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The Dark Side To Competitive Bodybuilding

Fitness is a status symbol these days, and bodybuilding allows women to have higher confidence once they attain a physique they feel comfortable competing with.

Becoming healthier through exercise does have its benefits: increased energy, better sleep, and of course, a better looking body. It’s the aesthetic rewards of exercise that can cause people to take working out and bodybuilding to the extreme. Especially for bodybuilding competitors, the image is everything. Unlike athletes, who need to prioritize performance, bodybuilding is all about body image. Some of the Bodybuilders don’t mind pushing their body under the needle to achieve results.

Steroid use, extreme dieting and excessive exercising can put competitors at risk for serious health complications, including heart attacks. Women who lack proper guidance and coaching can experience other health issues.

Women can end up without a period for many years. Their metabolism can slow down and they can experience excessive weight gain postshow. It can also be hard psychologically to return to a body that is higher in body fat during the off season.”

But competitors say they’re out to prove that a fit physique is fabulous. “Who wants to be skinny and frail and starve themselves?” says two-time grandmaster figure competitor Mary Dinner, 52. A grandmother of six, the Brantford, Ont.-based personal trainer started competing two years ago. “I want to look feminine and muscular, fit and athletic at the same time. I want to inspire others. My family thinks grandma rocks.”

Planning ahead will keep you focused but it’s also a dangerous time.

On Stage Tip

Always appear confident onstage. Smile as much as possible and make eye contact with the judges and audience. Keep your head up, maintain perfect posture at all times, including walking on and off the stage. Keep your muscles tensed at all times while onstage. There will be plenty of time to relax after the show, during the contest give it your best.


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