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Is There a Dark Side to Long Term Bodybuilding?

Is There a Dark Side to Long Term Bodybuilding?

Posted by Rahul Web on

Long term natural bodybuilding will keep you living strong, even until your reach your eighties and nineties. How? Your muscles will still be strong from all those years of lifting. Strong muscles, tendons, and ligaments are more capable of withstanding stress, have better balance, thus reducing the likelihood of pulled muscles. Your bones will be stronger and much denser, meaning increased prevention to osteoporosis and bone fractures. Also, as a result of still having mobility during your later stages of life, you will have better cardiovascular health, more independence and a better quality of life when you reach your later days.

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In addition to the plethora of physiological benefits from long term bodybuilding, did you know that there are numerous psychological benefits too?

Psychological Benefits

Being health-conscious and having healthy eating habits will enhance your quality of life, and these characteristics stay with you long after you stop training. Having a healthy diet is very important in the sport of bodybuilding and is imperative for great muscle gains. Healthy habits like eating medium sized portions at regular intervals throughout the day and staying within your daily macros will remain with you forever.

Bodybuilding requires great discipline, you can’t get good results if you train intermittently whenever you want. Years of consistent training and being able to reach arduous yet attainable goals requires great patience, dedication, and a good work ethic. You will discover first hand that hard work pays off, not only in the gym but in life. This new found discipline will translate out of the gym and into your work, family, and social life. Reaching your bodybuilding goals will prove to you that anything is possible with hard work, focus, time, and most important a correct mindset.


As a result of all the previous goals you set and were able to surpass throughout your life, you will be quite goal oriented. Achievements don’t happen by accident, it is the result of good planning and hard work. Set a challenging goal for yourself, give yourself a timeline, track your progress, and reach your goal. That is how goals are reached. Being goal oriented allows you to get things done quicker and more efficiently.

Years of training will lead to higher self confidence and self esteem, not just because you look better, but because you feel more confident about your abilities. This translates to having a more positive outlook, increased concentration, more enthusiasm, and generally being happier in life. Having this positive energy in turn will let you live a longer and more fulfilling life.

Negative Effects

Overtime, weightlifting puts a tremendous amount of stress on your joints, tendons, and ligaments. As a result, many bodybuilders have tendinitis, back pains, shoulder pains, and other forms of joint problems. These injuries, if left untreated, will remain and significantly get worse. By the end of their career, these problems may become a huge burden on mobility and everyday life.

The elbows, knees, and shoulders take a beating during intense workouts. We may not feel it now, but as we get older, we will start feeling some pain. The reason is because the body produces less and less synovial fluid as we get older (a fluid secreted in our joint cavity and lubricate our joints during movement), thus increasing friction among opposing surfaces of cartilage causing  joint pain. However, bodybuilding doesn’t necessarily translate to joint pain in the future. You can greatly reduce your chances of joint pains in the future if you: - Stretch and warm up properly before workouts - Overtraining, either too much volume or short rest days (Basically, not allowing the muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments… to recuperate) - Train with heavy weight, low reps - Avoid Incorrect form - Avoid Lack of nutrition (Omega 3 Fatty Acids can help decrease joint pain. It’s true.)

Unlike sports like basketball, football, tennis etc; bodybuilding is a sport that allows you to compete well into your fifties, sixties and even seventies if you want. You just have to make the proper adjustments. Many top bodybuilders including Chris Dickerson and Frank Zane actually reached their peak after the age of 40. Nonetheless, joint pain is still a very common result of long term bodybuilding, but the effects can be drastically reduced if you train smart.

Heavy squats and deadlifts can compress the vertebral column and thus compress the intervertebral discs. Naturally the aging process weakens our discs, and can result in chronic back pains, numbness, or decreased range of motion. Constant heavy squatting can actually speed up this process of disc degeneration. In order to decompress my spine, I normally hang from a pullup bar after each workout for approximately 60 seconds. This can be done with added weights as well. Try it. It actually feels really good after heavy sets of squats and deadlifts.

Liver damage may occur as a result of excessive supplement use in the past. Your liver is your body’s filter and gets severely damaged if you take too many supplements. Off the top of my head, I’d like to say that creatine makes your liver work extra hard, and without enough water, your liver can be damaged. To avoid this, research the supplement you are thinking about taking before buying. If you are taking more than 5 supplements, a multivitamin and protein; then I’d say that you might be taking too many.

Stretch marks can also be a problem after long term bodybuilding. Even though this isn’t as big a problem as the ones I’ve mentioned above, it may still bother some. After growing to two hundred plus pounds and being massive throughout your bodybuilding days, your muscles will slowly start to shrink. The severity and speed of muscle atrophy, a typical response to lack of use, will of course depend on your current lifestyle and if you are still active or not. This muscle shrinkage will lead to stretch marks, particularly on the arms, shoulders, chest, and calves. Theobroma oil (Cocoa Butter) can lessen the appearance of visible stretch marks. Like I said, it’s not a big concern for most.

As you can see the negative consequences of long term natural bodybuilding isn’t that bad, especially since most of the negative effects can be greatly lessened with the proper precaution, stretches, and supplements like flax seed and glucosamine for the joints. The positive benefits greatly outnumber the negative consequences in my opinion provided you have trained safely and stayed injury free throughout your life, which actually isn’t hard to do if you know what you are doing.

Bottom Line

The positive benefits of bodybuilding greatly outweigh the negative consequences, especially since most of the negative consequences are preventable.

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