global health and fitness industry literally worth billions of dollars. 

One of the facets of bodybuilding that is critical to success and of great interest to the general public is how pro-bodybuilders build muscle. The short answer is that there is no “cookie-cutter” training program to follow to build a fat-free mass body.

That being said, I’ve compiled five statistics that will give you insight into some of the most common and effective training methods to build more fat-free mass.

Top 5 Bodybuilding Statistics On Weight Training

21 Bodybuilding Statistics: Sizes, Steroids, BMI and Weights
Typically, most bodybuilders train 5-6 days per week, following either a 5-split or 3-split program. These competitive bodybuilders train their major muscle groups, such as chest and legs, 1-2 times weekly, with 70% of bodybuilders employing a 5-split, with the other 30% using the 3-split plan. (3)
  1. The vast majority of bodybuilders, upwards of 95%, perform between 3-5 movements per muscle group, with reps ranging anywhere from 4-12 or 3-5, depending on the time of the season and their weight loss goals.
21 Bodybuilding Statistics: Sizes, Steroids, BMI and Weights
The most elite professional bodybuilders generally hit their major muscle groups no more than twice weekly, with workouts lasting no longer than 70 minutes.Β 

During the off-season, a whopping 85% of professional bodybuilders choose to focus on lifting heavier weights to build as much muscle as possible. (4)
21 Bodybuilding Statistics: Sizes, Steroids, BMI and Weights
Prior to a major event, some pro bodybuilders, 20%, dramatically cut the number of sets they perform and increase their aerobic training. Rather, they focus on more reps, generally between 7-12. However, 20% of bodybuilders also chose to perform more than 15 reps leading up to the competition.Β 

Part 4: Bodybuilding Diet & Supplement Statistics

There are many elements that make up the bodybuilding niche; however, one would argue that the most critical component is diet. While avid fitness buffs consume a healthy diet and watch what they eat, pro bodybuilders take diet and nutrition to a whole new level of commitment.

Diet plays a critical role in bodybuilding, particularly in phases before a big competition like the Olympia contest when competitors are looking to come in as lean as possible. 

In terms of diet, there is no “one-size” fits all diet or supplement regime that is best suited for all bodybuilders. However, that said, it’s fair to say the vast majority of advanced bodybuilders’ diets are high in protein, with foods such as whey protein, eggs, steak, and chicken staples in the diet. Their diets are also low in saturated fats.

The diet and supplement industry is massive, with an expected market size of $39 billion for 2023. In 2021, the global supplements market was estimated to be $151 billion, with expected growth to continue at an annual compound growth rate, or CAGR, of 9% until 2030. The primary growth factor is the increased awareness of the importance of marinating a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle. 

Busy work schedules and hectic lifestyles mean the vast majority of people struggle to consume enough quality nutrition including protein intake in their daily diet, meaning they’re more likely to turn to supplements to bridge the gap. 

Due to the higher amount of disposable income, the North America and Western markets continue to drive the growth of the supplement and vitamin industry. 

Countless fitness centers, gyms, health clubs, and country clubs are also seeing a high demand for nutritional support. Many owners are now looking to actively hire full-time nutritionists and dieticians. This interest in nutrition and “weight management” is also driving the growth of the supplement industry. 

Finally, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to take their health seriously, and as such, the supplement industry saw massive growth between 2019 and 2022. The most popular supplements, though, were not muscle growth or weight loss supplements but rather immune-boosting supplements that help to strengthen the human body.

Size of the Supplement Industry

21 Bodybuilding Statistics: Sizes, Steroids, BMI and Weights

Top 5 Bodybuilding Statistics and Diet

  1. In 2023, the expected market size of the diet and supplement industry will be a whopping $40 billion. (5)
  2. The diet and supplement manufacturing industry is only expected to grow by 1% in 2023.
  3. Did you know that the protein powders and supplement industry is ranked 50th in the US and the 282nd in terms of market size? (6)
  4. Between 2018 and 2022, the diet and supplement industry grew by 1% annually.
  5. Due to health concerns, senior citizens comprise most of the diet and supplement consumer market share. (7)
21 Bodybuilding Statistics: Sizes, Steroids, BMI and Weights

Chapter 5: Bodybuilding Statistics and Death

The perception of the general public and even those who have been in the industry for years is that pro-bodybuilders die much younger compared to the general population. But is this really true? Or is it a myth that the mainstream media have perpetuated?

What about the death rate of bodybuilders compared to other professional sports, such as the National Football League or Major League Baseball? 

Well, in actual fact, bodybuilders do die at a faster rate when compared to those athletes. Compared to NFL players, bodybuilders die 1.75 times faster and 2.5 times faster than MLB players.

However, when compared to the average American male, bodybuilders actually live longer than their male counterparts, which is a testament to the benefits of strength training and a good diet. 

21 Bodybuilding Statistics: Sizes, Steroids, BMI and Weights

Top 4 Bodybuilding Statistics Death

  1. Professional bodybuilders aged between 44 and 69 live longer than the average American male. (8)
  2. Compared to National Football League players, professional bodybuilders have a death rate of 1.75 times their NFL counterparts.(9)
  3. Compared to National Baseball League players, professional bodybuilders have a death rate of 2.5 times their MLB counterparts. (10)
  4. High blood pressure and kidney-related issues accounted for 9.1% of the total death of bodybuilders, with many experts pointing to the high use of anabolic steroids and other harmful substances, including insulin and certain diuretics. 
21 Bodybuilding Statistics: Sizes, Steroids, BMI and Weights

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Contributors

Brenton Barker

Brenton Barker | Writer

Brenton is a highly qualified sports coach with over 20 years of experience working with professional athletes. With a degree in sports coaching and experience in prominent positions, including Head Advisor to the Japanese Government Sports Institute and Manager & Head Coach to Australia's Governing Sporting Body. Currently, he consults with several professional athletes and sporting organizations, sharing his expertise to help them reach their full potential.

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