(Photos above: left - MD magazine cover Aug 09 issue; right - classic physique builder John Grimek, Mr. America 1940, 1941, Mr. Universe 1948, Mr. USA 1949)
We just couldn't pass this up! In the recent (Aug 2009) issue of Muscular Development magazine, they have an article on "Muscle Dysmorphia in a Young Woman" in their Research: Health section.
The article describes a case, published in the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research (2009, vol 23: 988-995), where a 23 year old woman bodybuilder met the psychological profile for someone having "muscle dysmorphia." The conclusion of the MD writers (Steve Blechman and Thomas Fahey) was to "spin" this finding into something acceptable by saying "While many people undoubtedly have unrealistic body images, extreme focus and dedication are required to reach championship levels. In champions, preoccupation and dedication are considered admirable, but are classified as psychological disturbances in less-accomplished people."
So in other words, Blechman and Fahey are trying to say that "less-acomplished people" (apparently referring to academic researchers who study muscle dysmorphia) are simply "jealous!"
Now, here is the interesting thing, earlier in the article, Blechman and Fahey describe muscle dysmorphia in the following way: "An increasing number of men have a similar condition called muscle dysmorphia where they become overly obsessed with muscle mass and body composition and have a compulsive need to work out and diet. They will evade important social and work responsibilities to maintain their workout schedule. They OFTEN TAKE DRUGS AND SUPPLEMENTS THEY KNOW ARE UNHEALTHY IN ORDER TO ATTAIN THEIR GOAL." [the caps are ours]
So going by the above definition, it is not the preoccupation, extreme focus, or dedication that are the problem. Anyone who is successful in any field will have an abundance of those. It is the fact that those suffering from this condition are WILLING TO ENDANGER THEIR HEALTH BY TAKING DRUGS that is the main problem.
Hmmm....then by their own description, doesn't muscle dysmorphia describe the whole of the mainstream, roid-based, bodybuilding world?! Doesn't it exactly describe what they engage in and what they promote and value? Perhaps MD magazine should rename itself "Muscular Dysmorphia!"
What a sad state modern, mainstream bodybuilding as become! But fortunately there is a better way - classic physique building (which is pre-roid, Golden Age bodybuilding)! In the editorial of our last issue, we put forth a CPB "Credo" that really separates classic physique building from the insanity of the mainstream, roid-based bodybuilding world. We said:
We believe in:
1) cultivating health above all (of body and mind)
2) building a classic physique
3) using pre-roid, Golden Age methods
4) setting a good example for others
Are we dedicated? - yes! Are we focused? - yes! Are we a bit pre-occupied? - yes! But are we willing to damage ourselves with unhealthy drugs and substances for the sake of a physique? - no! Classic physique building is a healthy form of physical culture. The same cannot be said for the mainstream, roid-based bodybuilding that MD promotes.
P.S. For a free, 1 year subscription to Classic Physique Builder (CPBzine) - a pdf zine patterned after the muscle mags of the pre-roid, Golden Age (the 1940s and 50s) - just email us your name, the name of your city (not your address), state/province, and country. That's it! Any info you send us will be strictly confidential. We don't share our info with anyone. You won't get on any unwanted lists or receive any automated email (even from us)!