I was watching this MSNBC documentary called “Hooked: Muscle Women”, which followed a few hard core, competitive female bodybuilders, and also delved into the lifestyle and the minds of these women. It was pretty fascinating, to say the least!
Kristy Hawkins, one of the ladies featured and pictured above, has been competing since 1998, and has most recently won the 2007 NPC Nationals -(1st Place Light-heavyweight and Overall)
She got into it when she joined her first gym at the age of 15, and soon thereafter, learned that she had an absolute love of defining and shaping her body.
When asked what motivates her, Kristy says "It is a constant challenge--a lifestyle of dedication, discipline, and pushing yourself to be better than you were before. "
What struck me most about this film was the intense amount of dedication and obsession those involved in this activity seem to have. I mean, from the attention they must pay to every morsel of food they put in their mouths to the time spent in the gym enduring these grueling workouts for hours a day, it's pretty intense, and doesn't really leave room for much else in life besides a job. Most of them try to get endorsements so they don't even have to worry about that, and then can dedicate themselves to the sport full time.
The competition is fierce, and the competition circuit can be grueling. Although they have ANPC (All Natural) competitions, without a doubt, many of these women have tripped over into the realm of steroid use. Although strict drug testing is enforced, there are still ways to get around the tests. From the size of some of these women, without a doubt they're juicing anyway, and just know all the tricks.
When asked why they do it, most just confess that they love having control over the way their bodies look and also the power that comes with being this awesomely sculpted, muscular woman. For some, it's not just that, but also a condition called "bigorexia", where the person just never feels that their muscles and body are big enough (common among competitive bodybuilders). This sends them on a never ending quest to be the biggest and the best. The dedication and attention paid to each and every body part and muscle is intense, and a full time job. Also remaining mindful of exactly how many grams of protein, carbs, fat and water you're consuming on a daily and weekly basis has to be difficult and tedious at times.
But they persevere through all, and do it. All to look like this:
The effect on their love and personal lives is also an issue. Without a doubt, being an overly mesomorphic female shrinks the dating pool immensely for you, but these ladies claim to have many admirers. Also, they find that dating and marrying male bodybuilders works out best. It takes a man that's into it himself to both get what the fuss is all about, and also to not be intimidated by his wife's immense musculature. Mere mortal men need not apply! ;)
All in all, I have to say that I admire the hard work and dedication that these ladies commit to. However, that's not, and won't ever be the road for me. I like having muscles and being fit, but I scare people enough as it is when I'm completely ripped! I also would prefer not to deal with the amount of attention, both positive and negative) that these ladies endure daily. Takes a really strong resolve to not only do what they do, but deal with people's reactions to it. And you KNOW how people can be! I could only imagine the comments these ladies get. I've had guys say stupid things to me when they find out that I'm a boxer, or make dumb comments when I take off my sweater and they see my biceps (which aren't even big, they're just shapely and toned- WIMPS!) lol. Gotta give kudos to these girls for deciding that the end result is worth all that they go through, both in and out of the gym.
So, what do you think about female bodybuilders and their sport? Would it ever be something you could see yourself getting into? How about if your daughter, sister, girlfriend or mom started doing this? (they have bodybuilders in their 70's and 80's these days!)
How about you men? Like it, hate it, and would you date it? (hey, I had to go for the rhyme!). I'd like to know what you think!