By Frank Hoffmann
We live in a world where mainstream professional sports like baseball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer, golf and even tennis dominate the television airwaves and every corner of print media. With dedicated channels and premium sports packages made available by your friendly neighborhood cable provider, you never have to miss a game. All you have to do is turn on SportsCenter to view a continuous loop of highlights of glorified, multi-million dollar athletes playing in front of thousands of fans decked out in official team apparel, sitting in overpriced seats, feeding the billion dollar machine. No matter where you turn, you can’t escape it. Fans of these and other mainstream sports have an all-access pass to the professional and personal lives of their favorite athletes – that is of course, unless your favorite athlete is Kai Greene, Dennis Wolf or any other IFBB Pro!
We bodybuilding fans don’t have the luxury that “real sports fans” do. We are forced to scour a handful of industry websites and internet forums or wait patiently by the mailbox every month for our magazine subscription just to get a glimpse into the sport we love so much. We log on to Facebook and Twitter and pray to God that the likes of Dexter Jackson, Branch Warren and Phil Heath have updated their statuses and feeds. We order DVD’s and watch YouTube videos to see our hero’s train and to hear them speak. We find the time and resources to make the annual pilgrimages to Las Vegas or Columbus just to take a picture with Jay Cutler at the fitness expo. However, it’s not all bad. Twice a year we get to hunch over our computers to watch a choppy live stream of the ASC and Mr. O while all you poker fans can just turn to channel 22 and watch Daniel Negreanu in HD. I ain’t mad, but the truth of the matter is bodybuilding will never become mainstream. People. The Media. The World. They’ll never understand why we love this sport.
It’s not so much about watching a bunch of gladiators battling it out on stage before a panel of judges and a small crowd. Rather it’s about the journey that it takes to get there. Bodybuilding, especially at the professional level, is a 24/7/365 lifestyle that these athletes have to endure in order to transform their bodies into works of art. We find inspiration, motivation and hope in these athletes because we know, from our own experiences, how hard it is to fine tune your body through diet and exercise. Bodybuilding is just as much science as it is hard work. Yeah, genetics and “supplements” play their roles, but it pales in comparison to the blood, sweat and tears it takes to get to the IFBB level. Truth be told, like most people, I am a fan of mainstream sports. But I will never have as much respect for a football player as I have for a bodybuilder – never! Even though bodybuilding fans have it rough compared to most sports fans, we like it like that because what we have is real.
Frank Hoffmann is a former NCAA and Professional CFL football player from Toronto, whose passion for health and fitness stems from his years as a personal trainer. Frank works as a freelance fitness and lifestyle writer while holding down a nine to five job and believes having a full-time job is no excuse to not be fit. Check out his fitness blog at Nine2Fit.tumblr.com and follow him on Twitter at @Nine2Fit.