That Bodybuilder Look


In adolescence I craved and coveted one personal asset above all others. Early in life, I took to pursuing it. The pursuit turned into a mission. The mission turned into a quest. The quest had me bound and tied by the age of 15, and didn’t let go until well into my adult life. In truth, it still tugs at me.

From the time I was in the 5th grade, I wanted that bodybuilder look. You know, that look that bodybuilders have; that awe striking, eye popping, mind blowing physical form. The aesthetic which confiscated my youth from me, in exchange for the ransom of all my spare time, more than a few relationships, and many thousands of eggs. Yes, the bodybuilder look was a slut, a teacher, a mentor, a whore, and a holy grail to me, all rolled into one. 

That bodybuilder look as defined by me (from my personal journal) at age 15:

 “Important, Necessary, Unique, Aesthetic, Freedom, Success, Wisdom, King” 

Roy at age 13.  Let the voyage begin...

Roy at age 13. Let the voyage begin...

A great part of what drove me to pursue that bodybuilder look was it’s unique and radically contrary nature. In the entire city of Denver in the early 1970’s, there were probably less than a hundred people who truly maintained that bodybuilder look; wide shoulders contrasting a small waist. Cleft biceps, triceps, calves, and quads. Shirt sleeves so tight they were stretched to their limit. Having to turn sideways to fit through a door jam. This was my dream. At the age of 15, it was always a small and unexpected surprise if I saw a bodybuilder walking down a sidewalk or in a store. That uniqueness was a great part of the lure. I wanted to stand out from others physically, and do so in a large way.

In time, and with the help of Arnold Schwarzenegger, bodybuilding caught on. Within a couple of decades, it was a lesser surprise to walk into a grocery store or a public venue every once and again and see a man with the bodybuilder look. Even so, it still was not commonplace to see such a being. Well into the 1990’s, and well after attaining this look myself, I still considered the bodybuilder look unique, and was proud to carry it. Through the 1990’s, in nearly any gym, at nearly any time of day, you still might see only one or two men with that look, or none at all. Things have changed. Look at something obvious, do so daily, and you can be assured that you will overlook something about it.

Age 39; goal attained... I guess.

220 Lbs, age 39; goal attained... I guess.

I have a girlfriend now which means I spend my evenings watching HGTV and pretending I like it. HGTV is a TV network hosting a never ending loop of programs which takes beaten houses, and turns them into swans. The crews which are used to foster these transitions generally consist of a real-estate adviser, a designer/decorator, and a carpenter & crew.

These experts have the power to transform a house well into decline into, well, into a bodybuilder house – so to say. But that’s not the tie-in here. The connection is this; every freaking carpenter on those shows, as well as the carpenter’s crew, always look like recreational bodybuilders. Even some of the male designers have that bodybuilder look. The abundance of the bodybuilder look on something as benign as HGTV got me thinking about this quite a bit – so I began seeking and identifying it on other shows, and in other places in life.

Hugh Jackman has that bodybuilder look.

Hugh Jackman has that bodybuilder look...

Apparently I have had my eyes closed for the past 10 years or so, because it now appears that if you are male, whether you are on TV or not, you are likely obese, or a bodybuilder – with decreasing room in-between. That bodybuilder look is everywhere! It almost seems the American male standard. Over simplified perhaps, but not too far off the mark.

When comedians look like wrestlers, somethings up...

Carrot Top? really? When comedians look like wrestlers, something's up...

The gym where I sometimes go:

At any given time at the 24Hour Fitness in Oceanside, CA, where I meet my workout partner, Marshall, each afternoon, I see a dozen or more men of varying ages, who have that bodybuilder look. Not sure where I was or what I was doing when this happened, but I only began noticing it just this month after identifying so frequently on television. Not to suggest that these are competitive bodybuilders, but they possess physiques which could have been on stage competing in bodybuilding 20 years ago. Some days, men of this look actually represent the majority of those working out at my gym.

So what’s shakin’ here? Why now? Why so many? Why everywhere? Lots and lots of reasons, some good, some not-so-good.

LL Cool J has his tikcets... for the gun show!

LL Cool J has his tikcets... for the gun show!

Stay tuned for my thoughts on all the “why’s” as I will explore this concept in more detail next month.
A more fit, post-marathon Roy at 165 lbs.  Less muscle, more sense.  Circa 2009

A more fit, post-marathon Roy at 165 lbs. Less muscle, more sense. Circa 2009

Also next month, I will share my thoughts on the reasons why my quest for muscle was a lost cause and a large waste of time for me, with far too many casualties — yet is was simultaneously the most important part of my life. Be well. rc

3 responses

  1. Listen up bro,I’m 55 and never did roids, GAVE UP LIFTING AT THE GYM 2O YEARS AGO WHEN EVERY ASSHOLE STARTED LIFTING,BAD MUSIC,BAD LIFTING AND OF COURSE ROIDS,i LIFT ALONE IN A POWER RACK FOR 2 HOURS EVERYDAY,IF YOU THINK RUNNING IS WHERE IT’S, AT YOU NEVER WERE A SERIOUS LIFTER ANYWAY,THE SO CALLED LOOK WAS EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED IN LIFE,I GOT IT,AND THE WOMEN STILL TURN TO GIVE ME THE LOOK,YEAH THE YOUNG BEAVER LOVE IT,SO KEEP ON RUNNING,WALKING AFTER A WORKOUT IS ALL YOU NEED,HAVE FUN WITH YOUR SHIN SPLINTS,LOL

  2. Wow! And wow! Wow to your devotion at such a young age. I see you are one of the people I bitch about still to this day on those who have been athletics once upon a time and how they are good building muscle later on. I’m just upset I decided to start late, but it’s just time perceived as oppose to the past and future. So I will do my best and continue my course through the present.

    But I love and admire your chameleon style. You are obviously gifted and love what it is you do. I can’t wait to take more time out this week to read the rest of everything you wrote previously. I’m excited and hooked on what it is you know and will share. 🙂

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