It is 100% a sport! As a figure competitor I can tell you that I put my body through some serious training! It’s not just about lifting heavy, either! During off-season, I incorporate a lot of P.A.C. (performance athletic conditioning) into my regimen, along with my three times a week lifting sessions. Have you ever seen top figure competitor Erin Stern work out? Tell me she is not an athlete! Track star turned figure gal, she was the inspiration behind my decision to incorporate P.A.C. and even some Olympic lifting into my workouts.
On top of hitting the weights hard, bodybuilders have the additional stress of performing well under strict dietary rules. Those last 8-12 weeks out from a show can be a complete NIGHTMARE because we are expected to still give 100% of our efforts on reduced caloric intakes . . . NOT FUN!
If you really want to determine whether or not bodybuilding/figure/fitness/physique is a sport, though, sign up for a show and try it out 🙂 No better way to make an informed decision than by actually testing the waters 🙂
I was curious about the definition of the word ‘sport’ and found the following entry in Wikipedia:
“Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree of skill, especially at higher levels. Hundreds of sports exist, including those for a single participant, through to those with hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals. Some non-physical activities, such as board games and card games are sometimes referred to as sports, but a sport is generally recognised as being based in physical athleticism.”
But even beyond that definition, I would have answered ‘yes’ to Michael’s question.
Yes – you train and you compete.
BUT, it is very important for the general public to remember that if you don’t intend to cover themselves in baby oil and pose in a speedo on stage, that bodybuilding (bicep curls, and other isolation moves) training isn’t going to be very useful… if you water down the 15-20 hours per week that it takes to compete to 2 or 3 hours per week, a chest and tricep day doesn’t work.