When did “Bodybuilding” become a bad word?

There seems to be a trend developing in advertising where the term bodybuilder has become a negative word and the act of bodybuilding is spoken about like an activity to be avoided.  I’ve devoted my life and education to said endeavor and I find this marketing approach both offensive and rooted in ignorance.

Let’s take a step back for a second and examine this from a logical point of view.  The act of bodybuilding is that of building muscle and losing fat.  Correct me of I am wrong but isn’t that the basic goal of 99% of gym goers?  Don’t we all want to build muscle and lose fat to some degree?  Of course most people don’t want to become Mr. or Ms. Universe but that’s the extreme end of the spectrum and takes many years of unyielding dedication to even begin to approach that level, especially if you are steroid free.  So to insinuate that you will turn into some muscled up neanderthal overnight or even after several months is very misleading and simply false.

I have news for you.  Everyone who is attempting to change their body is a bodybuilder!  And if more people (men and women) approached their training with that in mind they would have greater success at changing their physique because a workout program with a strong emphasis on muscle building is the key to truly transforming your body. I should know because I’ve been conducting my own 20 year experiment with myself as the primary test subject.  In that time, not only did I push my body to a level of drug free development that is considered to be one of the best in the history of the sport, I’ve also instructed people literally all over the globe with the same principles and have a staggering success rate I might add.  I am not just talking about competitive bodybuilders.   I’m talking about “average” men AND women who were committed to making a true body transformation.

If you want to change your body you DO want to be a bodybuilder.   Stop thinking of it in terms of the giant competitors you see in the magazines.  Again, that is the extreme example and unattainable for most, especially without the use of drugs.   Start thinking about bodybuilding in terms of the physiological act of building muscle and losing fat and you will be on the way to a smarter, more effective program.

The next time some commercial or some salesman tries to convince you that bodybuilding is an activity that only muscled up steroid guys do it should make you question their level of fitness expertise and question their motives.

I do “pick things up and put them down” (4 to 6 reps per set) and guess what….you should too!


  1. avatar
    C. Henry

    The commercials for a certain fitness chain are HIGHLY offensive. i have friends ( you among them) who i have known for over 20+ yrs. And know for a fact the amount of education and dedication it takes to achieve bodies like those depicted in those commercials and other places. Its disheartening that in a era where we are pushed to teach our children “anti-bullying” and such. The public and media embrace the negative portrayal of bodybuilders and not the true nature, education and dedication required.

  2. Hi Jeff great post.

    I am curious I have noticed that in many of the routines illustrated on this site for larger muscle groups you tend to put about 7 sets. I know that you say 6-8 sets for larger muscle groups would you say 7 is the best number of sets or is 8 more beneficial. The reason I ask is because I am always driven to do 8 sets for all large muscle groups and no less. Is this a good idea or is this overdoing it? Thanks for your time I understand you must be very busy?

    • I think anywhere in the 6-8 total set range is fine. I don’t really think 1 set plus or minus probably makes a huge difference either way. I tend to select the lower end of the range and usually do 6-7 total sets for the bigger groups.

  3. avatar
    Martin Johannesson

    True! From watching your documentary I know that I have all the tools to change myself into something I’ve only dreamed about before! And I am doing it! Thank you a lot Jeff! You are my mentor!

  4. Hello Sir

    I am Anuran , from India.
    Yor are inspiration in a sport marred with steroids.
    I am currently into powerlifting(raw and drug free).
    Highly qualified coaches like you should be coaching sports person,like rugby,baseball…etc, that’s my view.

    Current stats @ 95 kg (bodyweight) , 5’7″ height.
    Benchpress– 143 kg (single rep without any suit/raw)
    Deadlift–220kg (single rep without any suit/raw)

    Educational Qualifications–
    BE(computer Science)
    MBA(dual–finance & information technology)–currently pursuing

    (p.s.I am not a professional powerlifter as of now)

  5. avatar
    Mike Davis

    Jeff, I have been a fan of you and the Max-OT principles for years now and am glad to see you spreading the word and staying active with your blog even after all your success! I got back into weight training about 8 months ago and my results have been less than spectacular. However, looking back, I’ve been doing lots of drop sets, forced reps, rest-pause, 8-12 rep ranges, etc. After re-reading your entries and the Max-OT fundamentals, I hit the gym today with a new mindset: 4-6 to failure is the magic window. And guess what- today’s training was awesome and it felt “right” again! I know I don’t look like a bodybuilder per se, but that’s what I’m doing. Thanks for continuing to be an inspiration to bodybuilders everywhere and please keep it up!

  6. Great article Jeff… I am a bodybuilder and am proud of it. I am not going to settle for being overweight and out of shape and have a poor quality of life. I am transforming my body with adding muscle and it makes quality of life so much better. Besides, I can still through my 9 year old son in the air.
    Thanks for your dedication Jeff and thanks for passing your knowledge on to us.

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