Joe Weider’s 1980’s bodybuilding bible, at 528 pages, gets it wrong for only one single paragraph. Weider points out that while bodybuilders literally carry their sport around with them, they should never under any circumstances wear shirts so tight that the shirts seem painted on. I think Weider’s aim was to discourage lifters from making a mockery of the whole endeavor.
In my opinion, however, if you’ve earned it, you can wear it. I don’t care if your shirt is so tight that when you bend your arms you tear your sleeve – like Schwarzenegger in the movie Twins. I mean, how cool was that?
Then again, the two guys I saw walking along the beach this weekend were absolutely ridiculous. Shirts off, they were undeniably muscular, but not really cut. They displayed clear evidence of gym membership, but also proof of too many Irish creams. Mostly, what made them look big was the way they held a permanent flexed pose as they strolled down the street. They spent so much time looking down at their own bodies I was worried they might accidentally walk into traffic.
In the end, I don’t think this kind of buffoonery – shirt or no shirt – is a reflection on the sport of bodybuilding. I’m pretty sure it’s only a reflection on them.