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Why you should listen to a body builder

Physique athletes, aka bodybuilders, fitness and figure competitors have been wrongly stereotyped in the media as “meat heads”, “dumb” and “freaks of nature” existing on a diet of nothing more than chicken breasts, egg whites and oatmeal. 

Trust me, nothing can be further from the truth.  Physique athletes are some of the most intelligent people you’ll ever meet.  Many of them have a Master’s Degree in the Exercise Sciences, Nutrition, or have a Ph.D.  Many of them are good friends of mine and are some of the smartest people I know.

While yes, there are some “extremes” when it comes to the sport of professional body building, which my friend Will Brink talks about in his blog post, “Is Body Building Healthy?”,   for the most part, when it’s taken to the extremes at the pro level, it can be unhealthy, but that’s not the direction I’m going with this post.

While you may not want to be a fitness, figure or bodybuilding competitor, you do want to listen to what they have to say when they talk about fitness and nutrition.

Why????  Because they KNOW how to build a lean, healthy body through nutrition and exercise.  When it comes to stripping away body fat and having 6 pack abs, body builders are the go to gurus.  At least in my humble opinion 😉

Bodybuilding transformed my body
Before I started reading body building books and magazines, I was a perpetual before picture.  I went to the gym all the time, I did tons of cardio, I did exercises that were designed to “tone” my body, (which, by the way, “tone” is word main stream magazines like to use which is total BS), I didn’t eat junk foods or sweets, I would go for hours on end without eating.  Despite my efforts, I was getting fatter, not leaner.

My efforts were based on what you would read in main stream magazines and hear on the news.  Little did I know that all this information was misinformation that was sabotaging my efforts to lose my belly fat. 

One day I was browsing the newsstand when the cover of a bodybuilding magazine caught my eye.  There on the cover was a picture of a very beautiful woman whose body was muscular, yet very sexy and feminine.   It was at that moment I knew exactly what my goal was and, whatever it is I was doing was not going to get me to that goal.

It was at that moment I bought my very first body building magazine.  It was Muscle and Fitness Magazine and the woman on the cover was Monica Brandt.

I couldn’t wait to get home and start reading the magazine.  Once I began reading, all the information in the magazine about fitness and nutrition was a total departure from what I had been reading in the mainstream magazines and stories I would hear on the news. 

Drastic changes were about to be made. Gone were the endless hours of long, boring, cardio, the low fat starvation diet and puny weights I had been lifting, and….. the mainstream magazines I had been reading.

Living the bodybuilding lifestyle
One of the things I learned early on is that the foundation to bodybuilding is living a very healthy lifestyle in mind, body and spirit. 

The diet of a body builder consists primarily of real, whole, nutritious, unprocessed foods – lots of protein, lots of vegetables, nuts, seeds and fruits in moderation.  It is the very foundation of what I’ve been eating for the past 10 years.  It is a very sustainable nutrition plan that not only nourishes my body, but has kept me lean, fit and healthy.

Lifting weights hard and heavy with intensity and focus is what will give your body shape by building muscle, boosting your metabolism, burning fat, increasing bone density and improving your strength.  You want to have a higher muscle to body fat ratio and the only way to do that is to lift weights and using weights that will challenge you in the 5-12 rep range, not doing 20+ reps.  Also, just doing cardio is not going to give your body shape.  Whether you’re male or female …… muscle IS sexy.

You would be surprised to learn that as I get older, I’ve been lifting heavier.   As a matter of fact, I’m currently Beta Testing an old school body building style workout program that was designed by Canada’s top IBFF Pro and I’m having a great time challenging myself with each workout.

To achieve results takes hard work, dedication, focus, commitment, motivation, learning from mistakes and not giving up.  This is the mindset you need to achieve results in all aspects of life regardless of what your goal is. 

It is this very foundation that has transformed not only my body, but my life.

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  1. 9 Comment(s)

  2. By Tom Parker | Reply

    Great post Shari. I think bodybuilders do in general have a great philosophy on diet and exercise. The only criticism I have (and this is probably more down to media perception and speaking to the wrong people at the gym in my early days) is the bulking and cutting approach.

    When I started training I wanted to put on muscle. I did not want to get massive but I was very skinny and wanted to bulk up a little. I was introduced to the weights room, shown how to do the basic exercises and told that I needed to eat a lot more if I wanted to build muscle. When I asked what I needed to eat I was told to eat chicken and tuna if possible but the main thing was that I just ate as much as I possibly could.

    I tried to do this for a couple of months but in the end I stopped because it was not practical to eat that much food and it was becoming really unenjoyable. Forcing down food when you are already full is not fun.

    Looking back, this approach is obviously not healthy. Eating such large amounts of food is going to put a lots of pressure on your internal organs. I know not all bodybuilders follow this approach but I know a fair amount do and I would not recommend this eating plan to anyone.

  3. By sharifitness | Reply

    Hi Tom
    Thanks for your comment and feedback. Glad you liked the article.

    The advice you were given, to eat lots of calories in order to build more muscle and gain weight (the good weight from muscle) in the most general terms, correct and it’s also a matter of getting in the right macro nutrient proportions.

    I also know how difficult it can be to eat all that food which is why nutritional and sports supplements can be very helpful.

    Each and every person is unique, and I don’t believe in a one size fits all approach that is the end all, be all.

    At the end of the day it becomes a matter of taking the basic foundation of that information (in your case, putting on some extra weight and size in muscle) and tweaking it to suit your needs.

    That is something I’ve been doing personally, for myself, for years. Take a basic plan, follow it as is. Find out what’s working, what’s not working and tweaking it to make it work for you.

  4. By Monica Brant | Reply

    Just wanted to say I saw this and am honored and happy that I helped you out!! Wishing you continued success always.. thanks for giving me a plug.. so very nice!
    xo Monica Brant

  5. By sharifitness | Reply

    Thank you soooooo much for your comment. Yes, you definitely were and still are a major inspiration and role model.

    Keep up the great work and keep inspiring xo


  6. By chris timothy | Reply

    Great article and so true. I’ve always told my clients that competitors make the best trainers.

  7. By sharifitness | Reply

    Thank you Chris. I appreciate the comment 🙂

  8. By Danny McLarty | Reply

    Women lifting hard and heavy … AMEN! This is a BIG key to really changing the body. Keep preaching, as I am on the same “team” as you. And like you, I’ll continue to spread the good word. 🙂


  9. By sharifitness | Reply

    Thank you sooooo much for that comment :))) I really do appreciate it.

  10. By sean | Reply

    Great article lol cant believe how big arnold was back in the day!

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