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Why do women enter bodybuilding competitions anyway?

Nov 16, 2021 - permalink

Chatting with two gorgeous muscle ladies, on separate occasions, they told me they never entered bodybuilding competitions and would never want to. This got me thinking, why would women want to enter bodybuilding competitions?

Many women who work out and even use PEDs are just happy to be large and strong, feeling no need to pose on a stage. Preparing for a show is taxing, it consumes most of one's time, resources and willpower. Ironically, most competitors are at their weakest when they take to stage, all dehydrated and whatnot. Being muscular as a woman is already seen negatively by most of society, and I assume even more so when they're all dried up in contest shape - in other words, it's not conventionally pretty. (I, for one, much prefer the full-figured off-season look.) Bodybuilding competitions don't give out significant sums of prize money. Actually, whatever prize is won won't compensate all the money spent on winning it. The added exposure loses its importance in the age of social media, where women can take pictures of themselves lying in bed and have thousands of people see them, all around the world, within a few minutes. There are some very famous women on this site who don't compete.

Obviously, however, women keep competing in bodybuilding contests. So, what am I getting wrong here? Are contests an important shared activity in local bodybuilding communities? As in, do they have fun in groups by organizing these competitions, the same way other people would have fun by singing at a karaoke bar or camping for a weekend with their mates? Is it a prestige and fame thing? It is an ego thing, being put on a stage where everyone's looking at you, being publicly judged as having a better body than your peers? Is there an important ritualistic aspect to contests or something? Is it about pushing one's body to the limit? If so, why do they need to do that in the context of a competition? Are they just very competitive in nature?

It does look to me as more trouble than it's worth. So why do women do it?

Nov 17, 2021 - edited Nov 17, 2021 - permalink

Seems logical to me to look at other organized physical competitions people enter that require advanced prep, such as marathons and triathlons. Why do they do it? A competition definitely provides a deadline to achieve a certain level of training. I suspect this aids in providing an incentive to train and and approach training with discipline. Obtaining a high place in the compeition validates one's efforts. Whenever there is a shared sense of struggle, there are increased bonds of friendship and camaraderie. And, yes, people who are competitive in nature feel probably fulfilled by organized competition.

Nov 17, 2021 - permalink

Ego.

cgsweat
Nov 17, 2021 - permalink

There are various aspects to look at. Competitions aren't just about winning money or posing in front of a crowd. It's a gathering of like minded people, a community event... going with what asianfitnessfan pointed out already. For some it's also a chance to show off, and they do enjoy the thrill of competition. For others still, notably trainers (and social media "influencers"), they want the accolades to attract more clients (and followers).

Nov 17, 2021 - permalink

lince liking linear logic asked:

It does look to me as more trouble than it's worth. So why do women do it?

That's like asking why do people go into space if it's so hostile, or why do people create stopmotion animation if it takes forever?

Different people have different interests, which combined with their own personal circumstances, like a driven personality for example, leads them to pursue such interests to their fullest, even if it seems foolish, boring or dangerous to others

Nov 17, 2021 - permalink

That's like asking why do people go into space if it's so hostile, or why do people create stopmotion animation if it takes forever?

It really is.

But to give a sincere and simple anwser to the OPs question, I believe it really is as simple as competition. Some of us like to compete. Not because we have to be better than everyone else, but because competition makes us better ourselves, regardless of outcome.

Nov 17, 2021 - permalink

I kinda run in this circle and my experience has been it's usually their Boyfriend/Husband pushing them to compete.

Nov 17, 2021 - permalink

Why do men enter bodybuilding competitions anyway?

Nov 17, 2021 - permalink

Might as well ask why do people smoke?

Nov 17, 2021 - permalink

cgsweat made me reflect on the whole “bodybuilding industrial complex.“ The images of hyper conditioned competitors, combined with the aura around “elite“ competitors, is a huge force behind pushing supplements, sponsors, and trainers. Competing is no doubt an aspirational goal for many beginners, because it is symbolic of reaching an ideal that is elevated by the entire industry.

Nov 17, 2021 - permalink

Every woman is different and the reasons do vary, I know a woman who competed and the reason she did is that she really wanted to get in top shape and she picked a contest some time out and did it so she would not embarrass herself on stage. In other words, the fear of looking bad on stage forced her to take her workout program seriously and to the next level, she did figure.

Nov 17, 2021 - permalink

As some have said in this thread every woman has a different reason just like every man does. Speaking from personal experience, for my wife any it was to challenge herself to see if she could do it, and do it well. If you had told her 8 years ago should would be a competitive bodybuilder we both would have laughed in you face. She couldn’t even do one push up then. After a couple of years of training I told her she could compete and probably place. She thought I was crazy so we went o a local competition to see what it was all about. She was intrigued by it a set a goal to compete in one year. She competed a year later and won her class. She likes some of the things about competing and dislikes others, as do I. It’s a very tough thing in life to do, and I think the challenge is what attracts a lot of people to it.

fp909
Nov 17, 2021 - permalink

i know i bring up this instance a lot but it gave me a lot of insight.

when i did pics with my friend she was ok with it, but the last time she told me she didn't want to pose anymore. she felt douchy doing it and the way she looked was a byproduct of her training, which is what she cared about.

there's a whole subset of women who would be fantastic bodybuilders but don't care to step on stage. conversely there are a lot of stage that shouldn't be there. and i think very few have wanted that for, like, a long time, but rather start training and hanging around people that do, find out they have some potential, and are encouraged to do it. i think some really like the aspect of improving year over year over what you did before (even if you don't place well or place at all).

idk it's a really extreme thing too, and there are a few that will never escape their genetics but love the whole experience of transformation too

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