I would consider myself a member of both the powerlifting and bodybuilding worlds, or having competed in both and focused on both at various times during my fitness career. From observation (and previously, participation), groups tend to talk “down” or negatively about another group outside their own.
As a powerlifter, it can be easy to categorize all physique athletes as “self absorbed, body obsessed individuals”. As a bodybuilder, it can be easy to fall into the trap of categorizing all powerlifters as “individuals who have little regard for their overall health and only want to lift heavy”. Neither of these are true.
I have to admit that I have fallen into both categories, having judged bodybuilders before I was one, seeing them as those who were solely obsessed with their looks. Before I started powerlifting, I also thought of it as something used as an excuse for individuals to “bulk up” in an unhealthy manner and leave general health and wellness behind.
"Sides" form within the fitness industry... Bodybuilders become obsessed with a number on the scale and a body fat percentage... Powerlifters become obsessed with how much weight they can lift. The reason I use the word “obsession” is because it is idolization. An obsession becomes IDENTITY.
One is not worse than another. Someone’s fixation on staying at an unhealthy sub-8 percent body fat is NOT any more dangerous than someones obsession with doing ANYTHING to hit a certain deadlift number. Both are glamorized in various circles in the fitness industry. Obsession becomes cool.
I can speak from experience that obsession is NOT cool. I have been obsessed with my leanness and obsessed with my powerlifting marks at various times. Over the past 6-7 months, I have taken a step back and gained a greater perspective of why I was seeking worth in these measures. I was finding my IDENTITY in something futile and OF this world (aka temporary and WILL go away). I can guarantee that it will never satisfy you. I am thankful for my experiences in both circles in order to gain an appreciation for passions outside what I personally do and can fully understand.
Your obsession should lie in your purpose in this world. Each of our purposes should involve reaching those around us. We are not meant to live for WE... What good does it do if we die with only self-serving accomplishments? I can guarantee to you that very few will remember how many powerlifting meets you won or how many pro cards you had. Instead, they will remember the impact you may have had on them personally.
"Judge Not" is the title of this blog entry for several reasons. Stop assuming you know everything about another person. Stop assuming you are better than someone else. You are just as guilty of putting your self worth in something other than what is actually important in life. It is perfectly fine to put your talents, resources, motivation, energy, and passion into something like an athletic endeavor or pursuit. However, is it your identity? What would happen if that was stripped away from you? What if your squat PR was half of what it is today?
Judge not the lives of others but rather seek first your purpose in this life.