Life as a bodybuilder requires not only heavy lifting but also mental strength. Their extreme exercise and diet push their limit and force the best perseverance out of them.
For members of TAB, participating in bodybuilding contests can be lonely, having no one to lean on while eating nothing but chicken breast, paprika, and sweet potato combined with extreme exercises.
When YFC prepares for contests, on the day before the competition, members cease to drink water and eat dense carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and rice cakes. Drastic change of eating habits takes a toll on the members’ everyday life.
“For higher muscle density, we stop hydrating altogether the day before the contest, and start eating food with minimal moisture,” said Lim Timothy, the vice president of YFC. “Before that, for a long time, we don’t eat carbohydrates making it very difficult to concentrate on our studies. But overall, we are able to build stamina for everyday life and mental strength to push through anything.”
What all bodybuilders have in common, is that they quit drinking alcohol.
“For the initial ritual required to enter YFC, we make newbies drink a bowl of milk rather than alcohol unlike most other clubs,” said Lim with a playful smile. “Once, we went to Outback Steakhouse and ate nothing but chicken breast and salad. Just imagine over 50 people entering a steakhouse to eat only salads.”
The bodybuilders took notes on common misconception on healthy looking body.
“Some people solely focus on lifting weight, especially the guys,” pointed out Lee Dong-wook from TAB. “It’s crucial to put pressure on appropriate body muscle but these guys would just excessively bench press which is really harmful to the shoulder.”
They further emphasized that there is not just one answer on exercise.
“Everyone has a different body type and thus, differ on suitable exercise,” said Kim Yon-sun from TAB. “It’s important to find the correct method for each individual and develop it.”
YFC pointed out common misperceptions on how to lose weight. Most students focus on lowering their calorie intake, as extreme as eating only a few types of food.
“Many students jump into brutal dieting with no consideration of possible side effects,” Lee Yong-eun, the president of YFC said. “The necessity of exercise parallel to dietary changes.”
Lim, the vice president of YFC added that he hopes people would start aiming for a healthy body, which is more effective and efficient than setting a goal upon just losing weight.
Other than balanced exercise and diets, POWER points out appropriate number of breaks are also very important.
“When trying to lose weight, taking breaks and sleeping soundly are essential,” said Yoon Jin-joo of POWER. “Without enough sleep, cortisol, a stress hormone, is excreted, which makes it easier for fat to accumulate.”
For students who need exercise and are looking for simple workouts, Yoon recommends students to try out squats. While standing, place your feet as wide as your shoulder. Then place your center of mass on your heel and sit slowly, pushing your pelvis behind.
“Exercise can be a way to love oneself,” Yoon said. “I hope students will experience how maintaining health and improving stamina through exercise is a very empowering journey!”
Reported by: Kim Yun-young, Shin Hyo-jae, Wee So-yeon, Yun Sol