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Bodybuilding in the Age of social Media

I have been training with weights for over 17 years now (a number that I promise is not exaggerated), and I read my first Bodybuilding magazine many, many years before that. One thing that has struck me most about the whole bodybuilding world since then has been the progression from monthly magazines to the current social media platforms. And the influence it is having on all BB competitors.

Where before you would once find out about who won a particular show 3 or 4 months after the show was actually completed in a magazine (if you could actually find the Aussie section in a magazine) now you have live updates to the minute. People can now post photos instantly after they have competed, as I have done many times before and you can sit back and enjoy everybody telling you how good you are straight away. Man what could be better than that….instant gratification for the whole world to see.  I’m not going to sit here lie and tell you that it’s not a little bit enjoyable, hell who am I kidding it can be the best boost to the ego ever sometimes.  Ok I’m just going to come out and say it now I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT ha ha..

That is until somebody says something negative about the photo, the competition or the Federation that it was taken in… Good old negative feedback.

Being a Firefighter for 14 years and having a bunch of long term mates in my life I am very lucky to have constant negative feedback given to me.  I like to call it teasing or even smack talking.  A very enjoyable pass-time that I am well versed in giving and receiving, and I always enjoy having a laugh at myself as much as I enjoy teasing my mates and work mates. This has allowed me the ability to take onboard negative feedback and have not take things too seriously.

Now, I’m not talking about bullying here but good old fashion “smack talking” and smack talking on social media.  It seems that in the wonderful world of bodybuilding we are all above the ability to laugh at one another and ourselves.

I recently posted my thoughts on another Pro Bodybuilders choice in regards to his competition choice or lack of it and I was quite surprised by the amount of people that were so offended by it, to be honest if I had of known I was going to offend so many I probably would have written even more about it.

“How dare you say that Schembri”

“You have only done one Pro show”

“You are the reason BB will never be mainstream”

These were some of the highly entertaining replies I got back.  Just for the record if bodybuilding ever goes mainstream I will quit for life and take up Tennis, as I enjoy the weird little underground world of BB and could think of nothing worse then it becoming too popular or too mainstream.  If I wanted to fit in I would have stuck to playing Rugby League.

But this has really made me wonder, in the modern world of social media and the insatiable need for instant gratification from our peers have we forgotten what it is like to be teased and laugh it off, are we turning into a generation of pussies who can lift big weights and strut around with their chests puffed up but can’t take a joke.

Have we forgotten that at the very heart of bodybuilding is a world where we don’t fit in and never will, isn’t that the point of bodybuilding…. To freak people out and have them stare at you with disgust and take that as a complement. Am I the one who is out of touch now?  Should I jump on this bandwagon of lets all work together to unify all federations and work together to save the world one rep at a time?


Sorry I was just sick in the bin next to my computer thinking of such a world.

Bodybuilding IS a freak show, most ordinary people will NEVER accept bodybuilding, all the different Federations ARE businesses in their own right and will never unify, if I am competing against you I WILL try and get inside your head, I still ENJOY teasing people and having it done back to me.  Let us not confuse some teasing on social media between competitors as bullying, if you get up on stage and flex your muscles in tiny little posing trunks, wearing fake tan and posing oil you deserve to have people tease you and if you can’t handle it then it’s safe to assume this is the reason you are up on stage in the first place.  Many internal issues with ones self.

So let me just finish by saying that if this new age of social media and BB is creating an environment where people can’t handle a bit of smack talk then please take me back to my world where the only info I knew about Aussie BB was by reading a magazine once a month and finding out news that is 3 months old already, because I don’t think this new world of social media is doing anyone a favour and in fact is probably doing everyone more harm then good. And I just can’t help but hang shit on others, I tried once and my own insecurities screamed out at me and said “Luke you better start teasing someone else or we are gonna come right out and mess your brain up you freak”

So I got on the internet and made a joke about how easy it was to win a Pro card in a new certain federation to make myself feel better, and I sat back and watched everyone squirm and wriggle and then people started to hang shit back on me.

And so the circle of life continues….