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Introduction

After its primary inceptions, body building has covered a long history. One cannot reject its fame and the current path will continue if its existing growth ratio remains increasing. Sciberras (2014) mentioned in his article that there were as many individuals doing body building as there were individuals participating in sports from the end of the twentieth century, till today. Body building has shifted its face from an activity limited to a small number of people, to a trendy type of workout. There have been several diversifications related to the discipline, ranging from a conventional to an extreme growth of muscles to the more contemporary and common perception of an ideally toned muscled body (Monaghan, 2001). It has been regarded that there is no longer the requirement to feel ashamed regarding efforts conducted to reform the body. Therefore, effectively the contemporary fitness industry targets demands and highlights people’s wishes and towards the accomplishment of their desires. The people’s attitudes towards their bodies are socially developed and the formation of the body has been changing since long. Society shifts, and so do viewpoints and facts, and the term ‘body’ over the years has changed its meaning (Sciberras, 2014).

 

Essay The Emerging Importance of Body Building

 

Studying about ethnographic aspects, there is a range of cultural, physical, social and psychological shifts that defines youth inclination towards body building. The appearance-based culture mostly aims youths as potential customers and create a substantial negative influence on their body perception (Voelker, Reel and Greenleaf, 2015).  As such, this paper will explore and analyses the degree to which the youth involve themselves in body building, what are the reasons for this involvement and the significance of the activity in their lives.

 

Evaluation of the importance of body building among youths

Across the world, people are witnessing the emergence of an obsession with their body perception. Specifically, younger people are looking for such activities that enhance their statuses. As stated by Elisabeth Badinter, a famous philosopher and historian stated that models of manliness haven’t shifted much over the years (Torre, et al., 2006). She expressed that there are four critical issues for the contemporary men. They need to be competitive and be able to constantly show their success and superiority; they need also to show detachment and impassiveness; and they need to be willing to face perils and accept risks (Torre, et al., 2006). It is interesting to note here that none of these issues expressed how a person is supposed to appear. Then why people have become so obsessed regarding their body perception? A union of cultural, economic, and social shifts has been critical in forming the new trend of a person’s body all around the world. Contemporary lifestyles and the focus on beauty and health, ignited even further by the mass media, have convincingly contributed to the development of this activity, particularly among the youths (Yager & O’Dea, 2008).  The media today has presented contemporary men with six-pack abdominals and muscled shoulders and the younger generation of today are being continuously bombarded with the significance of a toned and muscular body or self-image, to the degree of becoming antisocial individuals because of their rigid workout schedules and diet plans (Dahab & McCambridge, 2009).

 

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Research Approach

As mentioned earlier, this essay aims to evaluate the degree to which youth today involve and conduct bodybuilding and the reasons behind choosing this activity. The essay has integrated a research survey comprising of three individuals and body builders. The selection of these research methods is because youths today, regardless of their ethnicity, involve in bodybuilding. The essay will not only include the cultural diversification, but it will also evaluate gender disparity as well. Therefore, the sampling is based in a way that it will represent both the cultural and gender diversity involved in bodybuilding. The group of participants are aged between 25-33, including two men and a woman. The survey has been done through interviews with the participants. As mentioned by the Fowler (2009), the questionnaire is one of the study techniques that have been utilized for gathering important qualitative data regarding a specific population. The data will be prepared in such a manner that it will comprise open-ended questions to generate maximum information from their responses. Among the data that has been gathered include demographics, their inclinations for choosing body building as well as their motivation to contribute in this activity. The questions are organized in a way that could facilitate this data to be gathered. The subjects were agreed to participate in this research essay through providing an acknowledgement.

The research essay implements a qualitative approach since the scope of the report in focus is the comprehensive evaluation of lived experiences of different people. Trying to investigate narratives of people lives highlights effectively on the important facts. As much as possible, this essay used a neutral position when carrying out the semi-structured questionnaire with three individuals, therefore, showing original depictions.  When a descriptive interview was used to gather information, the analytic approach uses the constant comparative methodology. The participants were selected through meaningful sampling technique, as per the standards of relevance to the study objectives (see appendix 1 for details). The survey questions were acquired from the literature and were matched for the objective of the study, bringing out answers pertaining to body building and the psychological aspects, and cultural and social activities during their general experience of the workout. The survey questions facilitated in offering easier interaction and motivated members to explain, while allowing them to have flexibility.

 

Theoretical Analysis

A couple of interrelated reasons is identified as factors that influenced their participation in the game.

    Most of them argued this was the only sure way of keeping fit

    They regarded it as a fun social exercise that keeps you fit while at it

    It was also noticed that most of them had been involved in the activity for over a year and a gym was their preferred location for undertaking training

   One of them also mentioned diet as a critical aspect that every bodybuilder needs to pay considerable attention towards diet.

 

All the subjects indicated that physical exercise was compulsory to ensure a good mastery of the sport. Participants also reported that they have tried their hand on other sports but eventually settled on bodybuilding. One of them stated that influence from most of his friends who are enthusiasts is what gets him going “having friends make it a whole lot easier he reiterated.” Friends were considered an essential factor in this sport, as they would offer moral and emotional support to these participants. The female participant stated that she viewed friends as an essential asset who have a capability of enhancing physical activity enjoyment allowing them to reduce the seriousness that is associated with the sport. The above results not only emphasize on the participants voice in the study, but they further represent strategy towards understanding youth’s involvement in physical activities like bodybuilding. The authenticity of this research was fostered using validity guidelines proposed using qualitative research techniques to enable the reader to be involved in this sport. Interpretation of this data will be used as a critical determinant in reaching the results of this research. The participants that were used as subjects for this purpose will help to analyze the relationship between youth and bodybuilding as a sport. An in-depth analysis of the reasons that cause youths to undertake this activity has been presented below.

Today’s population is hugely confronted with a widespread appearance-crisis. Several people are suffering in silence from a prevalent Adonis complex (Roper, 2014), also known as a complex body obsession. This is developed by psychological and biological compulsions that combine with contemporary society’s perception and the media’s influential and unreal images focusing an ideal muscular body, which is mostly unattainable. This is one of the major reasons why people are going through such a misery of attaining a perfect body mainly because of psychological impacts of that unrealistic body image and expectations that media and society imposes (Adams et al., 2017).  Psychological and biological compulsions are the main causes of the issue with society and media delivering unreal messages which focus on highly developed muscular male bodies and skinnier women (Tiwari and Dubey, 2015). Sociocultural aspects may present at the root of the emergence of this complex. Other studies have validated this fact that the ideal man body image has been based on the bigger muscular figure (Grogan, 2016).

According to Stokvis (2006), bodybuilding has been practiced rigidly to acquire personal objectives with respect to the body and the physiology of a person, a strong egoistic component prevails.  In a study, Murray (1984) researched that there are narcissistic characteristics in bodybuilder and highlighted that young people who have offered different exhibitions of their physiques and who were powered by egoistic prurience. Bodybuilding can also be related with emotions of inferiority as individuals who wish to establish their physiques are normally motivated to do so because of inferiority complex about their body perception (Verplanken and Velsvik, 2008). As observed apparently in one of the participant who wished to look good in her social media profiles. Furthermore, advertisements showcase the reality that physically inferior individuals are weak while superior individuals are strong, particularly in terms of sexual relationships. Developing a better physique is a manner of overcoming emotions of insecurity related with one’s appearance, while additionally influencing others (Pickett, Lewis and Cash, 2005).

In contrary, Coffey (2016) expressed that a bodybuilder’s personal image is positively impacted, and bodybuilders establish a more optimistic perception of themselves as contrasted with athletes or other sport people. When the body is huge, it demands more concentration which eventually increases self-respect among bodybuilders. In a research conducted by Sciberras (2014) it was expressed that the activity enhanced self-confidence among people who were practicing the workout regime. They had been more confident with respect to their body size, their attitude, attractiveness and strength. However, few people claimed that there was no link between their bodybuilding regime and improvement in self-confidence (Developing Adolescents: A Reference for Professionals, 2002).

Body building has been proven to be beneficial to people’s social, mental and physical health and wellbeing. People who have been practicing this sport have in search of self-enhancement, healthier lifestyle and happiness (O’Dea and Abraham, 1999). Of utmost significance to bodybuilders is their body image and awareness. As the body is an integral part of a person’s existence, therefore it becomes important for the people to be happy and satisfied with their dwelling and consequently people do immense efforts to sculpt and tone their bodies as per their wishes.

 

Cultural and Social Aspects

Reel (2013) expressed that a French theorist and social scholar Michel Foucault contributed largely in studying and explaining the link between the social system and body image. the body comprised of the relationship between routine activities and the widespread organization of power. Therefore, the manner the body was developed changed with the shift in society. His study also showed that the body as being socially developed through associations of knowledge and power. the body becomes the aim of social regulation. This means that bodybuilders are facing the risk of being a part of social constructs, crafted materially through the perceptions of the society.

The development of social image is important to the realization of the sport trajectory of a bodybuilder and why he/she chooses the activity, specifically as society presents onto the bodybuilder a combination of predeveloped viewpoints, which the individual tries to live up to, as a result further reinforcing his social stance and personal identity (Sawicki, 2016). Furthermore, by associating with an elite group of a society, a bodybuilder attains a social perception simply based on his role in the group, therefore acquiring a sense of association. Few studies explore body perception regarding social comparison approach and media impacts (Gay, 2009). To complement viewpoints of body image, people may make contrasts with others in the social context.

Another aspect noted is that when at gym, people tend to forget their troubles and worries, and focus on their bodies (Monaghan, 2001). Therefore, bodybuilding serves them as a therapeutic treatment which occupies their needs, thereby increasing the probability of sustaining the chosen sport activity.

 

Practical Interventions

It has been discovered that body image is important for youths’ growing sensibility about themselves and their existence in the world encompassing them, with critical influence on their health. It has also been studies that body image is an intricate phenomenon that is impacted by several factors and one of the most influential one is the social media and technologies. The body image is learned through the perspectives of societal expectations and therefore likely to influence.

The significance of bodybuilding for the youths need to be focused because of the health consequences it brings. Considering the increasing obesity ratios among youngsters and the attention offered to obesity as a public health issue, communities and schools likely to emphasize on obesity prevention as well as weight loss. Although, interventions that focus these aims regardless for the body image may have accidental outcomes. For instance, Reel (2013) asserts that several obesity cure programs support and normalize dissatisfactions regarding one’s body image. contrary, interventions for eating disorder mostly focus on self-acceptance and healthy lifestyle at every size. The interventions should be integrated to highlight the wider spectrum of weight and eating related issues in such ways that reinforce a healthy and realistic body image. these interventions should be targeted to enhance physical activity and should avoid plans that may create a negative influence on the body image of youths, like an unreal weight objectives and critical comments on weight problems. Instead, a reinforcement of positive physical activity should be supported that include a medium of enhancing body satisfaction, particularly when body satisfaction might shield against signs related with other mental health issues in overweight youths, including anxiety, depression and aggression. Such incorporated interventions not only highlight the complete horizon of weight and eating habits issues during early years, but also highlight that the intervention techniques should include perceptions that boost body images among youth.

Moreover, interventions programs targeted to encourage a healthy body perception among young boys and girls can significantly enhance their self-esteem and confidence. Particularly, the significance of such interventions that aim psychological relations of poor body perception (like low self-confidence), shield the internalization of muscular and leaner body ideas, decrease social comparisons, as well as address the impact of conventional gender roles on the development of body perception. In addition, the strength of social media, encompassing its networking and interactivity potentials, may be an important platform for encouraging body-positive vibes among youth. However, such social media interventions need to be systematic, based with research, customized to the unique demands of the intended individuals, and practically assessed.

Social media can be an influential intervention technique. Despite the potential flaws, the Internet presents promising prospects for positive inferences surrounding youngsters’ body image in today’s digital context. Generally, youths are much more likely to express that using social media has created positive influence on their emotional and social lives as compared to the negative impacts. The internet presents public forums for young individuals and adults to express their thoughts, share their tales, develop supportive and meaningful relationships as well as discuss societal norms (Voelker, Reel and Greenleaf, 2015). They can evaluate role models and tales that are not expressed in mainstream media, especially that test the status quo. Such platforms can try to break the gender stereotypes and idealistic body images that create negative impacts on the young minds.

 

Conclusion

The essay has presented an in-depth analysis on the topic that elaborates the importance of bodybuilding for youths. The paper has conduced an analysis based on the survey interview of three participants who demonstrated diverse reasons behind their bodybuilding activities. Those reasons have helped in drawing out important findings that shows that there are several reasons behind the activity including socio-cultural and psychological aspects.

Youth is an important phase for the development of body perception due to several social, physical, cultural as well as psychological shifts that takes place. The link between weight status with body perception is a complex one and additional aspects need to be considered when assessing this link, such as the internalization of body perceptions, weight-related compulsions and issues, as well as a range of societal impacts (comparisons, bullying, fat-talks etc.). outcomes related with having a negative body image for youths like eating disorders, avoidance of physical activities, and excessive exercise routines. Thus, interventions that promote a healthy and realistic body image need to be incorporated throughout all the programs targeted to highlight obesity and other health related issues among youths.

Other social, psychological and cultural aspects have been noted and elaborated throughout this essay. However, it may be expressed that people are being self-conscious from handling their internal issues which is the most adverse consequence because they are hiding their inner anxieties through seeking comfort and regulation through their bodies, which will eventually damage them. Therefore, it is important to address the features of social perception and social identity related with body building to boost positive perceptions among youngsters.

 

References

  1. Adams, K., Taylor, J., Calogero, R. and Lee, J. (2017). Exploring the relationship between appearance-contingent self-worth and self-esteem: The roles of self-objectification and appearance anxiety. Body Image, 23, pp.176-182.
  2. Coffey, J. (2016). Body Work: Youth, Gender and Health. Routledge.
  3. Dahab, K. S. & McCambridge, T. M., 2009. Strength Training in Children and Adolescents: Raising the Bar for Young Athletes?. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, , 1(3), pp. 223-226.
  4. Developing Adolescents: A Reference for Professionals. (2002). [ebook] Washington: American Psychological Association. Available at: http://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/develop.pdf [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].
  5. Fowler, F. (2009). Survey Research Methods. 4th ed. Sage Publications.
  6. Gay, K. (2009). Body Image and Appearance: The Ultimate Teen Guide. 1st ed. United Kingdom: Scarecrow Press.
  7. Grogan, S. (2016). Body Image: Understanding Body Dissatisfaction in Men, Women and Children. New York: Taylor & Francis, pp.95-97.
  8. Monaghan, L. (2001). Looking good, feeling good: the embodied pleasures of vibrant physicality. Sociology of Health and Illness, 23(3), pp.330-356.
  9. Murray, T. (1984). The language of bodybuilding. American Speech, 59(3), pp.195-206.
  10. O’Dea, J. and Abraham, S. (1999). Onset of disordered eating attitudes and behaviors in early adolescence: interplay of pubertal status, gender, weight, and age. Adolescence, 34(136), pp.671-679.
  11. Pickett, T., Lewis, R. and Cash, T. (2005). Men, muscles, and body image: comparisons of competitive bodybuilders, weight trainers, and athletically active controls. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 39(2), pp.217-222.
  12. Reel, J. (2013). Eating Disorders: An Encyclopedia of Causes, Treatment, and Prevention. USA: ABC CLIO.
  13. Roper, E. (2014). Gender Relations in Sport. Netherlands: Springer, pp.132-134.
  14. Sawicki, K. (2016). Bodybuilding as a subcultural lifestyle of peripheral youth. Health, Risk & Society, 18(5-6).
  15. Stokvis, R. (2006). The emancipation of bodybuilding. Sport in Society, 9(3), pp.463-479.
  16. Sciberras, M. (2014). Bodybuilding: Trajectories of Involved Young Male Bodybuilders. Bachelors. University of Malta.
  17. Tiwari, G. and Dubey, S. (2015). Psychology and Body Image : A Review. Research Gate.
  18. Torre, G. L. et al., 2006. Extra-curricular physical activity and socioeconomic status in Italian adolescents. BMC Public Health, , 6(1), pp. 22-22.
  19. Yager, Z. & O’Dea, J. A., 2008. Prevention programs for body image and eating disorders on University campuses: a review of large, controlled interventions. Health Promotion International, , 23(2), pp. 173-189.
  20. Verplanken, B. and Velsvik, R. (2008). Habitual negative body image thinking as psychological risk factor in adolescents☆. Body Image, 5(2), pp.133-140.

21.   Voelker, D., Reel, J. and Greenleaf, C. (2015). Weight status and body image perceptions in adolescents: current perspectives. Adolesc Health Med Ther, (6), pp.149–158.

 

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