Is Building Muscle A Waste Of Time?
Someone asked this question on Quora,
Why do people waste their lives trying to build muscle? I just don’t get it. Do you like being strong? Strong for what, picking up objects? Do you feel you’ve accomplished something?
Personally, I think it’s gross, and I wanted to know why people like it so much. I think it’s a waste of time. So here’s my answer, Speaking empathetically, I understand your point of view! Although ‘Gross’ is a strong word, man!
Firstly, let me start by saying this. We all need muscles. As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass (sarcopenia), which also results in loss of functional abilities, thereby increasing the risk of falls and fractures. 1https://www.acsm.org/docs/default-source/files-for-resource-library/smb-resistance-training-and-injury-prevention.pdf
So basically, a person who weights trains and has relatively more muscle mass is less likely to be injured. That’s the very reason why an athlete in almost every sport weight trains. 2https://www.businessinsider.com/tiger-woods-working-out-2014-9?IR=T, 3https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22461461/
Now, I am sure you are pointing out the fact that most bodybuilders build excess muscle, which is of no use!!
I have a very simple answer to this fact.
We, as humans, are not logical by nature but rather emotional!
Why On Earth Would
1) Warren Buffet become a multi-billionaire by giving it all away.
2) Why would an F-1 driver drive his car to the speeds of 300km/hr risking his life?
We all lead lives of excess. However, our circumstances shape our habits and what we become passionate about. Jeff Bezos’s Quote explains it the best,
‘One of the huge mistake people make is trying to force an interest on themselves. You don’t choose your passions. Your passion chooses you.’
Consider My Story
I was a teenage boy who simply wanted to fill his measly 33-inch chest with some brawn. But, of course, I’ll be honest to admit vanity was my driving force!
I am the one on the right (with a blue-lined t-shirt), and the other two people are my mom and my younger brother. Standing tall at 185 cm and 140 lbs and with a body type of an ectomorph, I wasn’t exactly happy with how I looked.
I also felt weak and found myself under the weather at least a few times every year (basically, I used to fall sick more times than normal people do). So you can imagine my state of mind and how badly I wanted to gain weight and put on some muscles.
Seeds were sown, and I was hooked on weight training, and little did I know that it would become an all-time-consuming passion and eventually become my whole life. Vanity now isn’t my driving force, and my motivations have evolved.
Now, I am 180 lbs and want to build up to 200 lbs. For an average person, it may seem like too much, but do you consider it gross?
Related: My Story
I was born underweight and stayed like that until my teens. Then, because I wanted to gain weight and look good, I read everything I could on bodybuilding, fitness, nutrition etc. I secured various certifications, and in the process, I have helped hundreds of people to gain weight (and lose weight).
Thousands of people have joined my health club, and I feel proud when they say their lives have changed because of me. I recently launched a blog fabulousbody.com, and have authored a book, ‘The Fabulous Body,’ which helps anyone to gain lean muscle, lose fat and optimize their health. 4https://www.amazon.com/Fabulous-Body-Muscle-Optimize-Health-ebook/dp/B01B4DJZL6/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2RGLP2FEEBZQN&keywords=aakash+sehrawat+book&qid=1674276206&sprefix=akash+sehrawat+book%2Caps%2C328&sr=8-1
I am not saying this to brag or something like that, but to point to the fact that if a person does something with passion, knowingly or unknowingly, he changes lives for good.
Now, I agree with the fact that bodybuilding is not what it used to be
The legend on the left is Steve Reeves. He was 6’1″ (186cm) and weighed about 215 lbs. I can bet the majority of men, if given a chance to look like him, will definitely choose to be like him.
For an average person, this can be easily 30 to 40 lbs heavier. Do you think he looks gross?
Bodybuilding, and weight training, if done in a proper way, can help you to build lean, proportionate and symmetrical muscles that not only make you look good but can also make you optimally healthy.
My vision is to help (in whatever way I can) to bring back the golden age of bodybuilding (the 1940s, 1950s), where bodybuilding was all about looking good, feeling good, being healthy, and weight training 3 times a week, with no drug or supplement use. Back then, bodybuilders used to have a life outside of the gym.
And Now Quickly Few Words On Becoming Strong
Strength is celebrated. Over the centuries, men have played the role of protector, defender, and warrior. In these modern times, with all the technological advances, men are often required to sit behind a desk all day.
Still, even then, there is something primal in us that makes us want to become a stronger version of ourselves, to take care of ourselves and our families if need be, to push back if being pushed, etc.
It’s my belief that strength is an essential virtue for every man to have.
In my experience, the strength we build in the weight room does transcend into other forms of strength (strength of character, the strength of spirit, etc.), but that’s a topic for some other day.
To conclude, I hope I have shown you that everyone has their own journey, and building muscles is a beautiful art. If you do it with the right mindset and principles for a few weeks, you will be a weight lifter for the rest of your life.
Once you experience the sublime joy that weightlifters feel, you’ll find the hours spent weight training to be the most valuable hours you have lived 🙂
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About Akash Sehrawat
Akash is a creator of 25+ programs and certificate courses in which more than 200,000 students have enrolled both on Udemy and Fabulous Body's native platform. Akash is also an author of three books that can be found on Amazon. His answers on Quora have gathered more than 12 million views in less than a year.