As in any sport, there are plenty of bad role models in bodybuilding as bodybuilders do not become well known for being ethical exemplars but for having exemplary physiques.
However, the bad role models in focus here are not bodybuilders in fact, they are not even real people. And the fact that they are neither is that which causes them to be bad role models.
Within the context of this article bodybuilding’s bad role models are fictional superheroes as they are depicted in various sci-fi comic books and movies of all sorts.
Virtually all superheroes have one thing in common: they are ripped, pumped, shredded, lean and range from muscular to massively ginormous—and they like to show off their physiques via the wearing of spandex!
But, pray tell, how did they get that way?
Let us consider just a few examples:
The Hulk: regular guy Bruce Banner’s body became mutated via gamma rays and he thus becomes the uber muscular Hulk.
Captain America: regular guy Steve Rogers was injected with some sort of black ops concocted government sponsored fluid and became the physically well built Captain America.
Spiderman: regular guy Peter Parker’s body became mutated via a bite from a radioactive spider and transformed him from pencil necked geek into the muscular Spiderman.
Superman: in the original story Kryptonians developed superpowers as a natural part of their maturation into adulthood. The latter story is that the baby Kal El (aka Clark Kent) gained superpowers by being exposed to the yellow Sun of the Milky Way Galaxy after having been sent here from his home planet Krypton. His physique seems to have just, sort of, grown that way.
On and on it goes and the lesson to be learned is that superheroes do not workout but, essentially, got their bodies “the easy way.”
One of the only exceptions that comes to mind is Batman. Batman is all but unique as he is right up there with all of the alien, mutant, etc. superheroes and yet, he has no superpowers. He is just a regular guy who does have to workout, practices martial arts and have money with which to finance his gadgets.
But otherwise, what we get from idolizing, as it where, superheroes to the point of in some small human way wanting to be like them we may attempt to mimic their physiques. And just where those ads for bodybuilding info published originally but in comic books.
It is at this point that fact meets fiction as the same thing happens when we idolize fictional superheroes and also idolize professional bodybuilders in terms of wanting to look like them.
The issue is that, in a manner of speaking, both fictional superheroes and professional bodybuilders have the same effect. There is a very popular saying which goes that if you want to look like a bodybuilder you need to train like a bodybuilder.
Okay, so, you are Joe regular guy or Jane regular gal and you want to “look like a bodybuilder.” Well, you are likely not going to be able to get your hand on gamma rays, radioactive spiders, liquid black ops concoctions, etc.
So what do you do? You begin to look up popular bodybuilders and, of course, you first run across the pros. So, you are now going to, “train like a bodybuilder.” So you do what they do.
First, you quit your job so as to devote your time to training as the pros do. Oh, can’t do that? Well, fine, you still carve out some time to get your training in. Some pros workout more than once per day as there are split routines, etc. And yet, especially today, most do not work-out for more than, say, 45 minutes (at a time) and you can manage that, right? Sure!
So you pound away at it doing what they do and how they do it and…a week, a month, a year, a decade later who would'a'thunk it? You still don’t look like the Hulk.
So, you realize that you not only need to train like a bodybuilder but you need to eat like a bodybuilder. So, you get yourself a finely tuned diet and, oh yeah, take in 7,000 per day while you are at it. In bodybuilding nutrition documentary a guy states that in his bulking phase he eats—gulp—circa 25 chicken breasts per day! By the way, most people are awake for about 16 hours per day so, you do the math.
So you simply cannot keep up with the pros and…well, now what? A couple of things to note.
If you are a regular Joe/Jane and want to be fit, lean and muscular your best bet is to forget about the professional bodybuilders and focus, rather, on, for example, fitness models. This is because they are lean and muscular in a realistic way.
If you are trying to get massive or just “bigger” you will likely find that you are not progressing as you think you should because you models are human Hulks.
So, you toil away in frustration, you do as Sylvester Stallone stated it “Overtraining wasted thousands of hours of my life.” Think about it, “thousands of hours.” (see Review: Sylvester Stallone “Sly Moves” diet, exercise & behind the movie scenes).
Surely, you discern where this is going. You may have no access to gamma rays, radioactive spiders, liquid black ops concoctions, etc. but if you are interested in being like the pros you do find that there are certain substances that will get you results like those that the pros get. Yes, of course there are many natural bodybuilders and many natural bodybuilding pros. But the top guys are not natural and that is why you cannot look like them unless you train like them, eat like them and take drugs like them.
Your body will not react to training or even what you eat like theirs does because your body is not saturated with drugs that cause the body to react differently (see the video Everything you ever needed to know about steroids).
This is why both superheroes in general and pro bodybuilders in general are bad role models for people who want to be fit, lean and muscular or even massively ginormous—because they did not get there in any way that is realistic, or safe, for the rest on us mere mortals.