12 March 2008 ~ Comments Off on Bodybuilders and Power Lifters

Bodybuilders and Power Lifters

Today while I was working out, I made a new friend. I’ll just call him Joe. Joe was curious about my reasoning for working out, after all, I’m not a student athlete. I told him that I was training currently for a bodybuilding competition and afterward I would try to further pursue fitness modeling or future shows. I am a pretty tranquil, easy-going person almost all of the time, however, I sort of have a pet peeve about people who try to fake like they know what you are talking about, and when in reality they are clueless. Joe asked me what weight I planned to lift for the competition.

Unlike what you may have expected, I was able to maintain my true feelings and managed to let out only a chuckle. Then I presumed to explain to Joe that bodybuilders are the Speedo-wearing, paint on tan, leg shaving, grotesquely muscular people that star in the muscle magazines whereas power lifters are the insanely strong guys who lift crazy amounts of weight. He had an ah-ha moment and apologized. I told him that I am just like those bodybuilders, but on a much smaller scale. So, do you know the difference between a power lifter and a bodybuilder?

Just like when my girlfriend gets mad when I mistake her Gucci bag for her Juicy Couture, power lifters and bodybuilders get mad when you mistake them for something that they are not. They do have similarities; they lift weights, are jacked, and eat nonstandard diets. However, comparing the two is like comparing apples and oranges.

Powerlifters aren't always the most rippedPower lifters train to get the heaviest lift of the bench, squat, and deadlift. Their purpose is to lift the greatest one rep for each of these lifts. Competitors are separated by gender, weight class, and age. Awards are given to the strongest person pound for pound (total lifted / body weight) and total weight. Since their goals are different than bodybuilders, they usually train with real heavy weight with low reps. A power lifting routine can consist of 12 straight sets of deadlifts. Their muscles are developed to serve the functional need of lifting weight for a certain event.

The primary goal of a bodybuilder is to force the body into an anabolic (muscle building) state. They are judged on their size, shape, symmetry, posing and definition. Competitors are separated by weight class, gender, and age. When bodybuilders train, they usually train with a moderate load (amount of weight lifted) for a higher amount of repetitions (5 or more) than power lifters do. In general, bodybuilders have shorter rest periods between sets, more volume (total sets x total reps x weight lifted), and more frequency (total workouts a week).

In some ways, power lifters and bodybuilders can have similar training styles (for example, power lifters and bodybuilders use 5×5), but the biggest difference is apparent within their varying diets. Power lifters are mostly concerned with trying to eat as many calories as they can possibly consume. This gives their muscles lots of energy, nutrients to recover with, and also a reason to pig out.

In contrast, the diet of a bodybuilder is imprinted on the back of their eye lids. Bodybuilders are the calorie counters, the processed food hating, tanning bed jockeys who will spend most of their time trying to develop a perfect diet to achieve their goals. A bodybuilder is much more concerned with what their total caloric intake is. I have witnessed friends literally freak out over splurging for one meal. That person has even been me at some points.

Sometimes I just wish that I could eat potato chips and stay lean while building muscle, but unfortunately it is a lot harder than it seems. Million dollar idea: Protein chips? Yeah right… (let me start opening my can of tuna)

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