Losing Atheticism Is One Of The Major Pitfalls Of Bodybuilding More often than not, once a bodybuilder has started dedicating himself to a very regimented weight-training program, focusing entirely on hypertrophy and strength, they start to lose overall functionality. By this I mean that their overall athleticism goes down the toilet. This isn’t necessarily the direct result of not playing sports or doing traditional physical activities anymore, but rather the result of ONLY performing bodybuilding movements in the gym, restricting your body to very few ranges of motion. Over time, these limited movements develop into inflexibility as the level of muscularity increases, and cardio goes down the toilet. Since the majority of bodybuilders will only do cardio at a low intensity level purely for fat loss, with no regard for the cardiovascular health aspect of it. A Prime Example Of This The summer before my grade 12 year in high school, I started weight training and dieting with a dedicated focus on growing. I didn’t care about ANYTHING else. GROW, GROW, GROW! That’s all I cared about. I gained 50 pounds in three months during that summer (much of it was crappy weight). I was a very good basketball player, and was known for my speed and endurance. The first thing I noticed after I started packing on weight was my endurance had gotten worse. The second thing I noticed was that my shooter’s touch was ruined. Over time as you repeat your jump shot in basketball, your muscles adapt to a very particular and repetitive movement that is subconsciously repeated every time you shoot the ball. However, once you introduce a factor that suddenly changes this subconscious cemented movement, your shot will go to hell. I had packed on 50 pounds and my strength had skyrocketed. The result was that my old jump shot cemented in my memory was no longer effective, because my strength was so drastically different from what my mind had known for years as being the adequate amount of strength to shoot a basketball with. I went from a sharp shooter at the 3 point line, to a VERY hit and miss perimeter player. As the years progressed, I kept building my physique, gaining more and more muscle. I didn’t stretch to maintain my flexibility, I cut out sports from my life, and I stopped doing endurance work entirely. My only cardio was low intensity jogging on an elliptical with a slight incline for fat-loss purposes. After a few years, I realized how poor my flexibility and functionality had become. I was having a hard time washing my back in the shower, I couldn’t get close to touching my toes anymore during a stretch, and I was just severely inhibited in movement in general in contrast to my previously very athletic physique. This is when I came to the realization that there is FAR more to life than just having big muscles, and that the key to longevity, as well as looking good, was to maintain a balance between athleticism, functionality, and muscle mass. After beginning regular cardio like going on hikes, swimming more, playing basketball, and stretching, I can say I am slowly but surely making my way back to that high level of athleticism. You shouldn’t get gassed jogging up a staircase, or blow out your shoulder trying to scratch an itch on your back, that is simply ridiculous. Add Functional Movements Back Into Your Workouts If you aren’t already doing this, add some balance back into your routine. Real cardio (getting your heart rate above the fat burning zone) is what will actually help maintain cardiovascular health, and keeping a high level of athleticism and endurance will always benefit you in life. If you had a favorite sport in your youth, start playing it again. If your flexibility sucks then start stretching more or do yoga. If your endurance sucks, start doing for long healthy runs that actually improve your cardiovascular endurance. These are just some of the things you guys should be doing, and I highly suggest we all start moving towards a healthier athletic physique with a bit less muscle, than going for brutish amounts of size and totally sacrificing cardiovascular endurance and athleticism.