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Bodybuilding is the process of maximizing muscle hypertrophy through the combination of weight training, sufficient caloric intake, and rest. Someone who engages in this activity is referred to as a bodybuilder. As a sport, called competitive bodybuilding, bodybuilders display their physiques to a panel of judges, who assign points based on their aesthetic appearance. The muscles are revealed through a combination of fat loss, oils, and tanning (or tanning lotions) which combined with lighting make the definition of the muscle group more distinct. Famous bodybuilders include Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dorian Yates, Lou Ferrigno, Franco Columbu, Ronnie Coleman, and Jay Cutler.
In the modern bodybuilding industry “Professional” generally means a bodybuilder who has won qualifying competitions as an amateur and has earned a ‘pro card’ from the IFBB. Professionals earn the right to compete in sanctioned competitions including the Arnold Classic and the Night of Champions. Placings at such competitions in turn earn them the right to compete at the Mr. Olympia; the title is considered to be the highest accolade in the professional bodybuilding field.
In natural contests bodybuilders are routinely tested for illegal substances and are banned for any violations from future contests. Testing can be done on urine samples, but in many cases a less expensive polygraph (lie detector) test is performed instead. What qualifies as an “illegal” substance, in the sense that it is prohibited by regulatory bodies, varies between natural federations, and does not necessarily include only substances that are illegal under the laws of the relevant jurisdiction. Anabolic steroids, Prohormone and Diuretics are generally banned in natural organizations. Natural bodybuilding organizations include NANBF (North American Natural Bodybuilding Federation), and the NPA (Natural physique association). Natural bodybuilders assert that their method is more focused on competition and a healthy lifestyle than other forms of bodybuilding.
In the 1970s, women began to take part in bodybuilding competitions, and was extremely popular for a time. More than ever women are training with weights for exercise purposes with desire for a more attractive body and to prevent bone loss. Many women however still fear that weight training will make them “bulky” and believe weight training is only for men. However strength training has many benefits for women including increased bone mass and prevention of bone loss as well as increased muscle strength and balance. In recent years, the related areas of fitness and figure competition have gained in popularity, providing an alternative for women who choose not to develop the level of muscularity necessary for bodybuilding. The first Ms. Olympia contest in 1980, won by Rachel McLish, would resemble closely what is thought of today as a fitness and figure competition.
Bodybuilders use three main strategies to maximize muscle hypertrophy:
* Strength training through weights or elastic/hydraulic resistance
* Specialised nutrition, incorporating extra protein and supplements where necessary
* Adequate rest, including sleep and recuperation between workouts
* Water is very important during and after a workout to prevent dehydration.
Weight training causes micro-tears to the muscles being trained; this is generally known as microtrauma. These micro-tears in the muscle contribute to the soreness felt after exercise, called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It is the repair to these micro-trauma that result in muscle growth. Normally, this soreness becomes most apparent a day or two after a workout. However, as muscles become adapted to the exercises, soreness tends to decrease.
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