Why Do Bodybuilders Have Bigorexia and Body Image Issues?


question-icon-newI have been bodybuilding for a while now and what worries me a lot is my mental issues with feeling really bad when watching other people in the gym who are bigger than me. My therapist says it’s something called “bigorexia”, but I disagree. I would understand better if I had a physique like the bigger guys in the gym and still felt bad, then that would be probably be a case of bigorexia.

I used to be really skinny (only 49 kg) and that made me feel bad. Now I am not too skinny, but shapeless and kind of fat. It makes me feel bad. So, I don’t think I have bigorexia since I am not distorting my reality. I’m just too anxious and obsessed because it’s not what I want. The problem is that it directly interferes with my life.

I would like to keep my weight where it is now or maybe increase it a little bit, but mainly burn fat. I know people who reduced their waist and also gained weight. I will feel great if I can reduce my waist and keep my current weight (not lose any muscle).

answer-icon-newIn terms of gaining muscle and losing fat, it’s very hard to do both at the same time. You either want to focus on a mass phase (bulking) or a cutting phase (dropping fat). In a mass phase, you will gain a little body fat. The goal is to pack on the most muscle in that time frame. For the fat loss and cutting phase, the goal is to lose fat while maintaining as much muscle as possible. My advice is if you’re holding too much fat then really focus on the cutting phase and don’t worry if you don’t pack on a lot of muscle mass. Trust me, once you lose the fat and get cut, you will look so much better because you will be vascular (veins) and lean so every muscle will pop and you will probably look bigger and fuller.

If you choose to do a cutting phase, stick with a very clean diet and up your cardio to 45-60 minutes per day. If you want to do a mass phase, then cut back a little on your cardio and really hit the weights hard.

In terms of your mental “bigorexia” issues, this is very common with people involved in bodybuilding. My recommendation is to try your best to focus on the task at hand (diet/training) and don’t get too discouraged. Stick with the plan and it will work, it just takes time. Do not compare yourself to others. This will only lead to issues down the road. There will always be someone bigger, stronger or more ripped than you are. Try to find happiness in the journey and you will find ultimate success.

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