Do Bodybuilders Have Worse Mental Health Problems?

bodybuilder's mental health
July 26, 2023 0 Comments

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In this article I will be answering the question “do bodybuilders have worse mental health problems?”. This is a topic that deserves further exploration.

Lots of people from all walks of life and interests can suffer with mental health problems. Can bodybuilders suffer unique mental health problems or worse than those of the general population?

This article will delve deeper into this, I hope you will find it an informative and insightful read.

Do Bodybuilders Have Worse Mental Health Problems?

As with anything bodybuilding has both positive and negative effects. Healthy bodybuilding is very positive for your mental health and your body.

When bodybuilding is taken to unhealthy extremes it can be bad for you and result in some mental health problems. It should be stated that mental health is very complex.

Many things can lead to mental health problems. Often you can experience problems if you have suffered trauma in your past. Your life experiences can also shape you and lead you down a negative path in some cases.

Social media also plays a big role in mental health problems. Bodybuilders that compare themselves to others constantly can develop worse mental health. You have to be confident in who you are and not feel inadequate all the time.

As bodybuilding can have both positive and negative effects, it is difficult to say whether bodybuilders have worse mental health. I would say that this is not true on the whole. A lot of bodybuilders are happier and more successful as a result of this activity.
bodybuilder's mental health

The Problem With Generalisations

The big problem with making sweeping generalisations is that you are saying that every individual within a certain group suffers from similar problems.

It is important to say that not all bodybuilders suffer from mental health problems. For a lot of bodybuilders, bodybuilding has improved their self esteem and mental health.

However, there are some bodybuilders who face mental health problems. Some may have devoted too much of their life to bodybuilding at the expense of other areas of their life.

This can result in issues such as strain on relationships and finances. The bodybuilding lifestyle is quite selfish and expensive. Some bodybuilders suffer from body dysmorphia which can harm their mental health.

Previously I have looked into the topic of muscle dysmorphia. 

Physical Demands Can Cause Stress

Bodybuilding is a very demanding activity. It requires you to put in consistent time in the gym each week as well as staying on point with your nutrition and sleep.

If you have a relationship or dependents, it may be tough at times to juggle everything and keep up with these demands. This can increase stress and lead to mental health issues in some cases.

In addition, bodybuilders that compete will notoriously be hard to deal with during their competition preparations. They will be cutting weight and become quite irritable.

Some bodybuilders may grow tired of this cutting phase in the lead up to competitions over time. This can also take a toll on mental health for some bodybuilders. 

Body image issues can also arise during bodybuilding. Some bodybuilders scrutinise their physiques too much and never feel good enough. They always feel that they can build more muscle and lose more fat. This can also turn into a mental health problem when taken too extremes.

Bodybuilding Is Also Very Positive

Whilst some bodybuilders can suffer from mental health problems, bodybuilding can be a very positive force on the whole.

A lot of bodybuilders start lifting weights because they are not happy with their bodies. They want to improve their physiques so that they can gain more confidence and feel better about themselves.

Healthy bodybuilding does indeed boost self esteem and improve your self image. As your physique improves you will gain more confidence and this will benefit you in all areas of your life.

Also the discipline and consistency that bodybuilding calls for can be applied to other areas of your life. Many bodybuilders are very successful people. The stereotypical image of a vacuous muscle meathead is outdated.

It is harmful to pigeon hole entire groups of people based on preconceived ideas of what their characters are like. A lot of bodybuilders are great people and do good work in their communities to add value to others.

I have talked about whether bodybuilders are really all selfish and vain in a previous article.
happy bodybuilder

Are Bodybuilders Inherently Mentally Ill?

Of course, it is insane to say that all bodybuilders are inherently mentally ill. This is completely false and a big insult to the bodybuilding community.

Bodybuilding in a healthy manner will help you to become fitter and stronger. You will benefit from improved confidence and people will treat you better overall. 

However, there was one Youtuber who goes by the name of Mario Rios who tried to ridicule bodybuilders. He said that bodybuilders are lazy and sit on their asses! This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Bodybuilders are the complete opposite of lazy, they put in tremendous amounts of work and effort to improve their physiques. Many also do big compound movements like squats and deadlifts.

Mario also claims that bodybuilders are hurting their health. This may be true in the cases of professional bodybuilders who are taking PEDs. This isn’t the most healthy for your body and can have numerous side effects.

However, bodybuilding can take the average joe and make them bigger and stronger. They will also become more aesthetic and healthier as a whole. If taken to extremes then it is true that bodybuilding can be unhealthy.

Mario is clearly jealous of bodybuilders as they have a more muscular physique than him. Unfortunately, bodybuilders are targeted by lots of people in the population. People make assumptions just based on their own outdated beliefs.

Do People Who Don’t Lift Weights Have Worse Mental Health?

It is difficult to say, but overall exercise is an incredibly powerful force for combatting depression.

It releases endorphins and you feel better about yourself when you exercise regularly. If someone doesn’t lift weights and also doesn’t get much other exercise, it is likely that they will have worse mental health than many bodybuilders.

The good thing about bodybuilding is the sense of community. The gym is a place where you can interact with other like minded individuals and can feel part of something.

All humans have a need to fit in and be a part of something bigger than themselves. This sense of community is very much a tribal thing. Of course, everyone can suffer at times from poor mental health.

Life is not easy for anyone. It throws up numerous challenges and is constantly challenging all of us. If your mental health is bad it is important to seek support and reach out to family and friends. 

You can also seek help from a mental health professional if you have to. 

Final Thoughts

Do bodybuilders have worse mental health problems? Overall, there is no evidence to suggest that this is true.

Virtually everyone suffers from mental health problems at different points in life. Bodybuilders that take things to extreme levels and have an unhealthy balance in life are likely to accrue more mental health problems.

People who don’t exercise are also going to face their own mental health problems. If you don’t exercise and are out of shape, it is unlikely that your self esteem will be too high. 

Bodybuilding is a positive force by and large and healthy bodybuilding should be promoted more. 

If you have anything to say on this topic please leave a comment. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!

>> Is It Normal To Feel Depressed After A Workout?

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