|There are two forms of bodybuilding. The first is called Biological. It is the best, the original and commonly known as "natural". It is the form advocated by all bodybuilding associations, but seldom practiced by the world's best bodybuilders; in fact, there are NO natural bodybuilders at the very top of the competitive bodybuilding ladder. The IFBB Mr. Olympia for example, considered the ultimate bodybuilding title in the world, is a good example of pharmaceutical bodybuilding in all its glory. In this scenario winning has everything to do with how you play the game. In professional bodybuilding circles as well as numerous other sports, diuretics, growth hormone, beta-blockers, insulin, EPO, amphetamines, steroids and countless other doping substances are not the exceptions. They are the rule and so is the multidimensional damage that follows.
Biological is a term related to biology, to life and to the living. Biological bodybuilding denotes a positive life-giving phenomenon, a form of training that creates and preserves form, function and health. It does not destroy or take away when practiced correctly. In fact it adds much more than symmetry, quality muscle and what can be seen with the naked eye. Natural bodybuilding employs the use of exercise, dietary supplements and a healthy diet, which enhances immune function and increases resistance to degenerative disease. With each rep cells are flushed with life giving oxygen and a bountiful supply of micronutrients. Waste is removed efficiently and quickly. True bodybuilding is an art and a science. The objective is to create a body that is beautiful to behold, resilient, strong, graceful, flexible, lean and highly functional.
Biological bodybuilding embodies the true sport and lifestyle of bodybuilding, which also happens to be the same lifestyle required to achieve optimum health. Optimum health provides us with the insight necessary to define our goals and the motivation required to achieve them. When we are truly well, we are able to adapt to change and stress without significant damage. A healthy person is well nourished and physically fit from the inside out. Natural bodybuilding liberates the soul and strengthens the mind. Its practice is based on the same principles of health and living taught by Hippocrates and Plato.
Anyone who lifts weights, or who uses their own body as resistance to achieve any degree of muscle tone, strength or power is engaged in 'building' their body. Call it what you will, bodyshaping, bodysculpting, resistance training, weightlifting, weight training, working out, whatever. If you pump iron you are bodybuilding to some degree. Competing in the sport of bodybuilding simply takes the same process of training and dieting to the extreme.
Biological bodybuilding depends exclusively on nature for support, avoiding any chemicals or toxic substances known to cause damage. Banned substances are avoided by natural athletes for two reasons. First, the rules clearly state they are not permitted, and second, crossing the pharmaceutical line reduces health and health is what biological bodybuilding is all about. Therefore the pernicious use of performance enhancing drugs is deemed unacceptable.
The idea is to take your genetic potential to the max using supplements, training and high quality food. Health is never compromised for esthetic value, rather esthetics are altered in response to controlled exercise performed somewhat religiously and always progressively. A natural cause and effect if you will facilitated through hard work, smart work and constant vigilance. Biological bodybuilding provides us with the opportunity to challenge ourselves, to outperform ourselves and to demonstrate our potential. It’s not about looking better than anyone else. It’s you on stage in your own world. It’s a personal and intimate expression that flows from high self-esteem. The lifestyle encourages wellness and provides a reliable means of extending health span.
The other kind of bodybuilding is called pharmaceutical or chemical bodybuilding. It employs the cyclic and compounded use of synthetic substances not found in nature. It's non-functional mirror-muscle taken to the max without restriction. The purpose is to 'crank' muscle up as high as possible and hope something doesn't give, snap or blow. But something always does and this is the problem. Pharmaceutical bodybuilding has a huge down side, which is why anabolic steroids, thyroid hormones and diuretics are prohibited by natural bodybuilding associations. Not because they 'work' but because they cause injury, damage, decay and even death.
Pharmaceutical bodybuilding is not about health. It's about enhancement of form beyond what is possible to achieve biologically. It allows a man or women to surpass their genetic potential and achieve levels of supernatural strength and size, in fact, the outcome of such artificial enhancement combined with heavy resistance training and good genetics is seldom less than astounding, unbelievable, incredible and utterly amazing. At least that's how those who admire the "freaks" as they are called perceive them.
Both forms of bodybuilding require hard work, discipline, dedication, strict dieting, intense training and unquestionable loyalty to the iron. Competitive bodybuilding requires adherence to a specific set of rules and regulations that are made known to all competitors. Athletes are well versed regarding the use of banned substances and all agree before competing not to use them. Athletes engaged in biological bodybuilding competition are held in check through a mandatory polygraph, urine analysis and random drug testing throughout the year without notice. That is of course provided the natural bodybuilding organization is doing what they are supposed to do to protect the integrity of the sport, such as the International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA).
The desire to win at any cost is so strong that some will cheat just to gain temporary victory. Some competitors will forfeit their health for a handshake and a trophy. Some will even risk death. That's how important it is for certain people to win. So without modern state-of-the-art drug testing detection methods and a compulsory lie detection test, it is relatively easy to use any number of prohibited doping agents and compete without detection. This makes the sport unfair and more difficult for those who are 'clean' and looking for a level playing field.
To be successful as a natural biological bodybuilder and to remain well and injury free for life, we need what the Tinman, Scarecrow and the Lion were looking for, namely heart, brains and courage. Heart is the repository of our deepest and sincerest feelings. It is the firmness of our will to carry out with compassion and kindness what we know is right. The prime directive as in natural medicine is "do no harm."
A functional brain thinks logically and borrows from the intellect to overcome temptation and negative emotions. It acquires knowledge that when applied rationally creates a predictable outcome determined in advance through the power of conceptualization. Use of the brain allows us to utilize the science of training and nutrition with precision and understanding.
And last but not least we need to be courageous and brave enough to overcome our innermost fears. This boils down to genuine self-determination and simply being true to ourselves and our own ideals. The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Courage is both a virtue and a state of mind.
The road that leads to Oz is filled with many distractions and is difficult to follow. But as the Wizard himself said to the cowardly Lion, "As for you my fine friend, you’re a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate delusion that simply because you run away from danger you have no courage. You’re confusing courage with wisdom."