The Main Benefits of Natural Bodybuilding - BiomedJ (2023)

It is generally agreed that enhanced bodybuilding is a relatively unhealthy or dangerous sport, mainly due to the rife use of performance-enhancing drugs. Natural bodybuilding, on the other hand, is a movement within the bodybuilding world where the use of performance-enhancing drugs is banned in the process of building muscle mass to achieve a certain physique. Excluding the use of PEDs makes natural bodybuilding far less risky as the long-term health complications are significantly reduced. This is one of the key benefits of going natural. Today, this is an article on presenting you some of the benefits and convince you that natural bodybuilding can be a fulfilling activity in your life.

Is natural bodybuilding healthy?

In order to classify natural bodybuilding as ‘healthy’, you must first define what healthy means to you. For example, to some people being healthy means very rarely getting sick and your organs functioning as efficiently as possible; for others it is a question of physical ability, such as training to boost your performance, increase strength, push your limits and achieve peak fitness levels. Another definition of healthy is in terms of well-being and mental health, feeling confident, happy, and content. Body image plays a large role in mental health and can also feed into perceptions of health as a physical state.

Below, we’ll look at the different benefits of natural bodybuilding in supporting a healthy lifestyle!

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1. You learn about nutrition

When embarking upon a natural bodybuilding journey, you will inevitably have to learn about nutrition and follow a healthy, balanced diet in order to make progress and achieve your goals. A healthy diet is vital for supporting efficient organ functions, lowering cholesterol, ensuring your body receives all of the nutrients it needs to fight illnesses, managing weight, and providing you with energy. There is a lot of learning involved in natural bodybuilding as you must understand what your body needs and how to fuel it in the most efficient way for growth, recovery, injury prevention, etc. We found this great guide from Natural Flex which will help you understand the basics of nutrition and how to make up your diet plan.

2. You are learning about self-development

This leads us to another healthy aspect of natural bodybuilding: personal development and mental health benefits. It requires determination, dedication, self-discipline, and a wide range of knowledge to be successful. Many people think that bodybuilding is all about lifting heavy weights but there is so much more to it than that and bodybuilders are incredibly committed to the sport. You must understand nutrition, be able to create and implement a routine of effective exercises, have the knowledge to identify and minimize weaknesses and be able to minimize the risk of injuries. It is also fair to argue that natural bodybuilding is more challenging than enhanced bodybuilding as you must be more patient, plan your program more efficiently, etc.

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Natural bodybuilding can also benefit mental health in terms of boosting confidence, improving body image, and creating a mindset of caring for your body. It is well known that physical activity results in an increased level of endorphins, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters. Physical activity also stimulates the release of norepinephrine and serotonin. These hormones support a happier mental state and motivate you to continue training regularly as it makes you feel good.

It is important to be aware of your mental state and your motivations for pursuing bodybuilding as people often begin their journey due to feelings of insecurity and dissatisfaction with their physical appearance. If you do not address these feelings, then bodybuilding may actually amplify mental health issues and lead to things such as body dysmorphia. However, the knowledge that comes with getting into bodybuilding can help you to tackle these issues and form a happier, healthier relationship with your body and fitness in general. The sense of accomplishment when you reach your goals and the confidence you gain from being in control of your health and building a physique you are proud of is incredible!

3. Natural bodybuilding builds an attractive body without major health risks

Natural bodybuilding also gives you a very different physique to enhanced bodybuilding and it is generally thought to be more aesthetically pleasing. There are no side effects like acne, redness of the skin, balding, sexual dysfunction, etc. You might not have such huge muscle mass but that is a small price to pay to avoid the serious physical side effects of PEDs! For years, many bodybuilders who used steroids heavily during their careers have been facing the consequences later in life.

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4. Keeps you injury-free

Stronger muscles and a generally more active lifestyle can also help with injury prevention as your body is more physically capable and you work to actively protect your joints. Natural bodybuilders understand the importance of warming up thoroughly and improving mobility to avoid injuries which will limit their training. Lifting weight with consistency will prevent injuries and feeling chronic pain. Being stronger also reduces the risk of day-to-day injuries such as pulled muscles from carrying heavy objects or moving furniture, for example. Your strength and all-around fitness are also transferable to other sports and can increase your performance. You will benefit from bodybuilding in combat sports such as judo or jiu-jitsu, for example.

5. The principles of natural bodybuilding stick with you the rest of your life

Muscle memory in natural bodybuilding is a real thing. If you have been training consistently for an extended period of time, you will maintain muscle mass and fitness levels for much longer when you stop training so intensively. Your strength may decrease, but if you were to begin training again you would progress much faster than you did when you first started out.

There is no magic solution or quick fix in natural bodybuilding. Some bodybuilders may have genetics better suited to growing muscle mass, but at the end of the day, your results are proportional to the effort you put into the bodybuilding lifestyle as a whole, from diet to training to recovery. It is a challenging sport and many people are not willing to make the sacrifices necessary to excel. You can be proud of it.

6. Natural bodybuilding is a social sport

Finally, natural bodybuilding is a social sport, contrary to what many people may think. At first, it may seem that it is a very solitary activity, training alone and on a competitive level, competing as individuals against each other. However, going to the gym is a sociable experience for many. In any gym, there are people from all walks of life who share a common passion for health and fitness. You can meet a diverse range of people to learn from and share experiences with whilst still practicing an individual sport.

Conclusion

This article has presented some of the benefits of natural bodybuilding. We hope it is clear to see why starting the natural bodybuilding path can improve your life. Although there are still some risks such as injury and heightened mental health issues, these very much come down to an individual’s understanding and proactive prevention rather than an inevitable issue tied to the sport. There are numerous benefits to natural bodybuilding and it is a great way to learn about living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your body. The only question remaining is, do you have the self-discipline, motivation, and dedication to pursue your goals and see what your body is capable of?

FAQs

Is natural bodybuilding good for health? ›

Natural bodybuilding puts the focus on more than participating athletes' superficial appearance and performance in competition, but also their health, fitness, and general well-being. So apart from the risk of injury that comes with every sport, natural bodybuilding is not harmful to your health.

What are the benefits of bodybuilding? ›

According to the Mayo Clinic, strength training may help you:
  • replace body fat with lean muscle mass.
  • manage your weight.
  • increase your metabolism.
  • increase bone density (reduce osteoporosis risk)
  • reduce the symptoms of chronic conditions, such as: back pain. obesity. arthritis. heart disease. diabetes. depression.
16 Aug 2021

What does natural bodybuilding mean? ›

Natural bodybuilding is a bodybuilding movement with various competitions that take place for bodybuilders who abstain from performance-enhancing drugs. This categorically excludes the use of substances like anabolic steroids, insulin, diuretics and human growth hormone.

Do natural bodybuilders take supplements? ›

Therefore, natural bodybuilders rely exclusively on their diet, training, and supplements approved by the world anti-doping agency (WADA) to achieve peak physical condition.

What are the side effects of bodybuilding? ›

In addition, both men and women who take anabolic steroids can develop any of the following medical conditions:
  • heart attack or stroke.
  • liver or kidney problems or failure.
  • high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • blood clots.
  • fluid retention.
  • high cholesterol.

What is the best age for bodybuilding? ›

Late teens and early twenties are the perfect age to start bodybuilding. Puberty and bodybuilding are closely related because this is the fastest time for muscle growth. Between, 17-25, you will experience testosterone driven growth burst in your muscles.

Is bodybuilding good for brain? ›

The long-term study found that strength training led to overall benefits to cognitive performance, benefits linked to protection from degeneration in specific subregions of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a complex structure in the brain with a major role in learning and memory.

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.

How hard is natural bodybuilding? ›

Natural bodybuilding is a very slow and time-consuming process. Unless you are born with some super human genetics, your 'gains' will not be visible before a couple of years of hard training and diet. Even after that, your 'gains' will still be limited to your gym 'selfies'.

How do you spot a natural bodybuilder? ›

The deeper voice, superior cuts, and rippling muscles are all signs of an enhanced bodybuilder. Naturals do not experience these changes since androgenic hormones are not introduced into their bodies. A natural lifter has no noticeable changes other than muscle growth and fat loss.

How many times a week should a natural bodybuilder train? ›

Training Tips for Natural Bodybuilders

Muscle groups should be trained twice or more every week. Most reps should be kept in the six to 12 range. Rest for one to three minutes in between sets.

How Far Can natural bodybuilding go? ›

When it comes to natural bodybuilding, Lyle McDonald is certainly seen as an authority. He estimates that the maximum amount of muscle you can add during your lifetime is around 18-22kg (40-50lbs). He states that it would take around 4 years of perfect training and diet to reach this potential.

How many sets should a natural bodybuilder do? ›

As bodybuilder Lee Haney once said, "Stimulate, don't annihilate." Current research indicates that anything between 3-10 sets per body part, per session, is sufficient to maximize muscle protein synthesis (MPS).

How long should a natural bulk last? ›

How long should a bulk and cut last? It depends on how much muscle you want to gain and your current body composition. Folks often bulk anywhere from 1 month to over 6 months to get their desired results. Following up with a cut will typically be shorter, usually 2 to 4 months.

How much do natural bodybuilders make? ›

The salaries of Bodybuilders in the US range from $19,726 to $187,200 , with a median salary of $32,020 . The middle 50% of Bodybuilders makes between $28,280 and $29,636, with the top 83% making $187,200.

How do bodybuilders get so lean? ›

Preparation for bodybuilding competition involves drastic reductions in body fat while maintaining muscle mass. This is typically achieved through a decreased caloric intake, intense strength training, and increased cardiovascular exercise.

How do bodybuilders burn fat? ›

A cutting diet is usually used by bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts to cut body fat while maintaining muscle mass. The key distinctions with other weight loss diets are that a cutting diet is catered to each individual, tends to be higher in protein and carbs, and should be accompanied by weightlifting.

What happens to your body when you stop bodybuilding? ›

They will become smaller and weaker. If you've been doing high intensity exercise or weight training, you'll find a reduction in your muscular endurance. A detraining period of 12 weeks results in decreased muscle mass and muscular strength, although the muscles can return to pretraining levels.

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).

Is bodybuilding healthy for your heart? ›

Because strength training increases lean muscle mass, it gives your cardiovascular system places to send the blood being pumped. This results in less pressure on your arteries, which helps reduce the chances of heart-related problems.

At what age do muscles stop growing? ›

“Muscle mass peaks around age 40. [Then it] begins to decline due to sarcopenia,” explains Pete Rufo, a performance coach at Beast Training Academy in Chicago. “A major contributor to muscle mass decline is lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyles.

Can I start bodybuilding at 40? ›

You ask yourself, "Is it possible for me to regain the body I once had and put on some muscle at my age?" The simple answer is yes! You can put on muscle after 40, but you will have to take a completely different approach than when you weight trained and dieted as a youth.

What age does it get harder to build muscle? ›

Building muscle mass when you're over 50 can be difficult. It's a good idea to check with your doctor and a fitness trainer before you start any endurance training.

What are body building foods? ›

Muscle building foods for gaining lean muscle
  • Eggs. Eggs contain high quality protein, healthy fats, and other important nutrients like B vitamins and choline ( 1 ). ...
  • Salmon. Salmon is a great choice for muscle building and overall health. ...
  • Chicken breast. ...
  • Greek yogurt. ...
  • Tuna. ...
  • Lean beef. ...
  • Shrimp. ...
  • Soybeans.
26 Feb 2019

Is bodybuilding good for mental health? ›

With any form of activity, your body releases endorphins so you earn the feel-good factor after your workout. Through releasing them, they not only stimulate the pleasure parts of the brain and elevate your mood, but also reduce stress and anxiety.

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.

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.

Why do I feel so good after lifting weights? ›

Upon exercising, neurotransmitters like serotonin or norepinephrine help teach your body how to better respond to stressors. Studies even show that low levels of both are linked to depression and anxiety. So, higher levels of those chemicals during exercise naturally make you feel good.

Do natural bodybuilders take steroids? ›

But I will also state that many natural bodybuilders don't take any performance-enhancing drugs. There are many superb natural bodybuilders with completely natural physiques. But there are also a lot of natural bodybuilders who have taken steroids in the past or are still taking them during competition time.

Can natural bodybuilders build muscle? ›

Natural bodybuilders may not be able to put on as much muscle mass as steroid users but they build muscles that are long lasting and sustainable. Besides building muscles that last, they have a better overall health and faster metabolism.

Are there any actual natural bodybuilders? ›

What is this? Mike O'Hearn is the largest natural bodybuilder in the world by weight. He is also famous as an actor, model, and personal trainer.

How big can I naturally get? ›

Most men can naturally gain 40 to 50 pounds of muscle in their lifetimes, and most women can naturally gain 20 to 25 pounds.

Do bodybuilders heads get bigger? ›

SKULL:Steroids may or may not increase the size of the skull; the effect is more often attributed to human growth hormone, which is sometimes taken in conjunction with anabolic steroids. Skin: Bodybuilders' skin sometimes takes on a reddish glow, since steroids cause water retention, which raises blood pressure.

How can you tell if a guy is taking steroids? ›

Steroids cause hormonal imbalances in the body that can lead to physical changes. Men can develop breasts and shrunken testicles.
...
Other common side effects and signs of anabolic steroid abuse include:
  1. Acne.
  2. Rapid muscle/weight gain.
  3. Enlarged breasts (in men)
  4. Paranoia.
  5. Hyperactivity.
  6. Facial hair growth (in women)
15 Oct 2015

How long do natural bodybuilders train? ›

Interestingly, they only trained, on average, about 5 days a week, for about an hour (plus or minus a little bit) at a time. Yes, that's right - about 5-7 hours total.

How many hours do bodybuilders sleep? ›

All of them picked 8-hours of sleep each night. It really is that important. There's no point in doing hardcore workouts if you're consistently getting less than 6-hours of sleep per night. 8-hours is ideal, while 9-10 hours is even better.

Can Naturals train 6 days a week? ›

Hitting a muscle three times per week is the optimal frequency for a natural trainee (with a low volume to compensate for the increase in frequency). Train six days a week, doing short, low volume workouts hitting half the body each time.

Is natural bodybuilding hard? ›

Natural bodybuilding is a very slow and time-consuming process. Unless you are born with some super human genetics, your 'gains' will not be visible before a couple of years of hard training and diet. Even after that, your 'gains' will still be limited to your gym 'selfies'.

Is bodybuilding good for brain? ›

The long-term study found that strength training led to overall benefits to cognitive performance, benefits linked to protection from degeneration in specific subregions of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a complex structure in the brain with a major role in learning and memory.

Why is bodybuilding so 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 many times a week should a natural bodybuilder train? ›

Training Tips for Natural Bodybuilders

Muscle groups should be trained twice or more every week. Most reps should be kept in the six to 12 range. Rest for one to three minutes in between sets.

How far can you go natural bodybuilding? ›

How far can natural bodybuilding go? Everyone has a genetic potential, a certain amount of muscle mass that they can grow over several years. Once that potential has been hit, progress will effectively stall. 200lbs or 90kg of lean body mass is the upper limit that most men can achieve according to experts.

How many sets should a natural bodybuilder do? ›

As bodybuilder Lee Haney once said, "Stimulate, don't annihilate." Current research indicates that anything between 3-10 sets per body part, per session, is sufficient to maximize muscle protein synthesis (MPS).

How do you spot a natural bodybuilder? ›

The deeper voice, superior cuts, and rippling muscles are all signs of an enhanced bodybuilder. Naturals do not experience these changes since androgenic hormones are not introduced into their bodies. A natural lifter has no noticeable changes other than muscle growth and fat loss.

Do natural bodybuilders take steroids? ›

But I will also state that many natural bodybuilders don't take any performance-enhancing drugs. There are many superb natural bodybuilders with completely natural physiques. But there are also a lot of natural bodybuilders who have taken steroids in the past or are still taking them during competition time.

How long does it take to become a natural bodybuilder? ›

A novice adult lifting weights three hours per week can expect to gain four to 15 pounds per year without the use of steroids or hormones. After two years of lifting this person should expect just three to 10 pounds of annual gains. After five years this growth will slow to about two to seven pounds per year.

Is bodybuilding good for your heart? ›

Because strength training increases lean muscle mass, it gives your cardiovascular system places to send the blood being pumped. This results in less pressure on your arteries, which helps reduce the chances of heart-related problems.

What are body building foods? ›

Muscle building foods for gaining lean muscle
  • Eggs. Eggs contain high quality protein, healthy fats, and other important nutrients like B vitamins and choline ( 1 ). ...
  • Salmon. Salmon is a great choice for muscle building and overall health. ...
  • Chicken breast. ...
  • Greek yogurt. ...
  • Tuna. ...
  • Lean beef. ...
  • Shrimp. ...
  • Soybeans.
26 Feb 2019

Is bodybuilding good for mental health? ›

With any form of activity, your body releases endorphins so you earn the feel-good factor after your workout. Through releasing them, they not only stimulate the pleasure parts of the brain and elevate your mood, but also reduce stress and anxiety.

Can you get big naturally without steroids? ›

Building muscle without supplements and steroids takes determination, a good workout routine, and proper eating habits. To build bigger muscles, you must put together a good exercise and meal plan. You can gain lean hard muscle naturally by eating healthy and working out.

Why do I get stronger but not bigger? ›

When you first do an exercise, you'll get stronger rapidly. Just so you know: this is not because your muscle got a lot bigger. But, rather, because of your brain's improved ability to activate that muscle during the exercise. This is what we call neurological adaptations, which lasts about 8-12 weeks.

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