I’ve watched the natural bodybuilding genre evolve for many years now, basically since my high school days in the mid-80’s. I was actually interested in it at the earliest of ages as a child in the 70’s, back in the days of Lou Ferrigno playing “The Incredible Hulk.” I was in awe of the large muscles, and I think like most little boys, I wanted to be able to lift cars like he could. (Probably a real good thing that I could NOT). 😉
This was also back in the Franco Columbo days, and a name everyone will certainly know, Arnold!
These guys focused on musculature. The diet strategies back then were not hugely different than they are now, but the field was far far less developed than what we have today. There were none of the huge range of supplements, and back in those days, large-scale exposure to plastics and their toxins (which I cover in my story) as well as the manufactured cooking oils (hydrogenated) were coming more and more on the scene to replace animal fats and butters.
We were also experiencing an ever-expanding amount of the high fructose corn syrup coming on the scene as a cheap replacement for the refined or other sugars of the time. Back then, saccharin was the primary artificial sweetener, aspartime/equal/spenda/etc being only somewhat available or of course, not even invented yet.
There is no question there has been a boom in obesity since those days. Not only have I and most people my age witnessed it first hand, but the stats are there to back it up. We are approaching a 50% obesity rate, or perhaps now even surpassing it, in western culture.
And they’re on to something in my book.
Below are pictures from a recent competition I attended. Note the clearly feminine form, yet pronounced muscularity.
Then…of course…note the body fat levels. They are very low and couldn’t go a whole lot lower.
My book explains the science behind this. “Yes,” these ladies are engaged in heavy-duty, competitive-level carb restrictions during times like this. I know competitors, and have seen what they go through to obtain these looks.
Some of them work very hard to get to this level. Others not as much, and diet is absolutely a key factor, and actually the “First” factor…but with muscle development at SUCH a close second, that they are virtually tied. To put it another way, the results of the muscular development would not be there without the dietary rules in place and followed.
Those that understand that best achieve these looks. And can continue to maintain *similar* looks during their off-season, when they are not competing. Disappointingly, I would guess that about half of the competitors in this new category treat it almost strictly from an athletic sport stance, sometimes with a mere two contests per year that they participate in, and often times with the sole and only intention to obtain what is referred to in the industry as a “Pro Card,” which enables them to compete at higher levels. Then once in the off-season, they may not put in more than a fraction of the effort and time into their diet or exercise to maintain contest-level results. I am here to say, that I sincerely believe obtaining at least *near* similar contest-shape results is possible year-round, if only alternatives in diet and exercise were explored over the never-ending idea that it has to be p90x-insane work to maintain those achievements.
It has to be done prudently and often with an open mind and willingness to try something outside the norm.
One competitor I know has resigned to being about 30 lbs overweight after being a Figure/Bikini cross-over competitor, due to the adrenal exhaustion she contended with in contest prep efforts as mentioned elsewhere.
That level of training is not only completely incorrect, but is outright dangerous as she and he discovered the hard way.
Understand how to use carbs in your life. Carbs are absolutely NOT a bad thing (I even gorge myself on them at times!). Then understand how your muscles become a massively powerful 24/7 fat burning machine, stop being afraid of developing them, and viola…results like those seen on this page become available!