By NATE NGUYEN
Bodybuilding is more than about just muscle and ego. It is a lifelong lifestyle learned over years of passion and hard work. It is a daily progression centered on striving to be a better person than the one you were yesterday. In a way, bodybuilders are like artists; they repeatedly contract over 650 muscles in their bodies to increase muscle mass and sculpt their physiques into masterpieces by discipline and repetition. In addition to inspiring others to improve their physical appearance and live healthier, bodybuilding also improves self-confidence.
The 50th Annual Mr. Olympia competition took place in Las Vegas from September 18 to 21, hosting dozens of the world’s top bodybuilders. To be serious contenders, athletes must win multiple competitions throughout the year. To earn spots in the event, bodybuilders must be ranked in the top five overall and win first places in the second stage of the competition. Phil Heath and Kai Greene, the two athletes battling for the Sandow Trophy in the competition’s finals, turned out to be the most crowd-pleasing bodybuilders because both athletes have contrasting personalities that many can relate to. Kai Greene is a humble person who trains in silence hiding within his hoodie. He preaches to his fans almost like a philosopher on how people should find their inner self and not blame others for their failures. On the other hand, Phil Heath is focused on proving doubters wrong but seems to be self-centered.
Unsurprisingly, there was controversy over their scores partly because of the subjective nature of each competitor’s physique and each judge’s personal biases. Although Phil Heath won the 50th Mr. Olympia, many bodybuilding fans believe that Kai Greene should have won the Sandow Trophy but was denied the title because he was the fan favorite. Such controversies create more tension and drama within the sport so that more people watch the competition. If there was a new winner every time, it would not be as interesting. Nevertheless, Kai Greene’s second place finish is an example of not giving up no matter what happens in life. Throughout his life, Kai struggled out on the streets and had been thrown out of foster homes and institutions. He used these struggles as motivation to find his passion and live life to the fullest.
Although bodybuilding attracts attention for drug use in the industry, there are other sides to the sport. Not every organization allows enhanced drug use; in fact, most competitions are for all-natural athletes only. People should also take note of the hard work it takes to maintain a well-built physique. As the years go on, hopefully bodybuilding will be respected as a self-confidence boosting activity.