The Mentality of a Bodybuilder (2022)

(Last Updated On: October 22, 2019)

Mentality: The Difference Between Average and Amazing

When it comes to bodybuilding, and even fitness in general, there are countless stereotypes that come to mind right away. Whether it’s the Crossfitter who never stops talking about how insane that WOD was or the bodybuilder who spends more time in front of the mirror than actually lifting weights or the powerlifter who seems to have it out for the floor whenever they deadlift, we could all go on forever.

Many times these stereotypes, while some may be relatively accurate, take away from the perception of how much actual work it really takes to excel in any of the areas. Let’s focus specifically on bodybuilding for the sake of this article. This is for the aspiring bodybuilder who will do anything it takes to get there.

Over the years I’ve gained quite a bit of experience in the gym. Four, five, six day splits and double sessions have made me quite familiar with what it takes within the gym to become part of the elite. Even for the average lifter, after observing other hardcore lifters in the gym it becomes quite evident how much it takes to be one of the best.

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But there’s something missing. It’s the part of bodybuilding that has the potential to hold someone at average instead of amazing even if their training is on-point.

Now there are countless articles with tips on how to increase your bench or on how to squat like a pro, but articles like the one you’re reading right now isn’t going to talk about either of those things. Don’t roll your eyes yet, this is not where I proceed to lecture you about counting macros. While I do agree that counting macros and being on top of your nutrition is absolutely critical, I’m talking about something else. I’m talking about your mindset.

By the end of this article I challenge you to make a decision and hold yourself to it. If you truly want to become a professional bodybuilder, you have to dedicate yourself to the lifestyle. You have to hit every training session with an unreasonable amount of effort every single time. You have to get enough sleep every single night. You have to meet your macros every single day. I could go on and on.

What I’m getting at is that being a bodybuilder is so much more than “yeah I lift” or even “yeah I lift and eat well.” Training consistently and eating correctly will get you far, don’t get me wrong, but to push yourself over the edge to become one of the best, you have to already know that you are the best.

Deep, right?

Yes, you have to know, in your head and in your gut, that you have the potential to become the best at whatever it is you do-in this case, bodybuilding.

Until you make that decision and convince yourself that there is no other option, you won’t fulfill your potential. Until you make that decision, your training won’t be as intense, that bag of chips won’t be as big of a deal, those couple drinks won’t matter because “I was good all week so I deserve it”.

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The problem with that thought process is that too often we think in terms of short periods of time, like weeks for example. We don’t keep the big picture in mind and our vision of what we ultimately want in life becomes clouded by daily distractions.

If you are happy with average then that’s awesome, in fact, you’ve already won. I’m talking to the guys (and girls) who want to excel and become one of the best. In order for that to happen you have to have an unreasonable amount of focus, dedication, and energy to achieve your goals. Yes, an unreasonable amount.

For instance, just because you “hit the gym” six days a week doesn’t mean anything if you are not giving it your 100% every single time. We all fall into the trap here and there, where we’re not feeling great or we’re tired or we have a million things we’re thinking about and don’t really give it our full 150%. But it’s at those moments when our true ability to push through is tested. Think of it as the natural filtering process that everyone passes through, separating average lifters from the best.

It’s been my experience that mindset is not given the attention it deserves-and not just in bodybuilding. It’s the same thing in business or whatever your career is. If you are not obsessed with it, you will not be the best. Nowadays, “obsessed” is often used with a negative connotation.

Why?

Why is being obsessed a bad thing? It’s not.

Take a look at any super successful person-whether in business or bodybuilding. Look into what their life was like before they reached their highest level of success. The trend you’ll start to see is that these people ate, slept, and breathed their goals every single day. Bodybuilders build their life around it. Successful businessmen and women worked 15-18 hour days more often than not to get where they are, and usually continue even after they’ve reached their goals. Imagine that!

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Now you may be saying, “that’s not sustainable.” See the thing is, if it’s truly what you want, it actually is sustainable. Look at any pro bodybuilder’s life and see what it was like when they were up and coming. They were hyper-focused, obsessed even, with the one goal of becoming the best.

Sure, you get tired, sure, you get sore, sure, you get worn down sometimes, but as Arnold said, so what?

So what that you’re tired?

So what that you’re burnt out?

So what that you’re sore?

The mindset that you have when it comes to bodybuilding is what will catapult you to amazing or hold you down at average. Which direction you go is up to you and no one else.

Shift Your Mindset

If you are serious about excelling at bodybuilding (or anything really), here are some quick tips to get you on the right path.

1 Write Out Your Goals

Every. Single. Morning.These can be your long-term goals and your short-term goals. It doesn’t matter if you know them by heart, which you should; write them down anyway. This will reinforce it and align your body and mind to get you focused on what needs to be done each day to achieve success.

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2 Have A Plan

Whether it’s the night before or each morning after you write your goals, have a plan for the day and know what you’re going to spend time doing. Far too much time is wasted when we don’t know exactly what we should be doing.

  • In terms of bodybuilding, have a plan on what you’re going to do in the gym. Know what exercises, how heavy, rep ranges, etc… all ahead of time. This will ensure you make the most of your workouts, because after all, if you want to be the best, no workout can be wasted.
  • You should also do this on a macro level. That means you should have a long-term plan mapping out progressions, phases, and recovery periods to ensure you maximize your growth potential over the long-term as well as day to day.

3 Count Your Macros

There are many articles written on how to do this, some of which I have written myself, and I won’t go into detail here, but make sure you are counting your macros. If you don’t, you have virtually no chance of being the best.

4 Get Jacked Up!

If you’re yawning as you walk into the gym you have a problem. Make sure you get into the correct mindset before hitting the weights. Whether it’s a pre-workout, coffee, cardio warm-up, motivational video or something else, make sure you get yourself in the right frame of mind mentally before beginning your workout. Why? Being in the correct mindset will make sure you give the necessary effort throughout your workout and not just go through the motions.

5 Sleep!

Working hard is one thing, and in general people can often get away with minimal sleep and more caffeine, but it’s imperative with bodybuilding that you get enough sleep. Everyone is a little different, but I recommend no less than six hours per night. Most of your growth actually happens out of the gym and while you’re asleep. Less sleep means less muscle growth!

6 Be Consistent

This is one of the most important things you can do. Being consistent is absolutely critical if you want to be the best or even one of the best. Those treats here and there because you ate well for a few days won’t cut it. Going out and partying every weekend won’t get you where you want to be. Hitting the gym hard for two weeks then dropping off because it’s hard to find time won’t either.

While becoming the best and living your dream (whatever it may be) is sexy, the process to get there is certainly not. Nine times out of ten it’s not glamorous and it’s actually really difficult. It’s supposed to be. That’s why mindset and passion are so incredibly important. You must love the journey just as much as you love the thought of achieving your goals, because the journey to get there is, for most, ridiculously long. If you are obsessed with it you’ll make it. If you’re not, if you don’t want it quite that bad, you’re more likely to throw in the towel and never get there.

It’s decision time! What’s it going to be? Are you willing to create the lifestyle necessary to make your dream physique a reality?

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About the Author

Sam Boghigian is a freak when it comes to fitness, especially bodybuilding. His passion is surpassed only by his work ethic and dedication to getting his clients real results–both physically and mentally. Growing up Sam experienced what life was like as someone who was pretty unhealthy and overweight. He made the decision to turn things around over 5 years ago and has never looked back. It’s his mission in life to help others achieve the same level of success, happiness, and health that he has experienced. Be sure to check out his websitewww.samboghigian.comand follow him on Facebook.

FAQs

What is the personality of a body builder? ›

Bodybuilders are characterised by a significantly more intensified need for dominance, aggression, competitiveness, breaking social rules, being rebellious, impulsive and confrontational. Bodybuilders are characterised by significantly more intensified narcissistic traits.

Is bodybuilding mentally healthy? ›

Going to the gym can relieve stress, anxiety and depression. Seeing real results can improve your mood and give you a sense of satisfaction to further progress and develop through fitness. Bodybuilding can enhance your self-esteem and confidence by giving you a more positive outlook on your own image.

Why being a bodybuilder is hard? ›

Bodybuilding is one of the most gruelling and demanding sports you can take on. What makes it so hard isn't the 2-3 hours of intense training but the rigorous amount of time you have to spend on all the other aspects such as nutrition, recovery, supplement and drug protocols. It is a 24x7 taxing process.

How do you mentally prepare for bodybuilding? ›

Hardcore: 9 Ways To Get Mentally Prepared For Competition!
  1. Cold Showers. Either first thing in the morning or after your morning workout if that is the first thing you do. ...
  2. Eat Something That You Despise. ...
  3. Announce Your Goals. ...
  4. No Cheat Day/Meal. ...
  5. Do Not Avoid Temptation. ...
  6. Sleep Deprivation. ...
  7. Never Show Any Weakness. ...
  8. Don't Complain.
4 Jul 2012

Why do people become bodybuilders? ›

For the most part many bodybuilders started out because they wanted to be happier with themselves, wanted to become a better version of themselves – one to take pride in. There's no questioning it. For whatever reason a bodybuilder usually starts because of some inferiority or lack of physical gifts.

What are the negative effects of bodybuilding? ›

Negative Effects. Overtime, weightlifting puts a tremendous amount of stress on your joints, tendons, and ligaments. As a result, many bodybuilders have tendinitis, back pains, shoulder pains, and other forms of joint problems. These injuries, if left untreated, will remain and significantly get worse.

Do bodybuilders suffer from depression? ›

The findings state that bodybuilders on supplements have the highest levels of depression, whereas those who do not take supplements were seen to have the lowest depression level. It is to be noted that the non-bodybuilder group showed higher levels of depression than bodybuilders not on supplements.

Can bodybuilding cause depression? ›

This distorted view causes a preoccupation with becoming overly muscular and lean, often leading to the development of dangerous habits, such as excessive weight training, restrictive dieting and the use of substances such as anabolic steroids. It can also lead to anxiety, depression and may affect their daily life.

Can bodybuilders go back to normal? ›

According to the research of pro bodybuilder Jeff Nippard, the timeframe to get your muscle gains back is typically around half the time you took off. So, if you had a 2-month break from lifting, it might take just a month to get all of your gains back. Took six months off? You'll need three months to gain it all back.

Do bodybuilders have heart problems? ›

But because bodybuilders focus on muscle, they fall into the false belief that they are healthy. Blocking estrogen, adding excess calories, eating six times a day followed by spikes in blood glucose and insulin and escalating IGF-1—this all can lead not only to heart disease but to cancer as well.

Is bodybuilding good for heart? ›

Lifting weights can be good for your heart health. Researchers at Iowa State University found that lifting weights less than an hour per week can reduce your risk for heart attack or stroke by as much as 40 to 70 percent.

Can a bodybuilder fight? ›

So yes, a bodybuilder will definitely be able to pummel someone who does no training whatsoever. They'll also stand a better chance than average against a fighter.

How do you mindset at the gym? ›

Five Ways to Get Into the Mindset of Exercising Regularly
  1. Don't skip workouts. ...
  2. Find an activity you enjoy. ...
  3. Set goals and track your progress in a visible manner. ...
  4. Seek inspiration. ...
  5. Remind yourself why you're living an active life.
13 Mar 2017

How can I make my mind strong? ›

How to Get a Better, Stronger and More Confident Mind
  1. Get Things Done. Confidence and accomplishment go hand-in-hand. ...
  2. Monitor Your Progress. ...
  3. Do The Right Thing. ...
  4. Exercise. ...
  5. Be Fearless. ...
  6. Stand-up For Yourself. ...
  7. Follow Through. ...
  8. Think Long-term.
9 Apr 2019

How can I improve my mindset for fitness? ›

Mirgain shares these tips:
  1. Change your definition of exercise. ...
  2. Revise your mental script. ...
  3. Focus on movement over 'exercise' ...
  4. Remember how you felt after your last workout. ...
  5. Set small goals. ...
  6. Make it a habit. ...
  7. Try mindfulness. ...
  8. Build in accountability.
11 Oct 2018

Do bodybuilders have low self-esteem? ›

Bodybuilders reported significantly greater body dissatisfaction, with a high drive for bulk, high drive for thinness, and increased bulimic tendencies than either of the other athletic groups. In addition bodybuilders reported significant elevations on measures of perfectionism, ineffectiveness, and lower self-esteem.

Do bodybuilders live longer? ›

The inevitable conclusion is that not only do bodybuilders live longer but they look better during their lives, better than people who do not follow a lifestyle that pays attention to health, fitness, and well being.
...
Bodybuilder Longevity.
John Grimek88
Steve Reeves74
Reg Park79
Vince Gironda80
Zabo Koszewski84
18 more rows
9 Mar 2021

Are bodybuilders strong? ›

Many bodybuilders are tremendously strong, although not as strong as the best powerlifters. If you train for strength, you'll get bigger muscles as well. Strength training is not optimal for building muscle, though, so you likely won't end up with the muscle mass of a bodybuilder.

Does bodybuilding affect brain? ›

Bodybuilding, the practice of strengthening and enlarging the muscles of the body through exercise, can affect the mental and physical health of people by teaching discipline and helping people to concentrate and focus.

What happens to bodybuilders when they get old? ›

Most obvious thing that happens to a bodybuilder is losing a good amount of muscle when they retire. And in most cases it is not because they stop training or eating good amount of protein but due to the fact that they are no longer on gear (anabolic steroids).

How are bodybuilders so rich? ›

“Top bodybuilders have lucrative contracts with supplement companies, and they also earn a lot from their prize money,” Tamer says, adding, “A Mr Olympia competition offers $ 8,50,000 as prize money, and one like the Sheru Classic that was recently held in India offered $ 1,50,000.”

Why do bodybuilders get angry? ›

Bodybuilders sometimes experience increased mood swings compared to when they were exercising less. Negative, depressed moods make it harder to get motivated to exercise. According to the American Council on Exercise, mood swings and inability to concentrate are signs of overtraining.

Is bodybuilding a disorder? ›

Muscle dysmorphia is an emerging condition that primarily affects male bodybuilders. Such individuals obsess about being inadequately muscular. Compulsions include spending hours in the gym, squandering excessive amounts of money on ineffectual sports supplements, abnormal eating patterns or even substance abuse.

Why do I feel so small bodybuilding? ›

What Is Muscle Dysmorphia? Muscle Dysmorphia is a condition that afflicts at least 10% of male bodybuilders in top physical shape who are chronically worried that they look puny and obsess about being too small and underdeveloped.

Why do I get angry after lifting weights? ›

Exercising is designed to get our blood pumping, but when we do this, our heart rate rises, adrenaline rushes through our body and our breathing becomes shallow. This is exactly what happens when our brain triggers the 'fight or flight' response.

Is being muscular healthy? ›

The fact is, muscle is absolutely vital to our overall health. Aside from the most obvious function of allowing us to move freely and perform everyday tasks, muscles play a pivotal role in boosting our metabolism and immune systems, as well as increasing bone strength and aiding weight loss.

What is a Bigorexia? ›

Bigorexia is a mental health disorder that primarily affects teen boys and young men. It is associated with anxiety and depression, substance abuse (specifically the use of anabolic steroids), eating disorders, and problems with school, work, and relationships.

How long does muscle memory last? ›

Don't Worry, Your Muscles Remember New research shows that muscles actually have a memory of their former strength level that may last indefinitely. That means that if you've worked out before, it may be easier to get that lost muscle mass back later.

Do muscles have memory? ›

Muscles develop a lasting molecular “memory” of past resistance exercises that helps them bounce back from long periods of inactivity.

How fast is muscle memory? ›

How Long Does it Take to Achieve Muscle Memory? If you ask Malcolm Gladwell, it takes roughly 10,000 hours to master a skill.

Why do bodybuilders breathe heavy? ›

It is essentially their fuel. They need oxygen in order to do just about anything, including walking, talking, and exercising. When you engage in working out, your muscles require more oxygen than what they typically need. If you are at sea level, the air you breath is roughly 21% oxygen and 78% nitrogen.

Do bodybuilders have higher BP? ›

Lifting heavy weight temporarily raises blood pressure. Bodybuilders that train with heavy loads, several times a week, put a lot of stress on their body.

Is being too muscular unhealthy? ›

Keeping your body fat percentage low is important for preventing obesity-related conditions. That doesn't mean you have to build an excessive amount of muscle. While muscle is never unhealthy and you can't have too much of it, it's fine to strive for more reasonable goals.

Do bodybuilders have low heart rate? ›

"People who are in great physical shape, have a lower heart rate," Bodybuilding.com TEAM Athlete Nikki Walter, told INSIDER. Their heart pumps more efficiently and harder (strong beats). Check it in the morning for the most accurate reading. A normal heart rate is from 60-100 beats per minute (bpm).

Is bodybuilding a sport? ›

While bodybuilding may not be a sport, it is absolutely a form of physical exercise. So there really isn't any controversy in calling bodybuilders athletes. They exercise between five and seven days per week, sometimes twice a day.

How hard do bodybuilders punch? ›

Bodybuilders vs Skinny Guys... Can Bodybuilders Fight? - YouTube

Why can't bodybuilders do pull ups? ›

For bodybuilding, pull-ups alone aren't enough to develop the upper body. The exercise must be performed in conjunction with free-weight lifts for optimal results. Even when performed without additional weight, pull-ups directly target muscles that will require rest and recovery time the following day.

Can bodybuilders run fast? ›

No. Bodybuilders can not run long distance and will not do it. Here are my reasons for both claims. With all that muscle , any time that I try to run long distance or sprint my muscles give out before my breathing.

Does bodybuilding affect brain? ›

Bodybuilding, the practice of strengthening and enlarging the muscles of the body through exercise, can affect the mental and physical health of people by teaching discipline and helping people to concentrate and focus.

Does bodybuilding affect mood? ›

Bodybuilders sometimes experience increased mood swings compared to when they were exercising less. Negative, depressed moods make it harder to get motivated to exercise. According to the American Council on Exercise, mood swings and inability to concentrate are signs of overtraining.

What is Bigorexia disorder? ›

Bigorexia is a mental health disorder that primarily affects teen boys and young men. It is associated with anxiety and depression, substance abuse (specifically the use of anabolic steroids), eating disorders, and problems with school, work, and relationships.

Why do bodybuilders collapse on stage? ›

When you have low blood sugar your blood pressure drops and less blood flows to the brain. Your brain then causes you to faint in response because it no longer has enough blood to sustain vital functions. This is another common reason that bodybuilders pass out onstage.

Is bodybuilding a disorder? ›

Muscle dysmorphia is an emerging condition that primarily affects male bodybuilders. Such individuals obsess about being inadequately muscular. Compulsions include spending hours in the gym, squandering excessive amounts of money on ineffectual sports supplements, abnormal eating patterns or even substance abuse.

Is bodybuilding healthy or harmful? ›

Unfortunately, while bodybuilding can benefit muscle and bone health, it can be detrimental to your overall heart health. For example, How Stuff Works reported that intense lifting, such as lifting more than half of your overall body weight, can put you at risk for tearing your aorta —an often fatal heart injury.

How does weight lifting help you mentally? ›

Strength training exposes your brain to short periods of mental toughness, so you develop resilience when things seem difficult. Once you've squatted your one rep max, you'll feel capable of anything! And this self-belief will translate over to work, study, and other challenges in life.

Are bodybuilders short tempered? ›

People in the field of bodybuilding are always known to be violent, short-tempered and possessing different aggressive traits.

Is weightlifting good for the brain? ›

Researchers have found that six months of strength training (lifting weights) can help protect brain areas especially vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease up to one year later.

What is Megarexia? ›

In muscle dysmorphia, which is sometimes called "bigorexia", "megarexia", or "reverse anorexia", the delusional or exaggerated belief is that one's own body is too small, too skinny, insufficiently muscular, or insufficiently lean, although in most cases, the individual's build is normal or even exceptionally large and ...

What is Hypergymnasia? ›

Anorexia athletica (also known as Exercise Bulimia and Hyper gymnasia) is an eating disorder where people manage their caloric intake via obsessive compulsive over exercising.

What is it called when a skinny person thinks they're fat? ›

Anorexia nervosa (commonly referred to as anorexia) is an eating disorder and a serious mental health problem. Someone with anorexia often has an intense fear of gaining weight and may have a distorted view of their body, thinking they're fat even when they're underweight.

Why do bodybuilders look old? ›

Extreme workouts can result in fat loss throughout the body as well as the face. This subsequent decrease in facial fat and volume is one of the main reasons why exercise makes you look older, especially for anyone over the age of 35.

Do bodybuilders live longer? ›

The inevitable conclusion is that not only do bodybuilders live longer but they look better during their lives, better than people who do not follow a lifestyle that pays attention to health, fitness, and well being.
...
Bodybuilder Longevity.
John Grimek88
Steve Reeves74
Reg Park79
Vince Gironda80
Zabo Koszewski84
18 more rows
9 Mar 2021

Do body builders age better? ›

Most elite bodybuilders have been living the lifestyle, progressively improving, for 15-20 years by the time they hit their mid-30s.

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