In the world of "fitness," there are a few distinct "tribes" that you see everywhere: the "weekend warriors," who come and go with the seasons; the "health nuts," always on that treadmill and drinking the soy milk shakes; and then the real life bodybuilders, who are, to a person, bizarre, inhuman freakazoids. (Not saying that in a judgmental way.)
I distinctly recall being in the gym one weekend years ago and watching one huge hulking bodybuilder smile and laugh as his slightly shorter, runtier bodybuilder sidekick/ weed carrier recounted how he, the sidekick, had rushed out to buy the big guy some Pedialyte early one Saturday morning when big guy woke up and found that his muscles were momentarily without their literal baby food, which must be had at precise hourly intervals. Just a couple of 240 pound guys giggling 'bout fetching baby food for one another, that's all. It was one of the most disconcerting sights I'd ever seen. Had they been a gay couple, or adult babies, it would have made perfect sense. It would have been sweet, even. But these were exactly the types of dudes who, if anyone insinuated that they possessed even the slightest hint of gayness, would have raged and rended their garments and thrown weights into the gym mirrors and gnashed their teeth and ripped pieces of metal off of the gym equipment and eaten that metal, with their teeth, right then, no homo.
Why the cognitive dissonance, bro? Perhaps it is the raging body dysmorphic disorder or perhaps then again it is all of the steroids. Or perhaps it is as diagnosed by strength coach Mark Rippetoe: "Bodybuilding is men on a stage in their underwear wearing brown paint showing other men their muscles. It is training for appearance only, and at the contest level requires a degree of vanity, narcissism, and self-absorption that I find distasteful and odd."
I'll tell you what else is odd: bodybuilding. Yes, we all need to have a goal, and if your goal, your motivation, the thing that gets you off the couch and into the gym every day, is the vision of yourself as a swollen, oiled, glistening, vein-y, artificially tanned bodybuilding champion, well, that's fine, you freak. You are strange. Not bad. Just weird. Bodybuilding does not have the bad reputation of anorexia only because bodybuilding tends to produce more classically accepted human forms. But choosing between starving yourself and shooting your buttocks full of Winstrol, Testosterone, Dianabol, Trenbolone, Clenbuterol, and a little horsey Equipoise for good measure is a choice between two things that are both not good. Better to choose neither.
You steroid people: you are so obvious! You are clearly on steroids! It is completely visible to the naked eye! There is no lie that you can tell that will distract us from the fact that your massive and grotesque size was gained with the assistance of several varieties of banned chemical substances! Outside of a small class of genetic freaks, human beings do not get that "bodybuilder look," ever, without a shitload of steroids. Hey fellas—that's not cool, for the kids and whatnot. Hey kids, what does Coach Rip have to say about steroids? "There are no shortcuts. The fact that a shortcut is important to you means that you are a pussy."
That's a message that kids these days need to have shouted at them loud and clear, preferably by some angry old man.
The ideal human form.
Fitness is not about how you look. Fitness is about what you can do. Form follows function. The function is the thing. If you can already squat 500 pounds, then you don't need to take dehydration drugs and put on a small topless leotard and climb on stage and smile maniacally. You just need to do that shit. Here's a good phrase that I'm in the process of copyrighting that sums up this issue in a pithy way you can remember: Just do it.
But not bodybuilding. The other fitness things. (While not doing drugs.)