Bodybuilding is the act of putting on muscle by working out and shaping one's diet to put on more muscle mass. Often bodybuilding is referred to as hardgaining, indicating a regimen tailored for a person without a predisposition towards acquiring muscle mass. Bodybuilding may be done for recreation, for personal betterment or as a competitive sport.
The sport of bodybuilding is judged based on the physical appearance and demonstrations of the participants. There is currently a campaign to have bodybuilding adopted as an Olympic sport, but this campaign is met with strong resistance by some sectors. It is commonly argued that bodybuilding is not an actual sport, as the contest itself is non-athletic.
When competitive bodybuilders compete, they demonstrate a number of poses intended to accentuate certain muscle groups. This posing is a large part of competitive bodybuilding, and many bodybuilders spent up to half of their training time perfecting their posing routines.
Bodybuilding as a sport is not athletic and should not be confused with lifting sports or strongman competitions. The focus on bodybuilding is a specific aesthetic and balance of muscle mass, not feats of strength of agility.
There are a number of techniques used for gaining and sculpting muscle mass, both in the competitive and personal arena. A distinction is often made between those who are able to continually gain mass and strength through a regular routine, and those who quickly plateau. The latter are often referred to as hardgainers, because it is more difficult for them to gain strength than for many others who pursue bodybuilding seriously.
The most common technique is to acquire as much mass as possible for an extended period of time, working on being able to lift more and more weight each week. Once a threshold has been reached, or in the case of competitive bodybuilders, once a major competition is nearing, the focus is shifted to sculpting the existing muscle mass.
Some experts on bodybuilding advocate a training program of moderate weight for extended reps until failure, followed by occasional high-weight sets. Others advocate a system focusing on very difficult weights for low reps and low sets.
While bodybuilding, it is important to increase one's intake of vitamins, minerals and protein. A wide range of bodybuilding shakes and supplements are available on the market, most of which will be more than adequate for a beginning bodybuilder. Chemical supplements are also available, though their use is prohibited in most competitive bodybuilding arenas and they are not recommended for health reasons.
Ultimately, the best tactic for bodybuilding is to experiment with a number of different workouts to find what works for your body. Combining a suitable workout with a high-protein diet and plenty of rest in off-times will ensure pleasing results.