Naturally Fit?

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Angshuman Dutta

Natural bodybuilding
Rinku Das, INBA Mr. Asia Pacific

Building a good looking muscled physique is an aspiration for many people. Chiselled set of abdominal muscles, broad back and rounded shoulders are a craze for a section of youngsters. A body with a high proportion of lean muscle, low fat is obviously desirable and healthy. However it is not easy to attain and maintain; unless you are blessed with great genetics, it requires tremendous amount of hard work and dedication. Not all are however willing to work that hard, and often resort to short cuts. In the case of bodybuilding, it the use of performance enhancing drugs and anabolic steroids. The use of these substances is not new and is relatively widespread and common.

According to me however it is unhealthy and unethical; especially if you are a professional bodybuilder and participate in contests representing states and countries. Because then it is referred to as “sport”. Some proponents of steroids/gear/cycle/anabolics/whatever you want to call it say it’s a lifestyle choice. Of course it is a lifestyle choice just like someone decides to smoke or drink. I have no problems with that. But a pack of cigarettes/alcohol has a warning that it is injurious to your health; this does not. If bodybuilders on dope marked a similar statutory warning on their bodies it would have been fine with me. Something to the effect “What you see is not real, it is just a temporary visual illusion; trying to replicate the same will definitely be injurious to health”. Are you willing to do that?

Make no mistake I was and still am a big fan of bodybuilding. I grew up idolising Arnold, like most kids of my generation. (It is another matter that I later realised Arnold used steroids too!)I started lifting weights when I was 15; and have been doing it ever since for more than two decades. In those days the menace of steroids was not that overwhelming. It was already popular in the West; in India it was still limited to the niche segment of competitive bodybuilding. Now the scenario has changed. Young kids not yet out of their teens that can’t control their barbells properly are talking about them. It’s scary and abhorring at the same time. From models to film stars and your neighbourhood Romeo everyone seems to be pushing needles.

Bodybuilding is all about genetics and muscle quality. Everybody can’t be a competitive bodybuilder. Sorry it may sound harsh but that is the truth. If you do not have the genetic base you can only go so far. Building a good looking physique is one thing and becoming a professional bodybuilder another. So it pains me when I see young kids resorting to these stunts. It is absolutely pointless. If you cannot win a state level competition without doping you have no future in the sport. You may spend a fortune on gear and end up damaging every organ of your body you will not even be a footnote in bodybuilding history.

Bodybuilding is a not easy. It requires tremendous amount of dedication and hard work. And most importantly it requires an almost monk like attitude towards food. No sport requires that level of clean eating. You can cheat with a cupcake once a while when you are playing soccer or tennis or cricket-you can’t if you are a professional bodybuilder.

True proponents of the bodybuilding refer to it as “sadhana“. You need to overcome and conquer all your cravings, day in and day out; you need to complete that extra rep and push through pain, come rain or shine. But the satisfaction you get after that workout is priceless. And when you are passionate about something it really hurts to see its ethos being marred by some unscrupulous “trainers” and “gurus”. Don’t think for a moment anybody is interested to see you succeed; the one who is pushing you these drugs are just making a handsome profit by pushing you veterinary drugs. So, what remains the difference between you and a broiler chicken?

For the sake of your health and loved ones do not resort to these dangerous antics. Exercise with intensity and regularity, eat clean and healthy and if you persevere you will get the results you seek. It is not going to be easy, but nothing worth having comes easy.

The writer Angshuman Dutta is the founder/CEO of Transformers Fitness Academy. You can follow him on Instagram at

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