How one competitor views the female bodybuilding ideal and what drives her to compete.
In this podcast, Nancy Arnold and I (Bud Gibson) discuss the ideals women are trying to attain in bodybuilding and her will to compete. You can download the high fidelity 10 MB Quicktime movie by clicking on Nancy's picture or you can watch it without downloading on Google video (garbled for the first four seconds but afterwards fine).
In the series leading up to Nancy's competition, we have had several discussions with participants on the health of women's bodybuilding. The simple story is that women's bodybuilding is seriously challenged. At the highest level, it is taking a back seat to less rigorous competitions like shape or even model search. At the local level, shape competitors are outnumbering female bodybuilders by three to one, at least if Nancy's competition is any indication.
The rap against female bodybuilding, and now sometimes even the highest levels of shape, is that competitive pressures lead to unnaturally low body fat levels and muscular development. As a result, female bodybuilding in particular is less attractive to athletic women, and they choose not to compete in it. Since the number of competitors drives the economics of the local competitions, promoters are naturally driven to favor alternatives, contributing to the decline.
So, why does Nancy choose to compete in bodybuilding. Her reasons are complex, but at the simplest level, she is attracted by the extreme discipline and the sport's intensity. The video provides details.