Bodybuilders are a special kind of breed. Their sport is definitely at the core of their souls. Day in and day out, you see them training hard, for hours upon hours in the gym, with the ultimate desire and goal...PERFECTION. If you are a bodybuilder, then you already know what that passion and determination feels like. But is it possible to train with that much passion and determination if you don't want to nor plan to put it all up on that stage and compete?
Most people, when they hear the word "bodybuilder", automatically associate it with competition, but not all bodybuilders compete. Truth is, you do not have to be competitive to be a bodybuilder. Competition is just another step in the process, a link in the chain, so to speak, that can drive you to take it to another level. However, it is not necessarily the drive for all bodybuilders.
When bodybuilders are competitive, their bodies take a more strenuous beating than that of a non-competitive bodybuilder. They have to literally strip themselves down to unhealthy levels to look great on stage. This is due to the depletion of water and carbohydrates in their diets, leading up to the big day. Because of this gradual shift in diet, competitive bodybuilders are at their weakest on competition day and it's all for the hopes of walking away with a first place win, ultimately getting that pro card. This fragile state is not one that can be maintained for longer than 24 to 48 hours because it is not a natural state for the body. Pushing this level of depletion too long can lead to physical illness affecting organ functions, and even death. The ups and downs that the body must go through for competition is a huge sacrifice and for many bodybuilders, it's a sacrifice they are not willing to make.
Many people, especially competitive bodybuilders will tell you that if you love this lifestyle, you should at least compete, just once. However, a bodybuilder can enjoy building and sculpting muscles without literally putting themselves in an unhealthy state to have a great body. Non-competitive bodybuilders usually enjoy the act of training to build and sculpt muscles, as well as recreate their bodies. Non-competitive bodybuilders also do not need to deprive themselves of water and carbs and can choose to eat a little more liberally due to there being no pressure to seek a first place win. For non-competitive bodybuilders, the competition is with self, challenging self to be better than before.
Some non-competitive bodybuilders are exhibitionists and enjoy manipulating their bodies, not only building huge muscles but also chiseled muscles. To accomplish this feat, dieting with some degree of restrictions is necessary but not to the level of a competitive bodybuilder.
Whether competitive or not, bodybuilding is a sport and lifestyle that you either develop a love for or you don't. Some people try it and feel it's much too demanding on their lives and schedules and decide it's not for them. Others start training, get hooked and can't imagine life without it. So when you have the knack for it, competitive or not, it will become one of the greatest disciplines you will ever love to hate.