Analysis of Bodybuilders as an Alternative Consumer Subculture



Analysis of Bodybuilders as an Alternative Consumer Subculture

In a given society, there are numerous smaller sub-units referred to as sub-cultures. Individuals that belong to these homogenous groups exhibit unique values, customs, and beliefs. It is these distinctive characteristics that distinguish them from those that belong to other groups. A subculture refers to a subgroup of a particular culture that subscribes to specific opinions and beliefs about its ways of life. Though its members may subscribe to some of the features exhibited by the dominant society, they have their unique behaviors, values, and norms. For marketers, it is necessary to classify consumers according to the prevailing subculture. This way, they would be in a position to determine products and services required within a given subculture.

Assessment of the Objectives

It is common knowledge that bodybuilding requires one to exercise both mind and strength in addition to being committed. The physiological consequences of this subculture are evident. On the other hand, however, its sociological consequences remain unknown to many people. Today, an increasing number of people are joining this subculture for leisure or as a competitive sport. In this paper, bodybuilders have been analyzed with a view of looking at their characteristics that compels them to have certain beliefs and practices which differ from the members of the entire society. Focus will be laid on the symbolic of body bodybuilding subculture and how it is related to the present subcultural response. Moreover, attention will be given to how this subculture has been impacted by sociopolitical transformations that are taking place in the society and culture.

The Scope of Bodybuilding Subculture

Characteristics of bodybuilders-analysis of Bodybuilders as an Alternative Consumer Subculture

The alternative subculture of bodybuilding is characterized by unique eating pathology, extreme exercise regimes, and poor social functioning. While some bodybuilders tend to be aggressive, others are calm and composed. Most of them, however, have certain beliefs concerning things such as diet (Oliva & Juzwiak, 2013). They have different social norms and values that distinguish them from the rest of subcultures. These characteristics are explained below.

To begin with, bodybuilders that the habit of feeding on a nutritious diet. They believe that balanced, nutritious food is key to successful bodybuilding. They consult nutritionists for nutritional counseling. To that end, they consume products high on nutrition and when necessary. Consequently, they feed on a specific diet and believe that without proper food, their vigorous training will not produce any fruits. Throughout the day, these individuals consume small amounts of meals but frequently. Their diet consists mainly of carbohydrates, proteins, and some quantities of fats.

Another unique attribute of bodybuilders is that their diet involves the use of steroids. Among professionals, anabolic steroids are prevalent. According to them, these substances aid in enhancing protein synthesis process leading to increased strength and muscle mass. Additionally, they help in boosting their appetite and overall growth.

Bodybuilders are very poor in socialization. Most of them believe in the use of force to solve social problems. This isolates them from most socialization structures. Whatever they watch, listen or even read advocates for the use of force. Through force and violence, they believe that a person becomes rewarding. A closer analysis of their lifestyles reveals that bodybuilders spend a lot of their time at the gym doing physical exercises. Usually, a person who has interest in this field will seek to associate with people that have similar goals. Consequently, their ability to socialize with people outside their area is negatively impacted.    Analysis of Bodybuilders as an Alternative Consumer Subculture

The daily routine of bodybuilders involves carrying out physical exercises. They usually have physical exercise schedules. They believe physical appearance is a way of communication. Masculinity is their identity formation. To this, they are most interested in enhancing flexibility and efficiency during training. According to Lebrun (2016), they mainly focus on the intensity of the exercises. They train thoroughly while progressively increasing the loads involved with the aim of exerting a lot of stress on the muscles. In the end, their physique is forced to adapt to this environment as they become stronger and increase in size. Lebrun points that during physical exercises, there must be a certain degree of connection between the mind and the body.

Some researchers have characterized bodybuilders as being aggressive. These individuals never settle for less; they are go-getters. They always thrive to be better; they always like trying new ideas, They go for new products in the market that suits them. This makes them very competitive. Other bodybuilders are highly friendly despite their fearless physical appearance. However, all of them tend to portray their extreme bodies by not covering most of their body parts, especially during performances. In ordinary occasions, however, they seem concerned about their physical appearance that includes dressing correctly.  Analysis of Bodybuilders as an Alternative Consumer Subculture

People engage in bodybuilding for several reasons. Principal among these include; the belief that the sport enables them to become stronger than they were before. Being strong allows them to subscribe to the idea that they will be able to defend themselves or they will have the ability to do manual work that requires a lot of strength. Similarly, some individuals in the society engage themselves in bodybuilding because of addiction.  In this regard, some of them are of the opinion that it is the only avenue that they can apply to ensure that they keep a particular group of friends. Therefore, they engage themselves in bodybuilding techniques that enable them to accomplish their goals.

The entry to the subculture requires that people have the will to engage in particular keep fit sessions that need some payments. For instance, going to the gym requires that the person pays a specific fee. Other costs that one can incur are associated with the food that the person has to eat. It is because the individual has to eat delicious foods that are highly nutritious.

The consumers conform to the requirements of the group because they form part of their society. It is also because of the provisions of the law that stipulate that one has to respect the other person. Otherwise, it could be considered discrimination. Furthermore, there is a membership card that is usually granted to an individual if the person registers with a particular club for bodybuilders. The group meets physically for sporting activities whereby the person with the best build body is awarded immensely.

Social Identity-analysis of Bodybuilders as an Alternative Consumer Subculture

Bodybuilder like the use of steroids, this is meant to stimulate masculinity growth hence resulting in healthy physical appearance. They dress in fitting clothes that show their body postures. In reality, anabolic drugs have been a significant fascination to most bodybuilders. Consequently, these drugs have defined the subculture over the years. Most of them are more concerned with the latest developments in drugs that can assist them during strength training. According to Suffolk, Dovey, Goodwin, and Meyer (2015), these drugs increase the amount of testosterone in their body and leads to the development of secondary sexual characteristics such as the development of muscles and emergence of facial hair.

Ties-analysis of Bodybuilders as an Alternative Consumer Subculture

Members of this subculture are bound together by peer-to-peer socialization. Most bodybuilders like socialization as groups. Their competitive nature makes them share a lot with their peers. Meeting regularly for exercise makes their relationship bonds more strong. The majority of them seek to be different from what is expected in their physical appearance leading to their eccentric bodies. To achieve this, however, they have to spend many hours doing exercises. Therefore, having similar goals is another factor that binds the members together.

Decision Making

Bodybuilders make collective decisions. The training materials to use, training schedules and consequences for failing to turn up for training are all joint decisions by the groups. The approach helps members to develop unique habits that define them as in most cases; they repeat tasks again and again.

Social Norms, Values, and Beliefs

The subculture of bodybuilders has its different norms, values, and beliefs. Most of them differ from those of other subgroups. For instance, they do not consume a diet contains a lot of fats. They also believe that during gym, all members should avoid getting into arguments. They believe in hard work, patience, being persistent, and disciplined.


In conclusion, it is evident that bodybuilding is a unique subculture in addition to being a sports activity. The bodybuilders in this society refer to some people in the community who believe that bodybuilding enables them to be stronger. Consequently, they engage in sporting activities that promote the formation of their muscles. These people are characterized by having a physical presence and eating highly-nutritious foods. Moreover, bodybuilders believe that only hard work can make them successful. They exercise high standards of personal discipline, that is, discipline on what to feed on or not, when to meet for training, peer-to-peer respect among others.




Oliva, S. H., & Juzwiak, C. R. (2013). Identification of beliefs and food practices related to performance in endurance and strength athletes. EFDeportes, Revista Digital, 18, 182.

Lebrun, S. (2016). Intensity: The Most Important Factor In Bodybuilding! Retrieved December 07, 2017, from

Suffolk, M. T., Dovey, T. M., Goodwin, H., & Meyer, C. (2015). Psychobehavioral characteristics of competitive bodybuilders: a longitudinal study. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 46(2), 117-136.