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 🙂