Today, I’m Ashamed to be a Bodybuilder

The stereotype that we are self-obsessed and shallow – that’s what I’m talking about tonight.  I think about this a lot.  (And then I wonder if thinking about whether I’m narcissistic makes me a narcissist.  That’ll make you dizzy, won’t it? ) I personally stay mindful that what I’m doing with my life is really only important to me.  We are all heroes of our own stories, right?  That means you, as you read this, are the hero of your story.  But I hope most of us are empathetic enough to not dwell on our own hero status.

My motivation for writing this post is a picture that popped up on Facebook today.  I believe this picture is evidence of an ego out of control or a deep insecurity.  A physique competitor took a picture of herself from a photo shoot, added a few candles to the picture, and then posted it on Facebook with a quote and a dedication to the children who died at Sandy Hook Elementary last week.  At the very least, it’s ridiculous.   What does a woman showing off her body in a black bikini have to do with elementary school children?  At worst, she is using that tragedy to self-promote.

I made a comment – and I worded it carefully to not express my disgust – but that comment was deleted.  I wouldn’t have known that it was deleted but for the fact that she posted the same picture this evening in a group I belong to so I saw it again by accident.  The comments on the picture were all “sexy” or “I wish I looked like that”, and the woman herself commented every so often with a “thank you sweetie” or something else as equally trivial and shallow.  No comments about the kids.  The whole thing was surreal in it’s stupidity and disrespect.

And I was embarrassed.   I started to wonder just how guilty I am of stupid shallowness or the appearance of it.  For the first time ever, I was ashamed to be a bodybuilder.  I can talk about my noble reasons for doing this thing, but at the end of the day, am I just as shallow as the woman in that picture seems to be?  If I stay in this game too long, will I become so insecure that I will need to have 5000 close and personal Facebook friends to kiss my glutes?  Hope not.

The other day, I realized that I have no interest in posting any progress pictures from now on.  Today’s events just reinforced that decision.  I don’t seem to have a problem posting competition pictures because they feel like documentation for an event.  But if I take progress pictures, you may not see them.  They have a purpose and that purpose is most definitely not to show off.

And no – I’m not going to show you the picture that prompted this post.  I do not want to provide any more exposure to it.  I find it very offensive.

Paradox…isn’t writing a blog a bit narcissistic?  



Filed under Opinions, Venting, Ranting

11 responses to “Today, I’m Ashamed to be a Bodybuilder

  1. Woah, this is a very interesting topic. Thanks for sharing. I got into fitness for myself and hope to keep it that way.


  2. sahmilf

    How horrible they would use a tragedy for personal gain like that. They should be ashamed


  3. One Fit Mama

    using a horrid tradgedy for self serving narcissistic purposes is not the same as being proud of your achievments!
    I have struggled with progress pucs and often rethink things I have posted, except truth is I’m proud if what I’ve done and. I don’t post the pictures to show off but hopefully to inspire

    you are one of my biggest inspirations

    don’t let some dip change you


  4. Colin DeWaay

    Hmmm you make some interesting points. I don’t think you are even near the same level as this girl you are talking about but think you should do what you think is best for you. To me there is nothing wrong with being proud of what you’ve done and posting the pics, but at the same time you have to know the different between confidence and cocky or like you were talking about going too far. If you are worried about getting to that type of level then you should listen to yourself, IMO. I stress my opinion, because it’s just that. I don’t pretend to think my opinion is always the right opinion. Everyone is entitled to their own. To me, however, just the fact that you are worried about looking like a narcissistic is proof enough that you most definitely are not one. But you do what you think is best for you! I find your story very inspiring personally.

    Nice post.


  5. I agree with Colin that you are in no way narcissistic, but you should definitely do only what you’re comfortable with. Being a blogger AND a bodybuilder can feel like a double whammy of self-centeredness. However, you started the fitness journey not to show off your results, but to better your life! The fact that you feel so wonderful and want to share your story is just that. Sharing. And you’re probably doing that because you’ve had people approach you about your success, which probably led you to the blog. On the surface it may all look like superficiality and self promotion, but you know where you came from, and so do your supporters. It’s sort of a torch that gets handed to you when you have success, and you can use it anyway you like. I feel like you’re using the torch to light the way for others who seek change in their lives. This other lady you spoke of, well, sounds like she’s using it as a spotlight.


  6. Thank you, blogger buddies! I spend so much time thinking about my training, my food, my sleep, my next show, etc. I also think about how much I’m not taking care of things at home, not spending time with my husband, not grading papers, not tutoring my students, etc. It was nice to get your feedback. Please feel free to blast me if I get too full of myself.


  7. Ditto…I agree with what’s already been said. Posting your achievements which inspire us all is in no way narcissism. The pic you are talking about is, well, just stupid and selfish but don’t let that person make you doubt yourself. You rock!


  8. The bodybuilder in the black bikini aside, I think generally we women don’t spend enough time thinking about ourselves and dedicating time to ourselves. We’re good at guilt; not so good at healthy self confidence and purposeful self realisation.

    Be content. I think you know the difference 🙂


  9. As a female pastor AND completing my first figure competition at 50 – I can also relate to your thoughts and struggle. I want to show my hard-earned progress and to encourage other older women to make healthy lifestyle changes AND to be an example of what is possible… BUT do not in any way want to cause someone else to stumble… or be mis-percieved or even “narcisisstic” – it has been something I have struggled with alot!! Great post, Tammy


    • Thank you! I really do struggle with this issue. I know how some people perceive what they see. I’m not imagining that. I also think it sounds kind of pretentious to say I’m doing this to honor God, but that’s a truth. Looking in the mirror didn’t motivate me. Laying in an ER did. It’s so much more a mental, spiritual struggle than a physical one. If I could compete without an audience, I would prefer it. But I hope that there is a reason I’m doing this that is bigger than my ego.


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