Bodybuilding is all about achieving the body of your dreams, but is it actually a healthy sport ? Well if you’re doing it naturally there’s no doubt that there are many short and long term health benefits, but first it would be beneficial to know what natural bodybuilding actually means since some go as far as to say that someone who takes whey protein shakes isn’t “natural”.
What Does “Natural” Bodybuilding Mean ?
Natural bodybuilding is a sport where bodybuilders optimise their diet, training and rest regimes to maximise natural anabolic hormone production, resulting in accelerated recovery, increased strength and hypertrophy. Certain legal supplements such as creatine monohydrate and BCAAs may be used to aid in recovery/promote muscle growth, but performance enhancing drugs must not be used. More specifically this excludes the use of substances like insulin, diuretics, HGH and anabolic steroids.
The Benefits Of Natural Bodybuilding
Through consistent strength/resistance training your body will become leaner and stronger. Gaining this much muscle mass is not only beneficial for your short term health, but it will also help as you grow older. The reason for this is because as you age you naturally begin to lose muscle mass and strength (also known as sarcopenia). This muscular decline begins at age 50 with a loss of 1-1.5% of muscle mass per year. After age 70 this loss increase to 3% a year. So bodybuilding will help slow down this normal muscle decline keeping you stronger and leaner for longer, therefore it allows you to live independently and maintain a better quality of life as you age.
Another benefit of natural bodybuilding is how it increases your bone mineral density. When you train the resistance puts strain on your bones which forces them to adapt and become more dense/stronger, lessening your risk of osteoporosis (as you age your bones lose strength and become brittle increasing your risk of fractures). Bodybuilding can reduce the amount of bone loss with aging and sometimes even reverse it, so the longer you do it for the better.
The Drawbacks Of Natural Bodybuilding
As unfortunate as it is there are drawbacks to bodybuilding, most notably to your cardiac health because of the intensity of the sport. Intense lifting where you lift more than half of your overall body weight can put you at risk of tearing your aorta, which often results in death. The best way to prevent this from happening is to go and get medical clearance from your doctor before you start to body build. Additionally, adding some cardio to your routine can help strengthen your heart and protect it against this problem.
Injuries come with every sport and bodybuilding is no different. As you know bodybuilding puts a large amount of strain on your joints, so to reduce the likelihood of an injury follow healthy/safe training procedures by leaving your ego at the door and always performing each exercise with proper form.
To sum up natural bodybuilding is definitely healthy and as long as you don’t take it to the extreme (by taking performance enhancing drugs or by ego lifting) there really are no drawbacks.
If you have anymore questions about natural bodybuilding then please feel free to leave a comment down below.