Before I start today, I have been getting a lot of emails and Facebook messages asking if I am going to the Arnold Classic, mainly from people that want to say hi. I am going, but I am not going to be working a booth and thus not very easy to find. MD is having me do live play-by-play of the Arnold Amateur Classic Bodybuilding and Bodybuilding along with Giles Thomas from the UK. I will also be at the judging and the finals for the Arnold Classic men's pro show on Saturday. Beyond that, I really can't say when I will be or where. I am sure I will walk around the expo at one point, but I have no idea when that may be. But if you see me and I don't look like I'm in a frantic rush, please yell out to stop me and say hi!
Today's topic actually came from a series of ignorant Facebook comments on a photo I had posted from 2009, doing cable crossovers just before that year's Team Universe. I was pretty darn shredded if I do say so myself. The only reason I mention that is because one woman took it upon herself to answer questions posed to me before I ever saw them. One guy asked what my bodyfat was, and another asked how many calories I eat per day. So she replied:
"he looks like 9% body fat and about 4000 calories of protien a day. sustaining this long term would kill him and injure his kidneys."
I have no idea what my bodyfat was to be honest, but in contest condition it is somewhere in the realm of 3-5%. It sure isn't 9%. I'll be honest again even though it points out my laziness with my own nutrition - I don't know how many calories I eat a day. But this genius used the phrase '4000 calories of protien' (sic), which would mean I eat 1,000 grams of protein per day, since a gram of protein yields 4 calories. Even in my most excessive days of protein consumption, I never went over 500 grams a day. Then she pointed out that if I ate a high-protein diet in the 'long term,' it would kill me and injure my kidneys. Presumably not in that order - I mean if I'm dead already, how could my kidneys be injured any further? So I called this woman on her misinformed posts, and she came back with:
"i know about these things. bet you are 9% and 4000 calorie protien would be the minimum to substain you. that includes protein shakes. sounds like possible steroid use too, by the aggressive tone. it starts out as crankiness, then changes to rudeness, and then attitude, and escalates to roid rage."
I asked her if she had ever been cranky, and if so was she on steroids at the time? This was a joke, since I looked at her pics to see who was messing with me and she was clearly someone who wouldn't know bodybuilding from body scrub. Anyway, this led me to come up with some of the most common misconceptions the general public seems to have about those of us who dedicate our lives to building and sculpting our bodies.
1. All bodybuilders are stupid
I have known medical doctors, chiropractors, Physical Therapists, attorneys, registered nurses, and inventors, just to name a few professions, who were also competitive bodybuilders. I happen to make a pretty decent living as a writer. You can't do any of these jobs without being at least a little smarter than the average person. Are there some less intelligent bodybuilders out there? Sure there are. But for the most part, it takes at least a person of average brainpower to understand the finer points of anatomy, physiology, and nutrition to have any success in building a good physique. Yet when a lot of people see someone who is heavily muscled, the first thing they think is 'what a big dummy.'
2. All bodybuilders use steroids
Not at all. In fact, out of all the bodybuilders out there, I would bet you that more than half don't and never have. There are many drug-tested events for those who wish to remain drug-free, and there are many recreational bodybuilders who have no interest in chemical enhancement. Of course there are a substantial amount of bodybuilders that do use, but by no means does that mean all of us do.
3. Bodybuilders are unhealthy
Just getting back to the kidney issue mentioned previously, I have a check-up done by my physician once a year, and I have blood work done twice a year. My kidney function, despite eating far more protein than the average person, is just fine, and everything else checks out too. Most bodybuilders these days do regular cardio on top of their weight training, and it's very popular now to eat organic food. I know a lot of bodybuilders who shop at Whole Foods these days. I would hazard to say that as a group, bodybuilders are far healthier than the average person.
4. Bodybuilders are narcissists
Guess what? In 2013, we have become a society of narcissists. Posting a picture on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram of yourself posing or doing an exercise is looked at by some as the height of self-absorption. Yet all I see online is girls posting 'duck face' pictures of themselves, and both men and women posting endless photos taken out at bars and clubs. So, it's wrong for me to post a photo showing what I work so hard on, but it's perfectly fine for you to post a photo where your lips are puckered up, or messed up and holding your tenth drink of the night while you grope the person next to you that you just met?
I could go on and on and I am sure I will revisit this topic some other time soon, but for now I had to get that off my pecs.