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Accepting Natural Bodybuilding as a Legitimate Sport

How can we expect other sporting bodies, plus the general public, to take natural bodybuilding seriously when the majority of us don’t? If we did, then we would not be so quick to accuse and ridicule the people who have achieved results. We would encourage them and accept that their accomplishments are taking our sport one step closer to general acceptance.

Yes there are cheats in natural bodybuilding, but name me a sport, which does not have their share. Mainstream professional sports (actually all of our football codes) have been in the news of late for ‘un-sportsmanship’ activities off the field, but games are still getting record crowds each week. Why is that? It’s due to the acceptance that the particular sport has with the general paying public. Yes there might be a few black sheep, but the greater majority are playing for the right reasons and all seem to take that professional attitude from the field with them when they are not playing, and the public knows this.

So why is natural bodybuilding different? Well, if you do not believe that the big guy over in the corner of the gym is natural when he says he is, why should the public? Maybe the reason he is getting better results then you is because he has a better approach to training, has a more disciplined mindset, has a more consistent approach to nutrition or supplementation or has been training longer then you. Or maybe the reason you are trailing him in the results department is because you waste so much time and energy putting him down.

The sadist part is that it’s not only the athletes and supporters of natural bodybuilding this affects, but our industry professionals as well. I was speaking to a rep from one of the dominant Australian supplement companies a while back about training natural and the whole natural debate. I have actually competed against him in the past so we enjoy our banter whenever we catch up. He was telling me that another rep he knows who claims the ‘drug free’ moniker is no way natural. This guy has gone on to international stardom in the drug free ranks, yet has to defend his position to his friend – why? Shouldn’t his word be enough?

What proof did he have that his buddy was not clean – none. It was just his opinion. This opinion is particularly devastating because of the position he is in. Young guys and girls would obviously ask for this reps valued opinion, as being a representative for a supplement company and the bodybuilding industry as a whole, yet doesn’t have faith himself. Do you see what I am getting at? A novice guy says ‘hey, will your bucket of Mega-Massive give me massive muscles so I can compete’? Of course he answers yes for the sale, but deep down believes that the only way you really get big is on the gear.

Now getting back to own conversation, he then stated that he will no longer compete in natural competitions, because all the good guys are on something, and will settle to compete in non-tested federations, be 10kgs lighter then everyone else and simply make up numbers. What hope do we have as a sport when this is the attitude of our athletes and in more cases then not, the public face for bodybuilding?

I can proudly say that I am 100% drug free. I have been offered the drug route, but I do not believe that you need to take drugs to be a successful competitor. I know what to take and how to take them, all due to my interest in all facets of bodybuilding, but will gladly step up and provide a sample anytime to prove my status. Along those same lines, if I meet a guy who says he is natural, and weighs 110kgs with 3% body fat, I want to talk to him. I want to sit him down and know what his secrets are so I can achieve the same outstanding results. I don’t need to see his ‘pass’ report from his latest urine sample to believe him; his words are good enough for me.

I know what you are thinking. 110kgs at 3% body fat – clearly using drugs. How do you know? Maybe he is just an exceptional athlete, with a superior genetic profile who is taking their training to such a dedicated level (clearly greater then your own) that your only comeback is to scream ‘cheat’. Do you realise what this type of thinking does for our sport?

Imagine if the IOC had approved bodybuilding as a sport for these Olympic games coming up. Off goes our athlete to do our country proud, clears all the drug tests, brings home the gold medal and we all yell ‘drug cheat’. I guarantee this would happen unless we change our views.

Ladies and gents, the first step lays at our feet. For our sport to be recognised as a legitimate sport, safe to partake in and physically and mentally rewarding, then we first must believe it ourselves. What hope does our sport have if we continue to knock down those slightly ahead of us?

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